After the conclusion of the tomb-sweeping holiday in April, in the drizzle and fragrance of Qianjiang city welcomed a group of foreign friends. On the 8th and 9th of April, organized by the Chongqing Investment Promotion Association and the Qianjiang Tourism Bureau, guided by the Chongqing Bureau of Foreign Experts Affairs, and supported by both the Chongqing International Club and the Chongqing International Women’s Association, the Chongqing International Club’s 2017 investigation and tourism activity of Qianjiang transpired . The activity invited friends from a number of countries, including the United States, Germany, Ukraine, Botswana and more to meet for a weekend of activities including crossing Balahu, surging down the Puhua river, and lingering on Fengyu Bridge . Exploring southeast Chongqing, they experienced a pearl embedded in Wuling and the history of the 30th degree North latitude, a place of picturesque scenery, Qianjiang of Chongqing.
On the excursion, there were not only geological wonders such as Bala Lake which crossed seven geological times, included vertical drops of over 500 meters, and included urban canyons 10 Km long；grand and profound Zhuoshui ancient town; Puhua River, crossing time and space; Wuling Mountain integrating Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism; and the original quiet Shengui Gorge and Guandu Gorge.
Walking through the Balahu scenic area, feeling the mountains of Qianjiang city
Balahu is not truly a lake, rather it means "valley", similar to "Shangri-La" of Yunnan. Upon first arriving, the rain fell lightly and the foreign guests walked in the valley under unfurled umbrellas. With remarkable landscapes, far from the hustle and bustle of the big city, Inna who came to China from Ukraine not long ago, commented that it felt like walking in a fairyland, intoxicated with the natural beauty.
Cliffs on both sides of the canyon were covered with dense vegetation and deep crevices and the water flowing from the bottom of the gorge roared, like ink paintings hanging in the valley, the top of the valley overlapped with thick pine lush. Professor Daniel from Botswana excitedly told us that he had never seen such steep mountains in his country, with trails built between the cliffs, climbing the mountain provided for a stimulating expedition.
Visit Alice Manor Scenic Area, experience the traditional dance of Tujia people
After coming from the Balahu scenic area, our foreign friends tasted local vegetables, beef, green bean powder, chicken giblets, rice tofu and other characteristic dishes with unique flavors, to rave reviews. They proceeded to Alice Manor Scenic Area, in the middle of the Apeng River, with European-style buildings, holy church wedding and lawn wedding areas, Provence-style lavender flowers, and romantic Mediterranean emotions, which welcome newcomers to experience exotic styles of European nobility and romance.
The tour guides, with bright pink and blue Tujia costumes, explained some of the local traditional culture and got our foreign guests are interested in Tujia dance etiquette - some were even inspired to get involved in Tujia waving dance performance. Professor Andrey from Ukraine commended excitedly: "The Tujia people are good at singing and dancing – these unique ethnic customs widened my horizons, Chinese culture is really profound!"
Foreign guests were also tempted to try on Tujia clothing and participate in a photoshoot. Such a rare and unique opportunity made them want to experience all of Qianjiang’s unique culture and feel the strong and simple Tujia atmosphere.
Strolling along Wuling bank, appreciate the Qianjiang night scene
After visiting Alice Manor Scenic Area, our guests came to Wuling Bank and, as night fell, the beautiful city lights ignited, illuminating beautiful Chinese dragons and a phoenix standing strong on the sparkling lake. An eclectic mix of music accompanied the blaring fountains on the lake, truly setting the scene. The beautiful city night and the eagerness and enthusiasm of the people of Qianjiang left a deep impression on our foreign friends.
Driving one rowboat, experience a new world of Puhua river
The next day, our foreign guests came to the Puhua Underground River, crossed the ancient road, and breathed the sweetness of 2km of rivers, mountains, and caves strewn with geologic formations in shapes such as a “black dragon" dashing deeply forward in the open field. The clear water and the blue sky were only penetrated by the soft noise of waterfalls and beautiful natural light resulting in carefree relaxation and wonder.
On the recommendation of the tour guide, our foreign friends stepped aboard the wooden boats before heading 1km up the Heilong Pool where even a light rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the foreign guests as they came to the three natural bridges rising far above the water. The three bridges, carved out by water, are so massive that they are difficult to picture in their entirety. These three bridges, hidden in the majestic mountains of god’s creations, are also treasures of Qianjiang.
With oiled paper umbrella, walking between Zhuoshui ancient town
Finally, our foreign guests came to Zhuoshui town, the last station on our weekend excursion. The town is an important channel linking the Three Gorges area and the Jianghan Plain and both the Ba Culture and Daxi Culture convene here. Bearing the exchange, the inheritance and innovation of the Ba culture mixes with the Tujia culture in addition to other local cultures, while, at the same time, mingling with dock culture, merchant culture, and town culture results in a rich, intertwined cultural and artistic heritage.
Sitting on the world’s longest wooden bridge, eyeing the antique suspended buildings, Professor Jordan said to the work-staff of the Qianjiang tourism bureau, "The buildings of Zhuoshui ancient-town are quite beautiful; I sincerely hope these old buildings continue to be preserved."
The houses on both sides of the street are of wooden composition, with exquisite window lattices and intricate workmanship, a couplet sketches the spirit and atmosphere of the Fan-family courtyard. Such couplets can be seen everywhere in the courtyards of Zhuoshui ancient town and exemplify the ancient beauty and craftsmanship of this place.
If you are moved by the integration of Ba and Chu culture and by ancient Chinese civilization, if you want to experience the numerous flashing wisdoms of the Chinese nation as well as valuable cultural heritage, please follow our steps, or wander the old streets of the ancient town. Appreciate the characteristics of the old city of Chongqing or wander between the mountains and waters of the countryside. Feel the fusion of Chinese and foreign culture – communication, inheritance and innovation as you explore beautiful Qianjiang.
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