Is China constructing dangerous military outposts in the South China Sea that threaten global peace and prosperity or are they simply building tropical retreats ideal for vacation getaways? Judge for yourself with these pictures taken from a recent Sina slideshow purportedly showing off how awesome life is on Fiery Cross Reef.
Fiery Cross Reef (Yongshu Island) already sits on one of the most sought after pieces of real estate on the entire planet and has a sweet name capable of drawing in tourists seeking adventure and reefs, but the true reason to visit the island is to see its amazing vegetable garden.
Calling to mind the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with rows and rows of plants from every province in China, all tended over by hard-working soldiers, the island’s private veggie garden certainly looks top notch and is justifiably given top-billing in the photo set.
From tasty eggplants to delicious tomatoes, this place has at least those two crops.
But vegetables aren’t the only vegetation to be found on the island. There are also plots for flowers and fruit trees, all growing on soil where less than two years ago there was just some useless reef and a weather station. A true miracle of Chinese ingenuity.
With China’s announcement earlier this week that it is nearing the completion of some of its controversial land reclamation work on the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands), Beijing will soon turn its focus to building facilities on these artificial islands, but it would certainly seem that they’ve already progressed quite a bit on Fiery Cross Reef. This artificial island has got grass! And geometric shape statues!
Of course, you don’t have to go vegetarian on your exotic trip to Fiery Cross Reef. The island is also stocked with a dozen healthy hogs.
There are even adorable puppies running around the island, likely trying to figure out how the hell they got here.
The other star attraction of Fiery Cross Reef is its cute female soldiers and sailors as well as their hunky male companions. They will gladly take time out of their busy schedules to pose and snap a few photographs with you alongside the “Awe-inspiring South China Sea” and/or the super sweet vegetable garden.
Judging from a recent flyover by an American spy plane, Fiery Cross Reef also has a few military facilities that didn’t make it into this slide show. There is a 10,000-foot runway under construction that should make traveling there a breeze, but the island also has a few military barracks and an early warning radar site that could make relaxing out at the reef a bit of a problem.
Still, with a little more renovation and a more welcoming attitude toward foreigners, China’s Great Wall of Sand may one day live up to its name and compete with the actual Great Wall as the prime tourist destination it seems to have been built to be. Did we mention there’s a vegetable garden?
by Alex Linder
[Images via Sina]