Without any guilt I’ve been reading books instead of posting here, so this is a quick post with lots of pics. In about an hour Janet and I leave for the mountains to the northeast of Wuhan – I’m not sure how access to wifi will be there, so may not post again until we return on Wednesday.
So, to catch up: Wednesday afternoon we sat in on staff presentations of their students’ work during the 18 week semester – there was some great work and we got to meet the photography lecturer Liu Bo 刘波. He showed us some really interesting coded work he had created, that has toured the US, Norway and goes to Germany next week. He likes to drive: with his family he has driven from LA to New York, from Melbourne to Brisbane, and next year is planning a 50 day trip from Wuhan to Yunnan, Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu and then back to Wuhuan. That will be a stunning trip through some of the remotest parts of China. I want to follow along behind their car… Janet and I found a fantastic hotpot place closeby and have had dinner there twice now, the second time also with Rez.
Rezwanul Haque is a mechanical engineering lecturer, originally from Bangladesh but now at the Sunshine Coast University, and is in Wuhan to give some lectures this week. He is a friend of Janet’s, and the three of us visited Hubei Museum on Thursday, and then the Wuhan Art Gallery. The art gallery had mostly 20th century work, and some more contemporary pieces. I really enjoyed the display around publications from the Mao years.
The pictures above are of little paperback story books for kids, that during the Mao years were placed on stands around towns for children to take. I think the purpose was twofold: improve literacy rates, and inculcate the population to Maoism.
On Friday Rez and I had spare time so I took him to the Yellow Crane Tower 黄鹤楼 and the Guiyuan Buddhist Temple 归元寺. Luckily because of recent rain, we had great clear views from the top of the tower.
Rez went back to Australia yesterday, and Janet and I decided to explore East Lake 东湖. I wasn’t expecting much, but it turned out to be really beautiful and enjoyable. First we got a taxi to Moshan 磨山, or Grinding Hill. We wandered around the Botanical Gardens, which had a range of beautiful spaces and no crowds at all. It also houses the largest collection of live aquatic plants in the world, in a kind of open display aquarium. Then we wandered down the road and came across some abandoned yurts (I have no idea why they were there – maybe an abandoned hotel) and some beautiful, huge open air restaurants spread out over ponds with lily pads and flowers. We weren’t at all hungry, but sat and had tea for at least an hour. Then we wandered further down the road to the main parkland at Moshan. This place is an absolute must-see in Wuhan. It’s an enormous parkland that is beautifully maintained, with lakes and forests and woodlands. There is an enormous children’s play area, a cable car to the pagoda on top of the hill and a toboggan ride down. (Unfortunately the cable car was broken, so we didn’t go up the hill.) It is right along the lake, with bikes for hire and a beautiful view of the city. Just near Chu Castle we found the Wuhan Old Camera Museum, which just opened this year. It is amazing: there are hundreds of cameras of all types in there, showcasing the entire history of photography: from 10×8 glass plate cameras, to tiny spy cameras, some weird ones on rifle mounts, a gold Hasselblad and everything in-between. After wandering back to the port, we found that there were no ferries. So we paid a 68 year old lady too much money to cross the lake on her little boat. It took about half an hour and took us to the East Lake parkland on the opposite side of the lake. It was a beautiful end to the day, before heading to our favourite vegetarian restaurant for dinner. And that’s where I’m up to. Mountain adventures are about to begin!