Fragrant Hills (Xiangshan) and Thoughts on Smog

The pure awesomeness of today requires some introduction. So, here goes.

Today I went to Fragrant Hills (Xiangshan), and had the best experience of my vacation in Beijing. Indeed, it should count as one of the best days of my life. I took a gondola ride up a mountain, stood where an Emperor once did, and even wailed at the Sun Yatsen Memorial. Yet its awesomeness was only increased when considering how Xingshan was bookended by horrible, horrible times.

I woke up feeling very ill. I have been feeling worse every day, and it increased to being barely functional last night and early today AM. Indeed, I probably feel worse now.

The reason is air pollution. I was chatting with Biz of Trumpy Productions (read his tdaxp reviews of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and The Partly Cloudy Patriot about this earlier today, I informed him of facts such as



This was just absent from the Fragrant Hills (Xiangshan) park. High above the city, one could look down at the smog bowl and realize how terrible it was. It’s one thing feeling the carbon monoxide eat away at one’s life as an incompetent cabby gets lost on the fifth ring road (as would happen later in the day) — it’s another thing to realize you can’t even see the downtown.

Anyway, enough bitching about the pollution. I know it’s a problem, so I will manage my health as best I can. Fragrant Hills was amazing, and the pictures today are all about the beauty and glory of Xiang Shan.

When Multilaterialism Had Teeth

A Rocky Gate

Beautiful Roof fo a Buddhist Temple Over the Rocks

The Lower Part of the Park Was Filled with Retirees

Strange Rock Carvings Are Everywhere

Framing at a Restaurant

Approaching a Building

Crossing the Bridge to Get There

Reminds Me of Descriptions of Alhambra

Graffiti in Chinese and English

View from the Courtyard Inside the Building

After the Building, Passed this Rocky Entrance

Successfully Distant Objects Through a Circular Arch

More Succession, This One Leading to an Old Portrait

A Complex of Buildings and a Pond

Real Live Growing Bamboo!

Vines Growing on a Support Mesh (Looking Up)

A Heart-Shaped Lake through a Waterfall.

Exiting the Waterfall Pass

On a Gondola!

More of the Park from the Air

It’s a Long Line of Cars Sky-Cabs, Trying to get Through

Birds of Prey! (Typically Absent from Beijing)

A Scary Mountainous Road

Reaching the Top, rested under this

Stereotypical Chinese Building

A Pagoda on the Roof of Xiangshan

Looking down from the Pagoda, this scene seemed Mexican or Californian

More of the American Southwest @ Xiangshan

Hills Beyond (One of the Best Shots of the Trip)

Can you see Beijing? I couldn’t either — because the city is covered in smog.

More of the Smoggy City. The pollution prevents you from seeing all of the “country,” let alone the city itself

The City attacks a Valley

Flowers. As I took this, I remarked “I bet old people will like this.”

Mother of tdaxp has the same type of flowers in the garden — as deer throughout South Dakota know well.

Elder Signs?

Proof that Old People do, indeed, like flowers.

Crossing the Road to find the Sun Yatsen Memorial, We Stumbled Across This Lake

The Lake from Some Rocks

Unidentified Rocky, Barred Something

Is the Sun Yatsen Memorial Through Here?

Approaching the Gate of Pax Aeterna

Sanskrit (this is for you, Biz) Writing Welcomes Visitors, as does the same message in three other languages. Dated from around 1776.

Closer to Neverending Peace.

Beyond the Gate and to the Side: an Apparently Lived-in Abode.

The Stone Shield, Viewed from the Center of the Pavillion

The Pavillion Beyond the Stone Shield

Closer View. In the center, an old sketch (of the emperor?) is visibile. I imagine Catholicgauze would paint icons of noted Saints here…

The Pavillion, From the Center Step on the Stone Shield

A Sweet Raindrop is on the Other Side of Eternal Peace

Looking Back at the Stone Shield through the Gate

Walking down the Grand Stairway, Commoners

At the Bottom of the Stairs, This Beautiful Scene with a Flowery Moat

Well, back to the pollution of the Northern Capital of the Middle Country. Goodbye Xiangshan!

7 thoughts on “Fragrant Hills (Xiangshan) and Thoughts on Smog”

  1. Purpleslog, thanks!

    I used up our memory card on the Xiangshan trip, which prevented a bunch of other neat shots (if not so picturesque). The People's Liberation Army has a college/hospital/complex between us and Xiangshan, which was really neat to drive by. On the way back we passed a crumbling old castle that was just “there,” Little Sichuan — all sorts of neat places.

  2. If they're reading my blog, then why doesn't the Party let me blog free throughout the Middle Country?

    Pollution may be the greatest problem China's big cities have. It shortens life expectency, keeps workers away, and generally spreads misery.

  3. CLB — Thanks! You are absolutely right about the pollution. It reduces anything in America to a footnote. Already my mask — only occasionally used in the worst conditions, and just for a few days — is notably soiled on the outer side. 400k national deaths a year from it must be an understatement.

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