SHai is wonderful, but sometimes you just need to get away from the constant 24/7-ness of it all.
Luckily, you don't have to travel far out of the city to discover a whole other world. Me and the man jumped on a train and 2 hours later we were sitting in the sun surrounded by bamboo covered mountains.
Moganshan is a pretty popular destination for Shanghaiers looking to get a break from the humidity, the smog and the traffic. It gets very busy over Summer and on national holidays, but luckily we went on a random week and it was almost deserted! Which is exactly what we wanted. Going from a city of 28 million to a village of 100 and a hostel where we were almost the only guests. That's not to say that the hostel wasn't good- it was absolutely lovely. Think wooden cabins, sauna-like showers, big comfy beds and delicious local food. Heavenly.
We spent most of our time there eating, sleeping and walking. There was a lot of walking, climbing and getting very lost... However, all the calf-muscle work and sweat was worth it to see the views from the top.
Tangent: I've always walked around SHai wondering where the hell all the bamboo scaffolding comes from that is supporting the constant work that takes place here, on a daily basis. (Trust me, its a lot of work and all the scaffolding is bamboo). Well, as soon as I arrived in Moganshan, I knew. There is literally bamboo as far as the eye can see...more bamboo than, well, you could shake a stick at. It's in the ground, on your plate, it makes the furniture you sit on...its impossible not to take a million photos where bamboo is the unlikely focus.
Another thing, the water that comes down from the top of the mountains is the cleanest, coldest, purest water I've ever had...and I'm half Scottish. My people pride themselves on clean water. But would I drink straight from the ground in Scotland? Not sure. Did I do it here, in China, where tap water is deadly? Hell, yes! (This may have also partly been down to the fact that we had been lost and walking for hours and had run out of water and I genuinely felt like a Franco-style 127hours scenario might be on its way).
God, even writing this and looking back at the photos is zen-ing me out. It was honestly one of the most relaxing holidays I've ever had. So beautiful, refreshing, peaceful and calm. Exactly what you need when you live and work like a crazy person in this city. I keep telling all my SHai friends that they need to get out there and I recommend it to anyone who is thinking about visiting China too. It's the misty mountains, crouching tiger place that every foreigner in China is looking for. Plus, it's cheap and easy to get to. Bamboo winner.