Howdy all. On Monday I like to mix up the kinds of posts I write. Sometimes I like to write something that’s thoughtful about travel or something travel related, exploring a theme or something. Or I might explore a place, or discuss the occasional world event… and today I wanted to write about three places that I have grouped together that are a bit different. On the continent of Asia, from India, China and errr… China again! They are all coloured with many a different colour, and they all made me wonder ‘really?’ and I guess they were more interesting for their kookiness rather than their ‘amazingness’. Anyways, let’s begin!
1/ Nightingale Shrubbery Park, Darjeeling, India
Darjeeling is a charming town in the Himalayan mountains, no doubt. A hill station where it’s so much cooler than the town at the bottom of the hill. There’s a toy train, a clock tower and a few temples and monastery. And then – then we have the Nightingale Shrubbery Park. And like the other two on today’s post, I just didn’t get it.
I read about it in the Lonely Planet. And certainly it was described as being odd in there. When I was in Darjeeling for a few days (four I think) it remained cloudy and misty the whole time I was there. And the park was best visited at night. It was chilly and fog sat over the park. It was supposed to be romantic I think. Shrilling Bollywood music blared through tinny speakers. There were little rotundas and paths, not a lot of vegetation. I was a little dumbfounded – what was the point? Couples apparently going there, but I barely saw four other people and no couples at all. Plus you paid to get into the park.
2/ Assembling (?) Dragon Cave near Guilin, China
This cave system is around 6 kilometres from the beautiful city of Guilin in one of the most beautiful parts of Southern China. I spent a day on a bike cycling around the locale and this is was my last stop for the day. It was recommended by people in town but I wasn’t exactly sure what I would find. The name of it was confusing and online I’ve seen it called ‘Assembling’, ‘Assembled’, and ‘Assembly’ Dragon Cave. What these forms of ‘assemble’ actually are meant to mean I am not sure. Are dragons supposed to have assembled here at one point? I don’t know. Also known as Julong Tan Cave which I presume is the phonetically written Chinese name for the cave.
Anyways, it was a very humid spot and I’d been riding all day, but taking a tour in the caves seemed fun anyways. Yes, you had to take a tour and I was lucky enough to be on basically an all Chinese tour. Bar one, that is. The tour guide was kind enough though to translate for me from time to time, obviously not the whole script.
The trip started with a short boat as there was a little underground lake/river/some sort of body of water in the caves. After that we toured the caves for maybe a kilometre, maybe two. It was kind of cool I guess, but instead looking at rock formations and stalagmites and tites, they used coloured lights to light the whole thing, and told stories in Chinese which I didn’t understand and we were moved around as one big – well over 30-40 people – group at breakneck pace. And of course, it wasn’t about the caves, but it was about getting a selfie in the caves. I was very happy that it finished.
3/ The Bund Tourist Tunnel, Shanghai, China
This is the crowning glory in places to go/things to do that makes you wander ‘why?’ A sort of cable car that runs under the Huangpu River in Shanghai. You stand in the car as it goes through the tunnel and there is a sound and light show with different colours and sort of laser beams. And you move through the tunnel slowly and are supposed to be dazzled by the show. But dazzled is the wrong word. Dumbfounded. It’s a great word and all three places left me feeling this way.
So tell me – have you ever been to a place like these three? Or perhaps one of these somewhat different attractions? Do they have an appeal to you and what is said appeal? Please comment! Thanks for reading – and May the Journey Never End?