Friday, November 29, 2013

China's environmental issues

are clearly an issue- anyone who visits knows this sentence from a recent NYT article on Lijiang

The word “breathtaking” when applied to a Chinese city too often refers to respiratory-attack-inducing smog.

and we had such an experience in our visit to Beijing and Xian years earlier but we were confronted with a different issue when we visited Lijiang in Yunnan Province. You may recall in a very early post about preparing for this trip that I had some postcards the travel agent had put together for us to send from China- (   here is one of them from Lijiang-

this is the famous Black Dragon Pool-  here is a sign for the site as you enter:


specifically note the line: "it was listed in the World Culture Heritage as an important component of Lijiang Old Town." - and - here is what we saw...

the current state of this park is a horror-  and makes signs like this a joke!

this site is so famous it was on the cover of the guide book we chose for this trip-

there are still folks using the park- seniors playing mahjong (men and women) - the women dressed in traditional Naxi clothing- the men in more western style dress...

we stopped at a temple (Five Phoenix Hall)which was converted to a shrine for a local politician who seemed to have done a lot for the people of Lijiang.  there we finally saw a man "finger painting" - which was famous at the Chen Family Academy in Guangzhou but we didn't see it because our guide Dragon told us it was a sales pitch...

after circumnavigating the path that surrounded the once beautiful pool we headed to the Dongba Center (the Naxi religion) to learn about the pictographs-

below an traditional Naxi dwelling- from inside the museum-

and before I leave Black Dragon Pool - I want to add one more photograph where the actual spring that feeds the waterways of the city is shown-

the overuse of the resource has shrunken the pool to a small portion of its size and while they have plans for correcting the problem- the plans won't come to fruition for years- who knows what will be left of this once lovely park...

but we press on to lunch and then head out of town to visit Baisha- the original capital of the Naxi people... more later-

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