Sunday, September 14: Outside the west gate of Guangxi University is a pedestrian bridge that crosses Luban Road, a major road that runs along the whole west side of the university. From there I can take any number of perpendicular alleyway/streets on either side of a set of luxury high rises, gated and guarded apartment complexes with lush tropical parks blooming between them. I walk along one of these streets with an air of commerce about it.
When I cross another large street, I come to what on a map of Nanning looks like a green river bed, with a thread-like stream running through it. The map shows that this stream feeds into Nanning’s main waterway, the Yongjiang River.
In real life, this “stream” looks like a major river. While I’m walking I assume I’m walking beside the Youngjiang River. When I finish my walk this morning, I look at my trusty MapMyWalk app, which truly does map my walk, and I’m perplexed to see on the map that there is no river showing. It’s just an area of green. If you look hard enough, MAYBE you can see a thread of blue running through. Sure enough, the Yongjiang River is further south, but nowhere near where I walked.
I’m so baffled by this, that I spend much of my Sunday looking at maps of Nanning and trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I obviously need to get my bearings in this huge city, which is in reality one of China’s smaller cities. It’s quite overwhelming. My goal over the next 10 months is to unravel the mystery of Nanning.
This morning I walk about 3.8 miles, from my apartment to this unnamed stream and southward along its edge, mistakenly under the impression it’s the Yongjiang River. It has a big blue butterfly shaped bridge over its north end, and a wide road, Daxue Road, cutting across it to the south. South of Daxue Road, the stream flows past the Nanning Zoo and eventually finds its way to the Yongjiang River. Daxue Road, by the way, leads also to the main (south) gate of the university.
Surprisingly, I don’t see any debris along this path. It’s actually surprising that I rarely see any trash on the streets anywhere in Nanning.
As I’m walking, I see the pretty blue bridge, which as far as I can tell doesn’t have a name. High rises brush the clouds on either side of the river.
Along my walk, I find ornamental grasses, yellow and lavender wildflowers, flitting dragonflies, parked electric motorbikes and bicycles, fishermen wearing straw hats or hunched under umbrellas, fellow walkers, bikers, a woman pushing a food cart, a backyard garden laid out neatly under an electrical tower, a couple and their child listening to music by the riverside, gnarled and feathery trees, and, north of the bridge, an interesting complex with traditional Chinese rooftops. I can’t tell what this is on the map, possibly some government complex. Mountains stretch across the horizon to the north.
It takes me quite a long time to take this walk, and I’m drenched by the time I return home. I really do need to get going much earlier on my walks.
The weather forecast called for thunderstorms this morning. Though the sky did seem slightly threatening, it never rained. The weather made for an interesting sky though. Sometimes in Nanning, we can see blue sky and sunshine, while other times it seems gray and hazy. I’m not sure if the haze is pollution or humidity, or both.
Slowly but surely, I’m getting a feel for what’s within walking distance here in my little neck of the woods.
One day last week I did this walk in a northerly direction and I got a close-up picture of the blue bridge. One day soon I hope to cross over this bridge and see what’s on the other side. There’s a walkway there too, or so I’m told.