Skip to main content

Mirage that meets the eye

At the moment, I'm pretty flatout working on a China book - isn't everyone at a time when everyone's talking about the economic dragon or the rampant panda in the markets?
Mostly it's been fascinating to dig into China's history, but there's one phenomenon the guidebook doesn't explore deeply enough for me. In Shandong, there's a relatively small Chinese town called Penglai which is known for it's large-scale mirages. This one occured in 2001, but another in the 1990s lasted for over 5 hours showing two islands floating over the sea. There's a few scientific explanations, but I'd rather skip them and leave the whole thing some kind of weird mystery. There's too many easy pre-packaged experiences that are rationally explained.
In Scotland I was lucky enough to cover Electric Brae, a wholly odd sensation where my hire car appeared to be inching uphill. I don't recommend it with a hangover. Again there's an explanation that the slope is so slight and the surrounding hills at such an angle to create this effect, but try telling that to the hundreds of cars that pop off the handbrake just to experience it. It's something you have to do rather than explain.