Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

This green challenge comes at a good time as I’m rapidly losing the green outside in Shanghai. I need to hold on through the bleak winter until a little relief comes in the form of a 12 day trip to Thailand! There is nothing like 33C in February! That little respite will have to last me until April when the leaves emerge from their slumber once more.

We’ll start off with some of the wilder parts of the Great Wall where the foliage is encroaching upon the man-laid stone.

Next up some strikingly green water lilies.

Now a serene bamboo grove

Oh woe is me! Can I get through the dreary winter? It will be months before my street resembles this again , and I can go out and play!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

Geometry. Awesome.

After studying it so many years ago , who knew I’d be photo blogging about it?

The city is an environment rife with geometry with the sharp lines of towering skyscrapers , swirls of freeway bridges , and the funky stuff that happens at night. Ancient China is steeped in geometry as well. The most popular examples being the revolutionary (at the time) use of half circles to construct the largest , sturdiest bridges at the time, and the traditional archway doors in the ancient gardens and homes.

Shanghai World Financial Center in all its glory.

Xuhui Rd buildings showing off at night.

Graceful looping action of the elevated highways.

Interior of the 瓷房子 Ci Fangzi / Porcelain House in Tianjin. Try to throw coins from the top into the bottom!

Peaceful Hangzhou Westlake bridge.

Shanghai Zhujiajiao Water Town bridge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

Whoa. Foreign. Where to start? The last 2 years and 7 months have been exclusively “foreign” photos for me. Horses in the Inner Mongolian grasslands? Yea , not my life before. Towering neon-lit skyscrapers? Couldn’t be further from Mentor , Ohio.

After leaving Tianjin with it’s miniscule foreign population , I would stare at the fellow 老外 (laowai = foreigner) upon arrival in Shanghai.

The most foreign thing become a White Man. Or a Black Man. Whoa ,a White and a Black Man walking together! (I’m totally not saying this in a racist way , in case anyone wants to read that out of context.) I would have a huge shit-eating grin on my face , jaw hanging down to almost the ground , while trying to talk to anybody and everybody about those crazy foreigners! And if they were eating hamburgers , forget about it! I’m floating in the sky!

I’m seriously going to have one huge case of reverse culture shock when I go back.

I’ve tried to pick out a few “foreign” photos from my stack of 10,000 or so.

Here goes.

Upon arrival , ignoring the game changers of language culture , there were some things in China that looked kinda familiar but something was off….

I couldn’t put my finger on it while eating my blueberry chips washed down with a WW2 American army edition Pabst.

Stepping outside though , it hit me.

Is that frickin’ worm?!?

Even my beloved graffiti wasn’t the same.

Slowly though these things became normal. I even started to look back at the States differently.

My thanksgiving feast morphed into this.

Yup , I’ve absorbed China. I live , breathe, and speak China. (Though as a non-Asian you can never truly assimiliate into China.)

Now it takes things like this to me to see foreign.

Hey that barstool in Vang Vieng , Laos kind of looks like Ohio.

*Looks closely* OMG IT IS OHIO! I should probably visit home sometime. Right? Mom and Dad , right?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

China has a propensity for building BIG things. From ancient pagodas towering above the countryside to new shiny neon-lit skycrapers looming above the city.

Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’An

The Monument to the People’s Heroes in Tiananmen Square in Beijing

Forbidden City in Beijing

Temple of Heaven in Beijing

Jinma Plaza Arches in Kunming

World Financial Center aka “The Bottle Opener” all lit-up at night in Shanghai.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

Let’s face it , it’s hard to find some solitary time in the city. Especially when you live in a mega-city of 23 million people.
These photos were taken in Pingyao, China , an ancient walled city in Shanxi province where with the exception of beer advertising umbrellas looks much the same as did it half a millenium ago. It’s very easy to lose oneself while wandering through the ancient stone corridors , thinking about who else has strolled this way in the centuries before.

This last one isn’t a person but it seems to be enjoying its solitude too!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

Everyday life in a big city like Shanghai can be stressful : packed subway rides , idiots driving motorbikes the wrong way through a green pedestrian light , and various other acts of idiocracy. I choose to present a simpler life from a simpler place.

These are from a small village outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia where the villagers weave tapestries much the same way they did hundreds of years ago , and the daily diet consists of rice , fish , and mango.

The pictures with the large crowd are from another small village 15 minutes or so by motorbike away. The locals gather at the Buddhist temples , hang out , pray , and organize sumo-wrestling matches between 5-6 year old kids. Seriously.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

The week’s China theme on the Weekly Photo Challenge : Near and Far

Let’s start out with the always photogenic Great Wall! It keeps going and going and going and going.

Moving on to the empty grasslands of Inner Mongolia. We present to you our piece simply entitled “Nothing”.

Now time to head over to the ancient walled city of Pingyao in Shanxi province. Great view over the city. The same view the guards in the towers enjoyed 800 years ago.

A quick jump , skip , and a hop away is Shandong province with the holy Mount Tai. Everyone worth their salt , including Mao Zedong and Confucius , climbed this bad boy. Here is my friend and there is the sun , 91 million miles distant.

Hmm, now on to San Francisco. I was on my way to China two and a half years ago and enjoyed a stop in one of my favorite places on Earth. While enjoying the pleasures of coffee and beer, I was coaxed by a nice person to check out an exhibit . He took me here.

Well next to here. Does anybody know?

The freakin’ Scientology headquarters of San Francisco!! I took one look , shook my head for a free crystal reading , and got far , far, far away from there!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

Nothing screams “FREE SPIRIT!” to me like kids , but maybe because Monday to Friday I’m surrounded by them at work. Get ’em before they are corrupted by cell phones and mass amounts of crappy television. When the soul really is free before the crushing weights of the world descend upon us ; bills , student loans , homework , booze (although that one is debatable :)) , and so on.