Headed out at 7 am while it was still cool outside. Had a pig or cow stomach soup for breakfast. Went to the statue of Marco Polo for a quick glance.
Went to the Dafu Temple to see the Giant Reclining Buddha. Photos weren't allowed inside so that took most of the fun out of it. There were already some big tour groups there and unlike most Chinese they weren't ignoring the 'no photo' signs. I took a few quick phone photos when the big group left and an attendant gave me the 'no photo' finger wag.
Went by the Wooden Pagoda again since the light was better and took some more photos. Then went to KFC for a coffee and then back to the hotel to wait for my 3:00 pm tour.
The taxi driver arrived early and sent me a message from the lobby. The Danxia Geological Park is about 30 kms from Zhangye. He drove like a man possessed, passing on the right, playing chicken with oncoming traffic, business as usual. We got there and he showed me where he would wait. He also called his nephew to explain everything to me in English even though I already understood the plan. The plan was for him to wait for me until after the sunset.
The Colorful Hills were spectacular. There were four stops and shuttle buses to take the crowds between stops. There were a lot of people for a Tuesday afternoon. Each stop was better than the next for viewing the color-striped mountains. At Stop 4, everybody gathered for the sunset. I staked out my stop at about 6:30 and waited until 8 pm. There were para-gliders buzzing around to entertain us. They enjoyed flying a little below the hill and then buzzing right over us. I had my camera ready just in case one of them crashed.
The sunset didn't change the colors very much and the shadows weren't helping the photos. By 8 pm the wooden outlook area was packed with people. More people were coming in than going out and it was a mob scene as usual. I fought my way out and got a bus fairly easily.
I found my taxi driver and he told me that he had more tourists to wait for so we had to wait about 30 more minutes. I was glad since that would kill any argument that he had for demanding more money. The other tourists were three Chinese people, a couple and the mother. The mother got to sit up front even though I was probably older than her.