Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Happy (belated) Chinese National Day! October 1 was the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Not long after was another important Chinese holiday, so I had a long break - October 1-8. I used my time to do a bit of traveling and visit a friend in Hunan province, west of me.
He lives in a very small town in Hunan though, so the nearest airport is five hours away by bus in a city called Guilin. Guilin is pretty famous for being beautiful, and all the pictures in this post are taken during my brief tour of one of it's parks: the Seven Star Park. I had the chance to see a little of Guilin before heading to Daoxian, the city in Hunan where I was ultimately headed. Unfortunately, all the best sites in Guilin require at least a day, if not more, to travel to and see, but this park was a good sampling. It really was quite beautiful, but it's hard to tell in the pictures, as the day was overcast and my photography skills are amateur.
Even in this little bit of preserved greenery in the middle of Guilin, there were signs celebrating the 60th anniverary. China was quite proud, and the celebrations in Beijing were very impressive. It was similar to the scope and beauty of the Olympics' Opening Ceremony. China certainly knows how to put on a show.
It struck both my friends and I as a little odd though to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of a country that was first unified in the third century BC, and has had a continuously used writing system and recorded history and culture ever since, but as it is, China is celebrating its anniversary as a nation less than half as old as the United States.
Pictured above is Camel Mountain, typical of the karst formations in Guilin (and neighboring, even more beautiful, Yangshuo.) If you ever get the chance to see a Chinese 20rmb bill, you will see Chairman Mao on the front, and Yangshuo's river on the back.