A couple pictures from China. Here on the right is a surprisingly deep lake in Zhangjiajie, western Hunan Province. (Which is in the south of China, two thirds of the way to Hong Kong.) Imagine being at sea in waves that choppy.
Below is the Summer Palace in Beijing, last winter. (You may notice a few open leads in the water; shortly after this, one could walk on the ice, and this one did.) Here the emperors of Qing China would come to "get away from it all."
Don't be fooled: this is merely an oasis in a desert, an island of peace in a sea of buildings. In all directions just past that hill, or to my right or to a lesser extent behind me (it is not far in that direction to the Fragrant Hills), spreads a vast city of some 20 million people. And when the ice was frozen more solidly, it acquired a layer of precipitated smog, grit and grime, that kept one from slipping on the ice. But still, it was nice to visit such islands, which I would do before work in the morning, the front gate of the Summer Palace just past that hill, being just five or so subway stops from the high-tech mecca in northern Beijing where my company was based. Beijing University is about halfway between the two, and with its traditional architecture and landscaped lake (used as a skating rink in winter), was also a good place to stroll in the morning.
After a month and a half in Beijing, I was sent to work in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. Zhangjiajia is several hours by train to the west of the provincial capital.