Category Archives: China

Faceless

The challenge this week is to show people but not their faces. These photos were taken in Qingdao. The two below are in a “folk” temple.

Red Prayer Papers at Tian Hou  Temple in Qingdao
Lady in red.

 

Visitor to The Goddess of Heaven (Tian Hou) in Qingdao
Worshiping the Goddess of Heaven.

 A Face in the Crowd

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Confucius Say…

Every trip has its memorable features. Today’s prompt: Costume, brought to mind my trip to China last April. On that trip I ran into reenactments in Confucius Temples. The first, in the north-central part of Beijing, was most likely part of a middle school graduation ceremony:

The second was at Qufu, in Shandong Province, which is Confucius’s home town. I was traveling solo, but there was a large group tour for whom they performed several enactments. I had the best of both worlds. The people in the group kept being lined up to wait for the acts, but I wandered at will, then poked back into the crowd when things were happening…plus I caught a glimpse or two behind the scenes.

A walk in a park

I just came across these pictures from a couple of years ago. In Wiefang (Shandong Province) while visiting my son I made use of the time while he was working to wander around the city. In several spots they had parks between the streets that made a pleasant way to get around. A little longer but much quieter than walking along the busy streets.

Cee’s Which Way Challenge

Forbidden Crowds

Nancy Merril’s Picture a Week Theme is Crowds. I don’t like them so I don’t have lots of pictures of them: I get flustered and try to haul myself out never thinking to record the experience.

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I think the biggest crowd experience I may have ever had was on my first visit to the Forbidden City, it was also my first visit to China and I think it was a weekend or minor holiday (possibly Qing Ming), so there were a lot of Chinese people out to see the Forbidden City the same day that we were there. I think of these pictures as being representative of China, or at least Beijing.

Twelve months of 2017-April

I spent most of April in China.

Here are some pictures I really liked from that trip, some have been posted previously and others not.

 

I did several posts during that trip having discovered the WordPress app for my smart phone. Here are a few of them: April in China.

2017 Favorites

Twelve Months of 2017-September

September seems so long ago.

The first two pictures go together to tell a story. My Dad’s dog Sam is getting older. She is deaf for practical purposes and when she stays out in the water (the Puget Sound water is cold all year) she gets very stiff and sore. She likes to fish: going out after the little flounder and bullheads that get disturbed when you wade near them. She doesn’t swim but goes out as far as she can wade chasing them. Since she can’t hear you call her anymore, you have to go out with smelly treats and lure her back to shore before she overdoes it.

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I waded out to lure Sam back in and when I turned around I saw that Ginger followed me as far as she could and is looking imploringly at me to come back. In the distance you can see Asta, who has even shorter legs, running to catch up with us.

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Two other favorites from the beach:

On the 26th I flew to China to visit my son. Here is a favorite sculpture in the lobby of the hotel I always stay at near the Beijing Airport.

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This seems to have been an auspicious time of year for weddings. The fireworks start at about 4 am. I got a kick out of the blow-up mythical beast, qilin, being ridden by what looks to me like a martian or tele-tubby. I saw several of them this time. I’ve seen the beasts, lions, etc. before but never the martian. I never did get an answer to what it was supposed to be.

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Martian riding a qilin, wedding decoration.

I also got a kick out of the vegetable and fruit sculptures in Shouguang parks. These pumpkins were the first I saw.

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A highlight of this trip was that my son had a couple of days off for Mid-Autumn festival and we took an overnight trip to Penglai. Penglai is at the narrow point that defines the boundary between the Yellow sea and Bohai, the large bay that has the harbors for Tianjin and Beijing. The area has been important strategically for ever and has a very long history. In folklore it is where the eight immortals arrived from over the sea.

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Statue commemorating the arrival of the Eight Immortals.

Penglai is called a fairy land.

I’ll end with a favorite picture from our visit to the temple complex:

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2017 Favorites

Twelve Months of 2017-October

October for me had two distinct parts.

China-Shouguang

I worked on composition while I was in China. Not technical composition, like the rule of thirds or leading lines (although I use these); I was trying to create images that gave a sense of place: What makes Shouguang uniquely itself? what does it share? The question of sharing was with respect to other cities in China and to other places in the world.

I did manage to do a series of posts on Shouguang after I got home this fall (posting has been pretty haphazard for me this year). The pictures for the above gallery were chosen to attempt to show the magnitude of the “small” city and convey that it also feels like a place for people. It didn’t feel impersonal, just spread out. Plus one picture from a traditional Chinese garden in Weifang, and a rather blurry photo of the smallest hummingbird I have ever seen. I thought at first that it was one very large bumblebee, then my son pointed out its beak. It was a dark, grey day so there was no chance for clarity.

