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在“脱衣舞吧” In a strip bar

(2007-05-27 17:41:09)
其乃基于 Peter[2007-05-27]博客的翻译本

我是一直到最近才听说张家界的。但我的一个中国朋友坚持说那是个必看的地方。“特有的原始景观,没开发过的。你会很喜欢的。”

我查了下我信赖的《Lonely Planet 旅游指南》,这是西方的背包客最信赖的旅游指南之一。那上面没讲张家界。这一切引起了我的兴趣:原始景观,未开发过,而且《Lonely Planet 旅游指南》上只字未提。这三样东西加在一起让我畅想自己有可能因写了一块绝美的处女地而一夜成名:-)于是我在旅行路程安排中中加了张家界两晚。

好的一面

这里的缆车和黄山的一样,也是我家乡的公司 Doppelmayer 生产的 (参见“黄山”一文)。这严格来说不算新鲜事,但让我感觉不错。

更有意思的事是我参观了一个土家族村子,结果彻底迷上了。土家族在张家界严格来说并不算少数民族,因为近乎占其总人口的 80%。但是,虽然他们在这里是主要人口,他们的文化习俗中还是融入了不少汉族的东西。我先前听说过土家族,但对他们几乎一无所知。即便如此,在他们的小村子里度过的一个小时是今天最开心的一个小时。村子坐落于张家界高高的山上,就在旅游路线的边上。这是他们的原始居住地,虽然为了搞旅游而做了些翻修,但能看出来是村子是原来就有的。在大多数旅游景点,如果我看到房子是翻修的,很可能就失去兴趣了。不过这里做的翻修那么讲究,展示的东西那么精致,导游又那么热情洋溢,结果我非常开心,并且一路上了解了一点东西。

一般,如果是跟着导游去的,转一圈回来我什么都不会记得。原因或者是我无法理解导游说的话,或者是信息太多,我无法联系起来并记住。因此,此次土家族村子一游我能记得点东西,这本身就很说明问题。比如,土家族的男人必须在未过门的媳妇家先干三年活 (没报酬的),然后才能娶媳妇过门。虽然这一风俗如今已经很少有人遵循了,但这种献身精神值得我们追求及时行乐的现代社会借鉴。反过来,女子必须证明自己多才多艺后才能嫁人,也是个很有意思的观念。我觉得,一个有文化的家庭会是个好家庭。

后来,我进一步了解了土家族人种的油菜和他们从油菜籽榨油的传统方法……经过许多加工步骤后 (其中一步是蒸),油菜籽 (或者说它们剩下的部分) 会放进一个容器里,然后压榨出菜油来。我现场看到了这个压榨过程,四个结实的大汉抬着一个大木楔子,猛力往一个机器里面锤。榨出来的油就装在大桶子里,用来炒菜。

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar


在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar


我朋友没说错:张家界北部的风光堪称一绝。它让我想到了澳大利亚的金石峡谷 (Kings Canyon) 和美国的布莱斯峡谷 (Bryce Canyon)。这里的森林是原始的,未遭到砍伐。森林的中间奇峰突起,挺立的巍峨岩石让我倒吸了一口凉气。这些岩石不像黄山的巨石,而是呈现出树干的构造,形状各异。我多么想在这里花上一个星期,徒步穿越这天堂胜地。

坏的一面

我永远也不会明白我的朋友为什么说张家界还是没开发的了。也许他是指这里宁静的原始风光之美。我希望如此,因为除此之外,“张家界国际旅游风景区”简直就是个机器,这一头把游客吃进去,再在那一头吐出来。它于 1980 年开始开发,如今平均每天拥有 2 - 3 万的游客流量。

门票是一张智能卡,是必须买的,价格高得出奇:245 元一张。然后我的指纹印就被取走了,经过数码编码后存在了这张智能卡上。

“为什么?”我问我的导游。

“为了防止这些门票卡被转手卖掉并再次使用。”

我觉得一张质量良好的传统纸质打孔门票就足够了,因为这张卡就只在入口处用了一次!

