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Published: July 25th 2006
Admiring the Plum Blossoms
A local family enjoy the first show of plum blossoms. It has been a particularly cold spring, so these are a reminder that warmer weather is just around the corner!
As part of my contract, Taizhou College will be giving me as many opportunities as possible to get "out and about" in Jiangsu province. Our first trip was to Nanjing the provincial capital to celebrate the annual Plum Blossom Festival on the slopes of Zijin Shan (sometimes known as Purple Mountain). Our group consisted of Victoria and Bobby (my colleague and her boyfriend), myself, Arthur (my boss) and Vivian (our Chinese co teacher). We were joined and "hosted" in Nanjing by Tracy, one of the Nanjing Normal University teaching staff that teaches in Taizhou during the week.
Zijin Shan is the location for many of Nanjing's historical sights: Sun Yatsen Mausoleum, Xiaoling Tomb, Linggu Temple to name but three. However, as the others had visited these previously, this was not to be the focus of this trip and will be saved for another visit.
Our first evening was spent exploring some of the local sights downtown. Firstly the Confucius' Temple area. This can be a bit confusing to some, as there is no Confucian temple that I could see, but in fact is a local entertainment "district". Lots of bright lights and lanterns with people plying their trade, restaurants,
Let's Have A Closer Look!
Although it has been a particularly cold spring, there are lots of plum blossoms to admire
cafes and other "tourist type" activities. Tracy suggested we take a boat ride along the canal. Lots of lights and lanterns, again, illuminating the banks and the Ming houses where many poets of old were entertained by courtesans. I felt like I was on a Chinese version of a Disneyland ride, but thoroughly enjoyable anyway. Finally, as we walked back to our hotel, we saw a Ming Garden, where we were whisked through at atomic speed, in order to view a performance of traditional music!
After a quick breakfast, it's off to Zijin Shan. It's been a particularly cold spring, so I was a bit sceptical as to whether there would be any blossoms at all! Zijin Shan did not disappoint, her slopes were covered in pink and white buds and blossoms. I imagine it will be truly spectacular in a week or so when the buds are in full bloom.
Lots of families were out enjoying the decidedly warmer weather (only one layer of clothing!) I just loved observing them enjoy being together, flying kites, tossing tops and, of course, admiring the plum blossoms! In particular I enjoyed seeing the grandfolk and their little cuties. With life
What would a festival be without singing and dancing?
being so busy, many children are mainly brought up by their paternal grandparents, as both parents are working. They have a very powerful influence on their grandchildren and it is just lovely watching the communication across generations.
As with any festival, there's a cultural presentation of "minority" song and dance. The costumes are spectacular and despite probably experiencing such events numerous times, local crowds eagerly pressed forward to get a better view.
Next, we took some time to admire the exotic plants in the nearby hothouse. My favourites were some gorgeous orchids and a number of really stunning bonsai- of Australian species!
Time for lunch. Tracy chose a personal favourite dining place in the area known as "Bar St".
As is the local custom, we were ushered into a private dining room, where privacy is assured. We were then treated to a seemingly unending supply of a variety of local dishes. Another splendid dining experience for all.
All too soon, it's time to head home, but not before Arthur did some clothes shopping and we grabbed a few "treats" from the local branch of Carrefour (a French chain supermarket). Yes, real cheese!
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