Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Oct 20 2005

I just got word that one of my photographs is now …

I just got word that one of my photographs is now an album cover. Cool. The music’s not bad, either.

The other day I decided to explore the mountainside just beyond the suspension bridge and the teahouse, behind the row of houses where Chris and the kitten now live. I walked up the path accompanied by a yellow dog I see around the area a lot. At the top of the stairs was a pile of rubble from a demolished pavilion, as well as a building that apparently used to be a temple building. Inside a group of rather poor-looking people were gathered around a makeshift kitchen, i.e. a wok over burning wooden fittings recovered from the rubble. “Rest”, a euphemism for “Sex area”, was scrawled on one wall with a grafitti arrow pointing to the second floor. The wok was filled with a bubbling brown concoction.

“Don’t go up that path, it’s dangerous,” one of the people warned me, saying the area was full of snakes that would be out sunning themselves. “Walk loudly to scare them away,” he advised. I did, using a walking stick to thrash about. There were more ruined buildings and a greenhouse just down the path. The marble path was broken up by tree roots. Apparently the area was quite developed at some point in the past. The stairs leading up to the site of the old amusement park were blocked by a felled tree, so I kept going straight, but that path soon deteriorated and got really spooky, so I turned back and took the lower path that ran along the water’s edge.

This path was a little more tidy, and soon I found myself in front of the old house, the only house visible from the suspension bridge. I’d heard that the place was haunted. It had been built by a family for the elderly parents to retire in, and then it was a hotel, and then it had been abandoned for a number of years. Guys took their girlfriends there to scare them into making out in the dark, or so I’d been told.

From the looks of it, it had recently been renovated, but nobody was living there. The renovation was still incomplete, I found as I peeked in the windows. A huge spider skittered along the wall as I walked by the front door. The interior seemed rather swank and contained temple-like fittings, buddhas and even possibly a picture of Christ in the upper windows, I think. I walked around back to find a locked gate. There were no bars on the windows. It would have been easy enough to get inside, but I didn’t try.

The place seemed nice enough in the daylight, nicely located on a little inlet, though the boats were rotting and the grass had grown over the dock. Some other nearby structures had been demolished recently. It would make a nice little estate for a family, but I don’t think I’d like to live there alone. Not with that network of derelict paths and rusting, empty lighpoles all over the mountain.

I wonder what it used to be like. The entire side of the mountain must have been lit up with pathways and little buildings. Now it’s all jungle. Something must have happened to make the vicinity one big taboo, something bigger than just the death of a couple of construction workers tearing down the amusement park, which is all I know about from Sandman’s tales. Was there a mass murder? Did some well-known Taoist priest come out and say the area was evil because he slipped on someone’s spilled fruit drink? Did people just get tired of climbing hills in general? The dogs and cats seem completely fine with the area, as well as the poor people I saw. It’s a mystery I’m going to have to investigate further one of these days.

posted by Poagao at 3:12 am  

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