Nanning China ~ Travel Pictures
Real China, Mid Autumn Moon Festival
Nanning is about a 3.5 hour flight south of Beijing; the Nanning airport is a half-hour drive from the city. For me, this trip to Nanning showed me the real China I had come to see! Hills and fields of emerald green rice paddies, where workers clad in blue and wearing woven conical hats bent to their tasks.
Alongside the road, small farm yards with ramshackle lean-tos and green ponds where ducks paddled lazily; the tree-lined road with a steady stream of pedestrians, trucks, bicycles, motorbikes, pedicabs, water buffalo and cows. Here are some photos of Nanning in Autumn.
Nanning China at Mid Autumn Moon Festival Performances
I arrived in Nanning at Mid-Autumn Festival, which is similar in spirit to Western Thanksgiving.
Mid Autumn Moon Festival is set according the full moon following the onset of Fall -- the Harvest Moon.
It often falls near the time of China National Day October 1.
Everywhere, Moon cakes were offered -- on the plane, at the hotel, in shops along the street.
And although it was Fall, here in the south, the temperature was a steamy 32C (90 F).
That evening, the hotel next to the Majestic (below) held an open air stage show that I watched from the street.
Chinese youngsters approached me in the drizzling, humid darkness and shyly said 'Hello" to practice their English.
Majestic Hotel (Mingyuan Xindu) in Nanning China
The Majestic Hotel (also known as the Mingyuan Xindu Hotel) in Nanning was booked by the tour operator, and I was happy with the choice.
The dining room was in an annex to the left in this photo.
On my first trip, the restaurant valiantly tried to provide us with Western style food (thick peanut butter, or wieners sliced into rounds, etc).
Now, they serve foods to cater very well to many cultural diets. The Chinese food (Cantonese style) was superb, with beer and wine available.
Courier by basket and pole on Nanning Street
Typical street in Nanning, with courier, bike, and baskets on shoulder poles.
This method of carrying heavy loads, while not common for Westerners, is actually very practical as it saves your back, and lets you carry a greater weight. And, it's environmentally friendly!
It also keeps others at a distance! Nanning is the capital of Guangxi Zhang, and the center for trade, and therefore, a very busy place.
Motorbikes and Cyclists in Nanning China
Evening rush hour in Nanning :
On the ride in from the airport, Roger, the China travel guide, pointed out that smoggy Nanning is named the Green City for its year-round green trees and temperate climate.
At that time, Nanning had about 200,000 motorbikes for its population of 800,000.
Nanning is about 200 miles (322 km) from Hanoi and 150 miles (241 km) north from the Vietnam border, just below the Tropic of Cancer, the same latitude as Havana, Cuba, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Deliveries by Horse and Cart, and Nanning Smart tiles
At the end of the evening rush hour, around 6 p.m., this horse and cart ventured out on a side street.
It was here in Nanning that first I saw sidewalk tiles with 'Braille' bumps near the curb.
These tiles are placed to help the blind 'read' with the soles of their feet.
Braille tells them that they are at the street, and street name. How clever of the Chinese!
And it was here, in Nanning, that I first saw traffic signal lights with a digital display that counted down the seconds until the traffic lights changed. It took a further 10 years before Mississauga, Ontario, Canada adopted similar traffic signals.
Nanning Market Knitters wait to sell chickens to commuters
One afternoon, Roger took me to the nearby market, where these women knitted while waiting for evening rush hour customers to buy the live chickens in cages.
Inside, the market tables were laden with neatly trimmed fresh vegetables, and piles of local fruits -- persimmons, tangerines, mandarins -- and of course, tables of freshly-butchered meats, without benefit of refrigeration.
Dinner Awaits in a cage outside a Nanning China restaurant
These cages of live, wild food pre-dated the SARS scare, when many live food stuffs, like a type of badger, were culled to halt the spread of disease.
I have to wonder if today, these wire cages of live food are an antiquity, another glimpse of a China long past.
Nanning China when the weather is sunny and clear
I took this photo on a Spring day, on another trip back to Nanning.
Such a welcome change from the humid late summer and Fall, when typhoons stir up the storms off Hong Kong.
But then, every place looks gorgeous when the weather is fine!
My 'real' Nanning China was exotic and chaotic, and yet very familiar. Finally! Here was the China of my childhood dreams!
A few years later, I returned to Nanning to find a new freeway bypassed the rice paddies, farm yards and pedestrians, and I realized how fast the Old China is disappearing.
I was very glad to have had a glimpse of China as it used to be, and how it is now.
Nanning China Sculpture Park
Nanning Sculpture Park: When I was here, it was named Guangxi Martyrs Memorial Park.
This is the entrance to the Green Pagoda Park area, south from Nanning. A wide promenade overlooks the city of Nanning.
Tour bus es take visitors up narrow roads, to a hilltop that is topped itself by the large pagoda.
Climb the Pagoda's few hundred stairs, and you have a 360 degree view of the entire Nanning area.
I thought I could see to the Vietnam border.
Feeding the Carp in Green Mountain scenic area lake near Nanning
There are paddle boats for hire here, as well as sacks of fish food to buy so you can feed them.
Stand on the other bridge that zig zags from the far side of the Moon Bridge and island in the top photo.
Toss pellets to the greedy carp, who all but stand on their tails to get a mouthful, and take a picture of the feeding frenzy.
Phoenix Pagoda - Nanning area tourist attraction in park area
One of the loveliest pagodas!
It's in the Green Mountain Scenic Area, or Green Mountain Park, the 'most famous tourist destination in Nanning'.
Green Mountain is about 10 km (about 6 miles) southeast of the city centre.
This pagoda is located on Phoenix Ridge, one of 18 such 'ridges' (and several pagoda lookouts) in this area.
Not that many years ago, the border between Vietnam and China -- just south of here -- was closed during the war.
At the base of these hills just outside the park area, new condos and housing had been built.
The Phoenix Pagoda is the tallest in Guangxi, 9 storeys high, with 273 steps to the top.
Great feng shui, and great views.