TOURIST ATTRACTIONS NEAR WUXI


(Picture of giant hand. )
LIN SHAN:

A temple near Wu Jin.
(People dressed in old Chinese costumes.)
TURTLEHEAD ISLET & FAIRY ISLAND:

Fishing, Swimming, Tourism.
(statue of lady.)
WU JIN:

The Town of, near Wuxi.

Author's note:
All material on this website is covered by copyrite `03/1.
Copy, in whole, or in part, without express permission of the author is illegal.

Story and Photos by

LEE A. WOOD

We left home late in the morning and spent much of the afternoon sitting around an automotive parts supply in Shanghai. When the last of the parts finally arrived we boarded, amongst the boxes of parts, the bus of a friend of a friend who was making a delivery to Wuxi.

(City freeway.)

A FREEWAY BENEATH A FREEWAY
IN SHANGHAI
(Interior of bus.)

INTERIOR OF BUS LEAVING SHANGHAI.

Leaving Shanghai during rush hour was an experience like any other city. Go fast, slow down, go fast, crawl. Although it took us a good hour to reach the outskirts of Shanghai, wending our way from freeway to freeway, by and large the traffic moved fairly quickly, through the large city, on the new freeway system. Out into traffic,

(Buildings)

AN OLD BUILDING OF GOLD IS DWARFED BY MODERN SKYSCRAPERS ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF SHANGHAI

Once out of the city proper, and through the toll booth, we made good time. I say that sarcastically. The bus didn't move very fast and had trouble with the steering. I don't know if it was the vehicle, or the driver, but the bus kept going from side to side.

We were passed by a continuous parade of horns. It didn't matter what size of vehicle was passing us it seemed that they were incapable of doing so without blowing there horn, more than once.

Wuxi is a city, about 150 KM, West of Shanghai, East of NanJing and just North of Tai Hu Lake.

Long before we got to Wuxi, the sun was lost, not that it had ever been all that bright, into a sea of smog and fog. By the time we got to Wuxi it was fully dark.

In Wuxi we quickly moved to the center of town and then to the Northern industrial area where we unloaded the boxes of car parts at a Volkswagen dealership.

Retracing our path, for a few blocks, we dropped off a couple of passengers, then continued South, through the city, fighting rush hour traffic. Wuxi is a small, spread out, city. The last of the daylight left the sky and the streetlights came on.

In the suburbs we passed some amazing street lighting with tall lights along the boulevard that continuously changed colours. As we entered the countryside there were more different types of streetlights with coloured lights forming lines along the side of the highway.

Past the outskirts of the city we wound through some hills along the side of a lake but unfortunately it was too dark to see anything.

(Boarding the bus.)
BOARDING THE BUS

When we retuned the next day it was late and we were in a rush to find transportation back to Shanghai as the bus we were on was stopping in Wuxi for the night.

As it was the week of Chinese New Year all the busses, to Shanghai, were full. Luckily we were able to get a seat on the train. I was one of the last persons allowed into the terminal and we had to run through the terminal, a long way, to catch the train, before it left.

This then is not a story about Wuxi but a smaller town: Wu Jin; a temple, Lin Shan Temple; and a tourist attraction, Taihu Lake, all of which use `Wuxi' in their name.

There are many other attractions in the Wuxi area, such as: Suzhou, which is know as the `Venice of the orient'; and the Karst Caves, which is why the Wuxi area is one of the `Four Beautiful Ladies' of China.

THIS AREA SPECIALIZES IN EXPORTING SEAFOOD, FRESH WATER THAT IS, CRABS, SHRIMP, FISH, ETC.

POND FARMING
ONE HAD A SIGN THAT SAID, `NO FISHING'

(large Pond.)

(Pond.)

WU JIN, or WUJIN


HIGHWAY TO WU JIN, CHINA
(Highway into Wu Jin.)
HIGHWAY INTO WU JIN

HIGHWAY SOUTH OF WU JIN
(Street to hotel)
STREET TO HOTEL IN WU JIN
(Pic. of buildings in Wu Jin.)
MAIN STREET - WU JIN

TYPICAL TRANSPORTATION OF FREIGHT AND PEOPLE
OUTSIDE THE CITY OF SHANGHAI

(Statue of lady.)
STATUE AT THE EDGE OF WU JIN
ONE OF THE FOUR BEAUTIFUL LADIES OF CHINA

We arrived in Wu Jin, though still, politically speaking, the city of Wuxi, about an hour's drive South of Wuxi, after dark, on Friday February 8, 2002, about 8 PM.

When we reached the Yang Guang Hotel we were shown to our rooms, five rooms for thirteen people, and then to a banquet room, on the second floor, for a most appetizing meal.

At the table were thirteen people and later we were joined by one of the passengers who had gotten off the bus in Wuxi.

It was a fantastic dinner made from locally grown and raised vegetables and meats. Pork, beef, shrimp, mushrooms, and lots of stuff I can't name.

