These are pictures of a pedestrian bridge across the Mihe River in Shouguang, a bit to the south of town, one of three I have found so far. It was damaged by floods a couple of months ago, when a typhoon passed over the area on its way to Korea. Being, technically, closed doesn’t stop the local fishermen.
Even though I have a map of town it doesn’t show these pedestrian bridges. Maybe the map is old, as in the US most people seem to use their phone for navigation these days. I like a map myself. It doesn’t have a tiny, hard to read screen, connections to lose, or batteries to die.
Ah yesterday. Last night I tried to write a post about it and fell asleep. Jet lag plus busy day does not equal cogent prose.
Today’s RDP: Color brought a couple of things from yesterday to mind, so here goes again:
The day before yesterday there was rain and that resulted in a clear blue sky. These things don’t last: today is already hazy. Yesterday I rolled off the bed early, intending to enjoy the walk by the Mihe River in clear morning light. It was beautiful.
Walking back along a near-by road I saw this art studio painted in vibrant primary colors:
Later in the day I was walking back to my son’s apartment from his place of work, I had some time to kill so I decided to take a longer path, one that ran along a fun park/trail they had made from an abandoned railroad through town. It starts near where he works with a train station art installation:
As I started to wander up the line a man came over and introduced himself. After a bit of almost communication (I finally called my son and had him talk to the guy and translate back to me), I wound up going with him and another gentleman to a huge rose garden, 250 thousand square meters, along the Mihe, well to the south of the stretch I had wandered in the morning. They worked at this garden on the structures.
They wanted to let me take pictures of their garden. You could tell they were rose buffs and also very proud of the garden as a whole…and rightly so. I’ve been to a few rose gardens here and there in the world, and this one is wonderful by any standard.
Quite a few roses were blooming and the weather was perfect. Sadly my SD card filled up and my extra hadn’t made my backpack.
As we were leaving the man at the gate came out with clippers and went around, in conference with the two I had come with and sent me home with this colorful sampling from their garden.
If we were having coffee I’d probably be a bit talkative. I’m visiting my son in Shouguang, Shandong Province, China right now. There are a lot of different coffee shops. Each each shop is unique. While my son is at work I go walkabout and that, almost always, involves stopping somewhere, often one of the little coffee shops, for refreshment.
Yesterday I had my morning coffee at a bakery, along with a…I’m not quite sure what to call it…it looked like it was savory: a bun with some corn and pepper visible and what looked like cheese on top. Turned out there was no cheese (it was a drizzle of a sweetish frosting-like substance) I was surprised, upon biting in, to discover that it also had a fairly tasteless hot dog inside. I should have known, this is my tenth trip to China and my fourth to Shouguang. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t the kind of treat that kept you eating after you were full, so I ate about half of it.
At this bakery the seating for drinking one’s coffee was on the second floor and they have windows so you can look down and watch them decorate the cakes which is nice for those of us going solo. It’s much more pleasant to linger with something to watch.
Today’s morning coffee was at Cat Kingdom…yes they had cats. I was the only customer. It was a Mom, Pop, and child shop. I think they had about seven cats. The boss cat was a fluffy grey.
I realized, once again, that having a stiff-ish cup of coffee is a very cheering thing. As I sipped and watched the cats I felt my eyelids and my mood elevate.
One thing I always enjoy when traveling abroad is vehicle watching. Here in Shouguang city most of the trucks one sees are not what one sees in Seattle, in fact I don’t think I’ve seen a single American style pick up or semi since I arrived. But people still need to haul stuff. Here are some of the trucks I saw when I was out and about yesterday.
These vehicles are more practical in many ways: inexpensive to run, less resource intensive to make and nimble for getting around in narrow, often crowded places.
Interesting “truck” trivia: in Chinese they usually call trucks “ka che” which is “pi ka che” shortened. “pi ka” is from what Chinese think “pick up” sounds like.
I worked on composition while I was in China. Not technical composition, like the rule of thirds or leading lines (although I use these); I was trying to create images that gave a sense of place: What makes Shouguang uniquely itself? what does it share? The question of sharing was with respect to other cities in China and to other places in the world.
I did manage to do a series of posts on Shouguang after I got home this fall (posting has been pretty haphazard for me this year). The pictures for the above gallery were chosen to attempt to show the magnitude of the “small” city and convey that it also feels like a place for people. It didn’t feel impersonal, just spread out. Plus one picture from a traditional Chinese garden in Weifang, and a rather blurry photo of the smallest hummingbird I have ever seen. I thought at first that it was one very large bumblebee, then my son pointed out its beak. It was a dark, grey day so there was no chance for clarity.
Vibrant fallen leaf.
Cormorants on a raft.
Sunset waiting for the ferry, Vashon.
Rose illuminated by the fall morning sunlight.
Amazing fall color.
More amazing fall color.
Even more amazing fall color.
Arriving home the clear air and splendid fall colors hit me between the eyes. I believe that my perception was sharpened by the muted and hazy conditions in Shouguang during the first half of the month. It really was a “The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle” experience. 2017 Favorites
Mount Tai, also known as Mount Taishan (it is called this on the UNESCO World Heritage website, even though it is redundant: Shan means Mountain) or Tai Shan, isn’t high by world mountain standards, at a mere 1545 meters above sea level (5,069 ft) but to ascend is to climb a whole lot of stone steps. Mount Tai is in the Shandong Province. In the fall of 2015 my son got a couple of days off work when I was visiting and we took a quick trip to check it out. In the photos he is the one with the pony tail and grey athletic pants.
The recorded number of steps varies, most sources put it fairly close to 7,000. Some sources attribute the differing numbers to how many of the temples and shrines one visits along the way. I personally believe that when one is ascending it is too easy to loose count, and honestly, how much does it really matter. It felt like a million to this slightly over the hill mama, and I didn’t even go the whole way afoot.
Near the halfway point there is a cable car that takes you to a spot a bit above the famous entrance gate. You then follow a path that takes you down a bit and through the entrance gate.
I felt like it was cheating but my son was obviously relieved when I gave up the idea that I was going to make it all the way. He had been once before [he has also climbed both Mount Olympus (7.980 ft) and Mount Rainier (14,411 ft-although the climb starts at about 5,400 ft)]. He had been trying to figure out how he could carry both of our packs up the steepest part (known as Shiba which means eighteen, a nearly vertical stretch of eighteen steps) and stay behind me to keep me from an unbroken fall. Sometimes he can be very sweet! I am not the best balanced person in the world.
My decision was eased by two things: visibility was low so I wouldn’t get any views to compensate for the labor…and I learned that emperors didn’t climb the whole way themselves, they were carried up in litters to near the gate the walked through the gate themselves. Before that I was being very impressed by the level of fitness expected of an emperor!
Even taking the cable way there were plenty of steps to experience between the station and the top.
I loved this wonderful park along the west bank of the Mihe River. It runs about 3/4 mile (1.25 km) between the two car bridges. Near each of the car bridges was a pedestrian (plus cyclists and scooters) bridge. One of them was obviously the old roadway but the other was a graceful gently arched bridge.
As I mentioned in an earlier post one the Mihe River runs through the eastern part of the city of Shouguang.
You can see a larger version of any photo by clicking on it.