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Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Two Men and a Refrigerator a short story from China by Leighton Travels

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

After a prolonged period of stability, I finally bid Belgium farewell in the summer of 2009. Uninspired by life in grey, uneventful Brussels, I headed off to China for an unforgettable year of teaching and traveling.


“This is pretty kooky” I laughed, admiring the large, black and white canvas of Audrey Hepburn at reception. “I wonder if they have Oscar-winning rooms too”. Tickled, I asked the grinning receptionist if we could see one of their doubles, before making a self-satisfying joke about Gregory Peck. But of course she didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.

“Hotel name is movie?” she asked, after my somewhat messy explanation.

She looked genuinely confused, her furrowed brow dislodging a flake of pristine makeup. I found myself wondering how long she’d worked at the hotel. And what exactly she thought the giant painting above reception was in reference to. 

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

The city of Tai’an in Shandong Province.

S and I had just arrived in the city of Tai’an. For the first time on our trip we hadn’t sorted out accommodation in advance. Hence we’d spent over an hour searching for digs, working our way down Hongmen Road, the city’s lengthy, hotel-bloated main street. Our hunt had taken in several places, including a grubby hostel and a palatial boutique with crazy nightly rates. Finally, here in the amusingly named Roman Holiday Hotel, it felt as if we’d found the right balance.

Roman Holiday Hotel in Tai'an.

Roman Holiday Hotel, Tai’an.

The room turned out to be great, a spacious, tastefully decorated suite with a framed Roman Holiday movie poster above the bed. The advertised rate had been a reasonable 150RMB a night. Yet, I managed to charm the receptionist down to 120 with my amazing film knowledge. “Yes, an Oscar is like a prize”.

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Movie poster Roman Holiday 1953.

“You climbey mountain?” enquired reception girl, handing me the keys. “Yes ma’am!” I confirmed, feeling a sudden rush of adrenalin. “Oooh, very good!” she giggled. “You know in China we say the one who climb Tai Shan live one hundred years!” Hmm, I’d never really wanted to be that old. Nevertheless, I figured it would be shrewd to keep my options open and grab any extra years on offer.

Mount Tai Two Men and a Refrigerator a short story from China

“Ni Hao, I’m here for the 100 years”.

Photo courtesy of Kanegen.

We didn’t know much about Tai’an, a booming city of five and a half million with a tourist industry dating back to The Ming Dynasty. Our visit was all about its sacred mountain Tai Shan, one of China’s so-called five greats. Standing 1540 meters above sea level, its peaks were clearly visible from Hongmen Lu as we left the hotel for an afternoon stroll.

Exploring Tai’an.

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Like Beijing and Jinan before it, Tai’an proved a dizzying mix of the ancient and modern. A contradictory blend of ramshackle market streets and shiny shopping malls. There was an abundance of rickety food shacks, but just as many upmarket restaurants inhabited by droves of beautified waitresses.

Outside a massive McDonalds, located next to an even larger KFC, a shaggy woman sat on the ground peddling handcrafted wooden animals. She’d laid her goods out across a pair of old towels. Not one of the swarming masses of pedestrians paid her any notice.

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Tai’an, Shandong Province, China.

At the southern end of Hongmen Lu the crowds thinned out. Soon after, we came upon the delightful Dai Temple, a walled Taoist complex dating way back to 960. It was gorgeous inside, with bronze pavilions, two thousand year old cypress trees and an immaculate bonsai garden. We could have spent hours there, but the day was already melting into early evening and our stomachs were grumbling.

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Dai Temple in Tai'an China.

At Dai Temple, Tai’an.

On our way back to Roman Holiday, we stopped at an indoor food market. Inside, we found ourselves drawn to the smell of freshly cooked potato and onion pancakes. In preparation for the following morning’s insane 4am rise, we decided to put together a picnic for our great ascent.

Thus we darted around the market grabbing bits and bobs, much to the curiosity of the sellers. By the time we were done, we’d amassed a handful of peaches, a bag of almonds, a pack of banana chips and two large bottles of water.

Food market in Tai'an China.

Indoor Food Market, Tai’an.

“Oh, movie sooooo romantic!!!” cried Ms. Reception, back at basecamp.

