Going up Yellow Mountain, we experienced all 4 seasons in one day.
When we started at the bottom it was so hot that we stripped down to t-shirt and shorts. The higher we got the colder it became. Midway through it resembled the monsoon season of Shanghai fall. Once we got to the top, it started to snow.
I wanted nothing more than a hot shower at that point. However, having to share a bathroom with 8 other people, there was no hot water left by the time it was my turn.
The shower head was also directly above the toilet, so you can imagine how small the bathroom was. Carlos said he had to “shit, shower and shave” all at the same time. I blame him for using up all the hot water.
Having cheapened out on our room, we decided to splurge on dinner. And by splurge, I mean overpay for food that’s worth a fraction of the price. We literally ate the same dish for 10 kuai (rmb) the night before. Except up the mountain, it was no longer called eggplant but “Sautéed Heavenly Purple” and cost us 80 kuai.
The rest of the evening was uneventful (thank God). Most people were exhausted and we had an early morning planned the next day.
I was in the middle of a pleasant dream when Carlos woke me up.
“What do you want?” I said to him with pent-up resentment.
“Not you.” He responded, then went on to say “Go look outside!”
‘What a freak’ I thought as I groggily stepped out.
“Oh my God…” my jaws dropped, “I’m back in Canada!”
The entire mountain top was blanketed in snow so thick that it could bury a small child, or me.
“Omg omg omg!” exclaimed Lucy and Helen.
“Ugh I know right? Going downhill is gonna suck ASS!” I complained, except when I looked over, I realized they were screaming with glee.
Then I remembered that one’s from Taiwan, the other’s from Brazil, and neither had seen snow before.
“Snow virgins…Enjoy it before it turns to ice or slush!” I shouted as I headed back in.
Lucy was now making a snow angel in her PJs.
It was about time to get up anyway, so I dashed into the bathroom before anybody else wakes up.
If I ever buy a house, it needs at least 5 bathrooms! Kitchen Optional.
“There is no way in hell I’m going down the mountain with that snow.” I said when everyone finished packing, “I’m taking the cable car, anyone else?”
All the girls’ hands immediately shot up.
The guys debated amongst themselves, not wanting to be seen as a P-word, but also not wanting to slip, fall and die.
Finally, when Fredrik said “Fuck it, I’m taking the cable car.”, the rest decided to join as well.
Lucy and Helen had a hard time leaving “Winter Wonderland” as they called it, and kept falling behind taking selfies. On the ride down, they continued with their picture rampage.
“Picture! Picture!” Helen shouted “Picture with all of us!”
“Now picture of me and Lucy!”
All of us were slightly annoyed but also bemused at their level of enthusiasm over snow.
“Awesome! Now a picture of the two of us!” She laughed happily as she sat next to Carlos.
“God!” Carlos blurted out, “You’re like a dog!”
“What?” She continued to laugh while looking confused.
The rest of us gasped and held our breaths, unsure of what would happen next.
“Yeah, when I yell “Treats! Treats! Treats!” my dog come wagging his tail.” He went on to elaborate “All I have to do is yell “Picture! Picture! Picture!” to get your attention.” He said as he looked around for agreement.
Except no one was meeting his eyes. Not even the guys laughed this time.
“Whatever…” She brushed it off with an eye roll.
The rest of the ride down was in complete silence as everyone knew that he had crossed the line.
It took awhile to sink in, but by the time we got off, Helen was crying on my shoulders.
Everybody has dispersed by this point, but Carlos was within earshot.
“So this is how you treat the women in your lives. You call your friends whores, and your girlfriend a dog. You must feel like a big man. You….
“Ugh” He dragged Helen away before I could say anything else.
‘Punch him! Punch him!’ I thought despite what I normally teach my students about nonviolence resolutions.
I wandered over to Lucy, while glancing back once in awhile, hoping that Helen was now giving Carlos a taste of her knuckles.
Eventually Helen joined us, eyes still swollen but no longer bawling.
“Tell me you dumped his ass!” were my first words to her.
“No…” She said looking down.
“What! No! That was unacceptable behavior back there!” I was outraged.
“He said it was Will.” She continued. “Will told him he was annoyed with my picture taking, so he felt like he had to say something…”
My jaws dropped again. I could not believe that coward blamed it on Will…
“He said he was really sorry!” Helen said, as if begging for my forgiveness. “He said he will make it up to me tonight…”
Lucy rubbed her back as Helen was on the verge of tears again.
“It’s ok,” Lucy tried to comfort her “Lukas say those things to me all the time. You just have to ignore it.”
“Lucy…no…” I was horrified, “You are just encouraging that kind of behavior…”
But by this point, I knew they were no longer listening.
On the ride back, I pretended to pay attention as Helen, now back to her old bubbly self, told me of what Carlos had planned for their dinner tonight. Then I watched as she jumped into his arms when he bought her a painting at the souvenir shop.
I was sad but no longer surprised. While it’s easy to advise and criticize, given same situation, no one can really predict how they would react.
But I knew for a fact, as we parted ways, that this would be the last time I ever saw Carlos.
Fun Fact: I chose the pseudonym for the character “Carlos” randomly, only to realize afterwards it was actually the name of his dog.
Merry Christmas everybody!