I loved this wonderful park along the west bank of the Mihe River. It runs about 3/4 mile (1.25 km) between the two car bridges. Near each of the car bridges was a pedestrian (plus cyclists and scooters) bridge. One of them was obviously the old roadway but the other was a graceful gently arched bridge.
As I mentioned in an earlier post one the Mihe River runs through the eastern part of the city of Shouguang.
You can see a larger version of any photo by clicking on it.
These are some street scenes. In my experience, which isn’t vast but also isn’t negligible (this was my seventh trip to China), these are typical of a Chinese city. Just like the markets have a wider variety of eggs and vegetables than one typically finds in the US, there is also a much wider variety of vehicles.
I sometimes wonder if Seattle would do better to look into some of these, instead of trying to get people out bicycling in the rain, up steep hills on the poorly maintained, bumpy streets. I’ve seen some clever, three-wheeled scooters and cycles that are more stable than bicycles and have some amount of shelter from rain.
On the eastern edge of the main part of the city is the Mihe River. The area along the river is a big and quite lovely park.
As I approached the river for the first time I saw something I had not seen before: several vendors selling fishing poles, nets, and fish traps. Often in China one will see vendors, selling food, kites, pinwheels, balloons. Walking along the river there were lots of folks, even families out fishing.
In the fall season there is a holiday period called “golden week” that starts on October 1st, which is National Day. A Chinese parallel, in some ways, to Independence Day (July 4th) in the USA.
At the community where my son lived they had a nice celebration of National Day in the evening with food and a show in an outdoor area in the middle of the complex, it included performances by dance and martial arts schools, poetry reading, and performances by individuals and small groups, ranging from very modern to traditional.
In another park the walk ways had these lovely bas relief (I’m not sure that is quite the right term). The walk way divided to go around a water lily pond and on one side of the pond they were dragons, the other had phoenixes then when the paths joined into one they had vegetables. Each of the bas reliefs was about 2 1/2 feet square, and they were all different. Here is a gallery of samples:
In September and October I visited a “small” city (roughly the population of Seattle) considered rural in China. The city of Shouguang in the prefecture level city of Weifang in Shandong province.
Shouguang merits mention in Wikipedia! It is the vegetable capital of the world (self proclaimed). The city hosts an International High-Tech Vegetable Fair every year in April/May. I went a couple of years ago: I’ll meet you at the giant bok choi. It was a lot of fun, but we didn’t see the city itself at that time.
Fast forwarding, my son got a job teaching at a new school in Shouguang and moved there over the summer, so this fall I had a chance to explore. Shouguang is a seasonal city, they roll out the carpet and have wonderful gardens oriented to being at their peek in the spring. In the fall it has a more relaxed charm. Over the course of this month I am planning to share a little bit about Shouguang in the fall. With any luck I’ll be able to explore it again next spring.
One fun feature of Shouguang was the sculptures around town, especially in the parks. Shouguang has a large amount of land dedicated to parks. Each park seems to have its own personality. The first sculpture I noticed was a giant strawberry tucked among some trees in a park. As I wandered along more of them appeared. Then I saw the giant pumpkin patch.
We could identify the real boss by his attitude and swagger. He went from table to table checking in with every customer and visiting, like every good restaurant proprietor I’ve known. So I dubbed him (Chinese style) “The Proprietor XiaoGou”. Xiao Gou means “little dog”.
On my recent visit to Shouguang (Weifang Prefecture, Shandong Province, China) a near-by coffee shop run by an old guy and his tiny, but plump, little dog was a favorite place for me to get my morning eye-opener and check in with the folks back home. The tip of the crutch gives you a good idea of how small the dog is.
I come late to the Halloween Party. At some point I may find words to describe the chaos of the past few months…and catch up on reading all the great posts y’all did while I was AWL (OverWhelmed by Life).
Several folks I follow have posted for the creative JNW’s Halloween Challenge, this week two topics from the challenge: forest and cemetery, right beside each other, reminded me that I went to two pretty unusual cemeteries this past year.
Kong Forest (Kong Lin) is actually the burial ground for the Kong (family name of Confusius) clan for many, many generations.* If you have any interest this is a very informative Wikipedia article about Confucius (and other Kongs to some extent). Almost all of these pictures were taken from the comfort of a motorized cart; by the time I had walked from the hotel to the entrance, then through the Kong Temple (Kong Miao) and Kong Mansion (with gardens) to the Kong Lin my feet felt like the bones were poking through, so I didn’t get off until we got to the big guy’s tomb. It’s a fascinating and very atmospheric place, I’d love to go back sometime and start with the “forest”.
Actuallly his is the simpler tomb behind the throne.
This was unique in my experience (I don’t know if it is unique in the world, but I found it fascinating and have never seen anything like it before). It isn’t a forest, but it is a city of the dead within the very alive city of Buenos Aires.
*Wikipedia notes that
Confucius’s family, the Kongs, have the longest recorded extant pedigree in the world today. The father-to-son family tree, now in its 83rd generation, has been recorded since the death of Confucius. According to the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee, he has 2 million known and registered descendants, and there are an estimated 3 million in all. Of these, several tens of thousands live outside of China.