At my recommendation, she’d actually downloaded Roman Holiday! Moreover, she seemed utterly absorbed. “We can watch together!” she giggled, pressing play to resume her viewing. However, it took no more than a minute of Audrey Hepburn speaking in Mandarin to scare me off. Making our excuses, we headed up to the room to get an early night before our big day on Tai Shan.

Roman Holiday Audrey Hepburn Gregory Peck.

“Have you ever climbed Tai Shan, Gregory?” “No, ha ha ha ha!”

It was still dark as we approached the ticket office. It was about quarter to five in the morning and the air was thick and sticky. In fact, there were already pools of sweat forming across my forehead and on the back of my neck. God, we haven’t even started, I thought. 

Happily, the queue of Chinese hikers at the counter was modest. Having secured our tickets, we headed up the central pathway at a leisurely pace. It was so peaceful as we made our way, the trail informed by a bubbling stream, giant trees, fulsome bushes and bursts of wild flowers. Before long it started getting lighter, the sun rising in some unforeseen place. And then the birds began to exchange morning calls and a number of hikers came into focus in the distance.

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Sunrise over Tai Shan in China.

Sunrise over Tai Shan.

Photo courtesy of AlexHe34.

Along the route, we passed a number of rock monuments. Each one embellished with hand-painted, blood-red Chinese characters. Most climbers stopped at each one to pose for photographs, chattering excitedly amongst each other.

With no English translations available, we bypassed most of them in favour of pushing on. According to the blurb on the map that came with our ticket, we were following in the footsteps of some of China’s greatest names. Confucius…. Chairman Mao… err… Jacky Chan.

Hiking Taishan in the summer of 2009

One of Mount Tai’s many rock monuments.

We’d been walking for over an hour by the time S and I reached the first of Mount Tai’s gargantuan staircases. That first one was a sharp, uncompromising elevation of punishing stone slabs. I was absolutely shattered by the time we got to the top. Only to be rewarded with the depressing sight of another staircase, just a few yards away. “Water!” gasped S. It didn’t take us long to polish off that first bottle.

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Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Two staircases later we took our first extended break, resting a while at a little temple called Dou Mu Goddess Palace. Guzzling more water, I looked on as a team of brown-robed, shaven-headed attendants busied about the courtyard burning incense and sweeping leaves.

Dou Mu Goddess Palace Mount Tai.

Dou Mu Goddess Palace.

Further along, a sizeable group stood huddled around a fallen tree. One of the Chinese men spoke a little English, and was keen to inform me that the tree had been planted by the infamous General Cheng Yaojin. “He big China hero!” laughed the man, driving an enthusiastic thumbs-up right into my face. 

“But also naughty boy, kill many people ha ha!!!”

The punishing staircases of Taishan Mountain in China

The challenging ascent of Tai Shan.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Fong.

Back on the climb, the stone staircases came thick and fast, one after the other, not a slither of mercy. Stopping mid-stairway for a breather, we were treated to some great views of the countryside below.

Among the many flurries of activity, we saw a group of hikers chanting as they walked. A tribal boom that echoed across the cliffs around us. Some of these chants were actually returned by unseen climbers above, a call-and-response type rhythm that felt strangely hypnotic. I’d never seen nor heard anything like it. 

Climbing Taishan Two Men and a Refrigerator a short story from China

Taking a mid-staircase breather, Taishan.

Stone staircase… timeout… stone staircase… respite… another temple, this one hosting a trio of tree shrines. People had decorated them with pink ribbons, rolled-up banknotes and shiny padlocks. All of which, I discovered, were offerings to Pan Gu, the mountain’s mythical creator.

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Offerings to Pan Gu.

As we sat nibbling from our picnic bag, climbers came and went before us. A family solemnly fed incense sticks into the black stoves that lined the leafy courtyard. Then it was back to the ascent. Stone staircase… collapse… stone staircase…. moan/complain/guzzle water. Stone staircase… then something different! Suddenly, the ground levelled out and a large, stone gate greeted us. 

Midway Point To Heaven: Climbing Starts Here!

“Climbing STARTS here?” I cried in disbelief, as S dropped onto the ground with a defeated sigh. Midway point to heaven? Running my hands through my sweat-soaked hair, I feared that at this rate I’d be reaching heaven long before I got to the top of this damn mountain.

Midway point to Heaven Gate Tai Shan Mountain

Midway Point to Heaven Gate.