Home-Seattle

Arriving home the clear air and splendid fall colors hit me between the eyes. I believe that my perception was sharpened by the muted and hazy conditions in Shouguang during the first half of the month. It really was a “The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle” experience.
2017 Favorites

People

The Pic and a Word Challenge prompt and post  for this week made me think of these pictures from two trips I took to China in 2014. In the post Patrick Jennings talked about how in India and China he felt like people were an intrinsic part of the scenery and I realized that, while I am often frustrated by their presence, he is right.

China is often a busy and crowded place, but there are also large expanses of space. A single person in the frame turns a photograph into a picture, something that tells a bit of a story.

 

Ascending Mount Tai a.k.a. Taishan

Mount Tai, also known as Mount Taishan (it is called this on the UNESCO World Heritage website, even though it is redundant: Shan means Mountain) or Tai Shan, isn’t high by world mountain standards, at a mere 1545 meters above sea level (5,069 ft) but to ascend is to climb a whole lot of stone steps. Mount Tai is in the Shandong Province. In the fall of 2015 my son got a couple of days off work when I was visiting and we took a quick trip to check it out. In the photos he is the one with the pony tail and grey athletic pants.

The recorded number of steps varies, most sources put it fairly close to 7,000. Some sources attribute the differing numbers to how many of the temples and shrines one visits along the way. I personally believe that when one is ascending it is too easy to loose count, and honestly, how much does it really matter. It felt like a million to this slightly over the hill mama, and I didn’t even go the whole way afoot.

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Near the halfway point there is a cable car that takes you to a spot a bit above the famous entrance gate. You then follow a path that takes you down a bit and through the entrance gate.

I felt like it was cheating but my son was obviously relieved when I gave up the idea that I was going to make it all the way. He had been once before [he has also climbed both Mount Olympus (7.980 ft) and Mount Rainier (14,411 ft-although the climb starts at about 5,400 ft)]. He had been trying to figure out how he could carry both of our packs up the steepest part (known as Shiba which means eighteen, a nearly vertical stretch of eighteen steps) and stay behind me to keep me from an unbroken fall. Sometimes he can be very sweet! I am not the best balanced person in the world.

My decision was eased by two things: visibility was low so I wouldn’t get any views to compensate for the labor…and I learned that emperors didn’t climb the whole way themselves, they were carried up in litters to near the gate the walked through the gate themselves. Before that I was being very impressed by the level of fitness expected of an emperor!

Even taking the cable way there were plenty of steps to experience between the station and the top.

If you are interested in more details about our trip to Taishan see my series of posts called Sleeping Dragon Slowly Opens One Eye.

Three Gorges: Xiling Gorge

This is my last Gorge post, it finishes my little project of trying to organize my photos from two trips through the Three Gorges region in China. Xiling is the easternmost of the gorges and is downstream of the Three Gorges Dam, running from the outskirts of Yichang city up to the base of the dam.

Even with two trips I never got to see much of Xiling Gorge. Because it is downstream from the Three Gorges Dam, and the river cruise boats dock above the Three Gorges Dam at Maoping when they cannot go through the locks we were bused from Yichang in 2014 and to Yichang in 2017.

In 2014 we were able to see a little bit of the area by taking an optional excursion to a scenic area called “Three Gorges Tribe”. This is in the Xiling Gorge and to get to it they bused us to a local ferry that took us to the spot. Here are some pictures from that excursion:

Last spring, April of 2017, we had time between when the buses got us to the dock in Yichang and our flight. I had arranged a guide and we went to a couple of parks that included an overview of the eastern entrance to the Xiling Gorge. The statue overlooks the start of the Three Gorges area.

I learned from our guide that day that there is a tourist ferry from Yichang. It goes up through the concept dam and Xiling Gorge to the base of the Three Gorges dam, you take a tour of the dam from there then a bus back to Yichang.

If I decide to go again I will definitely arrange to spend an extra night in Yichang and take that outing, even though it’s an extra tour of the dam, to make sure I get to see Xiling Gorge. If I had known about it before the last trip we might have been able to do it. China has some lovely scenery, and many very interesting cultural sights, but it can be difficult to find out about things to do that are not specifically aimed at foreign visitors. I often feel like you have to go places at least twice to really get to know them.