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Showing posts with label Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Change. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Perspective on a Old Tower in Wuhan

Hongshan Pagoda (洪山宝塔) in Wuhan, China


In 1291 somebody climbed many steep, narrow, and irregular stone steps to reach the highest level of the Hongshan Pagoda in Wuhan, China. More than 700 years later somebody else did the same.

But only one of us is still alive today.

*   *   *

Now that I've confirmed my continued existence, at least up until the time I post this, I will add that, yes, I am now in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. There is an immense backlog of posts I have been wanting to write, but I have been heavily preoccupied with the exploration / collection side of things lately. Also, the amount of change I have seen in Wuhan, Changsha, and elsewhere has left me wanting to digest things more fully.

So on that note, here is a photo of the Hongshan Pagoda taken by Frederick G. Clapp sometime between 1913-1915:

black and white photo of Hongshan Pagoda


And here is a recent view from the tower including the Baotong Temple:

view from the Hongshan Pagoda in Wuhan

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pedal Boats in Hengyang No Longer Sunken, At Least for Now

On my way from Zhongshan in Guangdong province to Changsha in Hunan province, I recently spent over a week in Hengyang, also in Hunan province. This marked my fifth visit to a city which has been featured in many earlier posts here. A subject for a few of those posts has been what has or hasn't changed there during my visits which now cover a period of more than five years.

In May 2014 I noticed some sunken character/animal-themed pedal boats at a pond in (or next to) the Hengyang Youth Palace (衡阳市青少年宫). In April 2015 all of the boats were in the same condition but now surrounded by many dead fish.

When I returned in April of this year, the boats still remained in their resting places though there were no signs of dead fish.


sunken character-themed pedal boats in a pond in Hengyang


So when I returned this month, it was remarkable that the the boats were no longer partially submerged in water — quite a change. But that was only because there was no water.

character-themed pedal boats sitting in a drained pond in Hengyang


Some construction work was ongoing in another portion of the pond. Based on what I have seen elsewhere in China and the fact that some other lakes and ponds nearby in Hengyang were similarly drained at the same time, I presume this is a temporary state and the pond will be refilled at some point.

What I am far less sure about is whether or not the boats will be removed before then.

It gives me yet another reason to hope I can return to Hengyang again someday.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Aftermath of Typhoon Hato in Zhuhai: The Bay Bar Street on Shuiwan Road

damage from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai


After surveying the damage at the Lianhua Road Pedestrian Street and near the waterfront at Qinglu South Road from Typhoon Hato in Zhuhai I headed to the Bay Bar Street (海湾酒吧街), also known as the Shuiwan Bar Street (水湾酒吧街) and simply Bar Street. This section of Shuiwan Road just one block from the waterfront is lined with restaurants, clubs, and, not so surprisingly, bars. I typically stop by there at least once any time I am in Zhuhai because of the food at a favorite place. The bar street was also notable for the thick green canopy covering most of its length thanks to the rows of trees on either side.

After the typhoon, though, much of that canopy was gone and the scenes seemed surreal. Below is a set of photographs taken only hours after the typhoon had hit there. In addition to the numerous fallen trees, they capture people taking photographs, making their way through debris, collecting scrap material, cleaning up, and attempting to cut some of the tree branches. This is one street that even after the cleanup is finished where the effects of Typhoon Hato will remain easy to see for a long time to come.

damage from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



fallen Corona beer sign



people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai






people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people making their way through debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



person trying to cut a branch



scrap collector cleaning up debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people cleaning up debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



people cleaning up debris from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street in Zhuhai



damage from Typhoon Hato at the Bay Bar Street at Shuiwan Road in Zhuhai

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Shanghai Updates Its Seven Don'ts

A sign depicting possible trash projectiles in Hongkou, Shanghai, singularly focuses on a "don't litter" message. But that is not enough for a sign at the Simingli Leisure Plaza in Huangpu, Shanghai. It adds six more "don'ts.

"The Seven Don'ts" ("'七不' 规范") sign at Simingli Leisure Plaza (四明里休闲广场) in Shanghai, China


Similar signs can be found elsewhere in Shanghai. Rob Schmitz mentions these Seven Don'ts and other numbered lists in his book "Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road":
A government-issued publication, How to Be a Lovely Shanghainese lacked the charm of Hartley's Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette. Its chapters were sprinkled with laundry lists of behavior modification, steeped in the Chinese obsession with numerology: "Five kinds of consciousness," "four kinds of spirit," "five dares," and "four forevers." There were also the Seven Don'ts: "Don't spit; don't litter; don't damage public property; don't damage greenery; don't jaywalk; don't smoke in public areas; don't utter vulgar words."

Still, Shanghai's government failed to realize its ambitious goals by the time the world's fair came around [in 2010]. Public property remained largely undamaged, but other than that lone abided restriction, I commonly saw locals do these don'ts within minutes of walking down the Street of Eternal Happiness.

The Shanghai government first promoted the Seven Don'ts in 1995 and earlier this year sought feedback for an updated list (link in Chinese). The resulting new Seven Don'ts list (link in Chinese) includes a couple of old favorites but also reflects some of the change Shanghai has experienced over the past 20 years. I haven't found any official English translations, so I will share my own interpretations along with some brief commentary.

