Nowadays, it seems everyone and everywhere is talking about China. Some of you might live there everyday, some of you might have never been there, or some of you are like me who only can manage to go there once every five years. Recently, I just came back from China after I had a 20-day visit in Shanghai, Zhenjiang, Yangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Hangzhou. All these cities are in the southern part of China.
I took so many pictures with my old digital camera, and selected some of them to share with you. I had to reduce the size and resolution for the quick display here. Anyhow, I hope you will enjoy seeing China through my camera lens. If you have some and would like to share with us, please feel free to post them here. Be sure the photos must be taken by you.
Shanghai, a city that always takes my fresh doubleminted breath away. Each trip to there excited me and left me with enchanting memories. It is always at the leading edge of westernization, yet never loses its splendid colors of a trendy Chinese city. This photo was taken from the Shanghai Bund by the Huangpu River where you can see the landscape of the old Shanghai and the landscape of Pudong, the newest commercial and business district as well as the showcase of Shanghai.
Another view from the Shanghai Bund. Being from Oregon where is well-known for its clean water, blue sky and green forests, I noticed the haze in Shanghai had reached to an alarming level.
A night view of the Nanjing Road, the most famous shopping district in Shanghai. The most stores stay open till 2:00AM everyday.
Shanghai is well-known for its night lights and neon signs.
Trendy public restroom on Nanjing Road, Shanghai. No Pay, no service.
Cell phone chargers on Nanjing Road, Shanghai. You only can see such thoughtful things in Shanghai.
Housing has always being a love-and-hate subject in China. Many people are sick and tired of cranking into the deteriorated buildings, and dreaming to move into something modern and new. But the hefty prices of new houses left many people in despair and anger. Nowadays, the new housing price in Shanghai can easily run up to ￥8,000-Y10,000 RMB yuan per square meter (= 10.7639104 square feet). The current exchange rate is that $1 US dollar equals to ￥7.66, which can pay for a nice breakfast for two.
Looking at the young lady in black top and mini-skirt in front of them, the young reporter is interviewing a shopper by asking “What do you think of her outfit?” Such outfit could be called "chicken-like" in China, because "chicken" is a common way for the Chinese people to refer to a sex worker. That's why a popular Chinese call girl in New York City gave herself a nick name "Kung-Pao-Chicken". If you wonder what a man who sells his body for money would be called, you got it, it is a "duck". Can you imagine what the Chinese would think of those lady football fans of University of Oregon with their big O logo and "Go Duck" signs? By looking at the 2nd photo, it seemed this man hesitated to respond to the reporter's question, perhaps he was thinking something that could be tactic enough so he would not offend his girlfriend next to him. His girlfriend looked like someone who could castrate him right on the spot, if he gave the answer wrong.
Never underestimate this little scooter. The cops are doing their routine patrol on Nanjing Road.
My favorite “Sweet and Sour Squirrel Fish”! A popular dish in China. The chef deep fried the fish inside out and then glazed it with the delicious sweet and sour sauce.
I like this neighborhood in Huaihai Road. They renovated the old buildings built in the 30’s and 40’s and leased them out to the restaurant and bars, including Starbucks Coffee Shop.
There is a well-known No.8 Platoon based in the Nanjing Road, Shanghai, for peace keeping in the 60’s. I think I met them when I was on the Nanjing Road.
This is in a Buddhist temple in Yangzhou. Many Chinese people like to go to the Buddhist temples to communicate with their spiritual super beings. It seemed to me that there were more women than men there seeking for Buddha's help. I wondered why. The monks work like psychiatric counselors who can help people reconcile with their past and heal the wounds in their minds. No dress code required.
Alway keep a Buddha in mind. However, this monk was obviously having someone else on his mind. He seemed enjoying very much his new toy when the customers, oops, I meant worshipers, were not around. Traditionally, monks were taught to discipline themselves and disconnect or disassociate with the human societies where were considered to be saturated with evils and sins. It might be not easy to convince this monk with that kind of teachings. Stay "disconnected"? That is out of the question. I could tell he might have a screen name, too. I wondered what kind of chatroom he would go to.
