The smell of lemon geranium got stronger and we came to Datong Vacations a roadside boiler where the plants were being turned into syrup. The pony had been trotting Datong Vacations uphill for over an hour and he wasn’t yet sweating.
His driver said proudly that he had bought him as a six-year-old last year for 400 yuan (£132). He also told us that the sacred mountain is called Chicken Claw’ because of its shape, and we should arrive there late that evening.
The lane grew bumpier and steeper. In the bad patches we got out to walk, not merely to save the pony’s strength but mostly because the cart was so uncomfortable.