Today, we spent the whole day at Guilin’s Qixing Gongyuan (Seven Star Park). Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited this park and gave a speech on environmentalism there. Guilin is a Tier 2 city in southwestern China where growth is primarily driven by tourism. Locals and tourists from other parts of China frequent the park. In this post, I will be showing their faces.
The three year-old girl in the photo below left a very strong impression on me. Her parents operate some rides in the kid area of the park. All the workers in that area know and take turns watching her with her parents. She spends her Saturdays there enjoying kid rides for free.
I was delighted with her willingness to pose for me, and of course with her parents agreement. Thus far, I have collected quite a few QQ numbers (Tencent’s instant messaging service) to send pictures to.
At such a young age, she is already so articulate and confident. I observed her collecting fallen leaves and stringing them using a bamboo stick. I wondered what this little girl will be doing 20 years from now. Given China’s growth, I am full of hopes for her.
The camel mountain is most synonymous with Qixing Gongyuan. This is the spot where Clinton gave his speech.
There are many tourists visiting this park.
An unmistakable feature of any Chinese tour group is the presence of a tour guide, with a flag. In the photo below, she was likely checking her TXT message related to some arrangement for her group. Chinese tour groups are usually known to have a packed full schedule. The tour guide jostles a lot.
The travelers below were carrying a Canon 5D Mark 2 camera (the same one I used to take these photos). They also had a 50mm f/1.2L lens. For those of you who are into photography, you will know that this is some hefty equipment. By their accent, I thought they were from Shanghai.
A block away from the park is a giant billboard advertising Canon’s EOS-1 camera system. Actually, I have seen quite a few dSLR cameras, especially Canon and Nikon, among Chinese tourists. Like microprocessors for Intel, China will soon become Canon and Nikon’s biggest market.
(Btw, did you notice the Mickey Mouse on the backpack in the image before the above? I think Disney has a chance to become very big in China.)
My last trip to Qixing Gongyuan was about six years ago. The park itself is like the rest of China – many things get built. Some structures are not built so well, and in just a few years, may be torn down and something anew is quickly put in place. Below is a group of girls slowly pacing through the park and enjoying themselves.
The image below of the girl struck me very much as “new China.” In contrast, the “old China” had only gray color; men wore Mao suits.
A group of kids were busy trying to catch bubbles. Notice the boy wearing slit pants. I have to say, that feature is of high utility!
This group of kids were playing a bit more rough. I think their game was simply to take turns going after each other with a broom.
China is very much about the single child. I rarely see any Chinese parent with more than one. The image below struck me of this phenomenon.
Qixing Gongyuan is very expansive and full of character. Below is a walkway with Chinese character engravings. The column of trees produce a very fragrant “guihua.”
Some stones are intentionally left blank for people to share their calligraphy and poetry skills. They write using water. I wished my Chinese is better. I could spend a week at the park trying to understand these writings.
Senior citizens and children enter the park free. Below are some playing cards. I imagine early in the morning they are there practicing taichi.
While leaving the park, I noticed a group of local kids engrossed in some books. I teased them. They looked at me, giggled, and went on their merry ways.