If you've had the patience to follow these blogs for a while, I hope I've succeeded in making some of the major differences between China and other countries in this part of the world clear. Things that might not be so evident if you live in the West, where people don't seem to be very interested in absorbing much from over here except their cars and some of their food, but that can make spending any amount of time in China, Korea or Japan very different experiences.
But when it comes to public parks and other green spaces, the differences become less clear as you could really be anywhere in North East Asia. Things like old people exercising on playground equipment with impressive dexterity, middle-aged women dancing with an impressive lack of shame, pristine mountain trails, boring flowers painstakingly categorised, attractive old things to climb and no other white people in sight.
Really, it's only the constant, loud spitting right onto the footpath that reveals you're on the Chinese side of things, but let's put a lid on my bubbling Sino-stress until I leave this country and can let it foam out in unabridged borderline racist anguish. I'm already cheating the system to write these blogs on a German IP address, I shouldn't push my luck. Here are some pleasant parks.
This impressive memorial is dedicated to Communist revolutionaries whose uprising in 1927 was quashed by the ruling Nationalists, and who were retroactively honoured after China realised Communism was correct after all (and then decided unregulated capitalism was the new way forward)
The martyrs' tomb is a little scruffier than the manicured tombs I saw in South Korea, but that's fitting to the over-preened Koreans in general. See, I'm not only prejudiced against the Chinese - I have problems with humanity
Blood-Sacrificed Xuanyuan Pavilion. Bring all the family!
I've seen too many miniature monuments recently, I don't know what's normal size in this picture. The tiny building? The big book? The shrunken parent?
Another monument to Sun Yat Sen. That's three more than you now! Though you got to spend your summer in a country that wasn't China, so maybe I don't win after all
Zhenhai Tower. More like Zhen-high Tower! You try coming up with new tenuous puns based on Chinese names after two years
Nanxiu Lake. I wonder if it eats... naan bread?
Pavilion of Seamen (1933). Grow up
About 30 minutes out
Do you really need the sword to practice? Wouldn't any apparatus of similar weight do? Does it have to be painted like a sword and everything? How old are you?
Ming wall. It may be a bit overgrown, but there's no need to be insulting
'Outstanding' is going a bit far. It does the job
There were a few things up and around Baiyu Mountain that I'd wanted to see, but these turned out to be on the wrong side of the mountain to the one the metro system had already deposited me some considerable distance from, so I settled for the less mainstream side instead
There wasn't much to do here but look at the flowers
This time I concur: that hedge is zang!
Today's irrelevant soundtrack: Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass (Chivers)