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Showing posts with label Parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parks. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Singing Tree in Zhongshan

A type of musical performance I especially appreciate at a park . . .

tree that looks like it is singing
At the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park in Zhongshan, China

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dolphins, a Log Flume, and Hu Jintao in Zhongshan: The History and Legacy of China's First Large-Scale Modern Amusement Park

Near one end of the Changjiang Reservoir in Zhongshan, Guangdong, exists a place of merriment, magic, and water. But when I recently passed the Changjiang Water World (长江水世界) park on a foggy afternoon, it was closed — as it is every day this time of year due to the colder weather.

At least a sculpture at its main entrance is still approachable.

sculpture at entrance of Changjiang Water World in Zhongshan


A short walk away is the hard-to-miss entrance for the Changjiang Water World parking lot.

Changjiang Water World parking lot entrance


Unsurprisingly, there were no cars parked there at the time.

Changjiang Water World parking lot


The other side of the parking lot is bordered by the Changjiang Reservoir's dam. Yes, this is your place for empty parking lot photos.

And the fun doesn't stop there. One of the historical photos displayed at Zhongshan's Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall captures a moment at the amusement park which previously existed at Changjiang Water World's current site.

Chinese caption for the photo:
"1984年5月24日,时任中共中央总书记胡耀邦在时任广东省省长梁灵光陪同下视察中山,图为他在中山长江乐园验“激流探险”


According to the photo's caption, Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦), who then held the highest office in Communist Party of China as its general secretary, and Liang Lingguang (梁灵光), who was then Governor of Guangdong, are checking out a log flume ride at the Changjiang Playland* (长江乐园), which had opened the year before in 1983. Hu riding a potentially soaking ride while wearing a suit strikes me as bold. In fact, according to accounts of the time, the 69-year-old Hu insisted upon conquering the water ride despite concerns over safety and it not being part of the original plans.

Hu was presumably not visiting simply for fun, but instead because the Changjiang Playland was the first large-scale amusement park with modern rides in China and seen as a potential model for others. The park also helped Zhongshan — where the first bumper cars were made in China – grow into the largest base of amusement park ride production in the country. They even make log flume rides there.

Perhaps the park inspired too much for its own good though. Soon the fun faded away and in 1997 the park closed, in part due to competition from other parks which opened in the region. Aging equipment didn't help either, although it was good enough to be sent to Leshan in Sichuan province.

In 2005, the site experienced a rebirth when the Changjiang Romantic Water World (长江浪漫水城) opened. The romance didn't last for long, and in 2009 the site was closed for redevelopment once more. In 2010 the first phase of the Changjiang Water World opened.

That park remains in existence today, as does Zhongshan's amusement park ride industry. But unfortunately, a list of rides at Changjiang Water World indicates a log flume ride no longer exists. So there goes any chance for a contemporary version of Hu's daring act at the park.








*Some sites now use "Changjiang Paradise" — a reasonable translation — for the park's English name, but according to photos of various old entrance tickets (see here and here) the park itself used "Changjiang Playland" as its English name.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Names and Views of the Changjiang Reservoir in Zhongshan, China

After passing by some flowers on a recent foggy day in Zhongshan, I found a good view of the dam at the Changjiang Reservoir (长江水库).

dam at the Changjiang Reservoir in Zhongshan, China


Changjiang is the name of a famous river. The name may not ring any bells, and that's probably because the river is typically named the Yangtze River (扬子江) in English. The short story about the river's English name is it is based on just one of its sections. Using China's current system for romanizing Chinese words, that section would instead now be named the Yangzi River.