我想不通为什么要用这么先进的防盗技术来做这张卡,于是我问导游:
“不好意思,我忍不住要说,我觉得你们中国人太牛了……想到用这么先进的技术。”

“谢谢你,”导游说,“你们西方人也有很好的技术。”啊哈。

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar


丑的一面

我走进森林公园时是满怀希望,离开时是身心疲惫垂头丧气,这个过程中,这台“机器”把我嚼得几乎遍体鳞伤。我在公园里待了七个小时,其中有四个小时不是在排队,就是在坐各种各样的交通工具。剩下的时间我是排在队伍中步行游览的。当我试图折回几步,享受一点点自由时,感觉就像一个精子试图调头游那么艰难。
有一处地方,就是当我走过“天下第一桥”(在喀什附近发现一座更高的拱桥之前,它是世界上海拔最高的一座天然石桥) 时,我想终于可以清静一会了,但即使到了岩石的很里侧,我还是能清晰地听到导游扩音喇叭的回音。我游览过不少地方,几乎从来没有像这次这样觉得是在被“放牧”,觉得这么不自由过。(顺便提一句,张家界还可以继续称这个景点为“天下第一桥”,因为专家们还在争论什么是“拱”,什么是“桥”。)

“快,快,看一下这里。好,来,快点,我们得走了,来,赶紧,快点。”这是引的导游的原话。

我环顾着看别的游客的脸,希望能看看他们是不是玩得开心。我判断不出来。我是唯一一个对这游览感到恐怖的吗?(此时此刻在张家界,我很可能确实是唯一一个感到恐怖的,因为我有幸感受过另一种不同形式的旅游……)

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar


在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar


“脱衣舞吧”

最后,“张家界国际旅游风景区”让我觉得像进了一个脱衣舞吧。我站在一个绝美的“女子”边上,她正在绝佳的光线中展示她自己——张家界的山峦在晨光中看起来确实是很壮丽。但是,我不能碰她,甚至不能靠近她。导游和栏杆彻底阻拦了我。而且,即使我能靠近她,那也会需要和成千上万个别的“观众”一起争抢。因此,调情,没戏;赏自然美景,免谈。

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar



I had not heard about Zhangjiajie until about a few weeks ago.  One of my Chinese friends insisted, however, that it is a must-see.  “The landscape is uniquely primeval and rather undeveloped.  You will love it.”
 

I checked out my trusty “Lonely Planet Guide” – one of the holy books for independent travellers.   It had nothing to say about Zhangjiajie.   That intrigued me – primeval landscape, as-yet undeveloped and not a word of it in the “Lonely Planet Guide.”  This combination gave me visions of fame for writing about a gorgeous undiscovered place.   And so I added two nights of Zhangjiajie to my itinerary.

 

The Good

The cable car is, once again, furnished by my home-town company Doppelmayer, the same one that provides the cable car at Huangshan.  (See Huangshan Article) That isn’t exactly newsworthy, but it made me feel good.

 

More interestingly, I thoroughly enjoyed a visit to a Tujia Minority village.  The Tujia Minority aren’t exactly a minority in Hunan Province – they make up about 80% of the people in Hunan – but even though they make up the majority their cultural identity is being blended into that of the Han.   I had heard about the Tujia before, but new next to nothing about them.   Still, the hour I spent in their village today was the best hour of the whole day.   The village high up in the mountains of Zhangjiajie lies along the tourist trail.  It is in its original location and looks authentic, even though it has been refurbished for tourism purposes.   Under most circumstances that would have turned me off, but the refurbishment is so tastefully done, the exhibits so well presented and the tour guide so delightfully lively that I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and learned a few things along the way. 

 

I usually remember nothing after leaving a guided tour – either I don’t understand the tour guide or I am inundated with facts I can’t relate to.   The fact that I remember anything  at all about my Tujia Village visit therefore says a lot.   For example, Tujia men have to work for three years in the wife-to-be’s household – free of remuneration – before they are allowed to marry their love.  Even though this is only rarely practiced these days, this sort of dedication seems a custom that our modern instant-gratification societies could benefit from.  The fact that women need to prove themselves proficient in many different forms of art before they in turn are considered eligible for marriage seems like a lovely idea, too.  A cultured home is a good one, I’d like to think.

