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Yellow Mountain Hike

October 11, 1998

I am writing to comment on your excellent article about traveling in Huangshan, China ("Mountain High, Mountain Low," Sept. 13) by Sharon Owyang. It was a frank and humorous depiction of the vagaries and difficulties of foreign travel. It's easy to forget that a site becomes a tourist trap for a reason. In spite of her experiences with opportunistic tour guides and jostling crowds, the beauty and meaning of the area eventually revealed itself to the writer when she got away from the masses.

It reminded me of a story of a friend's trip to the Pyramids of Giza. She prepaid the round-trip price to her camel driver, then was charged again for her return once they reached the site. Of course, memories of her trip were priceless, but she still remembers the exact amount she paid her driver.


Los Angeles


How eagerly I turned to your article on Huangshan, having visited there several years ago. What a disappointment to read the author's overall complaining, to the point of whining. Yes, in the final column, she discovered the unique beauty of the Yellow Mountains. Too late, too little, followed by what sounded like excruciating embarrassment that the porters had overcharged her and her family. The author correctly noted that the Yellow Mountain range has no religious significance. Still, my experience there had a reverential, mythic quality. It was embedded as much in those everyday, fanciful people as when alone in the haunting yet calming majesty and beauty of the mountains.

To believe the joy of the mountains is only present when untainted by other people is not only limiting but misses what I thought was the most incredible aspect of traveling in southeast China.


Panorama City

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