Four days in Jilin – a province in north west China
My friend Jon and I caught the bullet train from Liaoning Province to Jilin; it was only about an hour and half ride and I recall we slept most of the way. Upon arrival we went straight to our hotel (well that was after we haggled with a ‘private taxi’ over a price to our hotel). I immediately jumped on the bed to see if it was a typical Chinese hard mattress or western style…pleasantly surprised..western style; nice and comfortable. After this, I followed my usual routine of checking out the bathroom [clean with all necessary amenities] and then took photos from the window.After a relaxing evening, early the next morning Jon and I were picked up by our tour guide and driver and taken to Jinyue Lake Forest National Park. The park covers an area of 200 square kilometres, with over 4.3 square kilometres water surface and 80 square kilometres planted forest. We told our guide we wanted to walk quite a distance within the park so our driver dropped us off at the main entrance. Firstly to see as much as we could and secondly to ensure we reached our 12,000+ steps for the day.
The park has many features; a golf course, a man-made beach that holds up to 3000 people, BBQ areas, temples and 1000 spotted deer located in over 30,000 square metres in Deer Park. Or you could just enjoy walking, skating or bike riding around.The park also had some cartoon character statues – no idea why they were there but I have come to enjoy seeing these statues in many places around China!! Pepa Pig and family were first to greet us followed by some other characters I didn’t know and then Mr Fox and Ms Rabbit…
The walkways are paved beautifully [very old our guide told us] as well as treelined and circle for kilometres through forests and alongside the water. It was a pretty hot day but the shade from the tree branches made our walk very pleasant.
Walking around the water’s edge was also beautiful. There are small boats that can be sailed around at the lake but we decided to continue walking.Although after about four hours, we were a little tired and rather hungry so we cheated a little and had our driver pick us up from another entry/exit point to/from the park. A great day out to enjoy China’s surprisingly beautiful bright blue sky.The next day we visited Museum of the Imperial Palace of Manchukuo. The palace was the official residence created by the Imperial Japanese Army for China’s last emperor of the Qing dynasty, Puyi. It was where Puyi lived as part of his role as Emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. The Chinese refer to the museum as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace & Exhibition Hall and are not particularly complimentary about Puyi with his ‘defection’ to Japan.HISTORY – [source: Wikepedia] In 1931, the Japanese took control of the Northeast of China, the area of modern-day Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, which were historically known as Manchuria. The Japanese created an officially independent state in Manchuria which they named Manchukuo which was in reality a puppet state of Japan. In an attempt to lend legitimacy to Manchukuo, the Japanese installed Puyi as Emperor of Manchukuo.Finally, in 1945, the Second World War was brought to an end and the Japanese surrendered to China. At the same time, the Manchukuo ceased to exist and Puyi returned to the status of an ordinary citizen.
A puppet state is independent but is completely dependent upon an outside power. It is nominally sovereign but effectively controlled by a foreign or otherwise alien power, for reasons such as financial interests, economic or military support.But back to the palace – it was designed as a miniature version of the Forbidden City in Beijing and is divided into an inner court and outer court. The outer or front court was used for administrative purposes and the inner or rear court as the royal residence. Both the front and rear court were maintained beautifully and the furniture was stunning. You can imagine an emperor living there…
The palace grounds cover an area of 43,000 square meters. We spent most of our time in the royal residence but also took a short stroll around the grounds.
Then it was time to leave the palace, return to our hotel and make our way to Inner Mongolia by plane to more fabulous adventures in China!