Where’s My Backpack’s Travel Theme: Branches made me think about these images taken at the Dai Miao (Dai Temple) in Tai’an, Shandong Province, China a couple of years ago.
On the eastern edge of the main part of the city is the Mihe River. The area along the river is a big and quite lovely park.
As I approached the river for the first time I saw something I had not seen before: several vendors selling fishing poles, nets, and fish traps. Often in China one will see vendors, selling food, kites, pinwheels, balloons. Walking along the river there were lots of folks, even families out fishing.
In the fall season there is a holiday period called “golden week” that starts on October 1st, which is National Day. A Chinese parallel, in some ways, to Independence Day (July 4th) in the USA.
At the community where my son lived they had a nice celebration of National Day in the evening with food and a show in an outdoor area in the middle of the complex, it included performances by dance and martial arts schools, poetry reading, and performances by individuals and small groups, ranging from very modern to traditional.
Art in the park
In another park the walk ways had these lovely bas relief (I’m not sure that is quite the right term). The walk way divided to go around a water lily pond and on one side of the pond they were dragons, the other had phoenixes then when the paths joined into one they had vegetables. Each of the bas reliefs was about 2 1/2 feet square, and they were all different. Here is a gallery of samples:
In September and October I visited a “small” city (roughly the population of Seattle) considered rural in China. The city of Shouguang in the prefecture level city of Weifang in Shandong province.
Shouguang merits mention in Wikipedia! It is the vegetable capital of the world (self proclaimed). The city hosts an International High-Tech Vegetable Fair every year in April/May. I went a couple of years ago: I’ll meet you at the giant bok choi. It was a lot of fun, but we didn’t see the city itself at that time.
Fast forwarding, my son got a job teaching at a new school in Shouguang and moved there over the summer, so this fall I had a chance to explore. Shouguang is a seasonal city, they roll out the carpet and have wonderful gardens oriented to being at their peek in the spring. In the fall it has a more relaxed charm. Over the course of this month I am planning to share a little bit about Shouguang in the fall. With any luck I’ll be able to explore it again next spring.
One fun feature of Shouguang was the sculptures around town, especially in the parks. Shouguang has a large amount of land dedicated to parks. Each park seems to have its own personality. The first sculpture I noticed was a giant strawberry tucked among some trees in a park. As I wandered along more of them appeared. Then I saw the giant pumpkin patch.
Some street photography from Qufu.
When I visited the town of Qufu, Shandong Province in China, I decided to spend the afternoon just wandering about and getting an idea of the layout, then focus on seeing the San Kong (3 Kong’s) the second day in town.
Qufu, not WiFi (the spell checker keeps trying to change it), is Confucius’s home town and is very much oriented to tourism, primarily Chinese tourists. Most people visit Qufu in combination with Tai Shan over two days so they start early and there was a laid back feeling of the local folks living along as I wandered slowly around.