China lite

from Beijing to Shanghai

 

Hello! Long time no speak. Almost a year in fact. Not good! So I finally made time this week to play with some pics from a brief trip Coco and I did earlier in the year to China.

It was a quick flit across the oceans for Coco to see her dad (based in Beijing) and then a few days just her and me in Shanghai.

Despite the fact I grew up in Hong Kong, I’d never been to China (it was closed back then – yes, that long ago…). So instead of doing my usual avoid-the-icons thing, I played tourist and hit the big ticket items.

You could spend lifetimes exploring China so a few days was no time at all. And I wasn’t really in matching-up-pairs or diptych mode when I was shooting. But months later, looking at the images again, I’ve managed to marry up some pairs.

Let’s go China!

Part 1: Beijing

Over the course of a few days I visited the Forbidden City, a few hutongs and my favourite – the Yonghe Lama Temple.

Starting with a shot of the military in front of the Forbidden City. I clicked the camera just as I heard “NO PHOTOS!” Alas, the shot was already taken…

 

forbidden shot in the Forbidden City

forbidden shot in the Forbidden City

 

 

 

 

at play vs on guard

at play vs on guard

 

 

 

 

so clean

surprisingly clean

 

 

 

Next, the hutongs, which are charming old alleys with small courtyard homes (siheyuan) running off them, that are fast disappearing.

 

hutong life

hutong life

 

 

 

 

home pride

home pride

 

 

 

 

hutongs, under grey then blue heavens

hutongs, under grey then blue heavens

 

 

 

 

guard dog

guard dog

 

 

 

 

dining under open heavens in the hutongs

al fresco dining in the hutongs

 

 

 

 

See that beautiful blue sky by the way? That’s one of the surprises of China, that you expect the air to live up to its terrible reputation all the time. Often it was brilliant blue. Then just as you were getting used to breathing without wincing, the smog (‘fog’) would roll in…

 

from on high – all the better to see the smog

from on high – all the better to see the smog

 

 

 

I loved nosing around the hutongs, but my favourite site in Beijing was the Yonghe Lama Temple. The incense, the gorgeous old buildings, and a woman wearing a flower print skirt and cropped yellow jacket…

 

a young crowd in an ancient setting – Yonghe Lama Temple :: 1

a young crowd in an ancient setting – Yonghe Lama Temple :: 1

 

 

 

 

a young crowd in an ancient setting – Yonghe Lama Temple :: 2

a young crowd in an ancient setting – Yonghe Lama Temple :: 2

 

 

 

 

sacred screens

sacred screens

 

 

 

 

sacred study

sacred study

 

 

 

Okay, so see that lady with the yellow jacket? I thought she had a great look, especially wondering around this beautiful temple, so I kind of stalked her. For a bit. Okay, a while.

 

flower girl

flower girl

 

 

 

 

stalking the flower girl :: 1

stalking flower girl

 

 

 

 

farewell flower girl, sorry about stalking you

farewell flower girl, sorry about stalking you

 

 

Last but not least, there was ‘tracksuit man’, from another major site, the Summer Palace.

 

tracksuit man

tracksuit man

 

 

Part 2: The Great Wall of China – no pics of that but some lovely blossom instead

Yep. I didn’t take my DSLR camera with me the day we visited one of the wonders of the world. Not sure why. Anyway, here are a few pics of some beautiful blossom snapped near the Wall.

 

nature, inside and out

nature, inside and out

 

 

 

 

pink flowers – from Beijing to bush

pink flowers – from Beijing to bush

 

 

 

 

Li Jing longed for her home in the country

Li Jing longed for her home in the country

 

 

 

And I treated myself to a night at the Brickyard, a boutique hotel with a view of the Wall. (Promise if I ever go again, I’ll snap that Wall!)

 

selfie

selfies, sort of

 

 

 

Part 3: Onto Shanghai

So so different to Beijing.

 

from little red book to little red bag

from little red book to little red bag

 

 

 

 

it was obvious where the designer had got his inspiration from

it was obvious where the designer had got his inspiration from

 

 

 

 

bikes still rule

bikes still rule in the French Quarter

 

 

We splurged and stayed at the amazing Peace Hotel for a few nights, an art deco beauty right on the Bund.

 

Coco outside the Peace Hotel

Coco outside the Peace Hotel

 

Early Sunday morning, while Coco slept, I snuck out of the hotel and had a lot of fun near the famous waterfront, the Bund – with hardly anyone around except men on bikes with dogs and a 96 year old quietly busting some moves.

 

 

Sunday in Shanghai :: 2

Sunday in Shanghai :: 1

 

 

 

 

Sunday in Shanghai :: 2

Sunday in Shanghai :: 2

 

 

 

 

busting moves on the Bund :: 1

busting moves on the Bund :: 1

 

 

 

 

busting moves on the Bund :: 2

busting moves on the Bund :: 2

 

 

 

People line up along the Bund to take selfies against the backdrop of the skyscraper district, Pudong. I realise people take selfies all over the world, but there were so many being taken, it made me think about the selfie and how strange or funny it is to watch people taking them.

 

selfies on the Bund

selfies on the Bund

 

 

 

 

they worship different things

they worship different things

 

 

 

 

The contrast between the historic Bund and shiny new Pudong is quite something. But what won me over in Shanghai was the Old Town. The chaos, friendly people and bucket loads of strange yet somehow alluring fluro meat on sticks.