But the Yangtze River never comes close to Zhongshan, and there's more to the story about how the Changjiang Reservoir got its name:
Why is the reservoir named Changjiang (the Yangzi River) although it has nothing to do with the mother river - Changjiang. According to a legend, about 300 years ago, a Mr. Long and his nephew came from their hometown Jiangxi province to farm in this wildness. They named the place they resided "Changgang" (literally, it means a [series] of hills) because on their way from Jiangxi to Zhongshan, they walked [past] one hill after another. To commemorate their hometown Jiangxi, they changed "Changgang" to "Changjiang". (In some Chinese dialects, Gang is the [homophone] of Jiang.)
Despite the story, journalist Jiang Shangyu (江上雨) doesn't think the name lives up to the reservoir's splendor (link in Chinese with many photos of the reservoir), and their argument was published in the Southern Daily newspaper (link in Chinese without many photos). The suggestion was to change the name to Qingling Lake (庆龄湖) in honor of Soong Ching-ling (宋庆龄), a prominent past political figure in China and the third wife of Sun Yat-sen — the "founding father of the Republic of China". In China, the name Sun Zhongshan is commonly used for Sun Yat-sen, and that's where the city of Zhongshan gets its name.

Apparently Jiang's suggestion had an impact. A few signs near the reservoir display the Qingling Lake name.

sign for Qingling Lake (庆龄湖) in Zhongshan, China


However, it doesn't appear to be the official name. According to online maps the name remains the Changjiang Reservoir. And that is the only name used on a Zhongshan government website (example in Chinese).

The body of water is rather large and surrounded by much greenery. Unfortunately, at least where and when I arrived all I could find with views that was open to the public was a small area in front of the Scenic Holiday Hotel. But I could at least spot an island through the fog from one vantage point.

foggy view at the Changjiang Reservoir (长江水库) in Zhongshan, China


So I don't have much to share in terms of photos, though I am glad I made it there. And I will conclude with one of the more picturesque trees I came across at the reservoir, lake, or whatever you'd like to call it.

tree at the Changjiang Reservoir (长江水库) in Zhongshan, China

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Some Scenes from the Dragon Boat Cultural Park in Zhongshan

The previous post has a photo of man walking a dog past a xiangqi sculpture at the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园) in Zhongshan. The park isn't identified on any online maps I checked, and I only knew what to call it thanks to a single stone at the park with its name. Below are a few other photos I took at the park around the area where it passes under under the Kanghua Bridge (康华大桥) on the south side of the Shiqi River (石岐河 — also known as the Qijiang River (岐江河)). According to an article in Chinese, the park opened last year and stretches quite a bit further than the area I unexpectedly came across.


Dragon boat sculpture at the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园)


xiangqi sculpture at the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园)


men painting a riverside covered walkway sculpture at the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园)


riverside sculptures at the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园)


stone with the name of the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Unexpected Animals in Two Photos of Scenes in Zhongshan

Twice today in Zhongshan I decided to take photos of a scene only to be surprised by the appearance of animals. In the first case, after taking a photo I noticed that two cats were sitting in the alley. In the second case, a man walked his dog by a large xiangqi sculpture. The previous posts featured two dogs, which also made an unexpected appearance while I took photos of a scene, and a cat. So fate seems to demand I share two photos from today that I probably wouldn't have otherwise thought to pair together.


two cats sitting in Julong Zhong (巨龙中) alley
At Julong Zhong (巨龙中)


man walking a dog by a xiangqi sculpture at the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园) in Zhongshan
At the Dragon Boat Cultural Park (龙舟文化公园)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Fufeng Pagoda, Mountain Climbing, and the Chongyang Festival in Zhongshan

One of the photos in the previous post which shared my excitement two days ago about seeing yet another rainbow in China included Zhongshan's Fufeng Pagoda (阜峰文塔) in the distance. Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by Zhongshan Park and climbed Yandun Hill (烟墩山) for a closer view.

Fufeng Pagoda (阜峰文塔) in Zhongshan


Had I been at this same spot when the earlier rainbow appeared, I believe I could have easily captured them together from there.

As with visits to the park in previous years, the tower was closed, so unfortunately I couldn't climb higher for a hopefully clearer view of the park's surroundings.

closed entryway to Fufeng Pagoda (阜峰文塔)


I took another path down the mountain and was surprised to see apparently new netting which not only blocked access to the adjacent green areas but also several other paths.

