At the Guangyun Lake

We have been in Xi’an multiple times over the past years but somehow each time we find something new which we haven’t visited yet. One of those things was this time the site of the Xi’an International Horticultural Exposition 2011. Back then  in 2011 we were also in China together with my parents and even had tickets for the Expo. However it was so hot during that time that we decided to skip it. Years passed by and we forgot about the expo and the still existing park. This all changed when my wife’s friend invited us to go there for the afternoon. I was ready for some intense walking around the huge area and taking tons of pictures. Yes I was ready but it all didn’t work out as I had hoped for.

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Some of the wonderful flowers

Before we went to that huge park we were invited by the whole crazy family to go eating some buffet at the Shangri-La Hotel in Xi’an. Don’t understand me wrong it was pretty decent food there but nothing too extraordinary that I would write about it. Only three things are really worth mentioning from that time at the buffet. First my crazy Chinese mother-in-law was chasing behind Nathan to feed him around the playground next to the restaurant for several rounds. Not only once but multiple time. Second crazy Chinese Grandma ate two plates full of raw seafood. She never ate raw seafood before in her entire life and ended up few hours later very very sick at home. Third was a family with two children sitting next to us. The mother was one of the bit larger people out there, not that it would be worth mentioning at all but she had a very interesting taste in food. Each time she went to get some more sushi she took a tube of wasabi and ate it all, again and again and again. Okay that is all I have to mention about the buffet except of course that it took nearly three hours as all family members needed few breaks in order to eat as much as humanly possible. Due to this our trip to the Expo Site was delayed a lot.

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I couldn’t figure out how to reach that hut

My wife’s friend picked us up from the hotel a little after 3pm. With her she had her husband, baby, mother-in-law and nanny because you know it takes at least four people to handle a child in China. Once we arrived at the Expo we quickly realized that it would be impossible for us to cover the whole area as it was first of all too late and the area just too huge. We got ourselves tickets for the electrical mini busses driving through the main area. The bad thing was though that those busses only operated till 5pm meaning we had less than 1 1/2 hours time to cover at least a couple of things before leaving. While driving around you could see that they still put up a lot of effort to preserve the park however many sights were already closed and were slowly crumbling apart.

Our first stop was at a giant hall full of tropical and desert plants. The building was divided of course into two sections where the lower part was for the tropical plants and the upper area for the desert plants. It was very well made and I was surprised how on earth they got those giant trees there. Especially the rainforest part was interesting as it had all kinds of beautiful flowers around. Here I wanted to take many more pictures but the high humidity wasn’t the best friend of my camera lenses…

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Look at me!

After this we went to the animal section. I must say it was very sad to see how the animals were kept and I did not even take pictures of it. All in all it just looked terrible. The only part of the animals section where I took pictures was the peacock enclosure. It was full of male peacocks and upon entering the staff gave us dried corn to feed the birds. Those peacocks certainly went crazy showing off and we were surrounded by an ocean of colourful feathers. In fact there were so many that my wife got scared, okay she gets scared by all animals when they get too close…

Sad to say but those were the only two locations we managed to visit. While driving around the park we saw so many locations with certain themes such as European Village, Chinese Monuments etc. All over the park they had those Wedding Photoshoots and their staff carrying tons of different dresses around. We also saw the Chang’an Tower(长安塔) which is one of the main sights of the park. However we could not enter it due to one important reason, it never passed the safety test and thus was and perhaps will never be opened to the public…

Have you visited a similar Expo before?

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19 thoughts on “At the Guangyun Lake”

  1. Oh, those peacocks are beautiful, but I know exactly what you mean about seeing caged animals. I can’t stand it, not even when it’s something as nice as the National Zoo in D.C. or Wild Animal Park in San Diego. 😦 All I can think is that the animals belong in the wild…where, of course, poachers or rich idiots like Trump’s kids will pay to shoot them.

    I’m sure upbeat today.

    The buffet is hilarious. Andy follows the Chinese model, I guess — the man never met a buffet he didn’t try to bankrupt. 🙂

    1. I can only understand keeping animals in zoos which are endangered/ are in need of a breeding program. Having them caged in like this is just wrong.

      The Chinese model is feared around the globe, it won’t be long till buffet restaurants will have signs like “No Chinese!”

  2. Oh dear – I guess the lesson is only try and do one thing each day, if this is what happens! At least you saw a few nice things. I’ve been to 2 famous flower shows in Australia, one is the floriade in Canberra, which is a tulip festival in spring; the other is the Leura garden festival in the Blue Mountains, when lots of people open up their beautiful gardens tho the public. Both are lovely, and no animals involved but for the occasional pet, or in the mountains, wild birds.

  3. I love your story as long as there in MIL.:) The story of buffet made me laugh for sure .
    Looks like a beautiful expo, sad that you don’t get to see all of it. We had few yearly shows similar to that here and they are always so lovely to visit.

  4. I’ve never visited a natural scenery expo like this. It sounds like one big zoo, but with more plants and sculptures than animals. That is a lovely shot of the peacock spreading its wings (and the two others of it) but the poor animals held captive like that. I don’t think MIL would even want to feed the animals… That waterfall looks very pretty.

    I don’t know, eating a whole tube of wasabi like that. That woman might have a stomach for spiciness. If you ask me to eat that in one go, I will probably pass out, lol.

    1. I think that woman ate 5-6 tubes while we were there,…just insane.

      Thankfully they didn’t had too many animals there but those few were already sad to see. The peacocks were incredible but then again it was just males and all in a small enclosure, no wonder they were fanning out their feathers due to the constant contact witht the other males :

    1. I wish I could see some wild peacocks some day. Here in Europe they usually run freely around in the zoos as they are too lazy to fly away from their food source :p

      The buffet…let’s not talk about it anymore. I really wonder how that is even possible with the wasabi

  5. Sounds a lovely place apart from the animals not being free; I am very sad about that and you are very good not to photograph them – I mean what do you do with the photographs anyway – it’s too sad to look at them. I wish more Chinese would ensure that the animals were properly looked after if they HAVE to be at a zoo or park…I hate the thought of them being in small confined spaces but I guess that is just not China. On a lighter note funny stories at the buffet!!

    1. Chinese zoos are really not great, at least the ones I have seen. I mean here in Europe it is already bad though they have big enclosures and certain standards they have to fulfill but in China it is just bad. Small enclosures, dirt everywhere, visitors throwing their food to the animals and stuff like that 😦

  6. I’m depressed hearing about the animals and the buffet. Seriously. Chinese people at a buffet is shocking. There was a video circulating for awhile from Thailand of Chinese tourists using plates as shovels to get as much food on to their plates for a hot pot restaurant. And when we went to Pizza Co. we witnessed the tallest bowl of salad from the salad bar that I’ve ever seen and probably will ever be. Gotta get your money’s worth, eh?

    1. I remember that video. I really wonder why on earth they need to stuff themselves like that? When I am full I am full and I have no interesting in waiting for a few hours just to stuff myself a bit more

  7. Arriving late to same place when you are with a big group of people? That’s totally normal, haha. I’m impressed you even got to see at least part of the park!

    A couple of months ago there was a horticultural expo in Suzhou and we had free tickets but we saw pictures of how crowded it was and decided not to go…

    1. I read somewhere that the expo in xi’an had in 2011 over 20milion visitors, definitely too crowded for me. These days it is much emptier than before. I doubt that even a thousand people are there these days

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