“It’s cold up there,” the young man in front of me said. “You should rent a coat.”
I was in line for the cable car at the bottom of Cangshan Mountain in Dali, Yunnan province. It was sunny and around 80 F, and I was wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt and shorts. How cold could it possibly be at the top of the mountain?
“I’ll be fine,” I said.
After a 25-minute ride, we exited at a platform near the peak, elevation 3,900 meters. The temperature was at least 40 degrees cooler, and I began shivering. The same man who suggested I rent a coat handed me a jacket that his wife wasn’t using. “Please, put it on,” he said.
I tried to give him money for letting me borrow the jacket, but he politely refused.
At 200 yuan ($32.50), the cost for the cable car was a little pricey, but the views made up for it. Clouds whipped over the mountaintop, and when they broke up you could see the city of Dali and Erhai Lake below.
I took pictures until I could no longer feel my fingers, and returned to the cable car to thaw out.