Stairs lined with a rope net at Zhongshan Park in Zhongshan


Stairs lined with a rope net at Zhongshan Park in Zhongshan


People walking up stairs lined with rope netting at Zhongshan Park in Zhongshan


I didn't recall seeing anything like that at the park before. The large numbers of police and China Militia around the park were also unusual.

But for anybody who was confused about the changes, there was at least one sign that explained the conditions.



They were due to the upcoming Chongyang Festival (重阳节 — Chóngyángjié), also called Double Ninth Festival in English. One of the traditional activities for the holiday is mountain climbing. The sign indicated people could begin their holiday ascent as late as half hour after midnight that night but would need to leave the park by 1:30 a.m. The park would later open at 6 a.m. on the day of the holiday and close at 6 p.m. Then the park would reopen at 5 a.m. the day following the holiday for normal operations. The sign also asked people not to light fires, smoke, or bring anything that could explode.

A little after 9 p.m. yesterday night I returned to the park and found one of the more popular entrances filled with people and lined with police.

Entry to Zhongshan Park at night for the Chongyang Festival in Zhongshan


From there, the path from there to the top of the hill was a lot more crowded than it had been during the day.

people on stairs at night in Zhongshan Park in Zhongshan


Other than the many people, security, and rope nets, there wasn't much else that was unusual at the park. I did meet some people under a tent doing some community service by highlighting the dangers of illegal drugs though.

informational display of illegal drugs


At first I feigned surprise that they were selling so many types of illegal drugs, but they quickly set things straight — perhaps an especially good idea with all of the police around.

This wasn't my first time to participate in some Chongyang Festival climbing. My most memorable experience was the time friends in neighboring Zhuhai invited me to take a night hike up Banzhang Mountain, which is a much more challenging climb and affords more open far-reaching views.

Zhongshan had other sites open this year for the holiday, such as Dajian Mountain (news article in Chinese), with higher climbs as well. But this year's holiday climb still had its charms. And now I have finally seen the Fufeng Pagoda up close at night — definitely no rainbows in the sky.

Fufeng Pagoda (阜峰文塔) with lights on at night in Zhongshan

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A New Scene at Ganzhou Park

Earlier I posted several photos taken at Ganzhou Park. I can honestly say that at the time I had no expectation I would still be in Ganzhou over a month later. Fortunately, and not unexpectedly, the additional time has allowed me to discover much, much more than I would have otherwise. So on that note, here is a view from a hill path I had not explored until yesterday at Ganzhou Park.

People underneath a large tree at Ganzhou Park in Ganzhou

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Following the Rainbow: A Pagoda, River, and Bridge in Ganxian, Ganzhou

A little over a week ago in Ganzhou, I saw a rainbowan uncommon experience for me during my years in China. Seeing the rainbow was all the more surprising because I hadn't noticed anything which made me think one was a likely possibility.

Later in the week on Saturday, I visited Ganzhou's Ganxian District (赣县区). A storm passed though during the afternoon, and as the rain subsided I thought it could be a prime opportunity to catch yet another rainbow. So I headed eastward down a tree-covered section of Meilin Street (梅林大街) to an intersection with a clearer view.

And there it was.

rainbow over Meilin Street (梅林大街) in Ganxian, Ganzhou (赣州赣县)


I hadn't ever seen two rainbows in such a short period of time in China. Looking further down the road, it appeared there might be some natural scenery to pair with the rainbow. So I changed plans and headed in that direction. By the time I reached the perimeter of Ganxian's most urban area, the rainbow was gone. Yet the view was still rewarding, and I spotted the Zhenxing Pagoda (振兴塔) in the distance.



Now intrigued by the tower, I headed toward it. Soon I was at the Gong River (贡水), the same river where I had earlier seen people observing the Hungry Ghost Festival in Ganzhou's Zhanggong District (章贡区).

Zhenxing Tower( 振兴塔) and the Gong River (贡水) in Ganxian (赣县), Ganzhou, Jiangxi


Nearby I spotted the Meilin Bridge (梅林大桥).

