China A to Z
Tomorrow is the start of the Blogging A to Z challenge. I thought I would give a little bit more information about the topic I chose, why I chose it, and my point of view/philosophy.
I have been traveling to China once or twice a year since my son got a job there in 2013. A total of 7 trips completed, with another to start during this challenge.
The name for this blog was taken from my first trip, that story is in this post: Happy Mama .
I haven’t traveled extensively throughout the whole nation, since I am going to visit my son I spend most of my time where he lives, Weifang prefecture in Shandong Province. I have traveled to many of the the usual sights for a western package tour of China, just not as a tour, but I have visited more places that are not on the usual western package tour itinerary. Places that are popular with Chinese people. When I travel my goal, aside from visiting my son, is to get a sense of China and Chinese culture. That sense of place is what I aim to share in this series of posts.
My hobby in the last few years, is photography and I have been working on composition. When I say “composition” I am not talking about things like the famous “rule of thirds” (although I do study, and use, those kinds of rules). My goal is making pictures not photos: using “a picture is worth a thousand words” as my definition. Probably most of my photos aren’t up to a thousand words, but I strive to have them convey a sense of place: What makes the place unique? What makes it like other places in China? In the world? Is there a story behind the image?
I am not as good at wrapping words around ideas as I would like, so most of my posts are dominated by pictures, with a few explanatory words.
As I mentioned I have spent most of the time I have been in China in Shandong. My son teaches in Weifang, for a few years in the city of Weifang and now in Shouguang city within Weifang prefecture. These are “regular”, not tourist places. I’ve also visited several places within the province where many Chinese tourists go.
Shandong Province is, in some ways the heart of China. Shandong is the fruit and vegetable basket of the country and there are vast amounts of farmland growing many types of fruits, vegetables and corn, lots and lots of corn. There is a good deal of other industry. It is also a cultural heart: the home of Confucius and many ancient empirical temples and shrines. It isn’t on the regular “western” tourist plan, but there are many sites, several of them World Heritage Sites, important to Chinese people located in Shandong.
Focusing on the Ordinary
While traveling in China beyond Shandong, I realized that many of the things I have seen and done there are representative of China, especially in how regular people live. Because I am visiting someone who lives and works in China (leaving me lots of time to explore on my own), I have had experiences (like being served crunchy, spicy, really big cockroaches in someone’s home) that don’t come as part of a package tour.