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Giant Turtle

Guilin is a Chinese place known for having an absolutely amazing view. Apparently one can face any direction and see landscape exactly like a traditional Chinese painting. Not surprisingly, it's high on my list of places to visit some day. The title says East Asia in the picture, but I was thinking of Guilin.

The turtle I have here is dragging water plants from its tail. That, along with its size and moss-covered shell, show that the turtle has lived very long.

I grew up in Japan hearing that these turtles can live up to ten thousand years. Even if that's not really the case, it is well proven that the large adult turtles show no increase in mortality and no loss of reproductive capacity with age. Fifty-year-old turtles lay more eggs than 20-year-olds.

That's remarkable, and fundamentally different from the human experience. We expire so easily. I also hear they can live in the most polluted environments without developing cancer.

Magical. What else could they be?

Giant Turtle in Guilin











© 2006 Mieko Mochizuki Swartz. All rights reserved.