Wu Jin, and area, is famous for its locally raised sea foods. Crab, prawn, fish, and most notoriously, shrimp. (Not actually sea food as they are raised in fresh water.)

Finally, after many dishes, as the rest of the party was ordering a second large tea kettle of wine, Lin excused us, as we were very tired.

After supper I returned to my room at the end of the hall. It was cold. I found a heating system and quickly turned it on, wishing it had been turned on while I was having supper.

I crawled into a long , but not wide, tub and luxuriated in hot water under the glow of four powerful heat lamps. I read until I looked like a prune and then crawled into bed, leaving the door unlocked for Jing Fu who remained in the dinning room.

YANG GUANG HOTEL


YANG GUANG HOTEL

(Pic. of buildings in Wu Jin.)
BEHIND THESE BUILDINGS IS A COURTYARD
THE COURTYARD FRONTS THE HOTEL
(Interior of hotel room.)

SUPPER IN A PRIVATE DINING ROOM ON THE SECOND FLOOR

ROOF IN MAIN DINNING ROOM

MAIN DINNING ROOM

NEPHEWS, HUANG BIN, AND JING XIAN, AT BREAKFAST
IN THE MAIN DINNING ROOM

The next morning, February 9, breakfast was served in the main dinning room.

The manager of the hotel told me that he had not slept all night. He had been worried because he had a white guest. He had heard stories of another hotel where the white guest had been robbed and killed.

It is a good thing he didn't know that I hadn't locked the door to my room.

After breakfast, the bus took us, South and West, through areas of small ponds where the freshwater sea food is grown, to a small town with a huge temple.

From the temple we returned, along the shore of a huge lake, its distant waters lost in fog. Along the edge of the lake, areas are fenced off for fish farming.

After lunch, at the Yang Guang Hotel, as we were leaving, the manager of the hotel presented me with a bag of small dried shrimp, one of the most famous exports of Wu Jin.

The bus took us back along the shore of the lake, on the road to Wuxi, through the colourful scenery we had missed, in the dark, the previous evening, to a tourist spot along the shore of the lake.

For reservations at the YANG GUANG HOTEL call 051-9615-8627 (Note: The only language spoken is Mandarin.)

LIN SHAN TEMPLE


BUDDHA'S HAND AT THE LIN SHAN TEMPLE
FOR LUCK, ONE MUST PLACE ONE'S PALM IN THE LARGE PALM,
WALK AROUND THE HAND, WITHOUT LIFTING YOUR HAND
TO WHERE YOU STARTED.

Though, geographically, the Lin Shan Temple is just South of Wu Jin at the Western end of Tai Hu Lake, it is, politically, within the city of Wu Xi, or Wuxi, which is at the Eastern end of the lake.

After lunch, at the Yang Guang Hotel, in Wu Jin, the bus took us South, and West, through farm land. Many of the farms raised live crops in large ponds.

To reach the temple one must cross a wide, but short, bridge across a canal. Here, in a broad courtyard, you buy your tickets for entrance to the temple.

(Buildings lining a canal.) (A board showing admission prices.)

The approach to the temple is a long broad avenue bordered by rows of shops selling souvenirs, foods, and film. As it was off-season and few tourist were abroad the shop keepers were all calling to us as we walked by. From the center of the wide avenue we gave pleasant waves and negative shakes of he head.

The broad avenue is interrupted by walls and entrance gates but eventually reaches the base of a mountain.

(pic. of  workmen on a wall)

WORKERS REPLACE THE GOLD ON THE WALLS
IN PREPARATION FOR THE FORTH COMING TOURIST SEASON.

(Workmen on a wall.) (Workmen on a wall.)
(People lighting candles.
FOREGROUND: RECTANGULAR URN FOR BURNING INCENSE.
BELIEVERS LIGHT CANDLES,
AND MOUNT THEM ON THE TALL RACKS.
(pic. of stairs leading to a Buddha)
FROM HERE, IF YOU ARE YOUNG,
AND HAVE THE; TIME, AND STAMINA,
YOU CAN CLIMB THE WIDE BROAD STAIRS
TO THE BASE OF THE HUGE BUDDHA.

As few of us, in our party, met the above criteria, we settled for: taking pictures from the bottom, of the stairs; burning incense, at the putas in the courtyard; and exploring a museum ,containing items that are listed n the Guinness Book of Records.

