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Published: April 11th 2010
It is not every day that we have visitors from the other side of the world drop in to see us but five friends from Canada made the trek to Wuhan as part of their Asian tour itinerary. It was only a two night sleepover but a good time was had by all. It is always fun to see the reactions of those new to Wuhan and this group was no exception. From the crazy taxi rides to the bright lights of the Luxiang shopping area at night, we showed what we could of our new home city in the short period of time we had.
Their highlight was the rides in the taxis from our place to Yellow Crane Tower and back. They could not believe the traffic and the lack of rules, nor the constant stream of carefree pedestrians of all ages crossing the lanes of fast moving vehicles. Lots of gasps were heard beside me as we rode along in the back seat of the cabs around the city.
They arrived on a beautiful day and they left on a beautiful day. But the only full day they had in Wuhan was one of our most
miserable in a long time. The wind was blowing, the rain was coming down and the air was "misty". But the weather let up a little later in the day and, after over two years of living here in Wuhan, we finally made it to Yellow Crane Tower, one of the city's claims to fame. The tower is a great site for visitors and also gives them a good view of the Yangtze River and surrounding area. It is quite a hike up the staircase from either side of the tower to get to the main level but once you get to the building, it is well worth it. Travelchinaguide says the following about the tower...
"According to legend, Yellow Crane Tower was built by the family of an old pothouse owner living in Wuhan City long ago, named Old Xin. One day, a shabbily dressed Taoist priest came to the pothouse and asked for some wine. Old Xin paid no attention to him, but his son was very kind and gave the Taoist some wine without asking for money. The Taoist priest visited the pothouse regularly for half a year when one day the Taoist said to the
son that in order to repay his kindness, he would like to draw a crane on the wall of the pothouse, which would dance at his request. When people in the city heard of this, they flocked to the pothouse to see the dancing crane. The Xin family soon became rich and they built the Yellow Crane Tower as a symbol of gratitude to the Taoist priest.
The Yellow Crane Tower has a very long and complicated history. It was first built in 223, during the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280). Due to the ideal location, it was built by Sun Quan (182 - 252, King of Wu) as a watchtower for his army. After hundreds of years, its military function was gradually forgotten and the tower was enjoyed mainly as a picturesque location.
During the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), many popular poems were written in praise of the Yellow Crane Tower. It was these poems that made the Tower so renowned and induced for people to visit. During the following centuries, it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. During the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) Dynasties alone the tower was destroyed
seven times and rebuilt seven times."
Along with the tower itself, there are lots of beautiful gardens surrounding the main building. It takes awhile to tour the whole thing and each floor of the tower offers great views of the Yangtze River and surrounding area. One of the more interesting sights is the mixture of new skyscrapers and old buildings in the distant views.
We had dinner the first night at The Stone Pond, a local restaurant that specializes in the local spicy Wuhan food and the second night at The Aussie Restaurant, a new Australian stone grill with a variety of delicious western steaks, a good salad bar and even great tasting salmon. For anyone reading this blog who lives in Wuhan, it is well worth the trip to this new restaurant in the new mall at Luxiang Circle in Wuchang.
In a couple of weeks, we are off to Hong Kong and Macau for a week holiday. Summer will be here before we know it!!
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