Saturday was my first full day in Yangzhou, and I got up early to try to beat the heat and spent the morning in Shouxihu (“Skinny West Lake”, West Lake is China’s most famous lake in Hangzhou), and it is indeed beautiful. When I first walked into the park, I headed towards the trees to get out of the sun, and found a group of people practicing their taiji (as you can see in the above picture); they were also staying out of the sun, as any smart person would try to do in China’s summer heat. I then walked along the lake, under the willows that line the waterway, and visited a number of gardens, pagodas, and other sites that lined the lake. I took a break at one particularly beautiful garden at the 静香书屋 (Calm Fragrance Reading Terrace) that was built for reading, and pulled out my Treo and read a little more of Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age (suitable reading for China; this book (by the author of Snow Crash) is a science fiction story set in a futuristic Shanghai. The Treo is great for reading, since I’ve been able to travel with a lot of e-books without the weight of paperbacks. The picture below is from my perch, a pavilion that is set up above the main complex, shaded from the sun and open to a cool breeze that came from the water.
I ate lunch at the park, sticking of course to the famous “Yangzhou Fried Rice.” The heat got worse in the early afternoon, so I headed out of the park and back to my air-conditioned room at the Red Flag Foreign Experts Guesthouse on one of the Yangzhou University campuses (conveniently, just outside the south entrance to Shouxihu Park). After a nap, I went out to check the Mass schedule at the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart here in Yangzhou (originally an American Jesuit church), but the church was closed. I walked back through the alleys of the city that have yet to be torn down, and hope some of them are still around as the city gives itself a face-lift.