When I heard that the forth Photography competition will take place in Hengxi town I was very excited and looking forward to visit the famous oasis of Xianju. There wasn’t a minute or even a second I or any of my fellow sixteen foreign photography enthusiasts didn’t enjoy this unique and elevating excursion. Besides the fantastic landmarks and cultural heritage we visited, I especially enjoyed the fellowship of these remarkable photographers from an interesting and wide variety of backgrounds as well as the warm and versed guidance of our local guides.
The first remarkable sight for me was the view of the giant yellow dragon head that marked the entrance of a stunning mountain. After entering the mouth of the dragon a picturesque small lake welcomed me to cool my feet after the first slope. A tortuous path brought us deeper into the valley and after climbing ancient steps I faced the deeply spiritual sight of a meditating Buddhist monk. I immediately felt the silence and aura surrounding his preserved mortal body. After a period of contemplation we crossed a rope bridge to have a rest in an assembly of abandoned huts giving it the vibe of a forsaken place. A final effort brought us to the top of the mountain revealing a beautiful sight over the valley. Stroke by exhaustion the sight of a slide made craftsman like out of granite unlike any slide I saw before elevated me and appeared to me at this time as the highlight of the first day. Being of an adventurous and fearless nature I jumped at first with a keen momentum into the slide which unfortunately cost me the soundness of my cell phone in the first curve but also brought me much joy until I realized my loss. After a well-deserved rest in the hotel we first enjoyed the local cuisine in Taizhou and later burnt our gained calories while dancing with the locals at the river. The day finished with a local performance in Hengxi with an impressive presentation of local dances and chants.
The second day started with a visit of a lotus field which also served as the stage for the performance we were able to in the evening. Never before did I say such an abundance of lotus plants and the luckily chosen season of our visit surprised me with an ocean of flourishing plants. I found a shadowy place to escape the summer and heat, eating lotus’ seeds and admiring this marvelous gathering of its providers. For the next part of our tour we were depending on a small fleet of taxis to bring as to a mountainous region where our bus couldn’t pass the winding mountain roads with bridgeless river crossings leading us to a wonderful shrine where I burnt some incense stick and found pace to assimilate the silence and beauty of the scenery. The next stop on our journey was a small ancient village preserving its old houses and roads offering a peek into its past. Wonderful wooden carvings on the houses pleased my eyes and found a permanent place in my memory. The day ended with the foreshadowing its importance by attracting the whole village and creating the atmosphere of a folk festival. I felt humbled by the privilege to sit on the stage besides honored guests allowing me to have a perfect view on the presentation of an impressive choreography containing diverse and unique elements.
On the last day we went to the local scenic highlight of the trip. Our tour started by following a path which was surrounded on both sides with steep mountains forming different figures. I enjoyed it very much to discover the different forms and to admire their diversity and clearness of their shapes. The path ended at an impressive waterfall which was so beautiful it was hard for me to leave. Finally we used cable cars to get to the top of the mountain and to get down again. The clear air gave me a wonderful view over the whole park. The final stop of our journey was an invitation to a peach farm where we could gather peaches by ourselves. I have never seen a peach tree before and was therefore very eager to pick some and taste them. There is nothing comparable to the taste of a fruit picked by oneself and I enjoyed every bite while I was standing on the slope of a small hill looking upon the rural landscape and the mountains rising in the background.
Some days past since I came back to Hangzhou and my mind is still moved by the wonderful memories and friends I gained on this voyage. China is truly a place of wonders and wonderful people.