ONE OF THE GREAT PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS OF MY RECENT TRIP TO CHINA was a visit to a magnificent Bonsai Garden high in the misty mountains over Chongqing. I LOVE bonsai trees and used to grow them myself before moving into the woods where I have many big trees, rather than small ones, to care for. Mr.Ao, my Chinese publisher-host, was so amused by my reaction that in all his introductions for the rest of the trip he referred to the somewhat quiet, reserved author “running like a little boy” with excitement from tree to tree after my first glimpse. And it was true, I’m sure. I have never seen such beautiful bonsais anywhere.
Later we stopped in to our ‘hotel,’ really a small, secluded mountain retreat, where I was treated to a room like a lovely Zen hide-away. The next morning I could see how it looked over the whole mountainside. But before that it was back out into the mountains for an out-of-this-world dinner in a private pagoda—one of Six-Hundred! in this open air restaurant—on a steep mountain slope overlooking the city. There we were treated to the traditional ‘hot-pot’ dinner endemic to this part of China, and many a toast. Another incredible day.