Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pet Dogs in Chongqing

During the past month in Chongqing, I have seen many dogs as I have explored the city. Here are a few of them:

three kids walking a dog
Walking next to Songshi Avenue

dog tied to a chair and standing on a traditional Chinese style table
Keeping an eye on another dog near People's Park

dog sitting between two men on a bench
Sitting on a bench near the Hongsheng Cultural Square

dog sitting in a plaza with several other dogs in the background
Outside at the SML Central Square shopping mall

dog standing in the middle of a walkway
Guarding a home not far from Liziba Park

dog on bench with head resting on the armrest
Taking advantage of an armrest in the Gulou Lane historical area

Like the dog is the last photo above, some wore coats or other clothing. This is my favorite one so far:

dog wearing clothing with the words "BOBO PET LOVE THE CHIPS OF LOVE IS secret"
One of about 10 dogs hanging out together in Jiefangbei

Perhaps someday I will discover the secret chips of love.

Whatever my future holds, in all of the above cases I am fairly confident the dogs were pets, even though apparent strays aren't uncommon to see. And none of this is unusual for Chongqing. It is easy to see people with their pet dogs.

No deeper points at the moment. Mostly, I just wanted to provide some context for an upcoming post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mannequin Takes a Selfie in Chongqing

Last year I shared photos of mannequins along a street in Yangjiang. Yesterday, in front of displays for Casio products at the Times Paradise Walk shopping mall in Chongqing, another mannequin caught my attention.

mannequin taking a selfie in front of displays for Casio products

A sign of the times . . .

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Man Spa in China

Yesterday while walking down Honghuang Road in Chongqing, I saw a "Man Spa".

Sign for a "Man Spa" on a building in Chongqing

The cartoon character on the left side of the sign is a special touch. I did not visit this establishment nor can I say for sure what occurs there. Nonetheless, it brought to mind a recent article by James Palmer on ChinaFile:
Perhaps the spa in the small-town Shandong hotel where I was dining with a cluster of businessmen and officials was an entirely legitimate establishment, and I was misreading the nature of the invitation. But the neon sign outside advertising the “Health Body Center” (康体中心) had replaced the upper strokes in the character 心 with flashing red hearts.

“Health Body” is an approximation; I was sloshed on baijiu, the near-undrinkable spirit ubiquitous at social events, and my memory of the evening is dubious. I had been doing the rounds of provincial cities as my boss’ token foreigner for the whole summer, though, pitching training courses to the dim children of the rich so that they could study at foreign universities, and the routine of hard drinking followed by a group excursion to a brothel was becoming a familiar one. My status as a foreigner was enough to excuse me from the sex itself after only a light barrage of gay jokes from the others, but not from the social obligations around it.
For much more, read "The Bro Code — Booze, Sex, and the Dark Art of Dealmaking in China". It captures a very real side of China.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Hillside Walk in Chongqing

An old man lower down the hill told me to turn left when I had a choice. It worked out pretty well.

Path through trees on the side of a hill in Chongqing

Friday, February 6, 2015

"Made in the U.S.A." at a Walmart in Chongqing

In the U.S., Walmart is known for selling many "Made in China" products. Not surprisingly, many products at Walmarts in China are also manufactured in China. So I find it notable when I see a "Made in the U.S.A." product for sale at a Walmart in China.

Today at a Walmart in Chongqing, I noticed such a product.

Craisins for sale at Walmart in Chongqing, China

Ocean Spray's Craisins were clearly marked as a U.S. product, although they are packaged in New Zealand — quite a trip. 16.8 yuan (about US $2.70) for 170 grams seemed like a fair deal in China. I bought a bag, since I hadn't had Craisins in a long time. But it turns out I didn't get as good of a deal as I could have if I had wanted a lot of Craisins.

Craisins for sale at Costco on Tmall

Only online at Tmall, Costco currently sells a 1360 gram bag (HT Charles Liu) for 69 yuan, about 37% cheaper per gram. Costco began selling products on Tmall to people in mainland China last October. According to the Tmall page, Costco's Craisins first go through Taiwan before reaching anyone in mainland China. These are especially well-traveled American Craisins.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A View of a Massive City in China

During the past few weeks as I have seen more and more of Chongqing, I have struggled with how to best express its incredible size. Today I contemplated a view where haze obscured much, many tall buildings appeared deceptively small, and entire urban areas lay out of sight. Much seemed to be missing, but of all the views I have seen it most displayed Chongqing's immensity and density.

