Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Early Moring Walk on the Yong Jiang River, Nanning

On the last two trips to Nanning China I stayed at the Yong Jiang hotel. It is an older hotel and it certainly does not have the amenities of many of the more modern hotels. What it lacks in convenience it makes up in ambiance and old world charm. When I say old world charm I am actually referring to old world European charm. The hotel was build some time before the Revolution. It was built in the style of a refined European spa. After seventy years the hotel is looking old and dated but I guess that is part of the charm.

Since the hotel is literally across the street from the Yong Jiang river, thus its name, I thought it would be interesting to walk along the river early in the morning just after sunrise. Since I always eat early in the morning I was out walking around 6:30 AM. I was quite surprised at what I saw so early in the morning.

I saw people fishing which is reasonable enough early in the morning.

A little further up the bank there is a terrace where i found a group of people playing badminton early in the morning.

As I continued my walk along the river I saw many interesting things.

This elderly woman was practicing walking backwards. I understand that walking backwards is good for balance and overall co-ordination. She was actually walking at a fairly reasonable speed. Obviously, she had been at this for some time.

A little further down the river I saw a group of people practicing Tai Qi. There was someone who led and the group followed their movements. They seemed to move as one graceful unit. It was very nice to watch.

The thing that I found to be most fascinating was that there were a number of people who were actually swimming in the Yong Jiang river. I saw clusters of people along the shore of the river near the bridge. 

As I walked along the river I also saw individual swimmers swimming in the middle of the river. They were either very brave individuals or extremely experienced swimmers who knew what they were capable of doing. At any rate, I was very impressed with what I saw on those days that I walked along the Yong Jiang river.

I want to finish this post with something a little different. I was inspired by my walk along the Yong Jiang river so I wrote a short poem. Here is it is.

Morning on the Yong Jiang River

Once Chairman Mao swam across the Yong Jiang River,
Or so they say,
His persona is greater than the chairman ever was in life.

Today, ordinary people in Nanning swim in the Yong Jiang River,
Early in the morning when the air is cool and
the mist hangs in the air 
giving the river a romantic, wistful look.
From where I stand on the boardwalk
Looking down at the swimmers in the water
And on the rocky beach,
They look heroic as they swim 
Purposefully, parallel to the shore of the river.
Are they thinking of Chairman Mao
Swimming in the Yong Jiang River 
Those many years ago,
Or, are their thoughts 
On more current matters,
How well are they doing in their work,
Will they be able to buy a car,
When will they be able to afford to buy a home,
Will China's economy continue to grow at a record pace?

Once chairman Mao swam across the Yong Jiang River,
Or so they say,
To demonstrate his leadership,
To show the people that he was strong and virile,
To show the people that the party was in charge 
And was willing to face difficult challenges.

Today, ordinary people swim in the Yong Jiang River.

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