Shanghai, Beijing, or Nanjing, parks play an important role in the social life of the average Chinese citizen, young or old. This trio of seasoned gentleman were playing some up tempo, jazz flavored western music, on a cool, overcast Saturday in Xuanwu Lake Park in north-central Nanjing. Kite flyers, boat rowers, picture takers, walkers, dancers and matchmakers, the park was busy despite the so-so weather.
Issues with the internet–China, hotel, vpn–have been plaguing me for days (I know, I know, if that’s the biggest problem in my life, life must be pretty good) so this picture has taken countless–really, I forgot to count–attempts over the past four hours to upload. I finally cut the jpeg quality to 60% and Bingo! After Melinda stopped work for the day we took a walk through the park and around the lake until the park closed; these men were shopping the trinkets on the vendor’s cart, but she was more interested in her We Chat conversation on her phone and lost the sale. — with Melinda Hoyt at Xuanwu Lake.
The Jimingsi Temple “is a renowned Buddhist temple in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. It is one of the most antique temples in Nanjing. The temple is located near the Xuanwu Lake in central Nanjing.” I entered this temple from the adjacent Ming City Wall and this Buddhist nun was dozing at the ticket table in the cold, unheated entry way. Most visitors enter the temple from street level so I may have been her first, if not only customer. The entry fee of 10 yuan ($1.63 USD) includes 3 incense sticks to be burned at the upper temple.
“Johny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government”--Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dylan @1965
Day four in Beijing and despite the sunny skies and moderate AQI of 87, I chose to stay in the hotel today, partly because I knew this was the shot I wanted to take for day 64 and partly because it’s cold outside. On top of that my neck is stiff and sore; walking around with a camera slung across my shoulder and a 15 lb backpack aggravates my arthritic neck and after 3 straight days of mutli-hour treks about the city I wanted an easy day before we hop the train to Nanjing, tonight. I’m glad I did; unconfirmed reports from some Chinese media outlets are claiming that a woman self-immolated this morning at 11 AM in Tiananmen Square, just east of the Gate of Heavenly Peace.
The Grand Hyatt Beijing is reported to be a favorite of Communist Party officials and it is not an uncommon practice to give them red envelopes with gift certificates to the hotel so they can come and enjoy the pool and other amenities. A crackdown on official corruption is said to be hurting the bottom line of many hotels and luxury goods retailers. I don’t mind, I enjoy my privacy.
Beijing’s hutongs are disappearing at an alarming rate, replaced by luxury malls, office buildings and apartment complexes. And while the loss of these historic neighborhoods are mourned by some, and no doubt their disappearance also takes with them a way of life, they are old and crumbling–substandard housing we would call them in the USA.
This hutong is southeast of Tianenmen and I headed there after watching the flag lowering ceremony in the square. It was dark by the time I found it and there was minimal light on most of the narrow alleys. I was looking for a way out of the neighborhood when I noticed a red glow a couple of blocks to my south, so I worked my way toward it and discovered this lone sign advertising the location of a traditional Peking Duck restaurant. A literal red light district.
Just about a mile northwest of this spot the National People’s Congress is convening on Wednesday for a 10 day meeting; according to news reports, 80 of the politically connected representatives in attendance are billionaires. With a ‘B’