Meilin Bridge (梅林大桥) in Ganxian, Ganzhou


I then headed down to the riverbank where I took in more views and also saw construction work on a riverside walkway.

men walking on land sticking into the Gong River with the Zhenxing Tower (振兴塔) in background


construction of a walkway next to the Gong River near the Meilin Bridge in Ganxian


construction of walkway next to the Gong River in Ganxian


The previous time I saw a rainbow, I had to give thanks to a woman for the fact I saw it all. This time, I had to give thanks to the rainbow for bringing me to sights I would have likely missed otherwise. And I still ended up making it to my original destination, which I could fortunately appreciate even after the sun had set.

One more thing . . . While I had been walking near the river, there was a brief drizzle and a rainbow appeared once more. I wasn't in an ideal location during its brief existence. But nonetheless, I finally captured a rainbow in a more scenic Chinese setting.

Zhenxing Tower (振兴塔) and a rainbow

Friday, August 10, 2018

Lotus Flowers, Bridges, and a Sculpture at a University Pond in Ganzhou

Recent posts (here and here) featured scenes from parks in Ganzhou, Jiangxi. To continue the theme, below are a few photos taken on a rather hot afternoon at Bajiao Pond (八角塘) at the Jiangxi University of Science and Technology campus on Hongqi Road in Ganzhou.

lotus flower at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


lotuses and a bridge Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


lotus flower at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


curving bridge, sculpture, and lotuses at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Dancing, Cards, and a Liberation Monument at Ganzhou Park

A few scenes from Ganzhou Park in Ganzhou, Jiangxi, on a rather hot afternoon . . .

people dancing at Ganzhou Park
Dancing to music


people playing card games at Ganzhou Park (赣州公园)
Playing cards without music


10th Anniversary of Liberation Monument (解放十周年纪念碑)
The 10th Anniversary of Liberation Monument (解放十周年纪念碑)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Brooding at Jiuxing Crag in Yunfu

In a footnote for a post about some views of and from Yunfu's Jiuxing Crag I mention I chose to use the term "crag" in the translated English name because that is what the neighboring city Zhaoqing did for a set of hills with a similar name in Chinese. Reader Nicki commented:
Oooh, Crag. It really makes the place sound dramatic and broody. Nice!
On that note, at its summit Jiuxing Crag has a small pavilion with seating.

pavilion at the top of Jiuxing Crag in Yunfu


There are also more uneven places to sit, though perhaps less comfortable.

rock outcrop at the top of Jiuxing Crag


Both locations could serve well for some elevated brooding.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Climb Worth the Time: Views of and from Jiuxing Crag in Yunfu

As with Pingfeng Hill, according to a guide at Panlong Cave none of the hills most closely surrounding Panlong Lake in Yunfu have paths allowing a hike to their summits that doesn't require skilled mountaineering. The guide suggested if I wanted to hike up a hill to head to Nanshan Park (also called Nanshan Forest Park). It was a fine suggestion and somebody else recommended the park as well. But I would recommend Jiuxing Crag* (九星岩) first because of the views it offers located in the midst of the most central urban area of the city and its karst topography.

As an added bonus, it is closer to the Panlong Lake Scenic Area. Here is yet another photo taken there:

view at Panlong Lake including Jiuxing Crag


Jiuxing Crag is the hill behind some buildings on the left side.

Below are a set of photos taken from various heights on Jiuxing Hill during a hazy day. On the right side of the first photo is the hill which is to the right of Jiuxing Crag in the photo above. Pingfeng Hill is in the distance on the far left side of the second photo and far right side of the third photo. Unfortunately, the view of Panlong Lake is blocked unless you venture off the path into riskier areas. I refrained from venturing this time.

view from Jiuxing Crag (九星岩)  in Yunfu (云浮)


view from Jiuxing Crag (九星岩)  in Yunfu (云浮)


view from Jiuxing Crag (九星岩)  in Yunfu (云浮)


view from Jiuxing Crag (九星岩)  in Yunfu (云浮)





*I didn't find any official English translations of the hill's name. I went with "crag" since that follows the way neighboring Zhaoqing translates the names for a set of similar hills also identified in Chinese as "岩".