This is my experience in Beijing, China in the Summer of 2009.
If you came to this webpage first, it's better if you
start from the beginning of the story.
Wednesday, July 22
Got my 8am wake up call. Noticed it was really
sunny from my hotel room window so I made an impromptu
pinhole camera using one of the hotel`s brochures that
was mostly white and a needle from a sewing kit.
When I first tried it, I didn`t see a picture of the sun like
I expected (the circle of light that came through the pinhole
was bright with about a 10% concave covering it.
I didn`t know if this was a partial eclipse or a defect in
the pinhole. So I made a smaller hole on another place
in the cardboard. Same image! Hmmm. I looked again
20 minutes later and the coverage was like 30% now.
So I WAS looking at a partial eclipse projected on
white cardboard through a pinhole. Cool.
The clothes I hung up to dry were mostly dry now.
The exception was my short pants which was damp
but drier than before. I folded up these clothes and
packed them. Put my checkin luggage out in the hallway.
Grabbed a fast breakfast. By 9:15am, I was outside the
front of the hotel. It was now cloudy outside!
Now I`m thinking I won`t be able to see the solar eclipse.
But hope springs eternal. So I wait out there. It`s getting
dark but it's cloudy and you can't see the sun.
So I start filming the surrounding area.
Then the couple next to me starts talking excitedly. I point my
video camera back at the sun and now the skies have
cleared theres a full on solar eclipse! VERY COOL!
I filmed the whole thing on my video camera and have
some killer footage!
03/09/11 Update -
I finally added my video of the solar eclipse! Check out the link below.
The amazing thing was the clouds
cleared for the full eclipse. Then they covered it again
when the full eclipse was ending! I was very lucky.
I was so involved in getting the video of the eclipse that
I forgot to look up and see the eclipse with my own eyes!
A full solar eclipse is the only opportunity for the human eye
to see the sun and not get blinded. Oh well, next time. :)
We took an hour bus ride to the Huangshan. Then we took a smaller bus
ride further up the mountain. Then we took a cable car further up the
mountain! Then we hiked more than 30 minutes to our hotel, the Huangshan Shilin Hotel.
The hike to the hotel was pretty grueling in itself!
I suggest carrying as little as possible and hire the porters
to carry your bags to the hotel.
Again, it's one of those "little details" the tour operator left out
when describing the tour.
I should explain the walkways on Huangshan. You don't
walk up natural mountain trails. No, that would be too easy.
They've built these "trails" of concrete stairs that are
jammed right into the solid rock of the mountain.
So rather than walk on soft earth, you are walking on
concrete stairs 100% of the time. No wonder my knees hurt!
The hotel room was OK but it was really tiny.
How tiny you ask?
Well, the shower stall had the toilet inside it! You could take a shower
and clean your toilet at the same time! :)
There is an outlet for an ethernet cable but it appears to be dead.
We had lunch then took another grueling hike to the first scenic spot!
My knees started hurting again.
This was bad.
Most of the group didn't complete
the circuit hike. We did go far enough up into the Yellow Mountain to
take some fantastic pictures though!
I was told this was only one of the 10-12 scenic spots on the mountain.
And our tour group barely made it to the first one.
I think you have to be a major mountain climber to see all of these scenic spots.
Back in my room now. Sorting and backing up today's pictures and videos.
I'm meeting the tour group for dinner at 6:30pm.
Back in my room again. Had a good dinner downstairs. The problem
is there's going to be a 4am wake up call(!) to see the sunrise at Huangshan.
The walk is 10 minutes to the scenic site. I think I can do it if I sleep in early.
Thought the internet wasn't working in my room. It turns out, I was using the
wrong ethernet outlet. There's one in the table and one hidden underneath
the LCD TV. The one under the TV is the live connection!
The internet is free in this hotel too. Cool.