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…
Next, the hutongs, which are charming old alleys with small courtyard homes (siheyuan) running off them, that are fast disappearing.
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…
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…
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.
Last but not least, there was ‘tracksuit man’, from another major site, the Summer Palace.
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.
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!)
Part 3: Onto Shanghai
So so different to Beijing.
We splurged and stayed at the amazing Peace Hotel for a few nights, an art deco beauty right on the Bund.
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.
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.
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.
The Old Town isn’t that far from the Bund and its upmarket art deco darlings, but it’s worlds apart.
And there endeth our chop chop trip to China. Short but very sweet. Hope you enjoyed it.