Looking for peace and quiet

Chinese people tend to be quite loud and there are a LOT of them so this is definitely not a quiet place to live! The streets below our building are usually a beehive of activity. We jokingly call the scene outside our windows our reality show as there’s always something interesting to watch. Because the building has little or no soundproofing, the show comes complete with sound and now that the weather has warmed up and we often have the windows open, the volume has been turned up. Once in awhile, I wake during the night and marvel at the silence but sometimes there are people shouting or horns honking even in the wee hours.

When I was a child, if we asked my father what he wanted for his birthday, Father’s Day or Christmas, his answer was always the same. "Peace and quiet!" I must have inherited my appreciation for quiet places from him. It’s not easy to get away from the hustle, bustle and noise that surrounds us here but we did find a couple of slightly more peaceful places this weekend.

Yesterday afternoon, we visited the Dalian Botanical Garden with one of my university students. Chinese gardens, like Japanese, tend to be landscape style gardens that include one or more ponds, rock works, trees and gazebos or pavilions connected by winding paths. Though there may be flowers, they aren’t the main focus. The Dalian garden is on the outskirts of the city and surrounds a very large pond that is obviously well stocked with fish as there were many people with lines in the water. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and also Mother’s Day so there were plenty of families enjoying the park but in spite of that, there was a sense of peace that isn’t easily found here.

Today, we spent a couple of hours strolling along the boardwalk that skirts the Daxishan Reservoir, not too far from here. Though we were never far from the sound of traffic and there were others also out enjoying the walk, it wasn’t crowded. Again, there was a very welcome feeling of peace.


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