the great outdoors

Xuanwu Lake

Xuanwu Lake is situated about ten minutes from where I live in Nanjing, just outside the ancient city wall. Islands and bridges dot the lake, and you can easily take two hours to explore all of them and then get lost and end up crawling through a fence to get to a bus stop. Regardless of fence crawling, it’s a beautiful spot. There are small paddle boats for rent, little vendors with food–some of which, on the outskirts of the park are of the Uighir minority and not really supposed to be there. But their sweet potatoes smell so good that the average citizen doesn’t seem to mind.

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Note the odd effect the mix of evening and smog has on China’s sky…

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Lake Mochou

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There’s a lake nearby that is tied to a legend of a woman from days bygone. My students tell me she was a princess, friends tell me she was a peasant, some say she was blind… But like most Chinese stories (at least the ones I’ve heard) she falls in love, her lover dies, and she pines for him. My students tell me she cried so much she jumped into a lake of her own tears–Lake Mochou.

And now kids play in that lake in giant plastic hamster balls.

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