After graduating from college, the paths of life are different. Some people stayed in the original city, some went abroad, some pursued their dreams, and some compromised with reality. Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox are such a pair of classmates. We used to be good friends in the same dormitory, go to class together, have fun together, and share each other’s joys and sorrows. But after graduation, we lost contact. They went to China, and I stayed in the United States. They became famous wildlife photographers, and I became an ordinary programmer. Our lives seemed to have no intersection.
Until last month, I received their email. They said they were shooting a documentary in Huangqi Mountain Forest Park in Jieyang, Guangdong, China, and wanted to invite me to go hunting with them. They said this was a great opportunity to relive our friendship and experience China’s nature and culture. As soon as I saw this email, I felt an inexplicable excitement. I remembered the memories we had in college, our common interest in hunting, and our curiosity and longing for China. I agreed to their invitation without hesitation and booked the ticket immediately.
So I started my reunion trip. I didn’t expect that this trip not only reunited me with my old friends, but also showed me a magical and beautiful place – Huangqi Mountain Forest Park. What surprised me even more was that there was not only rich and unique wildlife resources here, but also mouth-watering local cuisine. This was a trip that I will never forget, and also a trip that made me re-recognize myself and my friends.
Huangqi Mountain Forest Park is located in Jiexi County, Jieyang City, Guangdong Province. It is a national forest park that integrates ecological tourism, science education, and leisure and entertainment. There are green mountains, clear streams, peculiar rocks, rare animals and plants, and profound history and culture. This was once the cradle of the Chinese revolution and an important station of the Red Army’s Long March. It is also a biodiversity treasure trove in southern China and a national-level wildlife nature reserve.
Why did Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox choose this place as their shooting location? It turned out that they were invited by a famous Chinese wildlife expert, Professor Li Zhigang. Professor Li is a frequent visitor to Huangqi Mountain Forest Park, where he has been conducting wildlife research and conservation work for many years. He has a deep affection and rich knowledge of the animals here. He heard of the reputation of Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox, and contacted them proactively, inviting them to shoot a documentary about Huangqi Mountain Forest Park. He said that there are many rare and beautiful animals here, such as white pheasants, egrets, cranes, eagles, chickens, birds, cats, foxes, rabbits, mice and so on. He said that these animals are the characteristics of Huangqi Mountain Forest Park, and also the treasures of southern China. He said that if they could capture their charm with the camera, it would be a very meaningful and valuable thing.
Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox were interested and honored by Professor Li’s invitation. They have always been curious and admiring of Chinese wildlife. They wanted to take this opportunity to not only shoot an excellent documentary, but also experience the natural scenery and cultural customs of southern China. So, they gladly accepted Professor Li’s invitation and decided to stay in Huangqi Mountain Forest Park for a month.
When I received their email, I was also attracted by Huangqi Mountain Forest Park. I searched online for some information and pictures about this place, and found that it was a magical and beautiful place. I imagined meeting my old friends here, getting close to nature here, dancing with wildlife here, and talking with history and culture here. I thought it would be a rare and unforgettable trip. So, I agreed to their invitation without hesitation and booked my flight immediately.
That’s how I started my reunion journey. I didn’t expect that this trip not only reunited me with my old friends, but also let me see a magical and beautiful place – Huangqi Mountain Forest Park. What surprised me even more was that there were not only rich and unique wildlife resources here, but also mouth-watering local delicacies. This was a trip that I could not forget, and also a trip that made me re-know myself and my friends.
When I arrived at Huangqi Mountain Forest Park, I realized that hunting here was not a simple thing. The animals here are wild, with keen senses and strong survival instincts. To get them, you need not only enough patience and skill, but also suitable equipment and tools. Fortunately, Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox are professional wildlife photographers. They brought some advanced equipment, such as night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars.
Night vision binoculars are a kind of binoculars that can see objects in the dark. They use a technology called photomultiplier tube, which can amplify the weak ambient light by thousands of times, thus forming a clear green image at night. This way, we can observe the movements and positions of animals at night without being discovered by them.
infrared binoculars are a kind of binoculars that can detect thermal radiation. They use a technology called thermal imager, which can display objects of different temperatures as images of different colors. This way, we can distinguish the temperature difference between animals and background at night, and find their traces and features.
With these two equipments, we started our night hunting trip. Professor Li acted as our guide and led us into the depths of the forest. He said that this was the best place for hunting in Huangqi Mountain Forest Park, because there were the most and rarest animals here. He said that we had to keep quiet and alert, not to disturb the animals or encounter any danger.
We walked along a small road for about half an hour, and came to an open grassland. Professor Li gestured us to stop, and then took out his night vision binoculars. He aimed at a place on the grassland, and then whispered: “Look there, there is a white pheasant.” I and Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox also took out our night vision binoculars, and followed Professor Li’s direction. Sure enough, on the grassland, there was a white bird pecking at food. It had a long tail, a round head, a red mouth, and black eyes. It looked very elegant and beautiful.
