Bái Shuǐ Jiān Mountain, Lin’an, Zhejiang Province, China

Barry and I are getting bolder about traveling in China.  We’ve been rather intimidated about the Chinese language – spoken and written.  Only now have I finally been able to say, “Cèsuŏ zài năr? ” (“Where is the toilet?”) and have some people understand me.

However, last Friday, which is a non-teaching day for me, we decided to take the city bus from our campus to the main bus station and ask a student along the way to recommend somewhere we could go by bus and be able to return the same day.  We met Cookie, a tea culture major, and although she doesn’t live in Lin’an, she asked others for their recommendations.

Barry and Cookie outside the ticket office

The consensus of the local people was that they didn’t think the ordinary towns near here would be interesting to us (although almost anything is interesting when you can’t read the signs and so need to make up stories all the time).   However,  Cookie took us to a travel agency so we could get discounted tickets and guided us first by taxi, then two buses.

We took a picture of this intersection where the bus dropped us off--so we could find it when we wanted to return

We found ourselves at the entrance to Bái shuǐ  (“white water”) Jiān (this can mean “pig of 3 years,” “Strong, firm, resolute,” “difficult; hard; hardship,” and 22 other meanings including the one I’m electing “sound of moving water,so the place name may be “The Sound of White Moving Water Mountain,” or  “Rushing White Water Mountain”; both are poetic names even if my translations aren’t  correct.

Entrance with a statue of the esteemed doctor

Barry and I found ourselves in the cool of a mountain of tall bamboo forests about an hour from Lin’an.   We arrived just before noon and were the only Westerners (practically the only people, if you can believe that) for the several hours that we walked the tile and stone paths along a bubbling stream as bamboo harvesters brought freshly cut stocks down the steep trails.

Bamboo harvester

The bamboo was of giant lengths

Harvested bamboo

The Bái Shuǐ  Jiān mountain area honors  a man who was supposed to become a Chinese prime minister but who instead returned to his family, studied medicine, traveled all over China collecting medicinal herbs, and then cultivated the plants  himself.  He became known as a very ethical and knowledgeable  doctor who could cure unusual and seemingly hopeless illnesses.

Another statue of the doctor

The park reminded me of Maui’s Iao Valley with the sound of the rushing stream and the shaded quiet paths.

Bái Shuǐ Jiān pool

In the summer, this park must be filled with people from Lin’an,  Hangzhou, and even Shanghai seeking fun and the cool mountain air.

One of the Bái Shuǐ Jiān waterfalls

In the park, we also saw a functioning Buddhist monastery

Moon gate to the monastery

Although a monk wouldn’t allow photos in the temple, I could take picture of this display:

Were these men emperors or benefactors of the monastery? I wish I could read Chinese characters.

We also went through a Chinese maze of bamboo fences, walking stones, and such trodden paths  that it is doubtful anyone has ever gotten lost here.

Bái Shuǐ Jiān maze

Now tourists can also zip down a slide,

Bái Shuǐ Jiān covered slide

ride rafts,

Bái Shuǐ Jiān rafts - note the guy taking his noon nap on this day too cool for swimming

or spend hours at out-door shaded barbecue cafes.

Barbecues and cafes are throughout the park

Nestled under the trees is various areas of the park are plaques translating poems that I’m sure are beautiful in Chinese although the translations into English are muddled:

"The Drunken Turtle King"

Bái Shuǐ Jiān swinging bridge

Bái Shuǐ Jiān shelter

The town at the entrance to the park is fun to explore as well. It is a mixture of old, crumbling buildings as well big new dwellings.

The old:

Some things haven't changed

Old buildings, drying laundry, and a newer house behind

We think the owners of the new houses may be the developers of the new activities within the park.  The town also has its old walls and ancient, decaying buildings.

New and old

Stained glass window

Crumbling walls

Bái Shuǐ Jiān - town in the mountains

Do you see the satellite dish in the upper window?

Bái Shuǐ Jiān Villa - near the entrance to the park

Barry and I spent a delightful afternoon wandering the park and the town.

This friendly student helped us find our bus to return to Lin'an

On the bus on the way back to Lin’an, I said (in Chinese) when questioned that I am a teacher at the university,  and they were able to understand me—and the driver even diverted the bus route to drop Barry and me off at the ZAFU West Gate!!    We were back before dark and eating at our favorite restaurant on campus, the Camphor Tree.

The Chinese people we’ve met are really nice and the scenery beautiful.    You can be sure that we will head out for other adventures.  We wish you would join us.

Zài Jiàn & Aloha, Renée & Barry


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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

2 responses to “Bái Shuǐ Jiān Mountain, Lin’an, Zhejiang Province, China”

  1. wen shi di says :

    Please can you tell us more about the Camphor tree restaurant. Although I enjoyed my stay in Lin’an I did find that there was a dearth of good places to eat so this sounds like a useful recommendation.

    Thanks, Chris

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Chris: The Camphor Tree is on our Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University campus on the first floor of the Student Union building. We love the atmosphere of soft music, marble top tables, friendly staff, great food that isn’t too oily or salty, and because it is just across the street from our apartment. Let us know if you come back to Lin’an, and perhaps we can meet there. Zài Jiàn and Aloha, Renee

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