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

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dolphins, a Log Flume, and Hu Jintao in Zhongshan: The History and Legacy of China's First Large-Scale Modern Amusement Park

Near one end of the Changjiang Reservoir in Zhongshan, Guangdong, exists a place of merriment, magic, and water. But when I recently passed the Changjiang Water World (长江水世界) park on a foggy afternoon, it was closed — as it is every day this time of year due to the colder weather.

At least a sculpture at its main entrance is still approachable.

sculpture at entrance of Changjiang Water World in Zhongshan


A short walk away is the hard-to-miss entrance for the Changjiang Water World parking lot.

Changjiang Water World parking lot entrance


Unsurprisingly, there were no cars parked there at the time.

Changjiang Water World parking lot


The other side of the parking lot is bordered by the Changjiang Reservoir's dam. Yes, this is your place for empty parking lot photos.

And the fun doesn't stop there. One of the historical photos displayed at Zhongshan's Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall captures a moment at the amusement park which previously existed at Changjiang Water World's current site.

Chinese caption for the photo:
"1984年5月24日,时任中共中央总书记胡耀邦在时任广东省省长梁灵光陪同下视察中山,图为他在中山长江乐园验“激流探险”


According to the photo's caption, Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦), who then held the highest office in Communist Party of China as its general secretary, and Liang Lingguang (梁灵光), who was then Governor of Guangdong, are checking out a log flume ride at the Changjiang Playland* (长江乐园), which had opened the year before in 1983. Hu riding a potentially soaking ride while wearing a suit strikes me as bold. In fact, according to accounts of the time, the 69-year-old Hu insisted upon conquering the water ride despite concerns over safety and it not being part of the original plans.

Hu was presumably not visiting simply for fun, but instead because the Changjiang Playland was the first large-scale amusement park with modern rides in China and seen as a potential model for others. The park also helped Zhongshan — where the first bumper cars were made in China – grow into the largest base of amusement park ride production in the country. They even make log flume rides there.

Perhaps the park inspired too much for its own good though. Soon the fun faded away and in 1997 the park closed, in part due to competition from other parks which opened in the region. Aging equipment didn't help either, although it was good enough to be sent to Leshan in Sichuan province.

In 2005, the site experienced a rebirth when the Changjiang Romantic Water World (长江浪漫水城) opened. The romance didn't last for long, and in 2009 the site was closed for redevelopment once more. In 2010 the first phase of the Changjiang Water World opened.

That park remains in existence today, as does Zhongshan's amusement park ride industry. But unfortunately, a list of rides at Changjiang Water World indicates a log flume ride no longer exists. So there goes any chance for a contemporary version of Hu's daring act at the park.








*Some sites now use "Changjiang Paradise" — a reasonable translation — for the park's English name, but according to photos of various old entrance tickets (see here and here) the park itself used "Changjiang Playland" as its English name.

Friday, January 4, 2019

A Generational Meme in China

I will keep this short and sweet since these tweets by Kassy Cho speak for themselves:



A compilation by Victor Sun on YouTube includes these examples and more:



That's all.

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Building With a Warning in Zhongshan

In the older sections of the Shiqi subdistrict in Zhongshan exist some buildings currently marked with the sign "危房勿近" — "Derelict House, Stay Away". Despite the warning, I haven't seen any examples where something has else has been done to keep people safe from potential danger, and typically people regularly pass by in close proximity.

Below is one such house in Zhonghepo (中和泊) with the red and yellow sign. I don't know whether it is more likely destined for repair or demolition. Fortunately, whatever its fate, I suffered no harm for taking a brief close look as night fell.


house with "危房勿近" sign on it


dilapidated house in Zhongshan


inside a dilapidated house in Zhongshan, China

Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

"A Story About Something Kind of Wonderful That Happened Yesterday" in Beijing

A series of tweets today by Te-Ping Chen, a Beijing-based reporter for the Wall Street Journal, resonated with me and apparently many others. Her story of discovery is well worth sharing beyond the world of Twitter, so here it is:












Monday, December 4, 2017

A Time of Change and Digging at the Gude Temple in Wuhan

Even after visiting hundreds of Buddhist temples in China, the Gude Temple in Wuhan can catch you by surprise. According to a photo gallery featuring the temple on the Hubei Provincial People’s Government's website:
It was built in the 3rd year of Emperor Guangxu (1877) in the Qing Dynasty.

The present Great Buddhist Hall was built in 1921 and later was expanded into Gude Temple, which covers an area of 20000 square meters and has a floor space of 3600 square meters.

The Gude Temple was built according to style of the Alantuo Temple in Myanmar in an erratic combination of all thinkable architectural styles and traditions, being unique in construction of Buddhist temples in China’s hinterland.
I wouldn't describe the location as being in China's hinterland, but I agree the architecture is unlike any other temple I have seen in China. My recent visit was made all the more special thanks to work affecting much of the temple's grounds — reminiscent of the construction I walked through when I visited the Changchun Taoist Temple in Wuhan six years ago.

Below are some scenes which feature some of the change now occurring at Gude Temple as visitors still make their way around. The temple is easily reachable by going to Toudao Street Station on the Wuhan Metro and then walking down Gudesi Road. But that might not work in the not-too-distant future. Many of the areas near the temple are changing to a greater degree.


excavator moving a tree at Gudesi Temple



excavator moving a tree at Gudesi Temple



monk and workers at Gudesi Temple in Wuhan



excavator and truck at Gudesi Temple



excavator at Gudesi Temple



excavator at Gude Temple



excavator at Gude Temple



Gude Temple (古德寺) in Wuhan

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.