I always love the ladies in their Mandarin dresses. I would stop and stare at them whenever I see one. While I was strolling on the ancient streets that were built as early as Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD) in Zhenjiang, I came cross these well-dressed ladies. I did not know them and they did not know me. Our eyesights were engaged very briefly, then they quickly looked away. They were well aware of being admired by me. Their shyness and power of beauty were killing me softly.
I have a little loyal fan in Zhenjiang. He is my 10 y/o nephew Tie-Niu (Iron Cattle). Actually he is a big fan of Yao Ming. His favorite sport is basketball and his hobby is to collect cards of the well-known basketball players. Sometime the basketball card collection can turn into a pain, because he wants to collect that particular missing card, he would persuade his parents to buy that extra box of cereal. The parents ended up with too many boxes of cereals. This kid is super talented. He can tell me the Chinese translation names of those American NBA players. I was very impressed because I only can tell a few even though I lived in the United States for over 20 years.
Before my trip to China, I asked him what he would like me to bring from the US. He said he would like to have a jersey of Yao Ming or any 5 players from the Rockets and other teams. I tried three stores in my city and did not find Yao Ming’s jersey, so I bought Tracy McGrady's who was listed as the 2nd player in his hand-written note. It was my first time to learn how expensive this stuff was. An authentic jersey like the one he was wearing cost me USD $58.00. When he received this gift from me, he was so delighted and yelled out "This is NOT shui-huo!" ("Shui-huo" in Chinese means "fake-stuff"). He put it on right away and gave me a big hug. At that moment, I could tell he was the happiest kid in the whole China.
Nowadays reading fancy menus can be too difficult for the TV-watching generations. Our imagination and visualization are shrinking. This top-class Chinese restaurant totally dropped the printed menu, which has been replaced by the semi-prepared dishes in showcases. At this place, you only need to point and choose. This actually works really well for the tourists who do not speak Chinese, and avoids the bad translation in Chinese menus. I was wondering if those singles club could copy such concept in their match making business, sort of like what you see is what you get.
Wining and dining are always the highlights for me when visiting China. The waitresses are always so delightful. Be careful when you address them. Just don't call them "小姐" (Xiao-jie) which means "Miss". It was OK in the past, but not anymore. This is because "Xiaojie" is often used to address a sex worker and has the connotation that additional services that are not on the menu may be possibly required. Instead of using "Xiaojie" in a hotel or retaurant, you use "姑娘" (gu-niang), which means "Girl". The problem is what if the lady is a mid-aged woman. I guess it would work by saying "Hey, you. Yes, I mean you." Then, watch her coming over to slap you silly.
After one-hour drive, we came to Mt. Mao-Shan, the famous Taoist Temples where Laozi, the Taoist Godfather, is worshiped. He got popular in China as well as the western societies because of his theory of harmonious co-existence of human being and the natural environment. I did pay RMB 100 yuan to a Taoist fortune-teller to summarize my past and predict my future. It seemed he was a quite good mind-reader. He said many things that I loved to hear, but also said other things that depressed me for the whole afternoon. So be careful when buying any fortune telling service, the depression can possibly come with it. It depends on how well you can handle the "truth".
"洗心亭"(Mind Cleansing Pagoda), what a nice name! Hangzhou is famous for its gardens and plants. Perhaps it is the most suitable place for human inhabitation in China. The air is filled with the spirit that makes me feel like to meditate.
Hangzhou is also famous for its green tea. I thought the tea pickers were those beautiful young ladies as in the movies I watched when I was young. Well, not anymore. The young ladies were having better things to do. This lady I visited told me that she could make ￥60 Yuan a day ($1 US dollar equals to ￥7.66). That young man had a green tea store. He was drying the freshly picked tea leaves with his skillful hand work so as to control the temperature and formation of the fresh tea leaves. He told me that I should only drink the fresh tea. He meant the tea that was under 1 year in storage. Otherwise, it would grow germs and not be good for health. It made sense to me, so I bought several cans of his fresh tea.
This Hangzhou young man was not being lady-like or trying to be pretty. He was actually trying to bring the traffics into his umbrella store in front of him. It worked very well. He inspired me. As a translator, have you been trying this hard to get business?
