The Wetlands Preserve

Although the Xixi villa is in the Wetlands Park – the actual wetlands park is not a part of the estate grounds. So we took a small electric bus (for 12) about 2 km south of the villa to visit the actual wetlands.

There is a small sign leading to the walkway that follows the bank of the river as it meanders through the wetlands.  It is almost like a jungle.

 Picture 1 shows the path going into the wetlands on the ‘boardwalk.’  The plants are from 4’ to 7’ tall and it is just about impossible to look through them to see any water.

I have a series of shots I took as we walked along the ‘boardwalk’ through the wetlands.  The water, as best I could tell, may have been about 2’ deep through these wetlands. 

  Picture 2 shows a glimpse of water off in the distance  - between the lotus in the foreground and the plants and trees in the background.  The surface of the water is so covered in plants you could almost mistaken it for land.

  Picture 3 shows a more open stretch of the river with a pedestrian bridge in the background.  You can also see some white lotus – of a species that is smaller than the pink lotus I have previously photographed. 

  Walking a little further, picture 4 shows another bridge.  The purple flowers in the picture are blooming cattails.
  Picture 5 is a close-up of a cattail bloom.  White buds and when they open a vivid purple bloom.

  Picture 6 shows a different scene of the river and other plants.  The plants are about as dense and varied as any place I have ever been.

  Picture 7 is a picture of Ms. Soon and Dr. Lim, my hosts for this trip.  I took a picture of them and then each of them wanted a picture with me.  As Dr. Lim was taking a picture of me with Ms. Soon, a person walked up to us and in very good English, spoken very carefully and slowly, asked if they could get a picture with me as well.  Then 4 or 5 others also asked.

Dr. Lim suggested, and I agreed, it would be the polite thing to do so I became a photo opportunity.

Dr. Lim asked, and was told by the people requesting a picture that they had never seen a ‘westerner’ before and wanted a photograph.  He also said to me that he was willing to act as my agent – we would charge 5 yuen (74 cents) a picture; he would get 10%. 

We sometimes think that Americans are isolated from the rest of the world, and in some ways we are, but we are nowhere near as isolated as the average Chinese.  Keep in mind they have controlled access to the internet and international TV. In fact, there are 12 channels on the TV – all various channels of CCTV, the government owned and controlled television company. From China I cannot directly send out this blog – apparently China blocks access to facebook and twitter.  I can email it to the states where it is put up on our blog.  In fact, I cannot directly access our website from China.

In picture 7 Dr. Lim is wearing a shirt with the logo for the English football (soccer) team.  We stayed up that night to watch the finals of the world cup – it began at 2:30 AM.  For those of you that missed it – Spain won, 1-0 – at 4:30 AM.

  As we were leaving I could not resist taking this classic picture of a clump of cattails – picture 8.  My last shot was of a blooming lotus – it is my favorite picture of a lotus taken on the trip. See picture 9.

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