Having spent the past few months trekking the Burma road and then on to Tibet, i've discovered that China's megaton modernization is hitting the countryside hard - odd juxtapositions abound in this society where perfect cell phone reception and new 1st-world roads reach far into the most remote areas with dirt-hut villages.
Along my voyage I discovered an unexpected method for leveraging the infrastructure of the new china to get wonderful views of some of old china's most scenic areas. read on...
(photo below: Lugu Lake in northern Yunnan province. Imagine lake Tahoe 100 years ago before there were any condos, casinos, ski resorts or tourists)
Step 1: OK LETS DO IT!
(2) look for the huge cell phone tower. yes, there will be one there somewhere. if you aren't sure, check for the 15m high signage reading 'china telecom' or 'china unicom'.
(3) find the access road or trail. usually the towers are fairly easy to get to, since they had to get the kit there to build them.
(4) climb up one of the legs and onto the top of the metal box at the base
(5) the ladder will conveniently be right in front of you, just climb 30m up to the top.
(6) depending on the tower, 4-8 people can conveniently sit in the crows nest up top for a picnic. enjoy your stunning view of this most beautiful landscape, conveniently provided in all scenic (and non-scenic) places courtesy of the government of the people's republic.
(7) worried? at first i thought - 'surely there must be cameras and laser guided missiles pointed at this thing to make sure i dont touch it'. but then i figured maybe that was just my western mentality clouding up my thinking, so i asked a local what he thought about climbing the tower. of course he thought this was a rather strange idea, but he also did not have any concern or worry about doing it. that got me thinking...