Misadventures in Huangshan

The English language, fast wifi, and my bed are easily the 3 things I miss the most right now. Numbers 4 and 5 are my iMac and Netflix. Today (July 29) was a travel day from Beijing to Huangshan so nothing very interesting happened. I sat on a bullet train for 6 hours, slept, and edited photos from the Great Wall to post later. The most interesting thing that happened was on the train when I pointed at a prepackaged meal, having no idea what it was, and eating it. It wasn't bad. 

A piece of art on a concrete wall. I think someone made a fire beneath at some point.

When I arrived in Huangshan I found out that I booked my Airbnb next to the wrong train station, so I had to take a taxi. Naturally, my taxi driver didn't speak a lick of English. I however can now say "hello, thank you, and good bye" in Chinese, so the playing field was pretty even. Pointing to things was useless. I had directions on my phone, pictures of the route, the physical address and still there was confusion. Face palm. Finally found the number of the Airbnb host who talked to him. Magically everything was fine then. So confused. 

Honestly I have no idea why I'm here. This looks nothing like the pictures of Huangshan I found online during my research. I was looking for a rural area with majestic Avatar style mountains where I could relax and fly my drone with ease. Right now I'm currently surrounded by tall buildings, loads of cars, and distant but very average mountains. 

Nothing can ruin your mood faster than having expectations not meet your reality. Trust me when I say I've learned this the hard way. When entering Beijing, my only expectations were to have a place to stay, take cool photos, and see the city. Yeah my hostel was in a weird and slightly sketchy part of town, but that didn't matter because I hadn't expected to be in a 5 star hotel. I'm usually pretty good at managing this and going with the flow but I really had hoped for a quaint little town in the countryside near beautiful mountains, outside of Shanghai. I never thought I would be so upset over a place being too nice. 

Exhausted from the train ride, the taxi incident, and being disappointed, I took a nap to gain some energy back. When I woke up, I walked toward the spot with the brightest lights and found a massive 5 story mall. Looked around each floor until I stopped at a place called Cheese Pub. Yeah, pretty weird. But the atmosphere was nice and the menu had a lot of baked cheesy items like pizza and pasta. I was tempted to get the banana pizza, but instead chose the a baked chicken and cheese dish. On the plus side, I later found out that the floors above the mall were still being constructed so I snuck in and took a few pics.

The next day I literally did nothing. The first thing I did was pick a direction and walk until I found something cool. I probably walked for a solid half hour and found nothing but dirty streets, people burning trash, and run down homes. So I turned around and walked in another direction. Nothing. No interesting shops, markets, street vendors, museums, restaurants. Nothing but that stupid mall and hotels. All I was really looking for was a place to eat and read my book. Nothing special. I settled for the mall and went to a place called "Big Hamburg." One thing America has truly perfected is the hamburger. My entire burger was wet, bread, tomatoes, meat, everything. I had wifi though and was in a public place relaxing so things weren't too bad. Then a baby started scream crying. Instantly through in the towel and went back to my lodgings. 

I began doing research to leave this place. The Huangshan Mountain, where I had wanted to go all along, was an hour and a half away from where I was staying. Busses, trains, and subways were all nonexistent here so I decided I had to take a taxi. I researched the hike up the mountain and if there were places to stay in that area. By this time, it was too late to leave so I decided to stay the night and leave on the morning. 

Pierce The Veil || The Mayan

In a venue that could resemble a ride at Disneyland, The Mayan sold out a Pierce The Veil show for the last show of their Misadventures Tour. The upside of shooting bands with a younger audience is that I can always see over them. With that being said, the crowd had an insane amount of energy for their size. At one point during Movements’ final song, Pierce The Veil came out on stage and played a game of flip cup onstage. The whole crowd erupted in teenage screams as fans got the first glimpse of their idols pranking their friends. Then, at the end of I The Mighty’s set, Pierce the Veil and Movements came out dancing and wrapped colorful feather boas around their friends. Pink dolphins littered the stage and one got taped on the microphone stand. Thats truly how it felt too. Just a few groups of friends, hanging out on a Sunday night, playing music they love in front of their screaming fans. 

Between the I the Mighty and the Pierce the Veil set, I sat down next to the loudest subs. Imagine if you fired an automatic 50 caliber surgically placed inside your heart. That's what it felt like. Seriously though. Earthquakes inside my eyes. The Millennium Falcon going into hyperspace in my ears.

Pierce The Veil played their new album, Misadventures, in its entirety. Confetti cannons exploded at the beginning of their set. Ear piercing girlish screams followed as Pierce the Veil began playing Dive In. For the rest of their set, the crowd was fully engaged and energetic; constantly jumping around hands raised. About half way through their set, Vic Fuentes (lead vocalist) came out with an acoustic guitar and played an acoustic version of their song, “Today I Saw the Whole World.” I expected to see lighters come out and wave through the sky, but only found cell phones due to the audience’s age. For their encore, Pierce the Veil played Bulls in the Bronx followed by King For A Day. In class fashion, Movements and I The Mighty put on the biggest party for Pierce The Veil's last song of the tour. Silly string, toilet paper, balloons, and beach balls flew across the sky. Then the confetti canons exploded as pillars of smoke shot high in the air. It was incredible. There was so much raw energy and life in that room. In time, all the chaos and noise would fade away leaving exhausted fans with a wonderful memory.

Pierce The Veil Setlist:

Dive In
Texas is Forever
The Divine Zero
Floral & Fading
Phantom Power and Ludicrous Speed
Today I Saw the Whole World (Acoustic)
Gold Medal Ribbon
Song for Isabelle
Encore: Bulls in the Bronx, King For A Day

I The Mighty’s Setlist:

Lady of Death
The Lying Eyes of Miss Erray
Playing Catch With .22
Four Letter Words
Slow Dancing Forever
The Dreamer
Speak To Me

Movements Setlist:

Worst Wishes
Vacant Home