Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strange Smells at the Clinic

The first evening I was in China back in the summer of 2002, I thought I was going to vomit. The smells almost did me and I'm not one to be easily nauseated. Luckily, I got over it–the smell of stinky tofu (literally fried moldy tofu) on the streets, fermented mildew from clothes that didn't dry fast enough in my "hotel", and I couldn't even recognize some of the other smells. Now many of these scents have become familiar thought I still can't identify all of them...

Yet sometimes there is a smell that is quite distinct–a smell that reminds me of the stairwell near my freshman dorm where the guy down the hallway would light up his contraband...yes, the smell is marijuana. And quite often when I pass the little medical clinic down the street (the one with the steady stream of weathered and hunched elderly Chinese people), I smell that same scent of hash. I asked my co-workers, and it doesn't seem that medical marijuana is available here so I have only one conclusion–the old folks are illegally getting high at the "clinic". (Actually, I have another conclusion, but this one is far more interesting.)

I tell not underestimate the elderly Chinese.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mao Was Here

More pictures! This time of a partially condemned area near Xintiandi in Shanghai. Xintiandi, which means new heavens and earth was an original meeting place of the communist party in the traditional shikumen (a stone colored brick) style. They tore down the area and then rebuilt it with similar architecture. It's now a popular, high falutin' shopping/dining area. But that has very little to do with these pictures, which I took on a Saturday. There were hardly any people in the area, though it seemed a few still lived there...

Mao was here.

This place was boarded up, but a whole in the door showed a window on the other side and an old wicker chair still in there. I really liked the perspective.

Looky here...another picture of a bike. What are the odds?

Not sure if this is a good picture, but I like it's washed out-ness for some reason.

Wen: culture.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chinese People

I've been working on the elusive skill of taking Chinese people's pictures. It's so unfortunate that they shrink from the lens because they are so photogenic, interesting and beautiful whether young or weathered.

Taken with my box camera. She asked a customer, "why is she taking pictures of me." "Maybe it's her hobby," he said.

Also with my box camera. I thought this girl was lovely. She had a nice personality too. Didn't really mind the camera...although she thought it was weird I was taking pictures of the steamed dumplings she was selling.

A man looking walking through the wet market.

This guy was one of many who thought it was hilarious that I was taking pictures of the wet market, but he let me take his picture. I think he's eating a sunflower seed.

Does this guy scare you as much as he scares me? He's lookin' for you. He's gonna find you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nanjing and the Gray Haze

Nanjing, a historic city that was one of China's capital cities, is a mere 90 minutes from Shanghai. I finally made it there a few weeks ago on a photography expedition with a friend of mine. It was great to get out of Shanghai for a few days, but it was so gray while we were there that I didn't get as many good pictures as I was hoping. 

"They" say that gray days are great for photo taking but this was a permeating gray haze. Still had a great time and got some good pics--including a few odd signs (China never disappoints on that front.) 

The last picture is my favorite so you have that to look forward to...

 A very Chinese looking Mosque.

 Lunch options at a back alley noodle shop.

 The Nanjing Japanese Massacre Museum. Very well done museum detailing the brutal Japanese invasion of the city in which 300,000 people were killed in the span of six months. Just awful and explains why China has a hard time getting over their anti-Japanese sentiments.

A wall of names of those killed during the invasion.

This was part of the window display at a shop in a mall across the street from the museum. I mean what...?
Fried dumplings. Delish! I love this picture.

The ascent to Sun Yat Sen's Mausoleum

Do you see the haze?

Flags at Jiming Temple. There are about 50 more pictures of these from every angle conceivable.

I do not know what this says. I should figure it out, but it might ruin the strangeness and that would be a shame.

Uncontrollably love this picture of the city wall. I like to think of it as being in England or France. I'm pretty sure there is some dashing literary figure just around the bend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Short Film on Superheros

A friend of mine had a super-hero themed birthday party on Saturday (and no, it wasn't a kid's birthday party). We were all supposed to come dressed up, but I was out all day and didn't have time to put together a makeshift costume. To really capitalize on the theme, we made a short, silent film which was really fun. Everyone whipped out their creative talent.

Plot:  Villains try to take over Shanghai by bombing it with balloons, but never fear Timonator, the Incredibles, Wandawoman, and Sneezetastic are here to save the day.

The original has Superman's theme overlaid but was muted by Youtube so hum it to yourselves if you need the full effect: