Zhangjiajie hosts wingsuit diving competition (via Instagram)

Here’s another action shot from Zhangjiajie’s Tianmen Mountain. Not a Ferrari this time, but a wingsuit diver. You can see the same twisty road the Ferrari driver raced up in this Reuters photo. A competitor participates in a wingsuit flying contest in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China, October 13, 2016. Picture taken October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer #china #wingsuit #reuters #reutersphotos #air A photo posted by Reuters (@reuters) on Oct 14, 2016 at 3:47am PDT Believe it or not, I am working on a post or two about teaching in China. Bear with me as I try to find some words. Trump took all the best words, sadly.

Italian races Ferrari up twisty Tianmen mountain road in record time

Italian races Ferrari up twisty Tianmen mountain road in record time
JISHOU, HUNAN — About two hours from here is Tianmen Mountain (天门山 tiānménshān in Zhangjiajie, the home of a twisty mountain road with no less than 99 switchback turns. On Wednesday, Italian driver Fabio Barone raced his modified Ferrari 458 up the 1.1 km (6 mile) long road in a record time of 10 minutes 31 seconds, taking home a suitable trophy and putting Zhangjiajie in the news once again. Besides Barone’s hill climb, Tianmenshan has held drifting events for other racers, and several years ago, hosted an air show in which a jet flew through the mountain’s signature keyhole rock formation. A few miles away, the National Forest Park’s karst mountains were supposedly the inspiration for the mountains in James Cameron’s Avatar. Regardless of the truth in that claim, local authorities renamed one of the mountains Hallelujah, to cement the connection to the movie. According to the BBC, Barone lightened his car by swapping some metal parts with carbon fiber units. You can see more photos at this English-language Chinese site. And here’s a video of his run.

BBC Click features new glass-bottomed bridge in Zhangjiajie 张家界

BBC Click features new glass-bottomed bridge in Zhangjiajie 张家界
JISHOU, HUNAN — But the news service misspelled the city’s name in the video. Zhangjiajie 张家界 is about 90 minutes from here. It’s already the home of several tourist attractions, including the first national park in China, Yellow Dragon Cave, and the “Grand Canyon,” which is a deep crevasse cut through the limestone here, but not quite as grand as America’s Grand Canyon. The new bridge spans the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, and is reported to be the longest and highest glass-bottomed bridge in the world. It’s due to open next month, and I might just give it a go. More details at CNN. Donate Bitcoins

A peek at a Chinese couple in Zhangjiajie

A peek at a Chinese couple in Zhangjiajie
JISHOU, HUNAN — Many couples in China choose scenic spots for their wedding photos. Few, however, choose to pose nude while doing it. This couple, who may or may not be participating in a publicity stunt for the Zhangjiajie tourism industry, has got tongues wagging here in China. They’re blue as a nod to the movie Avatar. Director James Cameron supposedly saw the rugged terrain in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and was inspired to recreate the terrain for the movie’s planet, Pandora. Whether that’s true or not, the Zhangjiajie tourist board is running with it. One of the peaks in the park was renamed “Hallelujah Mountain” shortly after the movie came out. You can see more photos here (Chinese language) and here (English language). The photos are SFW, because the couples’ “naughty bits” have been pixelated or concealed to satisfy strict censorship regulations in China. On the other hand, saturation levels have been Photoshopped. Zhangjiajie is beautiful, but the colors there are not that vivid.

Zhangjiajie tourist board capitalizes on Avatar’s popularity 3

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — James Cameron admits he based the mountains in his new blockbuster, Avalon, on the landscapes seen in many places in China. The tourism authority in Zhangjiajie 张家界 has made the connection explicit — it has just renamed a peak “Hallelujah Mountain” after a key locale in the movie. The karst spire was once known as “South Pillar of the Heaven” (南天一柱), or “Pillar between Heaven and Earth” (乾坤柱). It lies within the National Forest Park, a world heritage site visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists — mostly Chinese, Korean and Japanese so far — each year. And yes, when I saw the movie I said to myself, “Damn. It looks like Zhangjiajie!” You can see my photos on Picasaweb to see what I mean. So, Avatar fans here’s the lowdown on the National Forest Park in Zhangjiajie. The quickest way to get there is by air from Beijing — one-way airfares are about 900 RMB (about $130) but sometimes you can get cheaper fares. Entry to the park itself is 248 RMB ($36) for a two-day pass. You will need both days, because the park is both big and worth a leisurely visit. Bring water to ...

New friends, spectacular scenery and delicious food = great holiday 1

ZHANGJIAJIE, HUNAN — If there is one tie that can bind Chinese and Americans together, it’s our innate friendliness, although I think the Chinese might even outdo us Americans sometimes. This weekend was the May Day holiday, which I and a friend spent in Zhangjiajie at the home of our mutual friend. The three of us had a good time touring some beautiful country, but the scenery was not the only thing impressive about the trip. It was the people we met. Weeks ago, Nora had invited Ailsa and me to spent the weekend at Nora’s home. With no classes on Friday, we decided to leave campus on the 9 pm train on Thursday. The train was predictably crowded with northbound holiday travelers, and we had no seats. [The Chinese rail system will sell you tickets even after all seats have been booked. China Railways figures you’ll either make do standing or whangle a way to sit down.] We walked toward the rear of the train until we could go no further. There were no seats, but by chance we ended up next to a group traveling together to Zhengzhou. They were feeling pretty mellow after downing some baijiu (aka ...

Not sure if I’m enlightened yet, but I’m pleased 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — I met the Buddha on Sunday, 1.5 kilometers above sea level. He seems well, and is not lacking for company. The Buddha sits among a coterie of lesser buddhas in a rebuilt temple at the summit of Tianmen Mountain near Zhangjiajie, on the site of a much older temple dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). My visit there was one of the highlights of a quick, impromptu trip to Zhangjiajie this weekend. The occasion for trip, despite less than encouraging weather, was to meet the new foreign teacher at the Zhangjiajie airport Saturday evening. David, my liaison officer, asked if I wanted to accompany one of his interns, Christopher, on the trip. I said, sure, thinking anything has to better than sitting in my flat on a cool, damp weekend. We caught a morning train, and arrived at the university’s Zhangjiajie campus hotel around 1 pm, parked our bags, and took a short, wet walking tour of the campus. Christopher has friends on this campus, and I have a friend and former colleague who teaches there, so we spent some time organizing our stay. The new teacher from the UK was supposed to arrive at 8 ...
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