Xinjiang: The Bayanbulak Swan Lake (with no swans)

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Grazing animals are lovely to watch.

China has a thing about fencing up natural wonders and charging (exorbitant ticket prices) for them. They do so for lakes, and prairies, and mountains… I understand charging a fee for landscaped parks and historical wonders, collecting donations for museums and places of worship, but charging for natural wonders is simply being opportunistic. Paying for services is acceptable, as is paying a fee for maintenance upkeep, but for a view…? Perhaps I am merely being naive and miserly.

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(The descriptions in English can be read if you enlarge the photographs.)

Here, we were given some time to take a walk (uphill) to see a meandering river.

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I was super cold, and luckily there were coats for rent (100RMB, 50RMB refunded on return of the coat). The domestic Chinese tourists had some good-natured fun teasing me, a foreigner, for wearing the Red Army coat.

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Yes, I do look warm enough to hike the Himalayas, not some highland lake. Ignore my messy hair and check out the curvey river behind!

Given that there were no real swans around…are swans migratory? Or is ‘The Swan Lake’ merely a description of the graceful arches of the river?

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