1. Don't jaywalk.
  • Jaywalking is common in Shanghai, but it is notable what isn't mentioned: the drivers of vehicles, particularly smaller types, who regularly ignore traffic signals (or non-jaywalking pedestrians), perhaps to a greater degree.

2. Don't park or stop vehicles indiscriminately.
  • I will place the bicycle which recently caused me to walk into wet concrete in this category. I am reminded of the many other times I have seen people stop / park a vehicle in a manner which impedes other vehicles or pedestrians, even when ample out-of-the-way space exists.

3. Don't litter.
  • This is an area where I have seen a lot of change over the past 10 years in Shanghai. There seems to be much less litter these days. Shanghai isn't satisfied though.

4. Don't let pets disturb neighbors.
  • This added rule presumably results in large part from the increase in dog ownership in China.

5. Don't waste food.
  • I am now tempted to explain why I don't think cleaning off your plate means you didn't waste food. This isn't meant as commentary specific to Shanghai or China, and I will save it for another day.

6. Don't create a disturbance when speaking.

7. Don't cut in line.
  • The rule seems to assume there's a clear line in the first place, which isn't always the case. But this is another area where I have seen a lot of change in China. People are now more likely to stand in a line and not cut, though sometimes that can be due to structures which make it difficult to do otherwise. Still, examples of people cutting are easy to see.

There is much, much more I could say about each of these don'ts — material for some future posts. It would be fascinating to hear opinions about this new set of rules and suggestions for other rules from a representative slice of Shanghai's people. Undoubtedly, many have their own ideas about what behaviors they would most like to see changed.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Still Around, At Least for Now: The Hongkou Fire Station in Shanghai

As mentioned in a post with photos of a woman selling flowers from a cart, last Friday I briefly wondered about the history of the Hongkou Fire Station in Shanghai. Although the Hongkou district boasts a variety of architecture, the building stands out there as it would in many other places.

Hongkou Fire Station in Shanghai


Not long after taking a few photos of the station on Friday, I discovered that Paul French, author of a number of books about China including The Old Shanghai A-Z, had coincidentally written a post about the building just two days earlier. Sadly, the news he shared was not great. "Will They Really Destroy Hongkou Fire Station?" includes a bit about the fire station's history and explains why French worries the building completed in 1932 won't be around for much longer.

During a tour I gave in Hongkou to a relative, I pointed out a few areas which have been recently demolished. It would be a shame if this building gets added to the list. Later, I will post about a recently demolished neighborhood in walking distance from the fire station. When I went there last year I saw some of its remaining life. This year, the most lively thing I saw was a demonstration.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

More of What is Behind the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza

A dog meat restaurant isn't all that is behind the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza. It was getting dark as I walked around, but I was able to take a few photos near the restaurant including these two of buildings which appear to have been around long before Wanda:

older buildings behind the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


older buildings behind the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza


And this is the view looking approximately south down West 7th Road, which runs along the eastern side of the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza.

southward view looking down West 7th Road in Mudanjiang, China

The dog meat restaurant is on the right, and close behind it, mostly out of view, is where I took the first two photos. The area on the left side of the road in the photo appears to have been recently demolished. And in the background is a newer development.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Another Look at What Life Was Once Like Near Shangqiu's Dieze Gate

The previous post featured some buildings inside the Shangqiu's ancient city wall at the Dieze Gate which I had seen in November 2010. After I took the photo of them shared in that post, I walked through the gate and headed to other sights in Shangqiu. When I later returned to the ancient city through the same gate, I took a photo which includes some of this same buildings. In this case they appear on the right side.

Street scene near Dieze Gate (垤泽门) in Shangqiu during November 2010


I also took a photo of the other side of the street.

Street scene near Dieze Gate (垤泽门) in Shangqiu during November 2010


The photos aren't remarkable to me just because I found the buildings in both have since been demolished, with the exception of those behind the trees, but also because of the life they capture such as hanging clothes, an electric scale, vehicles, items for sale, and, of course, people on a day which for them might have been mostly unremarkable.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Destroying to Restore: Disappearing Life in the Shangqiu Ancient City

Mark Rowswell, aka Dashan, a performer in China famous for his Chinese language skills and comedy, recently tweeted about a city I rarely see mentioned:


The tweet reminded me of my own visit to Shangqiu and how everyday life continued amidst construction in its ancient city. A subsequent tweet by Rowswell and an accompanying photo captured how some of the life there hasn't continued in the same way.

portion of ancient city wall with leftover marking from a building which had once been built against it


The mark of the building which had once stood against the wall made me wonder how much of what I had seen in Shangqiu was now gone. Rowswell's photo specifically reminded me of one I had taken inside the western portion of the ancient city wall at Dieze Gate (垤泽门).

building attached to the city wall near Dieze Gate (垤泽门) in the Shangqiu Ancient City in November 2010


When I took the photo back in November 2010, I questioned whether the buildings next to the wall would last long. Now I was especially curious. I am not near Shangqiu at the moment, and, even if he were still there, I figured it would be a bit odd to ask Rowswell to go over and snap a photo.

