Benxi Water Caves

Nicholas Quirke was deep in an adventure on 19 July 202 when he found himself adrift in a mission to get to Benxi Water Caves. The famous scenic spot was outside of Shenyang and he had learned that a shuttle bus from the station went directly to the caves. Peng wrote him a message to use at the station and he left the hotel feeling well prepared. He wasn’t ready then when having asked two people where he could buy a bus ticket to the caves to end up with a train ticket to Benxi city which was still an hour away from the underground attraction. He was full of ire when he learned that the ticket in his hand was for a rail journey particularly as he had asked the ticket office ‘where and when’ he could get the bus. There was a flurry of confusion from everyone and he walked away, showed his ticket to a helper and asked where. He then spent a fruitless 20 minutes trying to locate exactly what bus he needed to get on. It was too complicated to get a refund and he just sucked it up and got on the train. The distance though was Brighton to East Croydon and cost him the equivalent of 2.50 and the feeling of smugness about the price continued when he got to Benxi found a coach and the hour long journey cost him £1.50. The sense of the unknown continued to confound him when the bus stopped and everyone was shuffled of the vehicle and onto another one and he disappointingly lost his window seat. Lord only knew where he would end up but he decided to sit back and what would be would be. It was a 30 minute ride to the destination and he was pleased to that amongst the beautiful green mountain scenery he had arrived at the Benxi Water Caves (本溪水洞)。 There were multiple sights to see and he had to work out which package he wanted. He settled on two sights, the caves and the silicified forest. The caves are a partially submerged cavern system containing a forest of stalactites and stalagmites and giant 5-million-year-old cavern complex is lit by colored artificial lighting, and expands over 5,800 m (3.6 mi) with a subterranean 2 mile long river. It is the longest underground karst cave with water in the world. He had to take a cart to the crescent shaped entrance of the cave and he was immediately in a dry cave area with numerous stalactites in different shapes and sizes protruding from the roof and walls and the end of the cave there is a bottomless pool. After visiting the dry cave he arrived at a dock where he joined a boat taking the final seat to begin his water cave journey. He noticed almost immediately that the boat he was in traveled at a sedate pace and on the journey to the turning point at least three other boats overtook them which made him grateful to be in the ponderous craft as he really got a good look and feel of the cave and the water. Stalactites and stalagmites of various shapes were as always given appropriate names as lotus lamp, long sword, crocodile’s head, corn tower, rhino, elephant drinking water, leaning tower and snow mountain and scattered on both sides of the winding underground river. When he finished the boat trip he really felt he had got his money’s worth. A ‘must see’ free site was the Geological Museum but he remembered his experience in the Stone forest and he passed on that visit and went straight to the Kingdom of Silicified Wood where 619 petrified trees in the kingdom, including the world’s highest one honored as ‘King of Silicified Trees’, 48 feet tall left him felling astounded that the tree fossils formed in the last stage of the Middle Jurassic Period, about 180 million years ago, actually existed. The adventure out of Shenyang had taken a lot of his time and it was impossible to find anything to eat in the area which, meant it was time for him to return to the city and find another suitable eating house. Eating Ma La Tan seemed a great idea except he ran into problems trying to find the restaurant and felt a little stressed inside when he had to choose what to put in. He eventually selected ten ingredients, which seemed a lot but when cooked with the spicy sauce was just about right. For some reason he felt quite smug about having managed to get himself supper and felt that the whole day had been an adventure. He was waiting for a lift at the hotel alongside the delivery robot but when the doors opened such a large amount of people emerged that the it confused not only him but the robot. When the he got into the lift and waited for it to get in but it got stuck and kept repeating the same desperate plea. He and his fellow passenger tried to help but then the lift and the robot both broke down completely and he had to climb the six floors to his room. He had ordered another ice tea to be delivered and he sincerely hoped he would not have to descend to collect it. Fortunately the concierge delivered it by foot. He showered, did some work and then retired for the night and watched some TV in bed, He was reminded of home as he dozed of in-front of the screen and awoke just as it was ending. It prepared him him though for a good nights sleep.


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