We visited Peach Blossom Village–a rather lackluster tourist attraction in Yichang, Hubei Province, China–at the end of our cruise through the three gorges in April. It was a drippy, grey day (maybe it wouldn’t have felt so lacking in luster if the weather had been cheerier, and our views of Xiling Gorge had been clearer.
However, the flowers were pretty. The call these peach blossoms but our guide told us that the trees are ornamental and do not produce peaches that one would eat.
The challenge for Thursday’s Special this week was to look at the same scene in landscape and portrait orientation.
This is a pedestrian path leading to the city gate of Qufu, Shandong Province, China.
One of the challenges in getting a sense of China into pictures is how big it is. It is often hard to get the context of vastness and the details that make it interesting both in the same picture. In the portrait view the gate is the thing that most grabs your eye and it gives a better sense of distance. In the landscape orientation the man walking his trike does. I like that one because it managed to get both a sense of distance and the detail of the cyclist. It isn’t necessarily obvious that in the second picture both the cyclist and I were closer to the gate than in the first, I had almost caught up to him.
Taken from the window of a high speed train (and therefore not the crispest), I believe these pictures are of the Yellow River in China, the structure might be a fish farm, I put them forward for Cee’s Which Way Challenge because to me they look like an arrow pointing toward Beijing.
I’m still working my way slowly down the Yangtze, photo-wise. The last “shore excursion” on our cruise didn’t include going ashore…or any steps.
They loaded us onto a passenger ferry in Badong, which took us to Shennong Stream, where they loaded us into sampans to go upstream.
Before Dam the stream was too shallow to row and the boatmen would hop out and pull the boats…often in the nude. Our boatmen didn’t doff their clothes but they did demonstrate jumping off, pulling and jumping back on.
The peak experience happened when our guide, Cherry, and one of the boat men started singing Chinese folk songs as we glided along through the mountainous landscape. It was as if we landed in a living Chinese painting.
When I visited the town of Qufu, Shandong Province in China, I decided to spend the afternoon just wandering about and getting an idea of the layout, then focus on seeing the San Kong (3 Kong’s) the second day in town.
Qufu, not WiFi (the spell checker keeps trying to change it), is Confucius’s home town and is very much oriented to tourism, primarily Chinese tourists. Most people visit Qufu in combination with Tai Shan over two days so they start early and there was a laid back feeling of the local folks living along as I wandered slowly around.
I ducked into a side hall to avoid a large mass of “yellow necks”* at Kong Miao (Confucius Temple) yesterday. After noisy crowds outside, this long hall of what appear to be alters to sayings felt like the right path.
I was too frazzled by the crowds to find and read the description of what this hall actually is.
Response to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge
*This was a coordinated mass of Chinese tour groups who wore yellow neck sashes. I played leap frog with them all day. The bonus is that they seemed to be putting on several reenactments for their benefit and I could slip in around the edges.
I was determined to not miss a single opportunity. My tenacity meant tired legs. But the offered sedan chairs were scarier to me than tired tootsies. The thought of two tiny Chinese kids hauling my well-rounded self up steep stone stairs made me feel a bit queezy. So up I went.
The third shore excursion on our Yangtze cruise was White Emperor City. Like the first two it was at the top of a hill accessed by lots of stone steps. All of the other English speaking folks on our cruise didn’t opt in so my son and I tagged along with a Chinese group. James speaks Chinese so we figured we could manage. But it turned out that the guide spoke excellent English and after each stop she took us aside and explained. So it was like having a private tour. She even translated famous poetry off the cuff.
The White Emperor City was different fundamentally from The other two: it was not a shrine or religious site. It was a memorial to the White Emperor, a man named Gongsun Shu. He was a local king who did well for his area and was considered loyal. He was moved to become emperor after a dream about a white dragon going upward to the sky.
This site had a good display and explanation about “hanging coffins” and a very good view of Kuiwen (the “gate” to the western-most of the Three Gorges) as well. More about that later.