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.
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.
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.
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.
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!