It is perhaps not quite enough by just saying China has abundant merchandises. They have so many things there to sell that the local people seem to be suffering from a kind of fatigue syndrome. Only the tourists are piling up on to each other to find bargains. A phenomenon I noticed was that no one seemed to be interest in paying for the marked prices. The shoppers would always make their counter offers. I was so kind and always paying for the marked prices, but my relatives and friends gave me so much hard time and lectures. To them, I was just not a good shopper.
Nanjing is another great city with history and style. It tops itself in China for green vegetation coverage and historical sites. These two photos were taken at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum.
"Lao Fu Zi Miao", a busy shopping district in Nanjing. You cannot hesitate and wait around. The best thing to do is to sing "Go, go, go, OleOle, OleOle, OleOle!" and elbow through the crowds, you will make it. Otherwise you could be stuck and get to nowhere. Amazingly, everyone made through without a problem.
This man is from Gansu Province in the west part o China and operating his oven-fresh pancake business in Nanjing. His white cap tells you that he is a Muslin. There are 56 nationalities in China. Just about any religion in the world can be found in China. Did you know that just about all of the religious figures and theories were introduced to China by foreign countries? The Chinese-originated saints are only in a small number.
This man is making "La-Mian", the popular noodle from Lanzhou, Gansu Province. Such noodle does not need knife to cut, just pulling the wheat-flour dough to two opposite directions repeatedly by two hands. A bowl of noodle can be prepared in less than 30 seconds.
The old Chinese proverb says "The one who knows satisfaction is always happy." These are the Chinese people I met. They were happy with whatever they were doing. Life is simple and should not be so stressful. By looking at the pictures above, they did not just create plenty wealth, they also know how to enjoy it.
This young man is a wholesaler of Chinese-made cigarettes. I guess if you have to sell something, you need to show your customers that you are enjoying it yourself. If you are able to enlarge the characters on the boxes in his truck, you will find that the following sentence is printed on each box: "吸烟有害健康" which means "Smoking is harmful to your health." Smokers in China are everywhere. They smoke unapologetically next to me while I was sitting on a public bench, even though I was there first. The cigarettes are not cheap either. The inexpensive one runs RMB 10 yuan a pack, the expensive brand is named "Zhonghua" that sells at RMB 200 yuan (that is USD $26.00) a pack. If you can pull out a pack of "Zhonghua" and offering it around to your friends or contacts, you will certainly bring lots of attention to you. It is almost like a social status thing. I was also told that certain people would keep the empty Zhonghua box and fill it with cheaper brands of cigarettes. When that happen, perhaps you'd better keep it only for yourself, because many people can tell the taste of Zhonghua cigarettes is like. American made cigarettes are also expensive but do have their loyal customers in China. The measures of banning smoking in public places, such as in train and airplane, have been implemented. However, my non-smoking sister-in-law complained to me that the smokers in her office (that is shared by six people) could smoke all day long in the office and no one would say anything about it.
Actually it is not always easy to make a living in China. This vendor was making a hell of effort to sell her fruit. Perhaps she did not have certain required permit, I saw her running away from the city market patrol officers. The fine could be a lot for her. So she was basically running a hit-and-run business.
Highway is very well built in China, even better than those in America. This is Hu-Ning Highway between Shanghai and Nanjing. But haze is so thick that I was rarely able to see the blue sky during my 20-day visit in China. It seemed that such haze issue did not bring the necessary attention of the local people. My driver told me it was just “fog”. I thought I could tell the difference between fog and haze.
China is just about having all the symptoms of the western societies. Traffic jam is one of them I experienced. More cars are sold each day.
I was impressed by this Highway Rest Stop outside Suzhou. I had never seen a rest area in the United States that would have so many urinals in the men’s room. This shows you that in a country of 1.3 billion people, you just have to be always ready to serve more people.
Interior design and renovation businesses are so hot in China. Just about every Chinese person would do something to make their home look modern. Here are two photos of the two-bedroom condo home of a newly-wed couple. They told me they spent over ￥40,000 ($1 US dollar equals to ￥7.66) on their home remodeling.
If you are wondering what the young people nowadays are wearing and how they are hanging out, these are the cool looks of the young people I saw on the streets.
"American influence" is just about on every street corner in China.
"Deep Oil Fried Fermented Bean Curd" is a popular snack food and sold everywhere. You can tell it when you are ten blocks away. Stink actually is tasteful. I tried it and could not finish my portion. It reminded me blue Swiss cheese.
