Pramesty Azzura Nakesya: I am in Yangzhou, waiting for you to visit
I asked myself before I came to study in Yangzhou: What kind of city is Yangzhou?
My teacher cited a line from a poem to describe it - "a river town green with willows and red with flowers". Even just one line sends the imagination running. I also repeated it in my mind many times and it formed my initial impression of Yangzhou.
But when I arrived in person, I passed through the busy Wenchang Pavilion, walked on the bluestone path of the Dongguan Street, and even laid drunk among the landscapes and pavilions in the rain. I have finally discovered the truth of this ancient city after hearing so much about it.
Yangzhou is a relaxed city, although it no long has the prosperity of "thousands of merchant ships crowded together at sunset, taverns side by side in spring breeze". But it is still leisurely as "snow-like spring lights spilt on the orchid boat, without slightest melancholy on it". Yangzhou people enjoy staying in teahouses, like to make tea over and over to spend time, prefer living life of ease and leisure. The most accurate description of Yangzhou slow life is "Skin wraps water in the morning, skin was wrapped in water in the evening".
Yangzhou is a majestic city. A sense of majesty can be found in the water, bridges, gardens and buildings. In the poem To Han Chuo the Yangzhou Magistrate, Du Mu wrote, "The dreaming green hills stretch as far as the blue streams. At autumn's end, grass is still green on the southern shore. Twenty-four fairies on the bridge steeped in moonbeams. Are they still playing the flute as before?" A friend of Du Mu had to leave to continue his career, but his heart remained south of the Yangtze River. He was forever haunted by the unparalleled splendor of Yangzhou.
That beauty in poems and psalms is kept by time, and integrated into moonlight. The beauty is expressed in Li Bai's verse, "A river town green with willows and red with flowers"; from the line "Though Yangzhou Road's beyond compare" by Du Mu, who would later go to Chang'an from Yangzhou; from the sentence The Moon over the River on a Spring Night, as well known as the single article exceeding the whole Tang Dynasty, written by Zhang Ruoxu, "Where the river flows, there overflows her light"; from Li Bai's well-known poem A Song of Pure Happiness, "Her robe is a cloud, her face a flower"; from Xu Ning's description of the moonlight of Yangzhou, "There are three parts of moonlight in the world, and two parts of them are in Yangzhou", which stirs a fascination in Yangzhou for many.
Yangzhou is a special city, with Chinese National Geography describing the geographic location of the city as follows: "The more important reason for regarding Yangzhou as a region south of the Yangtze River is the similarity between them. It can even be said that Yangzhou was more ever." The geographical location of Yangzhou has the gracefulness of the area south of the Yangtze River. The ancient Grand Canal runs through from north to south, and the well-developed Yangtze River system spans from east and west. Yangzhou has been an important water transportation hub for all directions since ancient times. It has witnessed emperors and ministers who made southern tours, thoughts and feelings expressed by declass scholars, and the busy water transportation of merchants.
Yangzhou is an unforgettable city. "Life should only be ended in Yangzhou, as the picturesque Chanzhi Mountain is the perfect burial ground" is the sentiment of many people in Yangzhou. When I came to this city, I couldn't forget the delicious food and the steaming morning tea, the heat of dried beancurd threads in consomme mixed with the juice of crab soup dumplings, and the poem that Wang Zengqi wrote about food in Yangzhou. An air of worldliness can be found in the alleys and lanes as well as on the sides of old streets. There’s nothing better than slowing down and relaxing with a cup of tea and some dumplings.
Yangzhou is where my dream began, a city that people fall in love at first sight. Du Mu said, "I awake after dreaming ten years in Yangzhou". Is there a better time to come to Yangzhou than now?
I have dreamed of the twists and turns of the Great Wall and the solemnity of the Forbidden City. But when I came to Yangzhou, I found the "real China," which is the long stretch of the Grand Canal for thousands of years and the way the area south of the Yangtze River integrates ancient and modern. I will be with Yangzhou together, waiting for you to visit.
By Pramesty Azzura Nakesya, an Indonesian student from Yangzhou Polytechnic Institute in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu province