Travel Notes—the City of Yangzhou

October 14, 2012
By White-porcelain BRONZE, Jackson, New Jersey
White-porcelain BRONZE, Jackson, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

During my short time staying in China, everyday was packed with activities and excitement. There were so many people that we wanted to visit, so many places that we needed to go. And this weekend, Mom, Dad, my cousin, and I were going to visit my “foster” grandparents.

The old couple lived in Yangzhou—a city that is perfect for retired grandparents. Since this was my first time visiting Yangzhou, it would also be an excellent trip for me.

The first place that we were going was the Slender West Lake, which was within the walking distance from our hotel. As we were walking there, it started to rain. Raindrops splattered on the pavement. Umbrellas popped up one after another. The rain cooled the hot temperature down, but it did not affect our eagerness and curiosity. Soon, the rain turned into drizzle. It seemed to me that the trees along the road looked greener.

Dad bought four tickets for our little group and we went through the gate.

The Slender West Lake was named after one of the most famous places in China—the West Lake. The reason that this lake is “slender” is because that it is smaller than the actual West Lake.

But the beauty of the Slender West Lake was no less than the West Lake’s. We walked along the paved riverbank, often stopping for pictures. The lake looked more like a river than a lake. It stretched out endlessly, but was narrow enough that you could see the other side clearly. There were different kinds of plants on both sides of the water; willows were the most abundant. Their long twigs swung slightly in the breeze and gently touched the surface of the lake. Every here and there, a pavilion or a stone mountain appeared behind the trees, inviting us to take another picture.

Although it was called “slender”, the lake was larger than I thought. When we found out that it would take more than two hours to walk from one end to the other, we decided to take a boat ride.

The woman that rowed our boat—it was a very old fashioned boat—also acted as our tour guide. She told us the stories behind each site that we passed and explained the designs of several bridges. We watched people walking on the bridges and these people watched us passing through under them. One of the most famous bridges was called Twenty-Four Bridge. It was an elegant, ivory little bridge. The tour guide told us that there were twenty-four steps on each side of it. Later, I counted the steps as we walked on it—on doubt, the number was twenty-four. Another bridge that I found interesting was the Five-Pavilions Bridge. This bridge looked grand and steady, but, at the same time, it is also exquisite. There were fifteen archways under the bridge. During the Mid-autumn Festival, when the moon was round, the moonlight would shine upon the bridge and each archway, with its reflection in the water, would form a perfect circle. These circles look like the round moon in the sky. So people would say that there were sixteen moons that night.

Before we got off the boat, our tour guide sang for us using the local dialect. We could barely understand her, but the light rhythm of the song made us all smile. We enjoyed the ride very much.

We wandered around the Lake almost the whole afternoon, and when we departed from that beautiful world, it was almost time for dinner.

Speaking of food, Yangzhou was famous for its stirred-fry rice. It is so well known that, when you mention the name of Yangzhou, the fried rice would be the first thing many people think of (which is the case of mine). The rice has a rich taste but it is not greasy. The tint of saltiness from the vegetables and meat blends well into the sweetness of the rice. But the most important thing about the rice is that it is simple to cook and gives you a home-like feeling.

We sat in a restaurant, eating the fried rice, and watched the traffic outside. Yangzhou was not a small city, yet, unlike in the other cites, we did not feel rushed. As our tour guide had said, Yangzhou was nicknamed “Slow Yangzhou” for its slow pace. After a busy summer, we all needed a place where we could relax and enjoy.

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