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Daguan Park
In the southwest of the city, on the shore of Lake Dian, sits Daguan Park. The park grounds were established in 1368, and the main attraction, the Daguan Pavilion, was built in 1696.

Paths wind through towering bamboo and blossoming flowers. At various spots along Lake Dian's shoreline, boaters offer to take visitors for a ride around the lake. Speedboats will deliver customers to a point on the far side of the lake where they may ascend the Western Hills, while the longboat punters simply offer a leisurely round-trip row out to where the lake widens.

While the gardens and walkways offer plenty of natural beauty, Daguan Park's pride is the famous 180-character long couplet written by vagrant poet Sun Ranwang (1700-1775). At an early age Sun adopted a Thoreau-esque disdain for intellectuals and spent most of his life in the countryside. Described as "an ordinary man among the plum blossoms," he often railed against the over-inflated egos of his scholar contemporaries. Once, Sun Ranwang visited the Daguan Pavilion, climbed to the top, and was so moved by what he saw that he composed the long couplet for which he is famous today. A copy of his couplet can be found on either side of Daguan Pavilion's door facing the lake. This adjective-laden poem is an ode to the natural beauty surrounding the park as well as a recounting of Yunnan's history. The Daguan Pavilion's first floor not only has an interpretive display devoted to Sun Ranwang but also displays a copy of Mao Zedong's critique of the poem. Both he and eminent Chinese scholar Guo Moruo thought the poem was the best of its kind -- not that there was a lot of competition in the "long couplet" category; generally couplets have fewer than ten characters per side.

Address: The terminus of Daguan Road

Ticket price: 5 yuan (US$0.6)

Open Time: 7:00 19:00

Tel: 8240933

Transportation: Take either the 4, 52, or 54 bus to the last stop. (china.org.cn April 2, 2003)

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