A few minutes later, bracing ourselves for the next leg, we came across a cable car station that whizzed people up to the summit in an efficient twelve minutes. “Yes!!!” cried S, whose recurring back issues had started playing up. 

“I’m taking the cable car, wanna join me?”

It was tempting… so tempting. And yet, a part of me felt I had to finish what I’d started. That living to be a hundred years old might be amazing after all! “I can’t…” I exhaled miserably, “I’ve gotta walk it”. And so it came to be that we parted ways at Midway Point To Heaven.


Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Ten minutes later I was feeling more than a little grumpy. Negotiating giant staircase number 20485, I gazed uselessly upwards as cable car after cable car floated gaily above me. Their hidden occupants presumably sipping cocktails and receiving back massages.

However, what had really pissed me off were the busloads of Chinese tourists who’d been deposited at Midway Point To Heaven. Cheerful and sprightly from their air-conditioned journey up to the mountain’s halfway point, they flocked out alongside me in excitement. There were so many of them it soon became difficult to continue. Everywhere I tried to turn there was some bumbling uncle, spitting grandmother or littering child blocking my path. 

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Crowds of people climbing Mount Tai in China

Invasion of the bus tourists.

I was desperately applying sun cream atop staircase 20490 when a pair of giggly girls asked if they could have their picture taken with me. I was not in the mood, but they were so wide-eyed and eager I felt it would be mean-spirited not to oblige.

“You so handsome!” laughed one of the girls, as I stood there dripping with sweat, hair a mess, face screwed up in agony. A short while later I came across a crowd of people gathered around a bespectacled teen. He had a chained monkey perched on his arm. Shamefully, folk were paying him small change for a brief stroke. What’s more, he seemed to have amassed a sizeable pile of notes in the baseball cap atop his sports bag. Tired and dismayed, I left monkey boy to it and pushed on.

Boy with monkey on Mount Tai in China.

Monkey Man, Taishan Mountain.

I was literally plodding up staircase 20494, feeling very sorry for myself, when I had an epiphany. Just ahead, moving forward at a painfully slow pace, were two bony Chinese men carrying a massive refrigerator! The bloody great thing was attached to a long wooden board, each end pressed hard down on their shoulders.

I was so in awe of them I actually stopped in my tracks and let out an audible expletive. Instantly, my own burden seemed laughably negligible. If my achievement of scaling the mountain armed with only a small rucksack constituted the award of one hundred years, then surely these two dudes should be looking at at least two hundred each!

Two Men and a Refrigerator, a short story from China.

Two Men and a Refrigerator a short story from China by Leighton Travels

Two Men and a Refrigerator.

Motivated anew, I rolled up my proverbial sleeves and set off on the Path of the 18 Bends, a particularly arduous set of staircases that led to the promised land of the summit. I was so desperate to reach the top I actually began jogging! The sun burning into the back of my neck, my calves complaining under the strain of the effort. Onto the final staircase I went, my legs like blocks of lead as I dragged myself up those final fifty slabs. 

He who climbs Taishan shall live to be 100 years old

Crossing the finishing line.

The views from the top of Tai Shan made it all worthwhile. It was a gorgeous vista of low hanging clouds, dense greenery and distant peaks. The mountain’s highest platform was also big business, with a number of kitschy souvenir shops, half a dozen restaurants and even a four star hotel! We stayed for around half an hour, drinking in the views and picking out a few sections of the path we’d climbed.

A cable Car ascending Mount Tai in China

Summit views from Taishan Mountain.

“So you will be old man!”

sniggered reception girl, upon our return to Roman Holiday. “And you will die young! Ha ha!” she hooted, gesturing to S. Then she was back to her computer, hitting play for another viewing of Roman Holiday. This time, I noted, in English. “I’ve never been alone with a man before, even with my dress on” said Princess Ann, unbuttoning her gown. “With my dress off, it’s MOST unusual”.

‘Two Men and a Refrigerator’ is the fifth part of my short story series Challenged in China.

I’ve also written travel reports from all across China.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • christinenovalarue


    April 23, 2023 - 3:32 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    In my travels, I have found that the Japanese and Chinese like to have English words on their buildings and on their shirts. They seldom know what the words mean and often as not, the sayings can be quite rude. But then, we do not know the Chinese or Japanese characters we see. We passed a building every day for years and when we had a Japanese student staying with us, asked him what it meant. He told us they were the characters for Rub. Rub? Oh, you mean Love. This was reaffirmed years later by an Asian priest who told his congregation to Rub your neighbour as you Rub yourselves. OK, we thought snickering, we are just gonna leave that one alone.

