in China #15 - Extra Shots
The previous collections have all been based on the near-daily posts I made on the various watch-related boards where I share my love of vintage Chinese watches.
This collection contains photos that didn't make it to those posts for one reason or another, often just oversight. Many times the daily posts were made when I was quite tired from the day's explorations. They're mostly in chronological order and I'll try to indicate where, when and/or why they were taken.
For sure, the place in Beijing that felt the most "at home" to me (and not because it was anything I'm used to, but because everyone there made me feel truly welcome and easily accepted) was the Lishi Hutong, so I've included these next two photos because they're just shots of everyday goings on in the hutong...and I miss the place.
This was my room at the Lishi Hotel, and while it's certainly nothing fancy it was clean, very comfortable and I felt like I had everything I needed. I describe the Hotel to my friends as warm, dry, easily affordable, very friendly and very honest. What more could I need? The hotel staff are terrific.
Mr Cao, the watchmaker, is mentioned a few places in my posts about Beijing. Here's a photo of his 2nd location, the one at Panjiayuan market, a photo of Mr Cao at work, and a photo of the Panjiayuan market as viewed from just outside his shop.
If you want to find the Panjiayuan Antique Market, the cross streets are marked on the blue sign in this photo :-)
One of the first "touristy" places I was able to visit in Beijing was the Temple of heaven, also known as Tian Tan (the link goes to Wikipedia). I was guided by one of my Beijing friends, Martin ("martback" at WUS) and it's a true beauty spot, eye candy from one end to the other, and chock full of history.
After Beijing, I visited Shijiazhuang to see my valued friend Ma Rong (Cameron Ma) and his wife, Qi Ran. These next shots are all Shijiazhuang and that's Ma Rong's wife in the checkered jacket, taken at a vegetable market near her home. :-)
A very friendly Qi Ran showing me one of the Shijiazhuang food markets.
While I was in Shijiazhuang, Ma Rong and his wife took me to the Norman Bethune tomb at Shijiazhuang's Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery. Essentially all Chinese school students learn about Norman Bethune, a Canadian, and his contributions to Chinese society during the Sino-Japanese hostilities. Leaving aside politics, Dr Bethune is honoured for insisting on treating all wounded combatants equally and a number of Chinese people that I met made a point after learning I was Canadian of very respectfully noting that Canada and Chinese friendship is taken seriously and well because of Dr Bethune's efforts.
The panels on both sides of the tomb depict Dr Bethune's life and accomplishments...
...and this nearby hospital is named the Bethune International Peace Hospital in Bethune's honour.
This statue is on the grounds of the Memorial and, like similar monuments in many countries, depicts soldiers defending their homeland.
This is another, very typical, Shijiazhuang street some distance from the main downtown core.
Some more shots of Cangyanshan or "Green Cliff Mountain"
I think this fellow is a groundskeeper but I know he's got a great sense of humour. He playfully asked me to take his photo and so I took the first shot...but we were joking around and I gestured that perhaps we could come up with a pose that was more exciting. We settled on photo #2, to the entertainment of everyone watching :-)
The chair lift was not in operation, but ii still gives an indication of the heights involved just by being there.
The next shots are of the Tianjin bus station, used for inter-city travel.
You'll notice a bright narrow billboard across Tianjin's Haihe River. It's actually a huge---and very bright---LED screen, and I tried numerous times to take a photo
of it when I was much closer, but it was far too bright for my camera.
Even at dusk it was easy t spot, and easily bright enough to shoot from a good distance away (and, yup, that looks like a Microsoft Windows screen to me, too. The sign had just been turned on, I think)
This next photo is of me and a very friendly street seller in Tianjin.
His food was fresh, tasty, cooked right on the spot and cost me about 6 RMB or $1.30 CDN for a meal that left me stuffed and very, very happy. The photo was taken just after I finished eating, about 8:30 PM on Oct 17th. The seller boiled the food, coated it with a peppery but still mildly sweet sauce and served it with toss-away chopsticks and in a fresh plastic bag placed in a bowl for immediate eating. I squatted down about 10 feet away from his cart and ate the food right on the street which attracted a bit of an audience...but it wasn't because I was a foreigner or because I was eating on the street.
A few teenagers noticed me, and motioned to me asking if I wanted to come inside a nearby open doorway, making gestures regarding my short sleeved shirt. I was quite comfortable (it was about 14 C) but I'm from northern Alberta and pretty much everyone else, including the teenagers, had on jackets or heavy sweaters, and they made it clear they were concerned I was cold. I pointed to my "Canada" pin, took out a pen and paper and smiled, writing down "-30° and we all laughed because they caught on right away.
These next three photos are of the "bullet" or fast train I took from Tianjin back to Beijing after visiting Tianjin and the Sea-Gull factory, and the "outside the train car" shots are taken at the Tianjin railway station. It's a very smooth and comfortable way to travel and took about 30 minutes for the 120 KM ride: