Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Xiangshambles - Red leaves? Hong yeah right!

“All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey”. Just the second point was confirmed by my visit to Xiangshan Park earlier this week.

According to an article in today’s Beijing Times, strong wind over the last few days has caused many of the leaves to fall prematurely in Xiangshan Park – Beijing’s number one spot to check out the reddening autumn leaves. Perhaps this explains why most of foliage that I saw was still green. “Once leaves turn red, they can’t stand up to strong wind” said a member of staff quoted in the paper; he goes on to remind travellers to get to Xiangshan as early as possible this year.

The Peking Order wouldn’t recommend that anyone hurries over to Xiangshan. An editorial published on Monday by the same newspaper raises similar concerns and describes the strain placed on these famous “red leaf spots” – on Saturday alone 80,000 people descended on Xiangshan Park.

The editorial also points out that this coming weekend is likely to see a peak in the number of tourists. Could it get any busier than it was on Monday? That day I saw more tour group red hats than I did red leaves. It was a ghastly experience, one that I could endure for just half an hour.

My advice couldn’t be simpler: leaf this one out!

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