Alone at Yanmenguan Pass

Written by Mar 30, 2010 03:11
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In the long distance bus from Dai county to Shuozhou, I confirmed the conductor that my destination was Yanmenguan Pass. She looked at me with a surprised look. I guess probably because fewer people would visit this pass, though it had a glorious past and not to mention I was a foreigner.

The bus slowly ran out of the county. Having passed some villages, it reached the famous Yanmen Shiba Pan (Yanmen Pass Eighteen Curves). The driver carefully rounded every steep curve. The bus dropped me off at the crossing of National Highway 208. I walked following the sign. It was extremely cold. The air killed and purred. There were few people on the road. What a depressed sight! I even began to doubt my decision. Walked about one hour and I finally saw a village. It was just the appearance before the liberation: grey bricks, out-of-date slogans and simple buildings.

My break-in set a dog barking, which drew a young man's attention. He sold the ticket to me. I asked why. He said it was Yanmen Village where the Yanmenguan Pass located and I should pay it if I entered. I knew it clearly that was a rip-off, but I still paid him because I did not want to stir up any trouble. "where is the Yanmenguan?" I asked. He pointed south and I went ahead.

This was Yanmenguan? I would not believe it without seeing the three big characters indicating its identity. The once key fortress has ruined into an uninviting broken tower. The small gateway, dilapidated city wall, tall dried grass and unmelted snow were composed into a slack secne. Anyhow, I could hardly bring these decaying sights with the Yanmenguan Pass in history. The lonely tower stood in the wind; the color of the tablet has faded; the paint on the pillars was beginning to flake off and the windows were rusty.

I have done a lot of research on Yanmenguan Pass. In history, the great general Li Mu resisted the Huns at Yanmenguan; In Tang Dynasty, the famous general Xue Rengui defeated Tujue at Yanmenguan. This pass had witnessed the splendid achievement in history, and this was the reason that I came here. But now, it made me disappointed. My eyes went moist.

It was getting dark; I took some pictures and went back. I visited a household in the middle of the hill. At his home, I warmed my hands at the fire. The warm-hearted master offered me a cup of hot tea, and I left him a bag of cookie and started to hit the road.

Walked about half an hour and I arrived at Yangmingbu Zhen. From there, the buses to Dai county were about to leave. This was my short encounter to Yanmenguan Pass, a disappointing trip.

Yanmenguan Pass

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