I returned home from a three week trip to China last Sunday, which explains my lack of recent blogging activity, and I have been trying to recover ever since from the jet lag. I went back to work on Tuesday, and every night since then (and before) I have been falling asleep sitting on the sofa watching TV. (Having hurt my back on Monday didn’t help, either, nor has the fact that my three weeks worth of mail held at the post office has still not been delivered to me.)
As for China, it has changed tremendously since my first visit there in 1989, which was a grand tour lasting 24 days and one of the most interesting trips that I have ever taken. (I really do need to get to scanning those photos to show to people.)
Back then, China was in a relatively early stage of its becoming a country more open to the world and adopting a western style of commerce. Now, 27 years later, there are skyscrapers galore in every city – with new ones going up by the dozens in between. Back in 1989, the shelves of the stores held items that were functional and rudimentary, at best. Now, seeing stores selling luxury goods like Gucci, Prada and Rolex – even Ferrari and Maserati – is routine.
As it is, such new things really don’t interest me photographically, so I concentrated on finding vestiges of old China, plus those odd and quirky things which appeal to me visually.
Overall, it was a very interesting trip, especially as I’m someone who can compare the old with the new.
The other thing to mention is that China can get very hot in the summer. I knew this before the trip began, but somehow that didn’t quite prepare me for the fact that at times it felt hotter than hell, with temperatures in the 90’s F most days, and some days getting over 100, too.
I have already begun to get my black & white medium format film developed, but I am going to begin (as I usually do following a trip) by posting some of the color snapshots that I made with my pocket digital camera. Today I’m only posting photos from the first half of the trip, in and around the cities of Beijing, Xian and Chengdu, as I have a lot of photos to post but also because I have some problems with the photos from the second half of the trip (which I will explain another time).
For now, please enjoy these photos.