Quietly They Toil~ Yunnan

The tug go venture into new territory~ YunnanTobacco road~ Yunnanthe strong backbone of the working man~ Yunnanthe loads we carry~ Yunnanspinning tales over gernerations~ Yunnanfield of dreams~ YunnanFarmer in the fog~ Yunnan

For some of us here on earth, the day begins and ends with physical work, and that brings a simple satisfaction of a hard-earned existence. Every working face I saw during my travels in Yunnan was always ready to break into an unapologizing smile; they possessed a contentment that can be forgotten to us in our boxed offices and multiple screens facing us every waking moment. They commune with nature, the wind, the elements, the land and that rewards them with a sense of belonging. They remember that they are earth dwellers and that simple truth is their fountain of wisdom.

The Enigma of Shadows~

it takes believing in fairies to see one~ Shanghai

to see fairies you must first believe in them

fellowship of the hat~ Shanghai

fellowship of the hat

talk to the shadow~ Shanghai

she had big plans

stretching the truth~ Shanghai

stretching the truth

inside the abacus~ Shanghai

inside the abacus

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In the human maze

Something as simple as an obstructing the light of the sun, creates a world of wonder and a vast playground for the imagination. And shadows have a mind of their own, creating a new reality, ask Peter Pan.

Qibao, Inside the Time Capsule

unbreakable friendships~ Qibao

unbreakable friendships

Time's indellible stamp~ Qibao

time’s indelible stamp

stolen sketches of a lost theater~ Qibao

stolen sketches of a lost theater

breaking ground~ Qibao

breaking ground

If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you~ Qibao

if I wanted your opinion I’d give it to you

softening the hard reality~ Qibao

softening the hard reality

who said Triad~ Qibao

who said Triad?

a controlled sea of humanity~ Qibao

a controlled sea of humanity

Hidden inside the massively dense Shanghai Metropolis is a quaint, albeit crowded small world of tradition. Bridges over water, narrow old streets, a wide variety of delicious street food and a beautiful old tea house.

In the tea house, mostly old men gather to drink tea and watch story telling theaters on a stage that echoes with ancient times.

Each time I go back there, I find the same people, doing the same things, as though they are caught in a time capsule and every day must be relived as it was the day before.

Nearby are the green lanes, where door after door girls and women offer their services for a price. Tickets to their worlds are sold on the main street of the old village.

Heartbreaking, surreal and intoxicating is Qibao.

Life Unfolding on the Suzhou Creek

It’s late afternoon, all are a bit too sluggish to go fast, slow moving people, dragging their feet, pushing their bikes uphill over the bridge and the woman too tired to walk, sits on top of her bike load letting her husband pull the tricycle; it has been a long day. Even the shadows are unable to catch up. I watched it all and marveled at the beauty of life and the wonderful world of contradictions that is Shanghai today.

act 2, scene 3~ Shanghaiearly matinee at the Souzou Creek~ Shanghaihis queen~ Shanghaithe working force~ Shanghai

The Bund~ Before the Day Begins

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There is a great magic to seeing a place at sunrise, before the rush of day clouds it. Early in the morning, there is a bliss that relaxes the faces of early risers, as though they are reminded that there is still magic in life, how can there not be? Light colors the sky as stars give way to the great sun, and stillness can still be heard over the water.

To Long For Belonging

She longs for the place~ Germany

She longs for Germany

a walk in the forest~ Germany

A walk in the forest with cousins

Land has this mysterious way of pulling at your soul, of beckoning you home, and for our young daughter, this land is Germany.

The longer we expatriate in China, the mightier that tug. She dreams of the family, the colors, the fresh air, the sounds and smells of a land she feels a strong belonging to despite the fact that she only lived there the first 2 years of her life. But our planet is strange that way, isn’t it?

Her dream will come true, at least for a few weeks starting tomorrow as we head west and our lungs rejoice!

The Good People

The way to explore slowly

The way to explore slowly

Life is slow in Yunnan. People walk with no rush; the fields can wait. The clouds change form in slow motion; the lush mountains are great company. Even the birds chirp melodically and without strain; it’s just the way it is. In a place like that, a bicycle fits so well for exploring at the speed of the land. I came upon a child and his grandfather walking with their shadows along the rice fields and enjoying the caressing rays of the gentle sun. I got off my bicycle and began photographing them after getting their clear unspoken agreement. Then I saw alarm in their eyes as they gestured towards me; I turned around and watched my bicycle tumble with my second camera and my bag into the rice field. This man with grace, ease and a smile, put his grandson down, helped me lift my now damaged mode of transportation, with its dislocated wheel. He gestured to me and we communicated with my limited Mandarin as he helped carry my bicycle back the other way towards his home, his little grandson following us shyly. The man asked me to wait as he brought out his toolbox and slowly and methodically fixed the wheel and tested it. He smiled and his granddaughter joined them as they posed for a last photograph before I took off feeling lighter, happier, and grateful for the good people who give without counting the cost, who help because it is human to do so.

warmed by the sun and a grandparent

warmed by the sun and a grandparent

the good people

the good people