The second day of January was our last full day in China so we decided to celebrate by, once again, walking miles. Ishbel had found a park – Baishuitai – that featured a major Chinese pagoda at the top of its main hill, so we decided to go and take a look.
It was a fair distance away, so we decided to take a taxi there and walk back. Ishbel had taken some screenshots of the layout from Google Maps and saved them to her phone so after paying the taxi driver the customary £2.50 that most fares here seem to total, we had a look at that. Or tried to. Ishbel had a frenzied check of her pockets before determining that her phone had fallen out of her pocket in the taxi. This had the makings of a major disaster. As we were trying to work out whether I could use my phone to call the hotel and get them to call the taxi company and have them contact the driver, the same taxi went past us in the opposite direction. He seemed surprised when we waved him down again, but laughed when Ishbel reached into the back seat and retrieved her phone that was nestling there. Disaster averted and heart rates back to normal, we pressed on into the park.
We had walked about halfway up the hill that led to the pagoda when we were able to catch a quick glimpse of it through the trees. Something didn’t look right. A little further on we had a fuller view of it in all its splendour.
It’s been a theme of our stay in Jiangmen that there is a huge amount of public work underway and the pagoda had obviously been included in the work orders. We’ve been trying to figure out if there’s some kind of state visit or major international sporting event scheduled to take place but haven’t found anything. Anyway, this view of the pagoda was enough to convince us not to travel all the way to the top of the hill. We did carry on to a temple on the hillside which, as luck would have it, had a tiny model of the pagoda outside.
So that’s what we missed out on.
Thwarted by the remedial pagoda works, we determined to enjoy the park anyway and headed back down hill to take the route around the lake. This route has a number of statues positioned on it, and I couldn’t resist emulating one.
We’re really getting the hang of making our own entertainment here.
After circumnavigating the lake, we did see something that will always brighten our day.
There’s nothing quite like catching sight of a kingfisher. The photo is the best we could get with a small lens. We had decided not to wander around China with the huge telephoto lens and binoculars. I’m sure you’ll understand why.
After the park we had a long walk back to the hotel. A good part of the walk was on the road because we again encountered public works projects that blocked off pavements on both sides of the road forcing us to walk into oncoming traffic. This was a little bit of payback since we had already experienced on multiple occasions being faced with bicycles, scooters, motorbikes and, on two occasions, cars on pavements as we walked along. Now it was their turn to get out of our way. Hopefully.
We safely negotiated our way back to the hotel and by the end of the day we had covered another eight miles. The iPhone is good at preserving walking data and I decided to take a look at my 2018 statistics. It turns out that I really did lead a sedentary life before retiring.
June and July was when we were on holiday in Vegas last year, and those are the only two months at the same level as December. It will be interesting to see how 2019 compares as we continue the journey.
The China adventure ends here and Thursday is our first day in Macau. Stay tuned.