Keep your eyes fixed on the ground. Watch each step. If you really need to stretch your neck, you can look straight ahead.
Looking to the side is also not allowed. You can see the rocks falling from above when you look to the side.
Looking up, that’s a disaster.
The boulders, perched ever so precariously in the landslide-ridden hill are grinning at you, taunting you with their imposing stature. Oh, you’re so tiny and insignificant. The glacier beneath your boots, your stunning, slightly lesbian-looking boots, is creaking and groaning.
“For this section we need to be quickly walking,” your guide tells you. “A German man died here last week.”
Great. Bloody great! Not even the German could hack it.
Then again, perhaps you will think to yourself “at what stage did you think it was going to be easy, hiking through the effing Himalayas.”
“You’re a bloody idiot,” you may want to add to the internal tirade.
In fact, you’re arguing away so merrily with yourself, giving yourself a firm dressing down that you forget where you are. And you look up.
Oh dear. The rocks are a-comin’.
“Just wanted to go for a wee stroll in the mountains, eh!”
Sure, you love a challenge and fancy yourself a bit of a let’s-make-a-fire-with-the-map-when-you’re-lost type of girl, but what’s the point of bringing your mortality into such acute focus.
That is exactly the point. In such dangerous situations we truely feel alive.
Recently, I came across an idea for my impending China trip. A secret informant whispered in my ear about the Mount Huashan Teahouse Trek tucked away in the middle of the Orient. I think they were telling me as a gag, a you-wouldn’t-believe-what-these-idiots-did joke, but dangerous hikes are my thing.
And this one has everything: cable cars, sheer cliffs, rusty chains, dodgy wooden platforms, an obscenely high drop and, of course, a relaxed attitude to safety. Down with red tape, I say!
Get me there!
As I’m checking out a few happy snaps from the brush-with-death hike, I wonder how far I could go.
I love to take a good risk.
For example, those cheap momos the nestled-in-a-gutter vendor is pushing, they look good. Yes, I’ll have ten thanks. Of course, I want the hot chilli sauce.
Or, sure I’d love for you to drive me around the coco plantations in your Jeep. Of course! Why not! Yes, let’s have some drinks while we’re driving, that’ll help supress the fear. No, seatbelts are definitely overrated.
That is living.
But here I am, wondering whether I’d like to be one of the 100 tourists killed every year on this trail. Would the view be worth it? The tea at the top, would it give me the runs? Are there going to be many good-looking, rugged men on the hike? (A hike like this is sure to be teeming with adventurous gentlemen…)
But, the biggest question of all remains: am I brave enough?
About here my mother will interject and say bravery and stupidity are synonymous when I am involved.
Is she right? Will the danger prove too alluring? Like a ten buck note that just burns away in your pocket until you waste it on chips and gravy.
Let’s wait and see.