    Good on you for sticking with it, Leighton. The only thing worse than climbing a never ending hill, is climbing a never ending hill on never ending steps. But, typically, the views make it all worth while, until you have to walk back down and realize it is just as painful with old knees. The fridge movers definitely put it all in perspective, though. The views, the experiences and the story are well worth the effort. I enjoyed this one very much. Happy Sunday. Allan

    April 23, 2023 - 5:07 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh Allan, that’s a funny story and one I relate to. I should have written down all the things I’ve seen on shirts in China. One of the worst, if I may be so bold to share, was written on the t-shirt of one of my student’s mothers in the city of Rui’an, Zhejiang Province. She was striding down the corridor with her little one, greeting fellow mothers. On her yellow t-shirt, written in red letters, were the words “professional whore”. I had to speak with a Chinese colleague and ask her to have a sit-down chat with mummy. I’m really glad you enjoyed this story Allan, it’s one of my favourites from this series.

      April 23, 2023 - 6:10 pm Reply
  • Memo

    I know for certain that I would never even try to climb all those stairs. Maybe I would hire a sedan chair of sorts and a couple of porters to carry me up. That way I could honestly tell people that I hadn’t taken the cable car. Did you ever find out where the refrigerator was bound for?

    April 23, 2023 - 5:55 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Sadly not. I don’t believe I saw the men nor the fridge again after I passed them on that dreaded staircase. I was half-expecting to see them at the top, delivering their load to one of the restaurants. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

      April 23, 2023 - 6:13 pm Reply
  • ThingsHelenLoves

    Well, I’m not sure about living to the hundred mark, but I’m sure a cold beer was much deserved after that climb. By yourself and the fridge carriers both! So funny about the students mother and her interesting choice of T shirt too. China makes for some interesting stories!

    April 23, 2023 - 6:27 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I think I did have a cold beer that night. It was “well-earned” to say the least. Thanks for reading and dropping by Helen, it’s much appreciated.

      April 23, 2023 - 8:09 pm Reply

    I can’t believe you didn’t offer to become third fridge man! It’s always worth the climb in the end, isn’t it. Absolutely always.

    April 23, 2023 - 7:39 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Helping out would definitely have been a gentlemanly thing to do. But my god I think I’d have just collapsed right there on the staircase if I’d had to help them lug that thing up to the top. Yeah, always worth it these kinds of climbs.

      April 23, 2023 - 8:12 pm Reply
  • Stan

    my favourite tale so far leighton particularly thanks to your dry sense of humour which is on top form from start to finish. what an adventure and a feat to have scaled one of china’s five great mountains. the roman holiday hotel is amusing and makes you wonder who named it so

    April 23, 2023 - 8:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers Stan, no idea who the owner is/was. I know the hotel isn’t a chain so maybe it was owned by a local man who loved Audrey and had a sense of humour. Thanks for the kind words old friend.

      April 23, 2023 - 8:23 pm Reply
  • bronlima

    If only….. The refrigerator ………had been full of icey cold beers!

    April 23, 2023 - 9:46 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Jeez, they could have been full of icy beers for all I knew. Or some Almond Magnums. And I never thought to ask!

      April 24, 2023 - 12:41 am Reply
  • Monkey's Tale

    So funny that seeing them carry a fridge made you able to quicken your pace! It really puts our lives into perspective, you would never see something like that in our countries. Reminds me of all of the porters who carry crazy loads up mountain trails, usually passing us. Congrats on making it on your own with no gondola! Maggie

    April 23, 2023 - 11:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Later on during this trip, while climbing another mountain, I saw some Chinese tourists being carried up on a kind of bed carriage, a straining, sweat-drenched porter at each end. Unbelievable how ridiculous some people can be. Thanks for reading and commenting Maggie!

      April 24, 2023 - 12:47 am Reply
  • qprgary

    Hate to think what was in the refrigerator 🙈🙈

    April 24, 2023 - 1:27 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Couple a dead bodies maybe? 😉

      April 24, 2023 - 10:01 am Reply
      • qprgary

        They probably eat those as well

        April 24, 2023 - 11:14 am
  • Lyssy In The City

    This title was intriguing and not what I expected haha. Those stairs look absolutely brutal, and all in the sun too. That’s awesome you persevered and made it to the top. Those guys don’t look like big burly guys, that’s pretty amazing they could get it up.

