(2) I’m a “Tour Guide” -- A Defaced Beauty (Jiuzhaigou)

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Aug 12, 2017 01:03
A magnitude 7 earthquake hit Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan Province, China a few days ago, causing 20 deaths and hundreds of casualties. In addition, the earthquake wreaked havoc on some parts of the landscape of this UNESCO natural heritage site.

When speaking of China’s beautiful landscapes, British/American people may only think of Guilin and Yangshuo in southwestern China. In my mind’s eye, a few places are even more beautiful. Jiuzhaigou is, no doubt, one of them. The place, a Tibetan community as well as panda habitat, is located in snowy mountains on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and is famous for its stunning forest and lake scenery.

Well, alpine forests and lakes can be found in many other countries, say, Switzerland or New Zealand. What makes Jiuzhaigou stand out from similar places in other parts of the world, and get recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site, is its incredibly beautiful waters: a dense cluster of barrier lakes. Snowmelt flows down the mountains and is trapped by landslide dams, forming many lakes. The water, with various mineral substances in it, looks gorgeous in the sun. The lake water displays different shades of green and blue, and is surrounded with yellow, green and red clusters of trees, with mighty snowy mountains in the background. All these make Jiuzhaigou a fairyland.

As you may have noticed, this landscape was formed by seismic activities. It’s no surprise that another earthquake struck the place. However, at the same time, that “ruined” some scenic places. The lake water has drained through the dam breaches. Some waterfalls have changed their courses or have totally disappeared. It’s hard to say they have been destroyed for good, because some lakes and waterfalls might be formed somewhere nearby in the future. But, the thing is, this process may take tens of thousands of years, or more...

In recorded history, earthquakes have struck this place infrequently. But, human life spans are so short compared to nature. <*I feel like there is an idiom that fits in here, but I could not put my finger on it. Seemingly “a flash in the pan,” but methinks this period of time is a bit long.>.

Worse still, I haven’t been to Jiuzhaigou yet. During the past several years, overseas travel has always been my priority. My bad. China has many beautiful places! I’ll have to visit them as soon as possible.