So below are a series of photos which show what you would see looking approximately northeast and then moving around in a counter-clockwise direction (towards the left side of the photos) atop the Kansheng Building* in Eling Park. Most of the photos overlap a small amount, with the largest gap existing between the sixth and seventh photos. As usual, all can be clicked for larger versions. In the future, I will "zoom in" on a few areas, in some cases highlighting how much more Chongqing plans to grow.

view from the Kansheng Building at Eling Park in Chongqing

view from the Kansheng Building at Eling Park in Chongqing

view from the Kansheng Building at Eling Park in Chongqing

view from the Kansheng Building at Eling Park in Chongqing

view from the Kansheng Building at Eling Park in Chongqing

view from the Kansheng Building at Eling Park in Chongqing

view from the Kansheng Building at Eling Park in Chongqing

view from the Kansheng Building at Eling Park in Chongqing

*Many online sites use the names "Liangjiang Pavilion" or "Kansheng Pavilion". Both the 5 yuan ticket I bought to go up to the top and the park's online map use "瞰胜楼". The map translates this as "Kansheng Building", which seems reasonable. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Obama Sits Happily on a Bench in Chongqing

As I approached a restaurant which serves local-style food in Chongqing, I paused for a moment when I saw who was sitting in front of the restaurant's entrance.

A Barack Obama statue sitting on a bench

A group of Chinese later left the restaurant exclaiming "Obama!". A few had their photos taken while sitting on the bench. A server at the restaurant identified the statue as President Barack Obama. She said it was not theirs but was owned by the touristy complex where the restaurant can be found.

Obama may be pleased by this. Not only did he once sit on a bench with Chinese President Xi Jinping and give it to him, but he may see the Chongqing bench as indicative of a type of influence the U.S. has in China that China has less of in the U.S.

Barack Obama and Xi Jinping sit on a bench
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Nighttime Chongqing Scene With Masks

Although not quite "good", yesterday had some of the clearest air during my recent time in Chongqing. Taken from across the Yangtze River last night, here is a photo of buildings in Yuzhong District with Jiefangbei's taller buildings in the background:

view of Jiefangbei, Chongqing, and some of its surrounding area as seen from across the Yangtze River at night

New Apple Store Opens in Chongqing Without Its Art

Entrance to Jiefangbei Apple Store in Chongqing on opening day

Saturday was the opening day for the new Apple Store at Jiefangbei in Chongqing, China. When I stopped by during the afternoon the store was crowded with people doing some of the things people do in a Apple Store.

crowd at Jiefangbei Apple Store in Chongqing on opening day

three young women in front of a laptop at Jiefangbei Apple Store in Chongqing on opening day

children using iPads at Jiefangbei Apple Store on opening day

demonstration at Jiefangbei Apple Store on opening day

crowd at Jiefangbei Apple Store in Chongqing on opening day

None of this surprised me. What did surprise me, though, was the choice of artwork in the store.

artwork on walls of Jiefangbei Apple Store on opening day

Numerous examples of art made with Apple devices were on display, but there was no sign of the collaborative art Apple previously used to promote the store's opening. I had expected to see the original artwork, which a video shows is not as as large as the apparent copy once covering the stairway entrance. Even after contacting someone in marketing by phone, an Apple Store employee couldn't tell me its current location or why it wasn't on display inside the store.

Anyway, I can't speak to sales, but there was a regular stream of visitors while I was there. Maybe someday I will learn what happened to the art.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Photographic Moment: One More Chongqing Trio

After I saw the "Two Chongqing Trios" in Chongqing's Dadukou district, I saw another trio, this one including young girls. I didn't include the moment because it wasn't as near in terms of time and location as the other two trios and is something I see far more often. It did occur on the same pedestrian street though. Here it is:

Three girls in a photographic moment at a pedestrian street in Dadukou, Chongqing.

Later, I will share a more complete photo of the object of photographic interest behind the two posing girls and say more about it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Police, Models, and a Violinist: Two Chongqing Trios

This afternoon near the New Century Department Store in Chongqing's Dadukou district I saw three People's Armed Police marching up and down a pedestrian street.

Three male People's Armed Police at a shopping street in Dadukou, Chongqing

At least two appeared to be armed with large weapons.

Four minutes later, after stepping off an escalator inside the New Century Department Store I saw two models and a violinist performing music accompanied by a recording.

two female models and a female violinist wearing a gold sparkly dress in a Chongqing department store

Presumably they were part of a fourth anniversary store promotion.

In some ways the two sights couldn't contrast more strongly, especially seeing them so close together. But both touch on themes in China I have noticed and pondered. And both brought to mind many similar things I have seen in China in the past.

They don't always come in trios though.