Top o’ the hill, ma


I decided to go on a much briefer adventure today to 锡惠公园 (Xīhuì Park), which still entailed much sweating even although the park is only about a kilometre away. My principal aim was the pagoda on 锡山.

The pagoda on Xi Shan in Xihui Park, Wuxi

There’s quite a bit more to the park than just that, and there’s a cable car up to a higher peak beyond this one, but that’s a trip for another day and even another season. The park itself seems to be yet another which has been fashioned and then gradually left to its own devices with maintenance on it being desultory at best. Hidden away in the growth on the hill were bits of this and that such as observation platforms (?) from which nothing has been observable since the trees grew up and obscured the view.

The steps up the hill were the usual uneven sort of thing constructed out of rocks which should only be tackled by people wearing sensible shoes, but I imagine that a lot of Chinese women have taken it on in high heels.

When I got up to the pagoda, I thought that it was closed, but found that you have to go round to the other side of the complex to get in. I was expecting to be charged for the privilege, but access was free. I did a circuit of each level as I went up the very narrow stairs. I’m glad I was the only person there because I imagine that if the place gets crowded the ascent and descent can be difficult in a nation which has almost no concept of “give way”. Anyway, I got to the top and got a decent pan­orama of Wuxi.

xihui02 xihui03
xihui04 xihui05
xihui06 xihui07
xihui08 xihui09
xihui10 xihui11

In the first picture, you can see the Grand Canal as it heads in a roughly south-easterly direction. The second and third pictures look towards 太湖, but even if there was no haze or pollution, it’s possible that the buildings would hide any view of the lake. In the fourth and fifth pictures you can see 惠山 and the cable car that goes up there (right of centre in the fourth picture and left-hand side in the fifth picture). The sixth picture looks towards 常州 (out of shot as far as I’m aware), and the seventh and eight to the north and north-east. About a third from the right-hand side of the ninth picture is the complex where I live. The final shot, which isn’t part of the sequence, is of the school itself, looking rather shiny and new.

There were only a few people in the park, but it is a weekday, hot (probably in the low thirties as usual) and a little sunny, which always sends the Chinese fleeing inside. It certainly sent me fleeing back home to dry off and cool down.


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