Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shanghai Cheng Huang Miao

Shanghai was the last stop of my China trip. Time goes fast and now it is time to say “Zai-Jian” (goodbye). It is difficult to summarize my impression about China in a few words, but I should say sharp contrast is my general feeling. On one side, Life is not conditioned well and you find many inconvenience. For instance, there are hardly any bathrooms have toilets and toilet paper. On the other hand, there are astonishingly beautiful places, incredibly delicious food, wonderful history and culture, and great potential and dynamics. Maybe covered with dust however, you will find dazzling treasure underneath. Guaranteed.

I am back to Austin now. New challenges and opportunities are in front of me. I need to take care some logistic issues and put my life under control. I hope I will go back to painting soon.

The Bird Nest

Came out of the mountain, we flew back to Beijing. Dinner after dinner, we were so busy in social gatherings and reunions. Some friends I haven’t seen for more than 30 years. Time has been materialized on our faces. We reviewed many old stories with laughter and tears. The old memories were felt so real, but the reality in front me seems like mirage.

The Gate of Heaven

I was at the Zhang-Jia-Jie Airport. The mountain behind me is called “Tian-Men-Shan” means the Gate of Heaven. You may see easily there is a cross right under the opening. I am very sure it is not a man-made structure. I am in awl with the beauty presented right in front of me. I am even more stroked by the meaning behind this holy demonstration. If you have the Faith, may God bless you and strengthen your belief. If you are searching for the Truth, may this demonstration bring you to a higher level of enlightenment.

A Piece of Cake?

We stopped a local fruit vender. She is petite lady carrying her merchandise with a shoulder pole. Jonathan (my son) always considers himself a strong boy and could not wait to experience her load. Well, it was not easy. We take for granted loading our stuff in the trunk of our cars, but hardly realize that so many people carry their destiny on their strong shoulders.

Zhang Jia Jie 2

Surrounded by the beautiful mountains, Zhang-Jia-Jie used to be a small village. This photo was taken within the walking distance from the hotel we stayed. These are typical houses the local people live. I like the old style houses and hope this village can be protected. There are many old cultures get wiped out by modernization everyday. This place could be replaced by “newer” concrete buildings anytime.

Zhang Jia Jie

The conference ended, and we flew to Zhang-Jia-Jie. We spent spectacular 4 days in this breathtakingly beautiful mountain. I wish I could assess the Internet there so I could have shared these photos much earlier with you. I am sure I will go back to this place again and spend much longer time having my painting gears with me. We hired a local guide and went to spots where few tourists can go. It was soooo great. The local people are called “Tu-Jia”. It is one of the 55 minority nationalities in China.

The living conditions were not that good there. We were frustrated and had many problems with logistics. The biggest problem was that there were too many tourists. It was very difficult to find a quiet place. This beautiful place is getting too commercialized. I sincerely hope this place gets the best protection.

Hotel on Water

My vocation got interrupted since I arrived at Shenzhen. I am here attending an international conference related to my engineering works. It is hosted in a water park. This is the place I am staying. It has a wonderful architectural design. I am back to my rat-racing schedule. What can I say? This is called BUSINESS. I got to run now.

Travel by Train

I am sitting by the window gazing the passing scene outside of the train. The lash greens faded into the mist of rain in the far field. I just had some very sweet Lichees (a type of tropical fruit) and read an article about Walt Disney from a Chinese magazine. This is the longest train ride I ever had. Having no AC for about two weeks, now I really appreciate the cozy air conditioning of the train. Happiness is not that hard to obtain. This is the kind of life I was searching for a long time. Break from constant DOING, I really enjoy this experience of BEING. That maybe the reason we are called human beings.

Si-He Courtyard

In the old days, the rich people in Beijing lived in this kind of courtyard houses call Si-He-Yuan. This photo shows the gate of a typical Si-He-Yuan. I remember when I was my son’s age (12), I had a few friends lived in this kind of places. Time flies! This photo could be me thirty some years ago.

We are leaving Beijing tonight to Shenzhen by train (29 hours). I will let you know what is going on in South China soon.

Old Beijing Hu-Tong

Beijing has changed completely from the time I left China. Ugly skyscrapers are ubiquitous. However, I am excited in searching traces of my old hometown. There are a few places have been preserved for tourists. These kind of narrow streets are called Hu-Tong. I lived in this kind of place until I went to high school (there were no “visa” signs, of course). It was a cool raining day. I feel so good to be home.

Chinese National Art Museum

This is Zhong-Guo-Mei-Shu-Guan (Chinese National Art Museum) where I got most of my inspirations when I was in high school. It has a great collection of Chinese Art. Many oil paintings, which had a tremendous influence to my paintings today. But the problem is that it does not show the collection everyday and only shows current exhibitions. I did not go in this time because no oil paintings are shown.

Qian Men Street

My wife, Song, and I went shopping at Qian-Men Street. There are many well-known old stores from silk products to Chinese medicine. I got tired pretty quickly. So I grab several snapshots while Song is in the fitting room.

Waiting for the birds

I ran into this group of photographers waiting for their idea moments. As an optical engineer, I wish I could have this kind of equipment. China used to be poor, but now the life for most of people here is much better than the bad old day.

Purple Bamboo Garden

Hello My Friends,

Ni-Hao (Hello) from Beijing. I hope this image reaches you all right. By taking the advantage of my jet-lag (11 hours) I went to this park around 5:00 AM in the morning yesterday. It remind me my childhood days. Beijing gives me better impression this time. The air quality is much better than that of my last trip here two years ago. My parents are doing well.

My parents live in a small apartment. It is so nostalgia staying my small room. My bed is actually converted from my crib. I have only about 2 square meters are to store my stuff and maybe do some painting here. I really feel I am staying in an airplane’s lavatory, but I will try to make this place work. Yesterday’s temperature was about 99 F in Beijing. My room is not air-conditioned. It feels much hotter than Texas.

I will try my best to keep you posted. It seems that I got my Internet problem under control. I need to go to bed now. The time is 3:50 AM.

Bye now