Saturday, October 18: This afternoon, I go on an expedition to The Guangxi Medicinal Plant Garden. My apartment at Guangxi University is on the northwest side of Nanning, and this garden is on the northeast, so it is quite a haul to get there. I showed the Nanning map to my students on Friday to ask about a bus, and they told me it would take an hour on the 66 from the university main gate, or 1 1/2 hours on bus 44. I checked out a map and figured out if I went to the university’s west gate, I could catch a taxi and take the expressway. That would be a lot faster and thus worth the extra cost.
Little do I know the expressway will be clogged. We’re stuck in traffic much of the way, and of course the meter is running the whole time. It costs me 45 yuan (~$7.34) to get there. Oh well, if I go back again, I’ll try the bus.
The taxi driver doesn’t know where the entrance to the garden is; he drops me in the middle of conglomeration of garden shops. I have to walk quite a distance from here to get to the entrance. On the way, I pass these crazy sea urchin sculptures.
I pay the entry fee of 15 yuan (~$2.45) and go in. There are apparently all kinds of medicinal plants in the garden, but I don’t bother to read most of the placards, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to give much information. Surprisingly the signs are written in Chinese and English, so at least I could read them if I wanted to. I’m more interested in just walking around in a park, away from the city, enjoying nature and taking pictures.
First I come to a long flight of steps with blocks balanced on their points. I think the middle steps are supposed to hold a waterfall, but no water is running today.
I see some tall stands of bamboo beside a pond.
I try to get my bearings by studying a signpost, while a Chinese girl poses for her boyfriend in the background.
This sign calls the garden to the left the Vain Medicine Section, but another sign says it’s the Ethnic Medicine used by minorities in Guangxi such as Zhuang, Yao, Miao, etc.
It seems to me that this place is really just a big botanical garden that’s a little scruffier than ones I’m used to seeing in the West.
Click on any of the pictures below to see a full-sized slide show.
I walk under a really cool arbor tunnel covered with flowers and vines.
The far end of the arbor opens up to a butterfly garden.
There are a lot of beautiful plants and pathways and arbors to see, and although the garden is not perfectly manicured and maintained, it is quite pleasant. It must be tough to exert control over a garden in a tropical climate such as this. The garden just wants to grow wild.
It’s quite warm today, nearly 88 degrees and 75% humidity. Earlier this week we had some cooler days, so I was hoping that summer was over. I guess I was wrong.
The Rattan Gallery consists of a vine corridor 1000 meters long adjacent to a woody garden and an artificial lake. Four hundred meters of this is paved with ancient boat wood. More than 200 species of medicinal vine plants including flower vine, fruit vine, and vegetable vine are displayed on the corridor.
By this time, I’m hot and tired from all that walking, so I head out to the road and flag down a taxi. This time there’s hardly any traffic and I make it home quickly for only 31 yuan.
Little by little, I’m learning about what Nanning has to offer. It’s a huge city, so I doubt I’ll ever learn it all, but hopefully I can become familiar with a few areas.