Friday Photo: The Wall in Spring

If I were in Beijing this month, I’d definitely make a trip to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. I never tired of going there, especially in the Spring. Here’s why:

another spring wall_edited-1

Related Posts:

A Miniature Great Wall

Where Did the Wall Go?

Port-a-potties at the Wall

Wham! Bam! Beijing! (circa 1985)

Fall Wall

The Great Wall: Fact or Fantasy

A Great Wall Graduation

No Great Wall from Space

Outside the Wall

Winter Wall

Friday Photo: A Greek Kitty

I decided to mix things up a bit here today and post a non-China-related photo. And since the Internet is for cats….

This one was taken in Greece, on the island of Rhodes. Way back in 1995. I just love the look of contentment on the cat’s face as he slept in the shadow of a fishing boat.

Rhodes, Greece

Against the Wall

I first posted this photo to my blog ten years ago, when there were probably only a handful of readers, so I thought it would be OK to bring it back around.

One afternoon I grabbed my camera and headed downtown on my new bike to run some errands and take pictures. I ended up at the Forbidden City, one of my favorite spots in town. At the time I was taking an on-line Digital SLR photography course, and had a shooting assignment.

This wall/tower section was my destination, but I got lucky with this old man sitting against the wall soaking up the warm sunshine.

forbidden city wall

The Forbidden City was the home of Chinese emperors for 600 years, and was, in traditional  Chinese thinking the center of the Middle Kingdom—the point around which all the universe rotates. Not just figuratively, but literally. The emperor was the earthly representative of Heaven (God). These massive high walls were what separated the emperor from his subjects, and were designed to remind the masses of the gulf that existed between ruler and ruled.

The man sitting against the wall captures that distance, and the smallness of the commoner in relation to the emperor. And if he’s more than 80 years old, he can remember the day when an emperor (albeit a young boy) was in residence behind those big red walls.

Related Posts:

Beijing — The Forbidden City

A City in Fast Forward

Teeny Tiny Beijing

36 Hours in Beijing

Beijing Time-lapse

Friday Photo: Sterility Hospital

I stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted this sign at a Beijing bus stop. Wait a minute, I thought…that can’t mean what I think it means.

sterility hospital

I read the Chinese and sure enough, it was a poor translation. The wording made it clear that the hospital specializes in treating those who are having trouble becoming pregnant. It’s just the English that makes it seem like it specializes in the opposite! Me thinks they meant to say fertility hospital!

Friday Photo: Mao Selling Stuff

In 2005, on my second trip to the far western city of Kashgar, I spotted this odd sight in my hotel lobby. There he was, the Great Helmsman himself, sitting behind a counter of trinkets. I’m still not sure if he was for sale, or if the proprietor of the little hotel shop thought his placement there would attract customers. Either way, I had a good chuckle.

maoseller

More recently, he popped up in a field in Henan Province, where some local villagers decided to build a giant statue in the middle of a field.

gettyimages-503433188-dccccac7a648b51954a7c7184b664c5a20430171-s900-c85

image from NPR

Is it just me, or does that statue look like it’s made out of butter? Perhaps it’s really being built for the Minnesota State Fair!

In the end, however, the statue got too much press worldwide and embarrassed the local officials, so they ordered it taken down.

As they say in China, “what a pity!”

Related Posts:

Friday Photo: The Blue Doors of Kashgar

Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?

A Yak Attack

A Silk Road Oasis

China Under Mao

Leftover Mao Statues

Last Mao Standing

Friday Photo: Ocean Gazing

In January of 2006 a friend and I went to Cambodia to visit some friends and see the sights. Our trip included 4 days on the beach at Sihanoukville. Several times a day these three ladies would walk by selling fruit. One afternoon something out in the water caught their eye and they stopped right in front of us to have a look. This has long been one of my favorite photos.

cambodiabeachgirls

Related Post:

Cambodia Wrap-up

Friday Photo: Free Market

When I arrived in China to teach English in 1984, the economic reforms instituted by Deng Xiaoping were just getting underway. The most visible sign of the changes was the “free market” that suddenly appeared on a nearby street.

china 1984

Prior to this, goods were only sold in state-run department stores and grocery stores. But here at the “free market” goods were being sold directly to the people.

It felt mildly subversive!