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Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Karst and Water: The Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu

The first thing that caught my eye as I arrived in Yunfu, Guangdong, was the incredible number of places selling various types of stone. The second thing was the karst topography in the midst of Yunfu's central urban area.

Soon I was photographing some it from my hotel room window. But the Panlong Lake Scenic Area which I had just passed is a more popular place to take in the karst views. It isn't as famous as similar sites in Guilin or neighboring Zhaoqing, but it has its own charms. And you can walk around the lake and hills for free.

I had planned to mention this scenic area earlier, but I ended up going down a rabbit hole trying to figure out what to call it English — more about that in a later post. The lake takes it name from Panlong Cave, which is in one of the hills surrounding the lake. More about the cave in another later post. A guide at the cave said it isn't possible to walk up any of the hills. But there is an accessible hill top not far away. More about that crag in yet another later post.

For this post, below are some photos taken on a cloudy and slightly hazy day as I walked around Panlong Lake in a clockwise direction. Yes, the sculpture in the last two photos is leaning to one side. And yes, there are ducks in the lake. But mostly, I share these to highlight more of the karst topography and some of the nearby urban areas in a city not familiar to most people outside of this region in China.



path at the Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu


View from Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu


path at Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu


bridge at Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu


Panlong Lake in Yunfu


people on boats at Panlong Lake


Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu


Longzhu Island (龙珠岛) at Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu


Yunfu's city center behind Panlong Lake


Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu


sculpture at Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu


sculpture at Panlong Lake Scenic Area in Yunfu

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Long Wait: Colors Arc Over Qingyuan

Earlier today I returned to my room in Qingyuan, Guangdong, just in time to avoid a thunderstorm. Later as I worked at my laptop, I turned to look outside. The rain had appeared to come at least nearly to its end, and there was an unusual type of sunny brightness. I wondered if this could be an opportunity to see a rainbow. On several recent occasions I thought I might catch one only to be disappointed each time.

In fact, the last time I saw a rainbow in China was three years ago in Shaoyang, Hunan province. And four years ago after seeing a painted rainbow on a building in Hengyang, Hunan, I considered the fact that I couldn't remember having seen any real rainbows during my previous eight years in China. I later wondered whether the rarity with which I spotted them in comparison to when I lived in the U.S. could be at last partially connected to air pollution.

The end of daylight was soon approaching, and I thought about where the sun would be at the moment. I realized that if there were a rainbow, my window was facing a favorable direction. So I took a look.

I'll admit, seeing a rainbow outside led to a small gasp.

rainbown in Qingyuan, Guandong
A glorious rainbow outside my window


After excitedly taking some photos, I raced outside. Well, the elevator wasn't in a hurry, but I did my best otherwise.

I made a quick decision that heading to the Qiaobei Road Overpass, from where I took a previous photo shared here, would be my best bet. And from the pedestrian bridge, I took more photos.

rainbow over Xianfeng East Road (先锋东路) in Qingyuan
Glorious rainbow over Xianfeng East Road (先锋东路)


I had gotten there just in time. About 10 minutes later the rainbow was gone. And soon after that so was most of the sunlight. From the time I went out, the peculiar type of light when facing some particular directions wreaked havoc on my camera's white balancing. But I took effort to ensure the photos above are reasonably faithful to what I actually saw, which I prefer over taking some simple steps to make them more visually appealing to many people with a bluer sky.

I later noticed faint signs of a double rainbow in the photos. It isn't easy to spot, but it's there. That might be a first for me in China. The rainbow (and these photos) won't win any awards, but it still greatly lifted my spirits (though not that high). And after I received puzzled looks from some passersby, once they figured out the target of my attention, sometimes with my help, they appeared to appreciate it as well — especially the little girl who had pointed out the foreigner to her mother.

Hopefully it isn't another 3 years before I see another rainbow.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Juzizhou Bridge: A Return to Changsha, Hunan

As recent posts suggest, I am now in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. I arrived here while the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was underway. Coincidentally, I was also in Changsha five years ago during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. At that time I experienced great difficulty using my VPN to get through the Great Firewall and access online sites blocked in China. This time I have had a far more online positive experience. I have not had any additional unusual problems since those I experienced almost three weeks ago in Zhongshan, Guangdong.

When I mentioned some of the internet challenges I faced five years ago, I shared a photo of Changsha's Juzizhou Bridge. A year later, I shared another photo of the bridge, this one from the western side of the river at night. Although a subway line below the river now matches its path, the bridge remains an important link across the Xiang River while also connecting Tangerine Island (Juzi Zhou) to both sides. Below is a fresh series of eight photos taken north of the bridge from the eastern side of the river. The colors may seem a bit off, but they are in part a result of something that hasn't changed much in Changsha since I first visited the city over 8 years ago — heavy air pollution. All of the photos include Tangerine Island, which blocks the view of the shoreline on the river's other side where the most easily visible buildings stand. In addition to people on and below the bridge, vehicles crossing the river, and ships passing by, the sun descends from one photo to the next, eventually to be partially hidden by Yuelu Mountain.

two people under Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha



ship and Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha



buses and people on Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha



two boats approaching Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha



ship approaching Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha



man under Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha



buses crossing Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha



sun setting behind Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More Flooding in China: Twenty Scenes from Taiyuan, Shanxi

In a piece about widespread flooding in China this year, Te-Ping Chen explored the possible causes, such as:
“China’s urban construction was carried out at too fast a pace,” says Jia Haifeng, associate professor with Tsinghua University’s environmental science and engineering department. Officials have tended to focus on visible projects such as roads, bridges and housing, he said. “They emphasized infrastructure above ground, but not so much infrastructure below ground.”

