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Archive for the ‘Daily Pictures of Life in China’ Category

This morning I did something for the first time in China: I got up quite early and went for a walk with my camera in Martyr’s Park.

This is something I really should have done a long time ago! Let me explain.

The early morning culture of parks in China is something I’ve read about on other blogs and websites. I knew about how there are people doing Tai-chi, dancing, and several other activities usually in groups.

What I didn’t realize was how many Chinese people go to the park early in the morning–although I should say that it seemed to be mostly elderly people over 50.

I saw groups of people learning dance routines to English pop songs (Lady Gaga has a huge following in China which is an UNDERSTATEMENT to say the least).

I saw groups of women learning how to belly dance . . . and one sub-group doing some kind of squatting position-movement practice to music that was just a little too . . . ‘erotic,’ lol. Maybe Patrick Swayze has an underground following here . . . hehehe.

I saw a group of elderly men and women doing what I think is Tai-chi with swords . . . and tried to imagine older Canadians I know doing the same thing and struggled because seniors in Canada that I know don’t do much that I would consider physically demanding. Some of the positions and movements the Chinese elderly were doing with their swords in the early morning heat and humidity would likely be beyond the elderly I know.

I saw ballroom dancing groups in several locations too . . . and the list goes on.

At the end of my walk around the park I came across a group of women doing what I’m going to call ‘fan dancing.’ One of the woman in particular was very graceful and elegant–and the picture in this post of of her dancing.

Julianne and I will definitely be heading out to the park at least a couple more times early in the morning before we leave China–and if you visit China I definitely recommend it as one of the most enjoyable (and free!) cultural experiences you can have here.

J

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Old Boys ‘N The Hood, originally uploaded by Serenity in China.

Some of the reactions from people on the street here can be quite funny.

The old boys here gave Julianne, myself, and a friend quite a look as we walked past them to go eat at a restaurant.

I wonder what they had to say after we were gone?

J

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How can one explain the potency of stinky tofu’s smell to someone who has never smelled it?

I don’t know if it’s possible, lol.

I smelled it for the first time in South Korea, 2005. I was teaching middle school and walked into the cafeteria for lunch when I was assaulted by an awful and foul stench . . .

At the time I remember turning to a Korean English co-teacher and saying, “Is someone washing dirty laundry? It smells like dirty socks are being washed in the kitchen? And . . . other bad things too . . .” She thought my reaction was quite amusing.

After filling my tray with other foods and getting a bowl full of the stinky tofu I sat down with several other Korean teachers–all of whom were watching me with GREAT INTEREST to see how I’d react to trying the stinky tofu.

I ate it–and it was GOOD! In fact, it was awesome and I sometimes miss it over here in China.

The stinky tofu in China, however, in contrast to Korean stinky tofu . . . well, let’s just say that the pungency power rating of its smell is off the charts! It’s ‘nuclear stinky tofu’ in terms of its olfactory assault capabilities, and Julianne and I have yet to try it.

If and when I get a chance to try Chinese stinky tofu I’ll definitely blog about it . . . the problem is working up the courage to eat something that in my experience with foreign foods only compares to the smell of “skate” (‘honga’ (Korean name) aka sting-ray) that Hans Zimmerman tried while he was in South Korea for his Bizarre Foods TV show . . .

Julianne has pretty much said she doesn’t want to try it. As for me . . . well, if I was willing to eat the “skate” I should be willing to try the stink tofu here.

Time will tell . . . lol.

J

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Julianne and I went out into the ‘feels like 42 degrees’ heat and humidity tonight to get some dinner with a friend . . . and man was it MOIST out there!

It took TEN MINUTES for my lens to defog when I left the apartment tonight if that’s any indicator of how humid it is right now.

During the walk to the restaurant I snapped a few shots. We saw this new (I think they’re new anyway) rotisserie chicken street vendor cart . . . awesome.

Can you imagine working over one of these carts, though, in 40+ heat and humidity?!!!

J

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Tonight the power went out again . . . so we grabbed candles and books we’re currently reading . . .

Julianne is reading “Matriarch” by Karen Traviss, number four in the Wess’har Wars series (one of my new favorite Sci-Fi authors that I found a couple years ago).

In terms of cross-cultural discourse and current global issues the series is BRILLIANT. I can’t recommend it enough if you like Sci-Fi.

I guess the Chinese power gods decided to be kind tonight and only withhold modern amenities for twenty minutes–as you can see from me writing up this blog . . . that being said . . .

KNOCK ON WOOD! (I wonder if there’s a Chinese equivalent to that idiom?)

J

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Alright, and one more . . . last one, I promise, lol.

This was Julianne’s favorite shot from today.

J

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One of my favorite shots today from walking around in the park.

J

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