Book One Photographs: Honghu City Hubei Province Rivers and Canals


This is what I looked like around that time in my life.
This is what I looked like around that time in my life.

Last year, I finally managed in association with my webmaster to publish a PDF Book about my life in China. Although I originally set out to, I didn’t end up publishing it through one of those ‘self-publishing’ companies because it turned out to be a book which publishers wouldn’t touch.

Non-fiction is very difficult to publish because the company controlling nearly all of the self-publishing (rip-off) industry, “Author Solutions Publishing House” in the USA while having no problem extorting money from their clients via their ‘front-of-house’ publishing names, are terrified that someone might actually sue them.

When my book ‘Finding Myself in China: A Politically Incorrect Story’ was finally published, I began work on collating all the travel stories and interesting events from particular places (irrespective of when I was there) into a series of books that are part travelogue but which broaden the field of my life’s experiences in China – something that I could not do in the first book because it would have been too big.

In Book One of those travel adventures, I talk about various places that I visited in and around Honghu City in Hubei Province which is where I worked through 2003 and 2004. When I first began publishing articles about my life in China, I did so through my column in Magic City Morning Star News. I did a series of 26 articles which have since been transferred to the old KingsCalendar website.

On this page today, I have collated from a number of articles, a few photographs that could be said to have as their theme, ‘waters, rivers, lakes and canals.’ Each has a little commentary which might only make sense if you actually read the articles or eventually buy the book. Photographs from specific story files are linked to those files and clicking on the photograph will take you to the background story. I hope you enjoy this presentation.

Previously published Book One Photographs:

Book One Photographs from Chibi
Book One Photographs: Yichang and Three Gorges Dam in China


This structure is called a Cibiao which apparently means a City Symbol or something of that nature. When I first arrived in Honghu it was sitting in the middle of the roundabout as you entered town. They later removed it and put it in a new park beside the levee road above the Yangtze River.


On the fateful day that the Cibiao was removed I just happened to be on my way home with camera in hand and was able to capture the action as they blew up the base. My school can be seen at the end of the street and to the left.


By 2009 the levee road in Honghu was finished and the waterfront had been cleaned up. This shot was taken from between the Cibiao and the Yangtze river bank.


Nothing goes to waste in China. The new levee road makes an ideal place to dry rice and bag it.


Standing on the Levee road looking at the Yangtze River was not quite the thrilling and exotic experience of a lifetime. The Yangtze River is only exotic in tourist dreams. Lotus square is immediately behind me in this photo and that land in the distance on the other side of the river is not actually on the other side of the river but is a floating island (apparently). My guess is that it is primarily a sandbar which keeps shifting appearance and location.


This photo is of the Yangtze Rive up towards its source. The photo was taken in Yichang, the place you start your river tour of the Three Gorges Dam. If you click the photo you will be magically transported to the Book One Yichang article.


The Yangtze River is a superhighway. This photo, taken at dawn from the 16th floor of the Qinchuan Holiday Inn in Hanyang Wuhan, gives you some idea of what the Yangtze is all about. The river is sometimes extremely wide and the amount of traffic on it is unbelievable. It is also prone to flooding which is why the Three Gorges Dam was built.


In the romantic vision of old China one would see quaint Junks sailing up the Yangtze River being propelled along by a vast number of virile young oarsmen. Well – I couldn’t find any photos of young or old, handsome or otherwise oarsmen masterfully propelling their ornate craft along the Yangtze River, but perhaps in your imagination you saw something like this. I took this photo on Lake Tai (Taihu in Wuxi). Click the photo to be taken to a two part article about the trip on which this Junk was photographed.


I don’t have any pictures of the lake in Honghu but running from it are a network of canals that help ease the danger of flooding when rains get too much. Running beside the main road leading into Honghu there are places where there is a canal on both sides of the road. Whilst you can sometimes see a lot of junk in them, you won’t see any Junks sailing on them. Well – not when this photo was taken but perhaps by now things might have changed.


Two of the 800 photographs I took on a rainy day while on a bus trip into Wuhan. The canals flood in heavy rain.
This little creek at Hengji Village runs back to the main road and is fed ultimately by the Lake. When drinking straight from it, the water has a somewhat piquant flavor. (How was I supposed to know where the water in the pot came from OR that I had to boil it first?)


I was on a visit to Hengji Village in January of 2009 and got a close up look at the work being done on the canals. This particular location is Wugou, which is where one turns off the main road to travel to Hengji. We are looking in the direction of the expressway in this photo. Xindi (Honghu) is behind us and Henji Village is to the right of the photo but a long walk down a now cement road. This is the same canal as seen in the photograph below.


This is a beautiful shot of the little river – creek – canal running beside the main road into Honghu. The photo was taken near to the turn off to Hengji Village. About a mile further down the road to the right in this picture, is where I took the previous photograph in 2009. (This photo is linked to an article about parenting joys, since Henji Village is the hometown of one of my boarders).


Since we are on the topic of water – and in Honghu there is water simply everywhere, I’d like to say that not all water or anything else for that matter is always pretty or smells nice. The top left photograph here was taken in a little village beside one of those canals and to its right an ox which actually lived behind my apartment but its cousin used to bath in that canal at Hengji whose unboiled waters I drank. Sometimes the canals in the heart of Xindi (Honghu) look like crap (Bottom left), and sometimes what you are looking at (bottom right) is exactly that. This is where my toilet flushed to on the other side of the wall. Life in China can be entertaining and if you click the photo you will be taken to a story about entertainment.


You don’t have far to go to see country living in China. Here the locals are planting rice in the field on the other side of my bedroom wall. It is all so exotically beautiful, until the frogs and/or the mosquitoes keep you awake at night. That ox in the previous photo lived and worked right here behind my bedroom. The toilet effluent went straight through to another field around the corner from here.


Some things like fish ponds (top left) at Hengji look nice, but the smell might not be so good, especially if you don’t like fish, and an empty river in Honghu (top right), while better than a stagnant one, is not that attractive. It tended not only to have Junks sitting idle in it, but other junk as well. While exotic China conjures up many different images for the many different people who imagine them, real life is not quite that exotic. In the bottom left frame I am with my friends headed to the local swimming canal. It was not till quite sometime later that I discovered – as unfortunately did two Chinese friends – that swimming in river water in China can land you in hospital with all manner of illnesses; some of them life threatening. Sometimes in China dirt and other roads and fish ponds lead to very nice and exotic but otherwise totally empty buildings. Click the photo for more photos of these areas.


When thinking of the exotic China, this is probably what you had in mind. But if you are going to live with this type of scenery, then you have to live with the not so exotic as well. Life in China is both beautiful and ugly, interesting and boring, infuriating and calming, but most of all, it is just life. My Life!


My life in China has been one of continuous learning and constantly changing and often new experiences. I had never walked in snow until I came to Honghu (top photos). Although I never managed to get a photo of one, I have experienced the extreme beauty of a seemingly never ending field of Rape Flowers. And I never get sick of seeing fields of rice (Hengji). The top two photos were taken from my bathroom and bedroom windows in Xindi. The bottom two were taken at Hengji on two different days and in two different directions. The photo on the left was taken from the roof and looks towards Xindi. The other photo was taken in the village fields behind the house.


And along with all the interesting and mundane local scenery, living in China has given me the opportunity to travel around a little although I have to say that I am not a touristy type of person. During the two years I lived in Honghu I made frequent visits to Wuhan. Little did I know that eventually I would live there too. This particular photo was taken from the upper levels of the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuchang and I finish with this because in keeping with the water theme of this page, it shows the No. 1 Bridge crossing over the Yangtze or Changjiang between Wuchang and Hanyang.

I hope you have enjoyed these photographs and don’t forget that some of them are linked to original stories.

While Book One of Stories of China has not yet been published, ‘Finding Myself in China : A Politically Incorrect Story’ has been published. It can only be purchased in PDF format. If you would like to know why this is so, You can read about the reasons in Holding Authors to Ransom – and – How much in royalties do book authors get paid?

Since Google limits visibility of all sites not actively involved with Google advertising, my book is not likely to become widely known without the help of readers. If you have already purchased a copy you could assist me by writing about it on facebook or just sharing this page with your friends.

Thank you.

Finding Myself in China Book CoveR.P. BenDedek
BenDedek Articles at KingsCalendar
BenDedek Articles at

Author of
“Finding Myself in China: A Politically Incorrect Story”

Author: R.P. BenDedek

R.P. BenDedek was born in 1953 and grew up in Brisbane Australia. 2003 to 2017 he has been teaching in The People's Republic of China. Along with photographic stories from China he has been writing social and political commentaries since 2004. He was the temporary editor of Magic City Morning Star from 2009 - 2016 and currently has a column at He is the author of a chronological history of ancient Israel titled 'the King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' and author of 'Finding Myself in China: A Politically Incorrect Story.' He is divorced; has 5 children and 16 grandchildren. He is a 4th generation Australian from a racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse family. He has no time for Sociopathic Ideologues or Useful Idiots.

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