Our time on the lake started with us loading onto a boat that took us past a bunch of small islands to a larger island that we unloaded at. The boat ride was beautiful taking us past clumps of giant lotus plants and fishermen out on their little wooden boats pulling up nets. Once we had landed at the first of the islands we were to visit we began to walk around
. The beauty of the land and water is indescribable. The island was very marshy, so it was made up of dry areas connected by bridges or walkways over the marshy areas where thousands of lotuses grew intermixed with rice patties. On the dry areas there were buildings, gazebos and many statues. When we first landed we walked through an arch way that led to a large rock with Chinese writing all over it. The group decided to take a picture in front of the rock, when we were taking the picture families saw us and wanted their kids to get their pictures with us. The parents pushed the kids up to stand by our group and then made them stay there to get the picture. Later as we walked around Shaba and I fell behind the group because we were busy taking pictures, as we were walking we came up behind a family with 4 small kids. The family began taking our pictures with their phones. They would try to hide it by pointing the camera at the kids and then at the last minute angling the camera at us. Finally they just asked us to take a picture with their kids so we did. That was a weird experience but Shaba and I both found it rather comical because that's not something we are use to. At the same time though I felt sorry for the kids because some of them looked really scared. After that Shaba and I caught up with our group at an area with lots of bridges. In that area there were a row of obstacle bridges set up that lots of people were trying to cross. One of the bridges was row of tree stumps hanging over the water by chains
. To cross it you had to step from one swinging stump to the next holding on to the chains for balance. I tried that one but only made to about one fourth of the way across because the stumps were spaced to far apart after that and I was not tall enough to reach the next stump. Andrew also tried that bridge and was able to do it. He is almost a foot taller than me and he said he even had trouble reaching the stump that caused me to turn back. Some of the other bridges were easier and others were harder. One of the other bridges looked just like a normal plank bridge except that the two large sections of it spun so you had to run across them and hope you make it to the other side before the balance is tipped too much. Another bridge was just two wires across the water, one for your feet and the other for your hands. That one was rather easy but because the wires sank as you moved to the middle you would end up wet to your knees at least.
After the bridges we walked over to an area with lots of buildings and houses. We were told that one of those buildings was where Chairman Mao lived during World War II, we were not told which one it was though. One of those buildings was a large dining hall/ restaurant where we eat lunch. The food all came from the lake. We were told that the lake is completely self-sufficient. The lake provides fish, lotus plants (you eat the root and it’s very good), and rice among other things
. For lunch we had fish, rice, lotus root, duck, duck eggs, lotus soup, and many other things.
After lunch we got back onto the boat and went to another island. On this island we saw three different shows. The first show was a play. The play was all in Chinese so I couldn’t understand it but based on what I gathered from seeing it and what I was told it was a comedy about the war between China and Japan. It was a very good play and the actors/dancers were very talented. During parts of the play they would break out into dances which were very good. The next show we saw was an alligator show. The show was rather boring; the only thing of real interest was when the guy put his head in the alligator’s mouth. The last show was three men on motorcycles which they rode around inside a metal ball. The really impressive part of that show was that one of the men had no arms and yet he was still riding a motorcycle around inside ball where he was going up the sides and ending up a good 10 feet off the ground at least.
After that last show we loaded onto the boat again to head back to the main entrance into the lake. Once we were off the lake we boarded the bus again and headed back to campus.
Bai Yang Lake was the first of five trips I will go on with my group. For the trip we left at 7am the morning of Saturday September 3rd. We loaded into a van and set out in the pouring rain. The drive was about two hours maybe two and a half hours and rather uneventful so most of the group slept. We arrived at the Lake shortly before ten in the morning. The air was crisp after the rains and still very foggy. It stayed overcast and cold all day with a few light showers through-out the day. The weather did nothing to suppress the beauty of the lake though.