Friday, November 09, 2007

Refreshing Mists and Ripples

Lynne and I are at the Mountain Resort, Chengde, where Emperors of the Qing Dynasty (the last of the feudal dynasties which fell in 1911) would flee the summer heat of the capital at Beijing to a palace they built here at high elevation. The five hour train ride up from Beijing was through pollution you could cut like a knife. Yesterday was just hazy after rain but to-day was fresh and ideal photographic weather. Of the kaleidiscope of things coming at us the one that has stayed with me most is the pavilion in the summer palace where the emperor who ceded Kowloon (Hong Kong) to Britain and France signed that treaty and later died at a young age. Tragic and to have much of an impact for generations. The whole complex is certainly one where the Hall of Fragility and Tranquility and the Refreshing Mists and Ripples (on the lake) seem aptly named. Off on sleeper train to-night.