    April 24, 2023 - 2:15 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Brutal is about right Lyssy, even for (comparatively) fit 31 year old me. Reckon it would be even tougher if I tried to climb it today. And yeah, refrigerator men looked like they might both snap in two at any moment ha ha. Thanks for reading!

      April 24, 2023 - 10:06 am Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    My knees are aching now just from reading this! Great story Leighton; very entertaining and well written. Like you, seeing the refrigerator would have stopped me in my tracks. It seems like a cruel form of punishment. How long did it take to reach the top?

    April 24, 2023 - 7:49 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Tricia for the virtual empathy ha ha. My knees were pretty achey for the following two to three days, as I recall. I think it was perhaps a 4 hour climb all in, including temple stops, rests and pauses to enjoy the scenery.

      April 24, 2023 - 10:32 am Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    Oh my goodness what a fun filled read Leighton from the absurdly named Roman Holiday Hotel to Audrey Hepburn dubbed in Mandarin and the trek up all those long staircases. I’m sure I would have given in and settled for the cable car so good on you for persevering. I wonder where on earth that huge refrigerator was being taken, did you ever find out !

    April 24, 2023 - 3:54 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Marion, thanks so much for reading and for your comment. Roman Holiday was a lot of silly fun for sure and so, so random. Sadly I didn’t see the fridge again, I guess that wasn’t the first time those poor bony guys had to lug some massive object up a mountain.

      April 24, 2023 - 4:09 pm Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    Oh Roman Holiday will forever be one of my all time favorite movies! Although I never like the end- because even though they weren’t together in real life, I just don’t think there should ever be an instance where Audrey and Gregory don’t end up together. I think though I would have to pass on watching in mandarin- if it’s not their voices it is just not the same. Holy explicative of stairs!!! Living to 100 I think is the very least the universe could do for hiking all those stairs but it should probably be far more. But for those taking a refrigerator up I think they should have a temple named after them. But the views- wow! Incredible journey to follow along with you today! 🙂

    April 24, 2023 - 6:40 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Roman Holiday is a cracker, for sure. Audrey in Mandarin? Nah. To be honest I think just about any film should be viewed in its original language, but that’s just me. Thanks for your comment Meg, you’ve given me a few good laughs as always. I wish I’d thought of “holy explicative of stairs”.

      April 24, 2023 - 9:35 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    Roman Holiday Hotel – honestly it’s amazing these random places you can find on the other side of the world that reference a specific film or something! If you live to be 100 then you’ll be out-blogging all of us hehe. The views on the hike look spectacular, but it looks a really difficult climb. And that fridge – I don’t even know what to say!!

    April 24, 2023 - 10:14 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I’m trying to picture myself at 100, hunched over my laptop, probably half-blind, working on a blog. Thanks for reading Hannah and adding to the thread.

      April 24, 2023 - 11:51 pm Reply
  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    Tai’an looks like a gorgeous city, Leighton. Your climb to the top of the mountain, however, had ME panting by the time you got there. I certainly admire your tenacity. I couldn’t have done it even to get to the tram. I’m glad you did it so you could live to 100 and share it with us. The view from the top really is spectacular. I cannot believe the two men carrying a refrigerator up that many stairs! Reception girl at the Roman Holiday must have been a real hoot.

    April 25, 2023 - 4:38 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Kellye, I appreciate you catching up with the stories. There are so many mountains like this in China with those damn staircases. Tai Shan was an amazing first Chinese mountain to climb. I ended up doing quite a few during my years living and travelling around the country, but nothing quite matches the awe and wonder of that first hike.

      April 25, 2023 - 9:55 am Reply
  • Lookoom

    What a climb! The sight of this endless staircase is quite daunting. And I wish you to reach a hundred years to continue telling this story with grace.

    April 25, 2023 - 6:36 am Reply
    • Leighton

      That’s very kind of you to say, thanks. I wouldn’t mind living to be a hundred, as long as my mind remains reasonably sharp and my body isn’t an absolute mess. In the unlikely event I do reach that milestone, I’ll have Tai Shan to thank.

