Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/52

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CHAPTER II

DAYS IN YUNNAN-FU

THE situation of Yunnan's capital is extraordinarily picturesque. It stands in a wide plain, its northern wall running along a low rocky ridge from which there is a charming view over city and lake to the great mountains that skirt the plain on all sides. Lying at an elevation of nearly seven thousand feet, it is blessed with a white man's climate. Eighty-five degrees in the shade marks the highest summer temperature, and the winters are just pleasantly bracing. Europeans who have experienced the biting winds of Peking, the damp heat of Canton, or the gray skies of Chengtu find in the bright days and cool breezes of Yunnan some mitigation of their exile to this remote corner of the empire. The city itself is not very attractive in spite of its many trees, for it seems a network of narrow lanes, only broken here and there by a temple enclosure or a stretch of waste land, the whole shut in by sound thirty-foot high walls; nor are there any sights of special interest, with the exception of a rather fine Confucian temple. But the country roundabout affords many charming excursions. The waters of the lake, some twenty-three