Spring has finally sprung, or so we hope. The toxic smell of insecticide wafts through the air. Has to be how they've kept the skeeters in check for the past couple of years. Have you noticed? We used to whinge constantly about mosquitoes for a good five, no, six months of the year, yet for the past two, there've been few to be squished. We did have a random spotting in the office in March, but the unusually cold temperature has surely taken care of its spawn. Wait, this isn't a piece on pesky parasites; it's about getting outside. In keeping with what has somehow become our All Around the Lake issue, we decided to pay a visit to Watching Goldfish on Flowery Stream (a.k.a. Viewing Fish at Flower Pond, a.k.a. Viewing Fish at Flowers Harbor, a.k.a. the only place around the lake to check out truly snobby peacocks, oh and some goldfish too). Millions of tourists have come to this spot. It's amazing what a title like one of the Ten Sights of West Lake will do for a place's popularity. (Of course, in 85 came the New Ten Sights, and last year the New, New Ten sights were voted on. With over 100 sights here, there could be overkill) Back during the Southern Song Dynasty when this was a private garden, Watching Goldfish caught the eyes of imperial artists. Its selection as a top ten was made official by Qing emperor Kangxi in 1699 when he placed a stone tablet here with his imperial inscription. If you can get through the sea of people with colored flags waving above, there are some nice quiet spots that the guides quickly usher their herds past. Now is the best time to take in the peonies and the over 200 species of flowers in bloom. Oh yeah, and the goldfish too. Start on the Yanggongdi side with lunch at Zhi Wei Guan, walk through the beautifully manicured park to Su Causeway, on to Beishan road, and finish up by rewarding yourself with an ice cream at La Perla. Ticket: Free Admission; Busses: Y5, 527.
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