Monday, 4 December 2017

BaoFeng Lake (宝峰湖), ZhangJiaJie, Hunan, China

After our visit to the Red Stone Forest National Geological Park with Wing On Travel this morning, we stopped at Hibiscus Town (Furongzheng 芙蓉镇) for lunch.

Berths, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Baofeng Lake and berths

While this town has some nice scenery (like a couple of beautiful waterfalls), it isn't included in Wing On's itinerary because it isn't well known outside China. Indeed, it isn't known inside China if it wasn't because of the film that bears that name of the town. In fact, the English name "Hibiscus Town" was born due to the movie Hibiscus Town (1986).

Hibiscus Town movie poster
Hibiscus Town movie poster
Starring China's noted actor / screenwriter / director Jiang Wen

This film receives critical acclaim because it touches on the politically touchy subject matter of Cultural Revolution. What adds to the film's allure and profile is its government's ban.

When a film is banned, it enhances its allure (because it becomes a forbidden fruit). To the dismay of art-house audience, the ban was lifted later. You can confirm it by entering the film name 芙蓉镇 (or hibiscus town) into Baidu, the Chinese Google. Or go to douban website, which is the Chinese equivalence of IMDB. If the film is banned, you won't find an entry in either of these 2 major Chinese websites. Chinese government has gradually eased on the censorship and increasingly allowing more and politically sensitive subjects to be explored. Of course, the unfettered political discourse of the 3 T's - Taiwan, Tibet and Tiananmen Incident - are still not yet ready to be opened to public (by public, i mean internet. You can discuss anything in public, say in restaurants, for example). It's okay to talk about official corruption on the internet - in fact, a very popular topic for public discourse, thanks to president Xi's official crackdown on corruption (partly for his power consolidation).

Hibiscus Town,  Hunan, China
A building opposite the restaurant where we had lunch and bears the name of the town

The town is actually quite old, going back to the 3 Kingdoms Period - circa 220 B.C. (around the time of Hannibal of the Carthage in the West), which is unexpected. It's known as one of the 4 famous historical town. If i'm not travelling with Wing On, i would likely to give this town a visit with so much history in it. Also known as Little Nanjing, which was served as capitals of several ancient Chinese dynasties (Nanjing, not this town).

Hibiscus Town, Hunan, China
China Mobile shop. This brickworks are commonly seen in this town.
Around Hunan, this type of basket can be seen everywhere.
They sometimes used for carrying baby, and (s)he looks rather comfy.


This tofu below is the local specialty. In Hibiscus Town, the female lead makes and sells tofu for a living. And our tour guide ordered this dish to complete the movie experience. There's only one word to describe it - "Salty".

Tofu, Hibiscus Town, Hunan, China
Local tofu of Hibiscus Town


We headed for Baofeng Lake after lunch. This is a fresh water reservoir (for irrigation purpose) in Zhangjiajie (張家界) that was created by damming a gorge. The shapes of mountains are not too dissimilar to those we're going to see in the next 2 days (albeit less impressive. But for the hydrophile,  this is probably more attractive. Unfortunately, i'm a hydrophobe after 2 near drownings). We admired the lake by a slow boat cruise.

We bought some Chinese local candy from a stand at the front of entrance.

Candy stand, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Traditional candy

It's quite nice with something like a soft toffee center with crunchy rice and peanut crust. Eat those from freshly made, warm and nice. The candy hardened after awhile, making it a teeth breaker.

Candy stand, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Ask for tasting sample before buying.


The following photos of the lake were all taken from the boat.

Berths, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Berths


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Do you think it looks like a camel ? Maybe not so much from this angle.


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Motor boat for Communist cadre
One of the perk of being the member of the Chinese Communist Party

Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Does B&W pic makes it look more like a traditional Chinese painting?


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China

Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
The rocks now looking a bit more like a camel from this angle, doesn't it ?


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China



At the end of the boat ride is a park with a waterfall and koi pond.


Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China Plaque, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Koi / carp pond


Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Spray, Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Spray of the waterfall

Koi or carp pond, Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Baofeng Pond Mother & Son Co.



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