One of the first things you notice about China is the noise. To say they use the horns on their vehicles liberally would be a gross understatement of the truth. I had only been here long enough to get to my apartment from the airport, unpack a little, and have a much needed nap before I set out in search of food at about 8 in the evening. Within a hundred meters or so of the school campus that I now call home I found myself standing on the corner of a busy intersection. The amount of activity and the accompanying noise gave me pause: what the hell have I gotten myself into now. Well, it’s a country of 1.3 billion people and Anhai Town is on the edge of a major city. What did you expect, dumb ass? Fair enough.
If you want to see what that intersection looks like in the daytime watch the video below. I think it’s worth the 2 minutes it takes to watch it. It gets real interesting around the 50 second mark.
I quickly discovered as I cruised around town on my bike -yes, I ride in the traffic in the video. I am really rather good at it- that there are any number of green spaces and parks scattered throughout the city. It is in these that one can get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets and find some tranquility.
Easily the nicest of the parks that I have discovered so far is the park in Anping. This park is on a large parcel of land in the throat of Shijing River and is a great place to retreat from the busy streets and relax. There are many places to sit back and read, enjoy some time with your family, or go fishing if that’s your fancy. Anping Park is most noted for its stone bridge, the longest of its kind in China. The bridge is the center point of the park and spans the large body of water formed by the widened river.
Not surprisingly, the park is very popular with the local folk so it can be busy in places but you will find that that is mostly near the entrance to the park, so the deeper into the park you go the more solitude you can find. As you wander the park it is easy to find families enjoying an outing and fisherman with their hooks out, and even the odd fellow with a cast net trying to pull in a few fish.
For my taste, easily the best time to visit the park is early in the morning. There are a lot less people and most of those that are there are fishing, so the park possesses a nice easy going, mellow feeling.The morning that I was there to take some photos, the park had a dreamlike quality as it rose from beneath the heavy overnight rains that had laden it and peered out at me through the last veils of a light morning mist. I hope the pictures help you to experience some of what I felt that day.
Until next time.