(2 Buddha's.)
PERSPECTIVE MAKES THEM
LOOK THE SAME SIZE
THE ONE IN THE BACKGROUND
STANDS ATOP A SMALL MOUNTAIN
(rubbing feet of Buddha.)
RUB THE FEET FOR LUCK
BUT DON'T CLIMB
SAYS THE SIGN
I WAS THE ONLY ONE
TALL ENOUGH TO REACH
FROM THE GROUND
(A relaxed Buddha covered with little people.) (A relaxed Buddha covered with little people.)
I GOT A KICK OUT OF THE LITTLE
GNOMES WORKING AT THE BUDDHA'S NAVEL
(Lee (me) in courtyard.)
BEAR, AT LIN SHAN TEMPLE
(People in front of wall.)
(Rows of coloured cabbage.) (People in gateway in wall.)
(Inside washroom.)
THE TEMPLE IS OLD, BU
(Toilet.)
THE FACILITIES ARE NEW

PUTAS - INSIDE THE TEMPLES

(Putas.) (Putas.)
(Putas.) (Putas.)

GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
AT THE LIN SHAN TEMPLE

(Entrance to the Guinness Book of Records.)


WORLDS LARGEST SOCCER BALL
(Bar & back counter made of bottles.)
BAR & SHELVING, MADE FROM EMPTY BOTTLES


WORLDS LARGEST LADY'S SHOE.
MADE FROM THE HIDES OF SEVENTEEN COWS

TURTLEHEAD ISLET & FAIRY ISLAND
ON TAI HU LAKE


BIN, AND HER THREE NEPHEWS, POSE, IN RENTED COSTUMES,
AT THE ENTRANCE TO FAIRY ISLAND

I don't have a lot to say about Turtlehead Islet, which is a shame because it is a fascinating place.

It is a large Isthmus in the shape of a turtle's head & neck. One could easily spend a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, exploring it. However, we only had a couple of hours.

After lunch at the Yang Guang Hotel in Wu Jin, the bus took us back, along the road to Wuxi.

The road winds, up and down the hills, along the shore of Tai Hua Lake. It is very scenic.

Closer to Wuxi than to Wu Jin, though politically speaking, Wu Jin, and Tai Hua Lake are within the city of Wuxi, is the entrance to the main tourist area on Tai Hua Lake.

The bus took us across the Grand Dushan Dam Bridge, and dropped us at the entrance and we boarded a monorail called `Tour Line by AirÇ. The cars were only wide enough for one person and only long enough for two people. The track was a simple I beam of metal supported, high above the ground, by metal pylons.

After a short, breathtaking ride, along the North West corner of the Isthmus we came to the Air Tour platform at a shopping area.

Here we climbed down a long flight of stairs and purchased some film and ice cream.

(Archway.)
`BRIGHT HILL AND ENCHANTING STREAMS' ARCHWAY
(Map of the park.)

We proceeded, by foot, along a paved walkway, which followed the shore, to a quay where we boarded a boat for Fairy Island.

TRIP TO FAIRY ISLAND ON TAI HU LAKE
(Boat tied to wharf.)
THE FERRY DOCK ON TURTLEHEAD ISLET

(Building on shore.)
LIGHTHOUSE ON TURTLEHEAD ISLET

As we approached the island we could see swarms of insects, rising in large clouds, above the trees, on the top of the hill, on the North end, of the island.

The clouds rose and fell, almost like a dance.

Though their presence caused us some concern we never encountered any insects on the island.

(Approaching wharf.)
THE FERRY DOCK ON FAIRY ISLAND

(Large entranceway on shore.)
ENTRANCE TO FAIRY ISLAND

BOAT DOCKED ON FAIRY ISLAND

What did concern us was the monkey show.

A short climb up the hill, through the trees took us to a grotto where some people were forcing monkeys to ride bicycles and other tricks.

We left shortly after the show began as the handlers treated the animals cruelly, whipping them with a small branch from a tree.

One could see that the monkeys were not happy with their lot in life.

Crossing a long stone bridge we came to the `Golden Sand Beach' where the `Yuan Yang Pavilion' sports a large padlock.

Appropriately enough, the pavilion is situated in front of the `Matchmaker God Temple'.

It is suspended from a cross bar by chains made from interlocking padlocks.

(Monkey statue.) (Old building.)

On our return to the boat, near the head of the pier, we were entertained by men who dressed Bin, and my three nephews, in costumes and carried them about in a pannier, while other men played a tune on flutes.

RIDING IN A PANNIER - FAIRY ISLAND ON TAI HUA LAKE

(Man plays music while Mao rides in pannier.)
MAO RIDES IN PANNIER WHILE THE MUSICIAN PLAYS

(Nephews in costume.)

After taking the boat back to Turtlehead Islet, we walked back to the train stop and caught a bus shaped like a train.


The train-bus took us to the far end of the islet to a large parking lot where our bus was waiting for us.

Our bus took us to Wuxi where, by running, very fast, we were able to acquire the last tickets for the last train of the night to Shanghai. Then by further use of speed we made it through the check points, waiting room and boarded the train, just before they closed the doors.

What a short story for such a fantastic place. The scenery was breathtaking and the map shows acres and acres of more entertainment, public beaches, camp sites, and more miles of track for the monorail.

Definitely a place to return, or go, to, when one has time.

END

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