November 05, 2008

China






If you have ever travelled to a foreign land where all of your preconceived notions of the place were challenged and turned on themselves with every turn of a corner and human encounter than you will understand just how difficult it is to impart the experience to another person. I don't want to sound cliche but you just have to walk the walk for yourself.
The sights, sounds and smells of both Shanghai and Beijing have left an indelible impression upon me and I would love to have the chance to deepen the experience in the future with another visit.

When you give yourself up to the streets of Shanghai you will discover as you walk along lanes that are scented with exotic spices, dust from massive construction projects, grease from makeshift sidewalk kitchens selling God knows what kind of food to those brave enough to partake of the fare and the occasional whiff of raw sewerage that seems to appear out of nowhere like a Limburger phantom.
You will also experience a curious mix of fabulously old neighborhoods lending their style and blending with modern architecture that boggles the imagination and leaves one feeling quite small and insignificant among the steel and glass creations that soar into the heavens.

Top:
The french concession, a burgeoning artsy area that is quickly becoming the place for foreigners to meet and where two scooters would have a difficult time passing each other.
Below:
The view from what is presently the world's tallest building. All of the towers in the foreground are over seventy stories tall and the buildings across the river are from a place called The Bund.
The only thing I will say about Beijing is that it will reassess your ideas of scale. The city is huge! And because of the Olympics it is also very well maintained. Chinese pride insisted on showing the west the finest of livery for the multitudes of visitors who flocked to see some of the world's finest athletes compete for fame. Little did they realize that the city was competing as well.
Do make it a point to visit this town. The great wall, the forbidden city, Tienanmen Square will all give you a a memory of something that was created with the idea that there are things bigger than the single individual. Bigger even than an entire generation. Things that can only be measured in millennia and even then we aren't quite certain that we are looking at it from the correct perspective. The place is a mystery; and all the better for it.

21 comments:

Mona said...

yea yea...although I have never been there, that does look like China...

I am glad you liked your visit. It really must look huge after being in tiny Japan after being in huge America.

What are those skinned animals that he is selling? They look like dogs I think!

Allan said...

Beautiful pics and words.

Chickens or similar fowl, I'm wagering.

Kurt said...

Great pics.

I don't mean to be a downer chick, but aren't they tearing down more and more of the old city to make way for new construction?

Grant said...

But where are the pictures of sexy Asian schoolgirls?

I know what you mean about preconceptions. Before going to Germany I was told all about how they prize good manners and are far more polite than we horrible, awful, evil Americans. Then I got there and people screamed obsceneties at us and hurled insults and solid objects from moving vehicles when we had the audacity to appear in public and window shop. Okay, maybe it's not exactly like what you were talking about, but it's good to travel and challenge these conceptions all the same.

Megan said...

It was nice to read and see something that was not about the election. Wonderful pictures.

But I must ask - what's with the beret?

citizen of the world said...

Gret aphotos of your trip. I am almost always pleasantly surprised by the countries I visit.

NYD said...

Mona~ Even by American standards China is large. The cities that I saw were vast! And JApan might seem tiny, but when you live in the mountains the vistas and scale that nature provides you with are uncomparable.

Allan~ I am pretty sure they were duck. At almost every restaurant we went to the special was either Lobster, crab or duck.

Kurt~ Alas that is the often the way it is with all cities, yet I was told that in Shanghai they are building, or rather rebuilding a part of town that was not overly developed.

Grant~ Sorry I couldn't bring you back any souveniers, Buddy. I will tell you this; if you go to china you will probably pass out from bunny overload. Girls were asking to have my picture taken with them!

Megan~ I for one have been pretty much unconcerned with the whole thing. The damn circus happens every four years and just like every other carnival; when it's over all you are left with is a lot of trash to pick up.

As for the beret. Beijing was kinda chilly and it's good for keeping my head warm while hiking along the great wall and I think I look pretty damn snazzy in it.

Citizen~ I am always excited when I go to a new place too, but rarely so overwhelmed by the differences they present.

Mona said...

I have always been fascinated by the landscape of Japan. Also the mountains are awesome. It always seemed like an exotic Garden of Eden to me. The trees are so different from what I see here. I saw some beautiful scenic beauty of Japan in movies. Hope I might be able to visit there sometime to witness it for real!

puerileuwaite said...

I felt EXACTLY the same way when I first visited the China Pavilion at Disney's Epcot Center.

moi said...

Awesome, thanks for sharing! I hope to be able to visit one day. Moi's fave uncle works for the German government as some kind of cultural liaison and his favorite place in the world is China.

BTW, way to rock the beret!

K9 said...

yay this is cool! im so glad youre blogging from there. i thought you were goint to china and we wouldnt hear from you for a while. i love this. enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Great Pictures...loved the writing, felt as if I were there myself. Thanks for the share, can't wait for the next trip.

Regards to Crispy

JBG

Megan said...

I wasn't trying to imply it's not snazzy... :)

TROLL said...

You're lucky they didn't think you were doing Fulon Gong exercises in that one pic. Grrrherrhahahahahha!

I think I spelled Fulon Gong wrong

The Java Junkie said...

I would love to visit China someday. The clay soldiers fascinate me. Continue to enjoy!

The Grunt said...

Simply amazing. I'll have to make that one of my goals to visit China.

ThursdayNext said...

I just wish the Chinese goverment valued their citizens more...there is so much splendor and grandness there...

Mona said...

hey dude

vulgarity suits you. I can't imagine you otherwise ;)

Carla said...

I agree, it's hard to truly impart China...must be experienced. Fascinating, exhausting, so, so much.

Ming the Merciless said...

I'm dying to visit Shanghai because I've been hearing wonderful stuff about it.

Glad you got the chance to experience the French concession before they tear it down to build more high rise buildings.

Serena said...

It all looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing those beautiful photos.