This past weekend we visited a place called Xian Dao Hu roughly translated meaning “fairy island lake.” The beauty of this lake cannot be described in words nor captured in film. The crystal clear lake is dotted with islands ranging from the size of a sandbar to larger islands which once supported unique ethnic communities.
The first island that we visited was supposed to be an island inhabited by a culture native to that island. Instead of a sample of native culture, however, we ended up experiencing a campy tourist attraction in which dark skinned natives would jump and and scare us with wooden sticks. What really shocked me was what we saw when we got to the top of the mountain. The “natives” put on a show of a young Thai boy who, because of his family’s poverty, was subjected to female hormone injections at the age of five and then subsequently made what amounts to a circus attraction. Tourists were invited to pay money to take a pictures with this “freak of nature” for 20元.
The second island proved to be much more enjoyable than the first and for me was the highlight. We ended up hiking around this beautiful mountain island which boasted a buddhist temple, a cave, and several waterfalls. One of the most enjoyable parts of this whole trip was a trip by zipline that we took around part of the island for a paltry sum of 20元 (3$). This trip gave us a welcome chance to relax and to look beyond the city and look at China’s natural beauties.
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