Fortunately, there was another option. Baidu's online street-view service, which didn't exist when I visited Shangqiu, has greatly expanded its coverage during recent years. Not only does it now cover portions of the Shangqiu Ancient City, it offers a similar viewpoint.

More recent view of Dieze Gate (垤泽门) in the Shangqiu Ancient City from Baidu's street view service


The tree, a little larger, remains, as apparently does some of the activity near the wall. But clearly much is gone. Seeing the remains of the demolished buildings wasn't entirely unexpected, yet I still felt a complex combination of emotions I have experienced before elsewhere in China.

When I visited this location the buildings and the life around them caught my attention as much as, if not more than, the ancient city gate. I wonder what life was like there during the wall's early years. In some ways it may have more closely resembled what I saw five and a half years ago than life there now.

Regardless, the buildings are history. Perhaps it was the right choice. And perhaps someday in the future people will want to reconstruct the buildings for the same reasons they were destroyed.

Like Rowswell, I have mixed feelings.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Life Amidst Construction in the Shangqiu Ancient City

When I visited the Shangqiu Ancient City in Henan province in late 2010, road construction made the central Zhongshan Main Street difficult to navigate, especially if you wanted to cross from one side to the other.

road construction at the Zhongshan Main Street in the Shangqiu Ancient City (商丘古城)


There were few barriers around the construction site, and it was easy for people to enter, whether accidentally or on purpose. The border of the construction site was often fuzzy and in places materials obstructed sidewalk space.

large concrete tools on the sidewalk next to a road construction site at the Zhongshan Main Street in the Shangqiu Ancient City (商丘古城)


So like in many other parts of China, seemingly ordinary construction had become remarkably intwined with the lives of many people, including playing children. And people continued with their daily lives whether on it . . .

woman holding a child who is standing on a large concrete tube at the Zhongshan Main Street in the Shangqiu Ancient City (商丘古城)


next to it . . .

woman selling tubers next to a road construction site at the Shangqiu Ancient City


or over it.

woman pushing her bike towards an informally made bridge over large concrete tubes at a road construction site at the Shangqiu Ancient City (商丘古城)


The road is in far better shape now, but change doesn't stop, even in an ancient city. And sometimes life can't blend in as easily. I will share a more recent example from Shangqiu later.


Update: See here for the more recent example.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Road Construction Fun in Shangqiu

Shangqiu, a prefecture-level city in Henan, China, recently came to my attention, and I was inspired to write a related post. I won't finish the post today, so for now I will share a photo I took in November 2010 of some boys who were playing in the middle of a road construction site in the walled Shangqiu Ancient City.

five boys standing in the middle of a road construction site in Shangqiu, China

More on the construction theme later. And then a bit about some more recent destruction in the historic area.

Friday, March 25, 2016

More Blues: The Losing Bar Lost in Jieyang

One night about a month ago on Wanjiang North Road in Jieyang, I noticed a bar with an unusual, but possibly fitting, name.

Losing Bar (迷途酒馆) in Jieyang with a partially falling sign a no lights on at night


The bar's Chinese name "迷途" (mítú) has a dictionary translation of "to lose one's way", which expresses a different message than the English name chosen for the bar. That doesn't necessarily mean the name was a mistake or the creator wasn't aware of the difference though. Whatever the case, it appeared the Losing Bar had, well, lost. The sign was in need of repair and there were no lights on during a prime bar time.

Two nights ago at the same location, I saw things had changed.

Mu Blue Pub (沐蓝酒馆) in Jieyang, China


The Mu Blue Pub took a different approach to translating its name, 沐蓝 (mùlán), into English by using the standard Pinyin transcription for the first character and the English translation for the second character. Perhaps this was done to avoid a more difficult task of translating both characters into a fitting English name.

I didn't go inside the new pub and won't have the opportunity to visit it in the near future. Given the turnover I have seen in Jieyang, a topic for another day, I wouldn't be surprised to see something else there if I return in a year or two. But maybe the Mu Blue Bar will be a winner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Life With Less Lint Embraced at Shenzhen's Dongmen

My recent Shenzhen-themed posts have likely caused some longtime readers to ask an important question: Are people still selling cucumber slicers in the Dongmen shopping area as they were several years ago?

Based on recent observations, they are not. Now something else is sold by many hawkers there in a similar fashion: lint removers.

lint removers for sale on an outdoor table

hawker selling lint removers at Dongmen Pedestrian Street in Shenzhen

hawker selling lint removers at Dongmen Pedestrian Street in Shenzhen

One of the hawkers was asking 10 yuan (about U.S. $1.50) for a non-electric lint remover and 30 yuan for an electric lint remover (shaver). The latter price could quickly drop to 20 yuan. The lint removers appeared to be in demand, and several were sold during the brief time I watched several of the hawkers. As seen in the second and third photos, most of the hawkers have easily-transportable displays similar to those used for the cucumber slicers — still important for an easy escape from roaming security guards.

And yet again, a loose end is tied up. Though, as usual, more questions arise.