Lotus, Changsha, Hunan

Different from the Western arts, which emphasize on delivering a picture of the reality, Chinese arts are more likely to pass a mood. When I took this picture, I didn’t feel like I was taking a picture of lotus — It simply reminded me a poem by the poet Shangyin Li (李商隱) from Tang Dynasty, and I sensed what he might have felt thousands of years ago: a combination of the pleasure to see the beautiful scenes and a little bit sadness of missing friends who were thousands of miles away.

宿駱氏亭寄懷崔雍崔袞 (唐 · 李商隱)

竹塢無塵水檻清,相思迢遞隔重城。

秋陰不散霜飛晚,留得枯荷聽雨聲。

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Orange Continent Head, Changsha, Hunan

As the capital of a province, Changsha is among one of a few cities which enjoy abundant tourist resources — it’s probably the only one which has a mountain (山), a river (水) and an island (洲) in the city (城) at the same time. With the mountain refers to Mt. Yuelu (嶽麓山) and the river refers to River Xiang (湘江), “island” here refers to the Orange Continent Head (橘子洲), which lies in River Xiang. The Orange Continent Head is known by Chinese people pretty much because of the poem “Chin Yuan Chun, Changsha” (《沁園春.長沙》) from Mao Zedong. Nowadays, the Orange Continent Head has become a city park where several pavilions and terraces have been restored or refurbished. Because of the popularity of a recent reality TV show “Where are we going? Dad”, when we are there in a weekend, almost all the visitors we see are families with young kids…So maybe this is the “positive energy” brought up by the media?

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Bulrush marsh, Yuanjiang, Hunan

A new year visit to Yuanjiang, a small city sitting on the tip of south Lake Dongting (洞庭湖).  Lake Dongting is among the largest lakes in China. With Lake Poyang (鄱陽湖), Lake Tai (太湖) and Lake Hongze (洪澤湖), they are called the four largest freshwater lakes in China. Interestingly, Lake Dongting is also the natural border of two provinces in China: Hunan and Hubei, with “Hunan” means “south of the Lake” while “Hubei” means “north of the Lake”. As a city sitting so close to Lake Dongting, Yuanjiang enjoys really rich natural resources and scenes, such as the large bulrush marsh. It’s almost the sunset time when we came to the marsh. Though we were told that winter is not the best season to visit the marsh and lake, it’s still quite amazing to see the bulrush swaying gentlely in the dusk.

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