Our goal had been to visit a person we were told made and rented dragon boats, a traditional Chinese craft that are the center of the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. It was a gorgeous day, and our trip had us headed northwest of Guangzhou. We didn’t have much knowledge of where we were headed. If I remember correctly, we had the address and a phone number, and some strange idea that this person might have what we were after. Sometimes, a hunch can lead to great things. On other occasions, a hunch will lead you to….well, something else.
On this occasion, a hunch lead us to a place that I have come to call Chinese Mexico, an expanse of blue water 5 miles across, twisted and random in the way that you only find with reservoirs. Our guide insisted that the lake was natural, but based on the shocking blue of the water, I had some doubts. The water level was low, and I could see that the lake bed was a bright, raw clay color. Nothing was growing on the bottom. When we returned home, I took a look and confirmed a massive damn on the south side of the lake. Though it may have started as a natural lake, it was nothing of the sort at this point.
We walked out onto the strangest of floating structures, a metal mess that was reminiscent of something out of water world. It was nothing less than a miracle that the platform was floating, and with ever step I expected to fall through the metal slates, none of which was without rust.
We were brought to our Dragon Boats, a sad pair of rusted steel drums that had been converted into gondola-like barges. Not what we were after by any means. Despite the disappointment in our boat search, I thought the old resort was fantastic, and hope to go back at some point. There were few people there, and it would be an amazing place to sail. As for the water, based on the color and lack of anything living, I might advise against swimming.