Many roads are built without being properly leveled, said Andrew Buck, an urban planner at Beijing landscape-architecture firm Turenscape, meaning that water easily accumulates. Older drainage systems often can’t accommodate current demands.
During my recent time in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi in northern China, I noticed it too apparently lacked appropriate infrastructure to deal with wet weather. Almost any time it rained, some streets became challenging to cross by foot or walk on (sometimes there isn't a useable sidewalk) due to water quickly accumulating in places.

Today the rain was especially heavy. When I went out for lunch I was soon faced with an unusual decision: try looking for food in another direction or step into water nearly knee-deep with a slight smell of sewage. I had deliberately put on sandals, was wearing shorts, and didn't have any open sores, so I figured I would take the submerged route to get a better sense of the extent of the flooding.

Below is a series of photos presented in the order they were taken during a brief outing this afternoon in a popular central shopping district. They include scenes of people crossing roads, vehicles trying to make it through high water, not-so-lucky vehicles, people dumping out water from an underground garage, a person clearing debris from a grating where water drained, and water flowing out of a sewer hole. Based on the pattern of garbage on the sidewalks, the flooding had already subsided from its high point by the time I made it outside. None of what I saw was as dramatic as what I experienced in Hengyang, Hunan, two years ago — in other words, no chengguan offered me a ride on a raft. It also wasn't as dramatic as many other recent examples of flooding in China. But the photos capture a side of life in a city, and in a country, in need of a water drainage infrastructure upgrade.

Car driving on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



car driving on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



Scooter and people on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



stalled car, person riding a bicycle, and people walking on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



young man and woman with umbrella on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



woman and girl with an umbrella walking on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



two young woman pulling up their skirts to avoid getting them wet on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



people crossing a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



men dumping out water from a flooded garage



men dumping out water from a flooded underground garage



SUV driving on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



woman pushing scooter on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



people crossing a flooded street next to a Starbucks in Taiyuan, China



man riding a motorbike on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



car driving on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



man standing in a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



open sewer hole cover in a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



young man clearing debris from a grating for drainage on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



motor-rickshaw on a flooded street in Taiyuan, China



water coming out of a sewer hole on a sidewalk next to a flooded street in Taiyuan, China

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mountains from Houhai

Exiting a metro station wasn't the only time clear skies and good air in Beijing caught my attention recently.

a dusk scene at Houhai in Beijing with mountains visible in the background
A clear view at Houhai

After an intense and at times slightly painful hailstorm the previous day, I took my friends visiting from the U.S. to Houhai. While standing on a small bridge over the lake, I looked at the horizon and exclaimed "I can see the mountains!" I excitedly explained to my friends that air pollution often makes it impossible to see these mountains from central Beijing.

They looked at me with expressions I probably would have had years ago. It was understandably hard for them to share my excitement since the mountain scene itself, though pleasant, wasn't especially glorious from our vantage point and my comment mostly made them think about Beijing's pollution.

I will refrain from sharing more photos featuring recent clear skies in Beijing. But after some posts on other topics, I won't refrain from sharing photos of unexpectedly clear skies in another northern city.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Moment of Blue Skies and Good Air in Beijing

When I see people excitedly mention blue skies in Beijing, I typically have conflicting feelings. On one hand, I feel happy they are enjoying a beautiful sky. On the other hand, I find it regrettable that the moment is so special in part due to air pollution.

But I felt only amazement after existing Beijing's Dongsi Shitiao metro station a couple of weeks ago and seeing a blue sky with clouds that look normal to me though not to everybody in China. Blue skies don't always equal good air quality, but in this case the pollution levels were good according to U.S. standards for both short term and long term exposure. The sky and air were quite a change of pace from the heavy pollution on the day I arrived from Hong Kong and many other days I have experienced in Beijing.

So here are a few photos from a moment which shouldn't have been so remarkable but was.

blue skies above the intersection at the Dongsi Shitiao metro station in Beijing


blue skies and clouds reflecting off a building at the intersection above the Dongsi Shitiao metro station in Beijing


blue skies and clouds reflecting off a building at the intersection above the Dongsi Shitiao metro station in Beijing

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Shaoyang Rainbow

Just over two months ago on the day I arrived Shaoyang, Hunan, I saw something I can't remember having ever seen before in China.

rainbow over a street scene in Shaoyang, Hunan

I had once wondered if I would ever see such a thing.

It was, and is, a special day.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Two More Blue Sky Scenes in a Zhongshan Village

More blue sky & clouds scenes, these from today in Shimen Village, Zhongshan:

watch tower and blue sky in Shimen Village, Shaxi Town, Zhongshan

open window of a yellow building with a blue sky and cloud above in Shimen Village, Shaxi Town, Zhongshan

Sharing these and other photos of blue skies in Zhongshan (here and here) was partly inspired by my recent experience viewing some photos shared by friends elsewhere in the world. I doubt the deep blue skies had been intended to be the primary area of focus in their photos, and I found it striking my eyes were so drawn to them.

I will move on to other topics shortly. For more thoughts on how blue skies and "normal" clouds can seem unusual to me and others in China, see an earlier post with photos from Macau here.