No shoes like the made-in-China Nike shoes. While sitting by the West Lake, Hangzhou, my aunt was enjoying her made-in-China Nike shoes we brought to her from the U.S. They usually sell for RMB ￥800-￥1000 yuan ($1 US dollar equals to ￥7.66) a pair in China.
If you think all the Hangzhou girls are nice and sweet, you will have to think again when you meet with this little creature. I had to take her a picture as well as the bus where she served as a tourist guide, so we all can remember who she is. Her bus would run around the West Lake about every 30 minutes. Her job was to tell the tourist about each scenic spot around the West Lake and to collect bus fares after each stop. I took her bus that day and observed this little lady scolded her customers when they asked her questions, such as “Where does this bus go to?” She would reply with her straight face and yelling-like voice, “Can’t you read what is written on the bus?” When a passenger was standing by the front door and trying to decide if that was the bus he should ride, she would say “Hurry up! Do you want to get in or not?”
My nice aunt asked her a question; she simply ignored her and did not answer her question. Her bad attitude became very bothersome to me, so I asked her “Do you have hearing problem?” She rolled her tiny eyes with scorn and responded “Can’t you see I am busy with collecting the bus fares?” I quickly said to her “I see you have been rude and obnoxious to your customers. I see you need help and have me show you how to talk nicely and make your service acceptable for a tourist bus like this. You are losing the face of Hangzhou. What a shame that someone would put you on this job. You are ruining my pleasure of touring the West Lake.”
My aunt said me “Let her go, she must have worked a long day at a minimum wage.” This little lady obviously was not prepared for someone like me to scold her with my firm voice in front of all the passengers. Her feisty temper suddenly disappeared. At that moment, I knew I made her day. I hope I also left a long lasting memory in her mind. When China is busy with preparing for the 2008 Olympic Games, perhaps the current tourist guides there should be re-evaluated. Perhaps a general cleaning up is not a bad idea.
My Mom is hot! This 74 y/o Chinese lady was in the lobby of a five-star hotel in Shanghai and got ready to attend the wedding of her granddaughter. She always pays detailed attention to her presentation in the public. She is a firm believer of manners, such as 吃相, 坐相 and 站相. It does make a difference.
More family photos from the wedding. These are my brothers, nephew and their friends. Wedding costs a lot. I mean a lot! But I was also told that the bride and groom can collect about RMB￥500 - ￥1000 per seat. By the way, in this trip I learned and also experienced that the devalued US dollars are no longer desirable. I gave the newly wed couple USD $2,000 for their happy wedding. I hope they appreciated my effort. My money is earned by counting words.
This lady was amazing. She was painting the detailed peonies on the interior wall of a hollow glass ball. The opening of this thick glass ball was as large as that of a beer bottle.
He was making combs by using ox horns.
He was making little animals, insects, etc. by using fresh bamboo leaves.
As you can see, he was able to engrave the intricate "painting" into the china plate with a chisel and a hammer.
I always tell my brothers and nephews that they must learn to have a non-replaceable skill in order to make a living in a society. These are the people who have that kind of skills.
I wonder if these fish are happy, even though I am not a fish. The 2nd picture was inspired by Monet's lily pond.
If you are wondering about my dreamed house is like, here are some photos to show you. Now you can tell my fascinations about the bamboos.
These three photos are posted for Yueyin and David Shen. The young man in red shirt was my private driver. He was a soldier and now is working for a private company. We were in front of the famous historical site in Shanghai where the Chinese Communist Party was formed on July 23, 1921. I was also wondering what Mao would think if he could see his red revolutionary conference center has been well surrounded by all those western restaurants, bars and coffee shops, and you can hear the western pop music in just about every street corner.
Last but not least, here are our two stars: Zhou Dan in Hangzhou and Xu Dongjun in Zhenjiang. I thank them for coming out to meet me in their cities. I enjoyed very much visiting with them. Zhou Dan and Xu Dongjun might like to have their photos used as their Profile ID pictures at ProZ.com. Just a thought.
Well, these are from me for now. I hope you enjoyed looking at my pictures. Please check back more often, because I am trying to add more photos into this presentation. I am still in the process of selecting more interesting photos to show you.
[修改时间: 2008-11-17 19:30 GMT]
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