Sunday, August 8, 2010

Revisiting the past - Lake of dreams

Revisited the lake of dreams yesterday after 4 years of absence. I am as thrilled as I ever was when swimming in this clear, fresh water in between pine forests,  mountains. A perfect spot to unwind after the day's heat me and my partner decided to go back.
It took a lot of convincing that me, a Lao Wei, would know better than the native, much was the surprise when I was proved right. The spot was as it was.

Oars woman on lake in Eastern China (picture taken 4 years earlier)

I regret one thing though, where previous chestnuts orchards stood, now the water has submerged the little island, where one could swim to and pick the fresh fruits.
Much to my astonishment, young fruits can be eaten, a cumbersome task to crack the thorny and green fruits.
My memory goes back when rowing the bamboo rafts across the lake, an effort you won't forget easily.
I learnt the skill to keep the raft steady and straight, by oscillating the oar from left to right, carefully twisting it with your palms, in order to achieve the trust required to propel the raft.
Those were days I will not forget, acquiring some of the tiny, succulent water melons - Shi Gua - before entering the lake, then chilling them in the lake's waters. We simply hang them in plastic bags and let them float till chilled.
The fish would come and eat the rest, truly a beautiful spectacle, 

When I read about the recent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I was shocked. What the Oil industry has done to our planet, god will revenge one day. 
We all will suffer from the consequences. We have no right to destroy our planet, yet we do so, continuously, for greed. 
To find sanctuaries such as this one is more and more difficult. Future will show if we can maintain it, without bare concrete surrounding the shores, without hoards of Tourists we exploit to make more bucks.

So the day went past, my friend and partner frolicking in cool wet. I was astonished how he became almost childlike. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.
After the bath we carried on walking through pine forests , we reached rice paddies, people smiling and greeting all the way, looking at me thinking , how does this foreigner know our community ?
Little did they know I am an old comer to their village, I have dined there before on the invitation of the oarswoman.

mountain lake in Eastern China /  /

The food that was served was incredibly delicious. The lake's fish had been fried in Chillies, both green and red, I opted for Vegetables, my favorite Ku Gua, (bitter melon or gourd)  local string beans, and the most delicious locally grown rice, served steamed. I was watching my partner gobbling down three bowls of rice, praising the chef in Chinese for the delicious food, which I seconded. Garden fresh vegetables compared to supermarket shelf greens are of no comparison in quality and taste.

After dinner a long walk through more paddies, beside the waters that emerge from the lake, with air as clean  and fresh as one would expect from such place. The stars were shining bright, local folks standing near the bridge and chatting. I was content. My day has been a great day. 

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