Professor Li said: “The white pheasant is a very precious bird; it is a national first-class protected animal in China. It is only distributed in a few places in southern China, and Huangqi Mountain Forest Park is one of them. It is a very difficult animal to see, because it is very timid and vigilant. You are very lucky to see it.” I and Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox heard Professor Li’s words, and felt very surprised and excited. We thought this was a rare opportunity and a rare harvest. We quickly took out our cameras and prepared to take pictures of the white pheasant. But at the moment we pressed the shutter, the white pheasant seemed to notice something, suddenly flew up and disappeared into the night sky. We could only see a white shadow, and then nothing.
We were all disappointed, but also relieved. After all, we still saw the white pheasant, although we did not take its picture, but its image was deeply imprinted in our hearts. We thought this was a very unforgettable experience and a very meaningful experience. We thanked Professor Li and continued our hunting trip.
In addition to hunting, we also enjoyed another pleasure in Huangqi Mountain Forest Park – tasting Jieyang’s special delicacies. Jieyang is an ancient city with a rich food culture. The food here is not only diverse in taste, but also nutritious, with a unique local flavor. Professor Li acted as our tour guide and took us to some famous local restaurants and snack shops, letting us enjoy ourselves.
The most impressive one for me was a restaurant called “Longjiang Pig Feet”. The signature dish of this restaurant was Longjiang Pig Feet, which was a soup made of pig feet and peanuts. The soup was golden in color, fragrant in smell, and delicious in taste. Professor Li said that this soup had a good nutritional value, which could supplement calcium, nourish yin, moisturize skin, beautify and so on. He said that this was one of the favorite soups of Jieyang people, and also one of their best dishes. I and Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox were curious and tried a bowl. Sure enough, this soup was very delicious, the pig feet were soft and not greasy, the peanuts were sweet and not hard, the soup was rich and not oily. We all thought this was a very delicious and healthy soup, praising it endlessly.
In addition to Longjiang Pig Feet, we also tasted some other Jieyang specialties, such as Puning dried tofu, Jiexi leicha, Jiedong bamboo shoots and so on. Puning dried tofu is a kind of dried food made from soybeans, with spicy, salty, sweet, sour and other flavors. It can be eaten as a snack or as an ingredient for dishes. It has a high protein content and is a very popular vegetarian food. Jiexi leicha is a kind of drink made from tea leaves, peanuts, sesame and other ingredients. It has a fragrant, sweet and moistening effect, which can quench thirst, cool down, clear heat, reduce fire and so on. It is a very suitable drink for summer. Jiedong bamboo shoots are a kind of vegetable made from bamboo shoots, with crisp, refreshing and sweet characteristics. It can be cooked in various ways, such as stir-frying, stewing, boiling, pickling and so on. It has a good effect of cleansing the intestines and detoxifying, lowering blood pressure and blood sugar and so on. It is a very healthy vegetable.
After tasting these delicacies, I and Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox felt very satisfied and happy. We felt that these delicacies not only gave us the pleasure of taste, but also let us understand the living habits and cultural characteristics of Jieyang people. We thanked Professor Li and continued our hunting trip.
This reunion trip made me feel a lot. I felt the friendship between me and Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox. Although we were separated by two places, our hearts were still closely connected. I felt the charm of Huangqi Mountain Forest Park. It had beautiful natural scenery, precious wildlife, profound history and culture, and delicious local food. I felt the enthusiasm of Jieyang people. They treated us with hospitality, helped us with kindness, respected us with courtesy, making us feel warm and respected. I felt the diversity of China. This country had different regions, different ethnic groups, different customs, different flavors, but also had common culture and spirit.
This was a trip that I could not forget, and also a trip that made me re-know myself and my friends. I was very grateful to Maud Fanny and Armstrong Wilcox for their invitation, and also to Professor Li for his guidance. I hoped that one day we could meet again in this magical and beautiful place, hunt again, taste food again, share stories and feelings again. I also hoped that one day I could see their documentary film that they shot out of Huangqi Mountain Forest Park’s scenery and animals. I believed that it would be a very wonderful and touching work.
Finally, I wanted to say goodbye to Huangqi Mountain Forest Park. You were a place that surprised me and appreciated me. You gave me a lot of beautiful and unforgettable memories. You were a place that I would recommend to others. You had a lot of things that they could explore and discover. You were a place that I would visit again. You still had a lot of things that I could experience and enjoy. You were a place that I cherished and respected. You represented the nature and culture of southern China. You were a place that I praised and thanked. You reunited me with my friends. Thank you!