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Yue Yang is the second largest city in Hunan Province, Chairman Mao Ze-dong's home province. It is located between the southern bank of the Yangtze River and the source end of Dong Ting Lake, the 2nd largest fresh water lake in China. It was a short ride to destination over a very nice divided highway, well more like a boulevard. There were several "street cleaner" along the route. They had a cart, a broom and a pan for picking up that which they swept. They were sweeping the sidewalk and gutters. The cleanliness was perfect. Along side the sidewalks was well groomed grass and scrubs. I wanted a photograph of this but the bus was moving too fast.
The beautiful Dong Ting Lake is a much revered and famous historical site in China because of its location. The lake separates Hunan Province "South of the lake" and Hubei Province "North of the lake", Yue Yang has historically been a key strategic city and a center for transportation important to this region of China. Once China's largest fresh water lake, the Dong Ting Lake now ranks second, due to sand bars and silt accumulating from the four rivers that feed it. As a result of flood prevention measures — 6,100 irrigation and drainage channels and 15,000 sluices — the surrounding land has become productive all year round and the lake acts as a reservoir for summer flood waters. The 1,160 square mile lake abounds with fish.
In the center of Dong Ting Lake is an island called Jun Shan Island. The island covers a total area of 250 acres and is extensively covered with tea groves. It has been highly prized and was once presented as a tribute to the imperial court. Today part of the island has been turned into a local park with pavilions, ponds and flower fountains. It is a popular park for the locals during the weekends.
On the eastern shore of the lake stands the graceful 3-story Yue Yang Tower, one of the Three Great Towers south of the Yangtze River. From its terraces and from pleasure boats on the lake, many famous Chinese poets have been moved to verse. Said to have been constructed on the site of a viewing platform for navy maneuvers on the lake during the 3rd century, the first tower was erected in the year 716. The present golden-tiled, square tower dates from 1985, but it has been rebuilt in the Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD) style at great expense.
Our walk to the tower took us by some interesting structures. In the fourth photograph below are pomegranates which are very plentiful every where we traveled. We went into the tower, all the way to the top. Sadly, no photographs were permitted. I did take some photos from the inside looking out over the grounds and of the lake in the background. Would have been nice if the sky had been crystal clear and blue so the lake could really be seen.
The above photograph of the rabbit with its butt up in the air, I thought was amusing. Can't say why or what the purpose was of it being there in that position.
After leaving the area of the tower and adjacent buildings, we went to a nice little area where we were given “needle tea” and the opportunity to listen to the music played by this young lady. This instrument is similar to a Japanese koto in both appearance and sound. Served along with the tea were some candy like pieces made of sesame seed. Was not too bad but the tea was so hot it was impossible to drink.
Back at the boat and we were finished playing tourist for the day, sailing upstream and into the night. Pollution in the air helped to create the last photograph.