So ever since I got to Nanjing I've been hearing about their blossom festival. Everyone says that if you're here in the spring then you have to go see Purple Mountain and all of the beautiful flowers. The only problem is, it's 90 rmb to get in, which while only being about 12 US is still way too much once you've gotten used to China's pricing system (read: China has made me cheap).
But there is a way around it. On the week days if you hike up the back side of the mountain and back down, you can get in the back gate without paying the ticket fee (read: Maggie is sneaky). So that's what I did on Thursday afternoon when I decided I needed to get outside.
It's been gradually getting sunnier more than overcast/rainy, which I think means (knock on wood) that spring is finally here.
I've started feeling a little down, which I have finally connected with the church season. It seems that big church holidays, Christmas, Easter, etc, make me miss home and miss my community, so I double-y thought that I needed a trip away from the smog and the mass of people and to get back to nature, which is where I think that God is most present.
I spent most of the afternoon taking the least populated (read: least developed) paths up and down the mountain, taking random turns, and following butterflies. There were four different kinds that I saw, but only two and a half (read: a little blurry) that I was able to snap a picture of. The one that got away was a little light purple one that never stopped long enough for me to capture. There were so many of them once I got to the paths leading to Ming tombs, and when the people didn't scare them away they were a treat to watch.
I also saw several different types of bees floating around and pollinating where they would, which was also fun to try and catch.
Overall, looking at the trees and grass and everything in bloom, I really felt that spring, and Easter, had arrived. There were especially some places where the death of part of a tree or old leaves were mingling with new buds, a symbol that I felt was especially poignant.
In honor of the festival, which I don't think officially starts for at least another week, there were carnival tents set up in a clearing near an entrance. I assume that young lovers and families will stop by to try their luck and win a prize in addition to admiring the beauty around them.
Everyone is still hard at work setting up for the festival, especially the garden workers. I snapped a quick shot of some workers taking a break next to their ladders.
People were camping and men were fishing and swimming in the lake that you aren't supposed to swim in, and everything seemed... springy.
Not to be weird (I felt like such a perv trying to take this photo because her skirt was rather short and I was shooting at an upwards angle, but anyways), but one thing that I just cannot understand is why women go here in heels. It's all stairs, and uneven ones at that, and I can't imagine that walking in 3 inch heels would be comfortable even going a little bit. My feet were killing me by the time I decided to head back, and I was in hiking boots.
WuTong trees are an icon of Nanjing. They were brought here by Sun Yat-sen when he returned from France, and have been planted all over the city. As Nanjing develops its subways it has had to tear out some of the trees, to much Chinese protest (or at least as much protest as you can expect in China). There was enough of an outcry that officials have decided to 'relocate' the trees, and each one that they take out has a tracking number to ensure that it isn't just dumped somewhere (which I think was a problem when they first started 'relocating' them). The two pictures above are a row of mature and a row of baby WuTong trees, to give you an idea of what they look like.
I'm so glad that I went out. I got to connect with God and nature, get away from all of these people, and relax and explore. I hope that you enjoy the pictures, I certainly enjoyed taking them.