What all the Chinese people at the top of the mountain missed out on was a pretty amazing hike, and while it was tough on the calves, the views at the top made the hard work so much more worth it. At the top, not only did I enjoy a pretty spectacular view but I also braved my fear of heights by making my way across a small suspension bridge to go from one peak to another. While our journey up the mountain and view from the top were both quite spectacular, I think my favorite part of the day was when we were nearing the bottom and saw a pool offresh water. When we got there we discovered a waterfall originating from a cliff at least a hundred feet high, and did what anyone would do in that situation, went right under the flow of water to cool off from the long day in the hot sun. While the water was freezing and the bus ride back to where we were staying was pretty soggy, the decision to go under the waterfall was more than worth it.
In the days leading up to this trip I was seriously considering backing out and just relaxing in Hangzhou for a weekend, but in hindsight I am really glad I stuck it out. Not only was our hike a great experience, but I also got the chance to play a bunch of mahjong (my new favorite game) with my friends on the trip. Our ability to play even attracted a crowed of elderly Chinese people that were staying in the same place. Overall, this trip was more than worth losing a weekend in Hangzhou as I got to have an experience I never would have had without going.
As my time in China is coming to a close I can hardly even believe that 5 months ago I was trying to figure out any way that I could come home early because now I am doing everything I can to extend my stay. In fact, I recently accepted a job working for a start up application here in Hangzhou where I will interview foreigners in China and write short essays in English and Chinese about their experiences here. It will certainly be adifferent and interesting month now that all of my friends from my program have left for summer break, but I look forward to the challenge and plan on using my last few weeks here as well as I can. To sum it up, this program and my time in China hasexceeded my original expectations by leaps and bounds, not only did I have the opportunity to forge some lasting friendships with some amazing people, but the trip has also left me with astrong desire to make my way back to China as soon as possible.