Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Baofeng Lake and Shopping in Wulingyuan

After morning meetings, another golf outing was planned for Bob's work group the afternoon of Monday, October 19, 2015.  Since one of the guys was not golfing, with Candy as our guide, a tour of Baofeng Lake was arranged for he and I.  A short drive from our hotel took us to the mouth of a lovely canyon where a picturesque scene had been constructed using the waterfall from the Lake above.  Wedding photos were being taken while we were there.

A short hike up the hill followed by a climb of a few hundred steps, past moss-covered stone walls, took us to Baofeng Lake.  It is a small freshwater lake with an average depth of 236 feet.  It's color was a beautiful clear emerald green, and the short boat ride amidst the towering peaks was a pleasant change from the noise and crowds of yesterday.  Typical gifts of the Tujia minority tribe were being sold at the dock.

If you look carefully, you can see a small green platform part-way up the mountain to the left in the following photo.  There is a golf challenge to drive a ball from that location, across the lake, to land on the putting green at the lower right.  I was told that few have ever been successful, which means there must be a bunch of golf balls at the bottom of this lake!

We were entertained by Tujia traditional songs along the route, which you can listen to below.  Can you see the faces of a warrior and a beautiful young woman wearing a tall hat in the different formations?

Leaving the lake, we walked down a winding stairway that was built near the original steep stone steps.

At the conclusion of our tour of Baofeng Lake, Candy was "off-duty" but wanted to take me to a new tourist shopping and and eating complex in town.  Built in traditional Tujia style, this cute area awakens at night when the bars and restaurants open for business.  But by day, it appears to be the place to go for wedding photos.  Candy bought us some kind of delicious "pocket sandwich" filled with beef, noodles, mushrooms, and veggies for lunch.  It was really good (unlike much of the weird stuff we were challenged to eat at our group dinners - keep reading the next couple of posts)!

I had seen some beautiful paintings in our hotel gift shop and asked Candy where I could see more like them.  She took me to an art gallery in this shopping center where I learned about the artist, Li Junsheng.  From the time he was a child, he was interested in becoming an artist, and he was inspired by the unique scenery in the Zhangjiajie.  After seeing some homes which were decorated with sand textured wallpaper, an idea was born to create paintings entirely out of natural dyes and materials, such as sand, stone and bamboo.  It is interesting to note that Bob and I had painted our former master bathroom with a sand textured paint.  I, too, am drawn to the natural textures and colors of the earth.  Li Junsheng's paintings are three-dimensional masterpieces and are really very beautiful and unique collector items.  (The first two show below are at least six feet in height.)

The following evening, our group had dinner reservations at a restaurant in this village.  Bob agreed to visit the gallery, and he was also impressed with the paintings.  So, as you guessed, we purchased this one, and much to Bob's dismay, my hero carried it home with us through three airports, two special arrangement security checks, and customs!  It barely fit in the coat rack on our first flight, and thankfully, there was an empty row of seats where we were allowed to stow it on our next flight.  Never again, I am reminded!

Here are a few photos of the village lit up at night, and a sample of some interesting instruments filling the air with music.  Bob's co-worker, Steve, showed us his shooting skills and won a carnival prize to give to one of our grandsons.

  After a day like this, there's no angry bird here!

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