Three years – has it really been three years already?! – after the first time I visited the place my wife grew up and her parents still (mainly) live, deep in the countryside of Hunan, we returned.

One of the things I returned to was running in a circle.

China Circle from afar

My ‘China Circle’ run from afar…

And as so often before, I want to praise the return to familiar circumstances that others so love to decry as boring.

If they even find them noticeable enough, in all their familiarity, to complain about them…

The basic outlay of the road is still the same, the views – near and far – are still nice, but development has struck even this part of China.

China Circle Construction

Jiubujiang Construction

There used to be “only” rice fields here, now it’s meant to become a tourist village…

Of course, as these things go, there is some pride being taken in having one’s hometown become better known, and there is hope that this (in this case, tourist) development will bring economic opportunity.

At the same time, people are already starting to worry a bit about the loss of rural life and traditional culture they are experiencing. – There is good reason we (also) went for walks down different paths this time around, to the places shown in these previous photos, rather than down to the “scenic area” of the lake which is the focus of tourism (and) development.

The circle I ran before, and ran again this time around, goes right above the lake and then on the road which seems meant to eventually circle around it.

China Circle - Up the Mountain

China Circle – Up the Mountain

So, some of it was still just the way it was, but a lot had been ‘upgraded’ to accommodate higher numbers of visitors.
(And, just the way such things would go in China, one section of the road looks set to break off soon, and a tourist bus toppled down one of the slopes just as we were visiting…)

Let’s get back to the promised views, though. After all, no matter whether it is “at-home-making” or “adventuring” I am doing here for myself, it is probably a context for a run that is new to you, my reader-viewers…

Sorry about the wind noise there is at times, but action cams are still terrible at filtering that out.

China Circle - On the Mountain