ZHANGJIAJIE: Day 145, Thursday May 01, 2014

Our wilderness getaway turned into a bad dream over night. John puked three more times before the sun rose. We had a puke bucket emptying chain going as each person that got up to use the bathroom got to carry John’s garbage bin down with them to empty it. Karen was just as sick by morning. We had a flight to catch that night, and a two hour hike out of the park.

“I don’t know which end to stick over the toilet,” Karen moaned.

“How are you doing Nate?” I asked.

“I’m fine,” he replied, “Stomach like a dog.”

I was a little liquidy in the rear department, so I took all of the preventative medicine, and fortunately didn’t get worse. Nate and I were the only ones who had breakfast that morning. Lunch the day before (we had pork and can not remember any sign of refrigeration) is in high suspect. Karen and John stayed in bed till 12:00pm check out time.

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We had thought there would be a cable car down, and had talked up the idea of sitting down and watching beautiful views go by below us. It ended up being an elevator. Kind of cool to have a giant elevator out in the wilderness, but not so enjoyable as a cable car: it was crowded full of people and most of the descent was behind rocks with no view whatsoever. Anyways it got us down the mountain in less then two minutes and was worth it for the situation we were in.

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Below the elevator were rows of buses, surely one of these went to the entrance. We carried Karen’s bag for her telling her the buses weren’t far away as the drivers kept shaking their heads and telling us “walk”, and so it was that we began our very slow death trudge back along the river. The frogs and monkeys didn’t hold any excitement this time.

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At lunch Karen and John managed to hold down watermelon, “We’re going to make it,” Karen said, “We’re going to make it,” and so on we trudged. Karen, who would fall behind frequently, kept getting stopped for photographs! She was not very happy about them.

Caught a bus back to the hostel when we finally made it out of the park, and spent the rest of the day there until our flight. Fortunately the hostel in Zhangjiajie was able to set up airport pick up for us in Xi’an, so when we arrived a driver was waiting with Karen’s name written on the back of an old piece of cardboard.

The hostel was still teaming with life when we got in even though it was late. It reminded me of Wada Hostel in Guilin. We were greeted at the front by a cheery woman with good English who whipped out a free map and began circling the sights for us. I thanked her though none of us were able to take anything in.

We were stuck in an eight person dorm that night so we were lucky no one puked. Forgetting we were sharing the room I’d turned on the lights upon entering. “Shoot,” I said as my brain slowly processed what was going on “I forgot there’s people in here.” Somehow someone found a bed light and somehow the main lights got turned off. Slept in my clothes, don’t remember brushing my teeth.

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