Mt. Jiuyi, Ningyuan, Hunan

It’s a winter morning when we visited Mt. Jiuyi in South Hunan. Rolling hills were hidden in the morning mist, as if they were not awake yet, while a flock of ducks quacked and followed the master all the way down to the field, hoping that they can get a first bite of the breakfast. What an interesting scene! According to Records of the Grand Historian (《史記》), Mt. Jiuyi is the burial place of Emperor Shun (舜帝), one of the “Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors” (三皇五帝) in ancient China. Many people may also learn about Mt. Jiuyi through one of Mao Zedong’s poems, which starts with Emperor Shun’s legendary stories:

七律 • 答友人 (毛澤東)

九嶷山下白雲飛,帝子乘風下翠微。斑竹一枝千滴淚,紅霞萬朵百重衣。

洞庭波湧連天雪,長島人歌動地詩。我欲因之夢寥廓,芙蓉國裡儘朝暉。

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Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, FL

St. Augustine is said to be the nation’s oldest city. First explored and built by Spanish, you can almost smell the “European air” while walking in the streets: the Spanish architecture, the slow pace and the leisurely life. Among a number of sites to visit in St. Augustine, Castillo de San Marcos is a special one with its unique architectural design: It’s the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States and now it becomes a U.S. National Monument.

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Sunset, Clearwater, FL

An exploration of the Great Tampa area starts with a walk along the white sand beach in the Honeymoon Island State Park (though it’s a pity that we can’t get access to the Caladesi Island via ferry due to the strong wind), followed by an unexpected lovely “journey” to a Hawaii-style family restaurant and finally ends at the stunning fabulous sunset at Clearwater beach. Clearwater is known for its incredible sunset, and surely it doesn’t disappoint me! The cloud is a little bit thick that day so the sun hides behind clouds most of the time, but as a “compensation”, we get an amazing evening glow!

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