11.08.2012 - 02.09.2012
Hetian, August 25th 2012
Taxis were frequent but all occupied. Plus, I wasn't the only one hailing for a taxi. I watched people hailing for obviously occupied ones. And then a taxi stopped by. The guys beside the street talked to the driver, and got on the taxi. Aha! I get it. Taxis here aren't necessarily to be private. If you are heading to the same direction, you can join and the negotiate the fare with the taxi driver. I prayed that I would get a vacant taxi, because I won't be able to explain easily where I wanted to go to. Following Cory's suggestion, I wanted to go to Walnut Garden.
My prayer was answered. When all the people beside the road got their taxis, a vacant taxi passed by. I showed the driver the text message from Cory where the name of the place was written in Mandarin characters. My taxi driver, not looking Chinese neither Uyghur, stared at my cellphone's screen. Hmmm...
"Wait. Let me call my friend," I said to him.
After I got Cory on the line, I handed my cellphone to the driver. I had asked Cory to tell him that I wanted the taxi driver to wait for an hour at the Walnut Museum and then bring me back the same place. The driver asked for 100 yuan for the whole trip back and forth. I agreed.
This driver that had a Pakistani look, was kind. Along the way he pointed out to places of interest.
At the Walnut Museum, it were orange wild roses like this, that caught my first attention.
They grew abundantly under the walnut tree.
Let me give you a close up.
Near the center of the walnut garden stands a phenomenal walnut tree, the King
The Walnut Tree King, it is called.
Let me copy the English translation for you. Please ignore, if you find some words odd.
The ancient walnut tree king is the demon of walnut, by textual research with the history of 1365 years and can be called the God of Longevity in trees. This tree alone covers an area of one mu, 16.7 meters long. The diameter of its crown is 20.6 meters, and of its trunk is 6.6 meters, the length of the crown from east to west is 21.5 meters and 10.7 meters from north to south. It is roughly Y-shaped. it takes at least five people to encircle it. Due to the long history, it's hollow. Despite hundreds s of years' weathering, the walnut tree king is still tall, straight and flourishing. With thousands of years' history, it is still high-yield, producing 6000-8000 walnuts per year, which have big size, thin cortex and full kernel. It absorbs the quintessence of the universe and contains its intelligence. The local people would pay visits to the tree king, wishing it could bring good weather. Nowadays, a walnut tree king garden has been built to attract tourists. It has been elected as an "AAA Agriculture Travel demonstrate place of the nation"
Because it is a "magestic tree", walking around it for three circles make you every thing goes smoothly, merchant will be wealthy, officers will be smoothly on their work way. All the visitors will come here to visit and pay homage, they all have the same feeling that "not visit the walnut tree king not visit Hotan."
Interestingly it doesn't mention about walking around the tree backwards, but I saw people walking around backwards. I tried to find out in the Chinese text, doesn't seem mentioned either. Is there a believe that it would be more effective if done backwards?
'Nourishing the brain', I like that. What would it mean living a hundred years old but with a dumb brain? Right?
Not just on that stone, inside the museum there was plenty of information about walnut.
These people are over a hundred years old, blessed by the walnut diet.
Oh yeah, long life but with a good working brain and also happy life is crucial. Long life, good working brain, but bittered, would be pain to people around. These people in the picture look happy.
Samples of walnut.
Wooden corridors of shading squash in giant sizes added a soft touch to the whole visit.
A shame thing to admit, I thought these were the walnut fruits.
For an entrance ticket of 10 yuan, I concluded this visit very worthwhile.