No… Summer is half over. Although I cannot say I have not accomplished most of my goals, I have definitely done as much work as I could between all the time spent immersing myself in my cultural heritage through sightseeing and traveling.
Two days ago, which was Saturday, we went to a place almost an hour from here called Yun Se (literally, Cloud view, I think). Although there were definitely not much clouds hovering on the mountain tops, the mountains themselves look so majestic. We were (in the basin of the landscape) surrounded by lush emerald mountains unlike the mountains I always see in Washington nor elsewhere in America. It is hard to describe the formation, so here is only a photo that may give you an idea of what I am talking about. They were all a sort of foggy color because they were so far from us yet so big they look right before us. To the distant, the gradient of the mountains, one upon the other, looked like they were painted into the white sky with blue water color. I must admit, the mountains look just like what you see in the traditional paintings. I even saw white storks flying in pairs so far up. (Just a side, the description I am giving reminds me of a place 3 hours from here called “Zhangjiajie” which, by the way, has my family name in its name. I’ve always read it in textbooks of its beauty and learned how it was the location of where “Xiyouji”–Journey to the West, was filmed. Although Yun Se isn’t Zhangjiajie, I really wish I can visit Zhangjiajie).
There was a small grape vineyard (whose owner charged us ¥30 for a lousy amount of green grapes or else no parking), a large green field full of “mai” zi, waddling ducks, a bunch of old huts that soaked bamboo in lime water to get the fiber to make paper, and a dead, turquoise/seafoam coloured pond (Behind the pond was the actual countryside, I think. I caught a picture of a farmer in a hat on his way down the grassy hill).
We spend the afternoon at a river that was supposedly mountain-spring water. People used to take baths there back in the days (I can totally see why) and the whole place was so secluded and surrounded with bamboo trees/mountain, but now people will get fined if they do so. When we got there, a few people had their legs in the water, and sitting on large rocks in the middle of the river. We took great care not to lose our water bottles and any trash in the river so that we could wade in and experience the river for ourselves. You can see from the picture that the water was extremely clear and that the rocks were of the strangest color combination, pink, blue, orange, and red. I sat on a comfy, solid, bronze colored rock where I could dangle my entire kneecap and down in the water without my toes touching the mossy rocks on the bottom. There were tiny, anchovy-like fishes and wine-red frogs in the more stagnate shallows of the bank. Giant yellow-black dragonflies zoomed overhead. The river’s loud gushing noise made it so peaceful… That is, until a bug that looked like a large spider with wings flew towards Mom and us (we were not very close to the shore) and we all screamed in terror– poor Mom fell into the water and water fused into her bag. Our relatives were laughing and we found it sort of silly to be that afraid.
That evening, we had an “organic” and “local” dinner at a home-owned resteraunt. I say “organic” because the cooks make the food out of their very own backyard vegetable garden. It was quite satisfying and yummy. They even made rice wine, which tasted just like the kind that my mom makes back home for our Jiuniang soup. Because the alcohol content is super low, Sharon and I had 3 cups each.
That evening, after showering, I was too flagged to do homework so I decided to be lazy for a day and join my relatives watching TV. I was not sure what I was watching at first but I then realized it was The Voice of China. Some of the contestants’ singing, I have to say, made me cringe a bit, but there was a halfie who sang a really upbeat song I liked about a Lemon Tree. I personally thought that the song was a major reason why all 4 teachers turned their chairs around. There was also this girl who had a high-ranged voice and sounded great.
Yesterday, we went to see my other aunt who lived on the top floor of her apartment, meaning she conveniently also owned the roof. I remember her house as one of my favorite places in my childhood because of the beautiful architecture (my uncle is an interior designer/architect) and the number of animals and plants that lived on the roof. The turtle pond with bonsai trees still contained the same old turtle, but aside from that, everything else seemed to be new. There were chickens in the corner, a violet three-leafed flower tree in the opposite corner, green peppers, eggplants, two black/yellow birds that made sounds (robot sounds, frog croaks, cat meows, “how is the weather today?” Etc.), and my favorite, three cats that sat sat by the dining room door at meowed continuously during dinner. The white cat had one blue, one amber colored eyes and was very friendly.