 

Later on, I learned more about the rape seed (油菜) the Tujia plant and their traditional way of gaining oil from it….after many processing steps (one of which is steaming) the rape seeds (or rather what remains of them) are put into a container which is then pressed hard to squeeze out the oil.  The squeezing – demonstrated live –  is done by four sturdy man hammering a wedge into the machinery.  The oil is then put into big vats and used for cooking. 

 

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar

 

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar

 

My friend was not wrong – the landscape north of Zhangjiajie is dramatic.  It reminds me of both Kings Canyon and Bryce Canyon in the U.S.  The forest is rugged and undisturbed.  From its midst rise spiky, majestic rocks that left me in awe.   These rocks are not the giants of Huangshan, but more tree trunk-like formations of various shapes.   How much I’d love to spend a week here hiking in this paradise.

 

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar

 

The Bad

What made my friend say that Zhangjiajie is not yet developed I will never understand.  Perhaps he was referring to the beauty of the rugged and undisturbed landscape.  I hope so, because in all other respects the “Zhangjiajie World International Tourism Area” is a machine that eats up tourists at one end and spews them out at the other.   It began to be developed in 1980 and now processes 20,000 – 30,000 tourists per day.

 

At the ticket gate I had to purchase – for the princely sum of RMB245 – a smart card.  Then my finger print was taken, digitally encoded and stored on the card.

 

“Why?” I asked my tour guide. 

“It’s to avoid the cards being sold and reused.”

 

I would have thought a good old-fashioned paper ticket that is punched would have sufficed since the card was used exactly once – at the entrance!  

 

Since I couldn’t help but wonder why such sophisticated theft-avoidance technology needed to be used, I commented to my tour guide:   

“Sorry, I can’t help it, but I think you Chinese are amazing…to think of using such advanced technology.”   

“Thank you,” said the tour guide, “You all have pretty good technology too.”     Aha.

 

The Ugly

From when I entered at the park still full of hope to when I left it tired and dejected, the machine was chewing me up.    Out of the seven hours I spent in the park, I was either lining up for or spending time in various means of transportation for about four hours.  The rest I spent walking in file.   When I did try to gain just a touch of freedom by retracing a few steps, I felt like a sperm trying to swim the other way.    

 

At one point, when I walked across “The World’s No. 1 Bridge” – a natural bridge which was the tallest one in the world until, sadly, a taller arch was found near Kashgar  – I thought I could for one minute escape into silence, but even at the far side of a rock formation I could still heard the echoes of the tour guides’ loudspeakers clearly.     Rarely have I felt more herded or less free when visiting a site.   (By the way, Zhangjiajie might be ok to continue to call this site “The World’s No. 1 Bridge” because the experts are still arguing over what is an “arch” and what is a “bridge”.)

 

“Quick, quick, have a look here.  Now, come, faster, we need to go, c’mon, hurry up, quickly.”  An actual quote from a tour guide. 

I looked around into other tourists’ faces, hoping to get an idea whether they enjoyed themselves or not.  I just couldn’t tell.  Am I alone to find this a dreadful experience?  (Here and now in Zhangjiajie I probably am because I’ve had the luxury of travelling in a different style…)

 

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar

 

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar

 

Strip Bar

In the end, the “Zhangjiajie World International Tourism Area” made me feel like being in a strip bar.  Here I was near a gorgeous lady showing herself off in the best light – the mountains of Zhangjiajie did look glorious in the morning light.  And yet, I could not touch her, not even go near her.   Tour guides and railings made completely sure that I couldn’t.   And you know what, even if I could’ve gone near her, I would have been in the company of ten thousand other people.   No way to have sex, or to enjoy nature.

   

在“脱衣舞吧” <wbr>In <wbr>a <wbr>strip <wbr>bar

 

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