      April 25, 2023 - 9:56 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    You made it, Leighton! Haha, Tai Shan certainly kicked your butt, but you soldiered on…the hikes in China are no joke, as they not only have seemingly never-ending steps, but also hot, humid weather to make it feel even worse– having done a few hikes in China myself (including the atmospheric Huangshan), I know the importance of an early-morning start before the heat (and crowds) come! The views at the top were worth it!

    April 25, 2023 - 7:10 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Rebecca, looking back through my files I see that I’ve done about a dozen of these monster mountains across China. But not Huangshan, that must’ve been a fantastic experience too. Any standout memories? I was actually pretty close to that mountain at various points in 2018 when I spent some time exploring Suzhou, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Jinhua. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe I’ll cross it off next time, Sladja and I have both live and travelled in China but never together, so we figure one last, grand cross-country trip might be in order someday.

      April 25, 2023 - 10:03 am Reply
  • anoush

    I love Roman Holiday, and would’ve surely chosen to stay in the hotel just for the sake of its name. It would be curious to hear Audrey H. speaking Mandarin. Well done on making it to the top, those stairs look pushing on any day, but climbing them in the hot weather must’ve been exhausting. The views from the top are amazing and you got to see that bizarre sight of two men carrying a fridge up Tai Shan. I did not want to mention the monkey, but what a terrible business that is. Well written story, Leighton, with lots of humour and fascinating details.

    April 25, 2023 - 10:01 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Anoush, it’s been wonderful to see that several readers love Roman Holiday. They don’t make ’em like that anymore, etc. I’m glad you enjoyed this chapter, it is perhaps my favourite from this first batch of my China collection. I hope you are well!

      April 25, 2023 - 10:05 am Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    I love the enthusiasm of the receptionist (‘Base Camp’ – it’s really funny 😄). Yep, I agree that Mandarin doesn’t really fit Audrey. Oh, those stairs look like they could drain all your energy – a cable car or stairs… wow, tough decision! But I agree, it must have been an incredible sense of satisfaction to get to the top by walking out there yourself! A REFRIGERATOR – no way!
    Well Leighton … in the meantime I wish you a joyous 100th birthday (because I sure won’t be around to do it on that day) 🎉.

    April 25, 2023 - 3:59 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Corna, I’m so glad you found the story amusing, it was a funny experience from start to finish. Except perhaps for my general suffering on the staircases. Now I’m not sure all over again about living to be 100 when nobody I know will be around to celebrate it with me! 😉

      April 25, 2023 - 5:42 pm Reply
  • NortheastAllie

    The Taishan Mountain sounds like a very cool hike, and worth the massive hike that it took to get to the top! The city area also sounds very neat and how it weaves the current times with modern stores, and also has many odes to its past as well.

    April 25, 2023 - 11:48 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for catching up with the series, Allie. Tai’an is a cool city and a nice place to spend a few days either side of a Tai Shan hike.

      April 25, 2023 - 11:54 pm Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    My son and I visited Mount Emei, one of the other sacred mountains, outside Chengdu. We took the ride to the top and walked down – it took a day and a half and we stayed at a (former) monastery along the way. Like your hike, it was mostly stone stairs, jarring, but a lot more uphill and downhill than we expected. I think we climbed the mountain several times.

    April 26, 2023 - 10:49 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Ruth, I have been to Chengdu but didn’t make it to that mountain. I just had a quick look, it seems equally brutal and punishing. You must have been impressed if you went for a repeat performance. Staying at a former monastery sounds pretty special.

      April 28, 2023 - 2:06 pm Reply
      • rkrontheroad

        I just meant that figuratively – it felt like we climbed it several times! 😄

        April 28, 2023 - 9:07 pm
      • Leighton

        Ah, got it!

        April 28, 2023 - 10:17 pm
  • Nic

    Love this short story! Incredible how the hotel was named after such a famous movie in the West and the receptionist had no idea…and I would have also taken the stairs! I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to challenges like that, and I always say I will walk until my legs can’t! Well done, it definitely seems like a difficult climb… but at least you were not carrying a refrigerator :=

    April 27, 2023 - 1:04 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading this story, Nic, somehow I knew you’d also pass on the easy route up. Maybe next time I’ll rent a refrigerator and become a YouTube sensation.

      April 28, 2023 - 2:08 pm Reply

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