Friday Photo: Easy Rider

On a late summer afternoon in Beijing, I parked myself on the side of a busy road and snapped pictures of people on their evening commute. This was my favorite.

She was riding due west, into a bright sun, hence the “Darth Vader” hat. And if you think it’s purpose is to merely shield her eyes from the sun, you’d be mistaken. It is to keep the sun from darkening her skin.


You may recognize this as the cover photo on my book, Survival Chinese Lessons.

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!