Enough of these vacuous tubes and flying hypertriangles! These are not the stuff of transportation dreams, but of nightmares. Let us awaken ourselves from this fitful slumber to once again face the Sunrise of the Future, whose singular beam is the Monorail!
To help this awakening -- and as prelude to the imminent reawakening of the Seattle Monorail, which will finally allow me to leave this cursed apartment! -- I am introducing a new educational series, much needed on this woefully monorail-ignorant blog, wherein I will highlight the most notable, the most innovative, the most transcendental, monorails mankind has yet produced. I call it:
Oh, majestic monorails! To what heights you send the souls of mankind soaring! But there is one among you which soars souls beyond all others -- physically and spiritually.
Floating above a sea of clouds on Emei Shan -- one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains of China -- a tranquil monorail line ferries Buddhist pilgrims and tourists of assorted creeds from the monastery at Jin Ding (Golden Summit) to the temple at Wànfó Ding (Ten-Thousand-Buddhas Summit) and back. For a meager 50 yuan, visitors partake in a perfect Union of Enlightenment and Elevationment as the monorail makes its 20-minute round-trip through ancient forests shrouded in mist and mysticism.
While a modest monorail by most measures -- the track is a mere 2100m long by 40cm wide, and the total length of the train is less than 15m -- one statistic causes it to stand proud among the Global Host of Monorailkind: its elevation as it pulls into the Ten-Thousand-Buddhas station is 3099m above the sea, making the Mt. Emei line the World's Highest Monorail!
The Chinese government opened the line in 1998 as a replacement for the now-off-limits footpath to Wànfó Ding. At first, those sensitive to the ways of chi were skeptical of the monorail: would this mechanical contrivance interrupt Nature's balance? But where once careless pilgrims tread, monorail pillars were planted... and the trail rebounded in plant life!
In fact, environmental impact monitoring missions conducted by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) have shown how the Monorail is at One with Nature -- a positive environmental impact so pronounced that a monorail solution was recommended to the Peruvian authorities for use at Machu Picchu. Soon all World Heritage sites will be reachable only by the environmentally friendly comforts of our World's most important Heritage: Monorails!
Alas, all is not Monorail Nirvana on Emei Shan. One must still reach the Jin Ding station via archaic cable-cars. And for those who choose to forego those dangly debased modes of transport and hike to the station, packs of wild macaques terrorize the mountain trails, mugging passers-by under threat of tooth and claw! If only the monorail line stretched all the way to Mt. Emei's base her visitors would avoid this simian predation.
But is this brazen monkey malevolence the product of reinforcement through centuries of hand-outs or something more? Perhaps these armies of marauding macaques are messengers guided by the spirit of Nala, chief architect to the monkey king Hanuman (known in China as Sun Wukong), to encourage the further adoption of his greatest engineering triumph.
To the Chinese Government, I can only say: listen to the fierce wisdom of the monkeys and extend the Emei Shan monorail!