Steps to immortality

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Interesting fact: one of the steps she took to become immortal was eating ground mica.

Chinese people call her a fairy. She is the only one of the eight immortals who is a woman, He Xiangu. In this statue she holds peonies instead of her traditional lotus flower (this statue is in a peony garden).

The tall, new apartment buildings are reducing her dramatic presence. It was hard to get an angle where she and the steps really stood out.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Steps

Black-&-White-Banner

If we were having coffee…

I’d tell you that I found another Cat Cafe in Shouguang. This one was livelier in terms of both cats and customers. I shouldn’t have had coffee though. They did not have decaf and the only thing I can order with confidence is mei shi, (Americano). It kept me up, so I saw both the sunset (through a gap created by buildings that were demolished during my stay)

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and sunrise

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The Chinese like what they call re nao (“ruh now” is more or less the pronunciation) which means “hot noise”. It can be translated as hustle and bustle, but sometimes that translation seems lame. Even on normal nights there is quite a bit more light than there is in my relativity quiet neighborhood in Seattle. Restaurants will also pipe out music and messages to try and draw people in. In my neighborhood there is one restaurant that pipes soft jazz to the sidewalk.

But both last night and this morning there were promotional activities nearby that make that pale in comparison. Strobe lights so bright they were blinding combined with highly amplified music at a performance last night and fireworks, a lot of them, going off this morning.

It was both deafening and blinding for me,yet people seemed to be loving it. Maybe there are people at home who wouldn’t find it so overwhelming, so I shouldn’t project it as a cultural norm that Chinese people like re nao and Americans don’t, after all many people do go to rock concerts.

Doing the time warp again: Now I am in the place and time between. A quiet and uneventful bus ride to the Qingdao airport passing through some of Shandong’s countryside with gentle autumn light was an antidote to the war zone noises of this morning. Shandong Province is the fruit and vegetable basket of China and there is a lot of farmland growing a wide variety of crops in strips and greenhouses.

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Tomorrow I have a magic morning. My plane leaves Qingdao airport at 7:25 am and I arrive at Seatac at 7:23 am. Does that make me two minutes younger than when I leave?

Have a good week, whatever your time zone.

 

Reflections in Shouguang

I am rapidly approaching the end of this visit. Today is laundry day so things will be dry to pack day after. This has been a pretty low key visit. I didn’t try to go anywhere special just focused on being here in Shouguang. In a way that is to visit a place that is really Chinese. It is a 5th tier city and it’s main draw is the vegetable fair in April, so in October they aren’t really expecting out of towners to be about. People are friendly and I have felt very welcomed as I wondered about with my camera.

Here is an album of physical reflections from this trip.

 

Dutch Goes the Photo Challenge: Reflection

Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge-Week 7

PHOTO CHALLENGE OF PLACES WE SIT…OR MIGHT SIT…OR ART ABOUT SITTING

Welcome to week 7 of Pull up a Seat. Take a load off and share a favorite perch by linking your post to this one, either with a comment or ping-back. For more detailed directions go to Pull Up a Seat page.

Quick reminder: I am traveling for one more week and have limited internet access at times, so will be a little slower than usual approving ping-backs. Please be patient with me.

Thank you to everyone who is participating. It is really fun to see all the different ideas conjured up by the theme.

 

My contribution:

Bring your own phone booths for dining solo in a Japanese restaurant.

Over to you.

Pull_up-_a_Seat-Badge

 

Beyond the bustle: Shouguang alleyways

Here is a sampler of pictures from the alleyways just beyond the busy, dusty main streets in the older part of the town, taken on a lazy-ish Monday afternoon.

 

For Son of a Beach’s Which Way Photo Challenge

Take luck

This afternoon I had a serendipitous experience. I was doing my coddiwomple thing after having coffee with my son and his girlfriend. They headed off to work and I just headed off. I tend to wander in a spiral, keeping a sense of where my ground zero is, but at the same time getting farther and farther afield. As I was headed back toward the center I spied a fascinating looking lion. Of the mythical type you often see on either side of an entrance in China. The thing that caught was the colors of the lion. It turned out that it was ceramic and the amazing coloration was from a brilliant job of glazing.

The shop appeared open but empty. I first peeked in through, then pressed my nose against the window to get a good view of the lions and other merchandise. From the shop next door a woman came out and said “Welcome to Shouguang” and invited me into her shop. She was happy to have me take pictures and she and her assistant served me tea. I believe, and I may learn more tomorrow when I visit another of her shops with my son, who will be able to understand her, it is a special collector’s type of ceramic. I am certain that it is gorgeous.

This is one of those times when I couldn’t have planned to do something I really enjoyed, because I didn’t know it existed.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Serendipity

Shouguang in a row

A gallery of rows I’ve seen around town.

Posted for Travel at Wit’s End: Photo Yoga: Rows

If we were having coffee…

When I’m at home I rarely go out for coffee these days. My husband and I make and share coffee over the morning paper. Here in China, visiting my son solo, I go out more, and often am alone since he has to work. But it is nice to share now and then. There is something…nice isn’t a big enough word but I’ll use it…to realizing that you like your adult offspring and it’s enjoyable to just visit.

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This is a fun place we’ve gone to a couple of times during this visit. It stands out from the street and the quirky interior lives up to the exterior. Technically it is a juice bar, although they serve quite a variety of things including coffee.

I’m in a time warp. When I didn’t get this post done last night because I went to get a foot massage with my son and his girlfriend it was Sunday night, this morning my computer says it’s early Sunday evening (it stays on Seattle time, which helps me not call home at 3:00 am to chit chat about inconsequential things).

This trip I’m not doing an outing to another city, as I have often done in the past. Instead I am trying out some new experiences that are not tourist things: the foot massage was one and the Tai Chi lesson planned for later this morning is another.

Judging by the number of people who were in on Sunday night this is a fairly popular activity. We left at 9:45 pm and they still had people coming in. I’ve never had a foot massage before, so I can’t compare it to a pedicure that you might get at home, but I can say that I am surprised I don’t have bruises this morning. First you soak your feet in a very hot tub of water. It took me several minutes of dipping and retreating to get my feet to stay in. Then they take scrapers, sharp ones!, to remove the dead skin, even between the toes. Then he rubbed with a cream and slapped and pummeled, actually beating on my lower legs, I think this was to improve circulation since he seemed to be checking pulse points earlier. Meanwhile a couple of fairly violent movies were playing. I wouldn’t exactly say it was relaxing, not exactly, but kind of.

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This morning we are going to Tai Chi, something I’ve wanted to try after seeing people do it in the parks beside the river. I’m not a very graceful or balanced person so we’ll see.

I’ve become reclusive at home and actually, beyond walking the dogs, go out and about here more than I generally do. I learned a new word a few months ago from the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Coddiwomple. It is the perfect word for what I do: head out purposefully but without a goal. My post A Colorful Day along the Mihe River talks about a couple of them. As I get older I try to plan time into my travels for these coddiwomples. I realized that using guide books, Trip Adviser and the Google to plan every moment doesn’t let me really be where I am.

Do you ever have that feeling?

Happy Sunday, Monday or whatever it is where you are.

 

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