 

Old Town, Shanghai

Old Town, Shanghai

 

 

 

 

Wang Wei worked, dreaming of his dinner

Wang Wei worked, dreaming of his dinner

 

 

 

The Old Town isn’t that far from the Bund and its upmarket art deco darlings, but it’s worlds apart.

 

upstairs downstairs :: 1

upstairs downstairs :: 1

 

 

 

 

upstairs downstairs :: 2

upstairs downstairs :: 2

 

 

 

And there endeth our chop chop trip to China. Short but very sweet. Hope you enjoyed it.

 

  1. philippa says:

    I love your photo compositions Louise…you really capture the essence of the places you visit. Thanks!

  2. Joyce says:

    Thank you Louise
    For sharing corners of the world that I might not get to see and experience.

  3. John Snelson says:

    Louise … good to see you back … the old magic is still there … john

  4. Pat says:

    Have missed you, thanks for sharing your great experiences with us

  5. Sue says:

    Loved your view of China.Must put on my bucket list.

  6. Louise says:

    Thanks all! Really lovely to be back in the blog zone – and hearing you enjoy it makes it so worthwhile. x

  7. Bron says:

    Once again……… your unique take on things Louise!
    Thank you for sharing.
    A lovely surprise for us and lovely work by you.

  8. Julie Small says:

    What a treat!! I love China – these photos are beautiful. Hope to see more form you soon!!

  9. Stephen Lead says:

    Welcome back, 52 Suburbs! It’s great to get another glimpse into your world Louise.

  10. Peter says:

    Good to see there are a few hutong left.

  11. chantal says:

    Stunningly beautiful…its been way too long. Please another project soon!

  12. Lisa Claridge says:

    How lovely to receive this, my favorite email of the month, nay, the year!! I just adore your photos. My favorites are the ‘busting moves on the Bund parts 1&2’
    Thanks so much for this beautiful insight into your trip.
    Happy snapping, happy travels.
    Lisa

  13. Zainil says:

    What a pleasure to get your notification in my inbox, and even more pleasurable to relive China through your lens. I used to live in the French Concession for five long wonderful years. And Beijing was like a second home in China. Your photos make me miss China a lot. Thanks for the memories. :)

  14. Kalinda says:

    Love it Lou! beautiful work

  15. Fistrel says:

    Superb! Loved the old guy reflecting in the puddle.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Opening my email to find this post was like coming home to find a visitor had arrived and they had baked biscuits.

  17. Ray says:

    Louise, these are such a good interpretation of the China we still know little of. Good to have you back with this worthy work.

  18. Janie says:

    Welcome back! Beautiful photos as usual and love the way you match up your subjects.
    Hope the Peace Hotel still has its jazz band (memories of a great night out – probably not possible with child in tow though).

  19. Sarah says:

    I only checked your Facebook page yesterday and now this! Welcome back, please dont go away again! Coco is looking like such a young lady now.
    Bless you both!

  20. Lisette says:

    So nice to see new photos, Louise! Any plans for further travel around the globe?

  21. Tom says:

    Love your pix. When were you there? I was there a couple of weeks ago with my kid doing similar things. You should do a more extensive exploration of China :)

  22. Louise says:

    Dear all, this has been like seeing or at least speaking to old friends again! It’s been a bit rough lately and I can’t tell you how soothing and uplifting your comments are. I wish I could do this blog much more regularly, just tricky to find the time to shoot for myself now, between working as a photographer and looking after Coco. But I can try. And I know how exciting it is to see faraway places but even if I post on places closer to home, (I did that once before, remember – 52 Suburbs Sydney!) it’s better than nout, right? Anyway, thanks again for such a warm welcome back. Hugely appreciated xx

  23. Gaylie says:

    You two havin fun. You know I love to see these. Next???

  24. JENNY says:

    Great to see you are still travelling and showing your amazing photos again. I enjoyed seeing them having never been to Beijing or Shanghai.

  25. Di says:

    Fabulous teaser for your great idea Louise – 52 suburbs – travelling around China – could be quite revealing and timely too!

  26. Kari says:

    I love Tracksuit Man

  27. Jen says:

    Dear flower girl, you have grace.

    Dear Louise, pls go back and continue to stalk flower girl. She is mysterious and seems captivating

  28. Catherine says:

    Welcome back from your travels Louise and Coco, and welcome home to us as well. Been missing your delightful photo blogs. Sounds like its been a busy year for you. Enjoyed the China shoot. Been thinking of a trip there so this was a sweet sneak preview!

  29. Fiona says:

    Hi Louise – great to see your photos again. I have never been to China, so enjoyed getting a glimpse into the cities. All the best to you and Coco.

  30. Ian Stead says:

    So refreshing to see your travels recorded in photo’s once again.

    Now waiting for your next trip. :-)

  31. cherry jensen says:

    Oh I am so glad you are back, now I can travel again!
    If you decide to “do” Canada, look up the Gulf Islands
    West Coast. I live on one of the Islands, Salt Spring Island. You can stay with me and then just click away.
    The Indigenous people have a rich history, actually so do the locals. Take care of yourself.
    Cherry Jensen

  32. Peter McConnochie says:

    Wonderful to read this and see you back on the blog! It took me longer to find time to read than I planned but what a Friday night treat when I eventually managed! Loved the images of the man busting moves and the pink blossom shot! Wonderful. Hope your well :)

  33. Fred Hepworth says:

    No pressure intended; but, pleased and happy to see you and your photos again. Hope you and Coco are well.
    Fred H

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