Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
March 1, 2006
From journal Grand Guilin's Beauty
February 28, 2006
Hamilton Square, New Jersey
October 28, 2002
Entering the park, you’ll pass the first of the Seven Stars: Camel Hill. It is, as the name suggests, a hill shaped by the wind to resemble a camel. There is also an impressive display of topiary.
The bonsai garden contains specimens dating back several hundred years. I’d always thought that the Japanese invented the art of bonsai, shaping seedlings of large trees into often intricately shaped miniatures. Unlike most bonsai I’ve seen, which are potted, these were planted outdoors around a pond with koi and turtles. It was a very elegant setting and included a room where Bill Clinton signed a treaty on the environment in the late 1990s, preserved "exactly" as he’d left it.
Our next stop was the rock museum. I think the curator must have be interested in practicing his English, or maybe it was just a slow day. Whatever the reason, he gave us a personal tour of the collection. It includes an assortment of stones. Some are included because of the beauty of their colors. Others were found in shapes that appeal to the Chinese, who seem endlessly fascinated by rocks shaped like, among other things, a head of broccoli, a rabbit and a dragon. There were "singing" stones that made different sounds when struck with a small hammer at different spots, meteorites and fossils. I found it somewhat less fascinating than the curator did.
Lastly, we came to the zoo, where we decided to sit and watch an animal show before seeing the animals. The show reminded me of the animal acts I’d seen as a child. Juggling dogs, bears balancing on balls, tigers jumping through hoops. The animals seemed bored, but the kids in the audience loved it. I finally had enough and we decided to walk through the zoo. That’s where I saw the most depressing sight of the trip.
I skipped the visit my class made through one of the "poor" neighborhoods of Shanghai – I thought it was in terrible taste to go looking at people and their homes to get a sense of how "good" I have it. Maybe that would have been a worse sight than the panda in the Seven Star park zoo, but that’s about the only thing that would have been worse. In a filthy concrete cage, with a small yard outside in which to "play" that panda lives under far worse conditions than my dog does. I couldn’t help comparing her living conditions to those of the pandas in the San Diego Zoo, where three pandas, including a cub, live in a huge, pristinely clean enclosure with caves and trees; the zoo is obligated to return the cub to China, but if this is what awaits her, I hope she never goes! If you’re an animal lover, do NOT visit this zoo!
From journal Short Break in Guilin
January 10, 2001
From journal Guilin - the China of my imagination, the land of