A few pictures of ways in Weifang, Shandong Province, China, for Son of a Beach’s Which Way Photo Challenge.
Weifang claims (as do a few other locations) to be the “Kite Capital of the World” and every April they have the International Kite Festival.
Making kites with bamboo frames and hand painted designs is a traditional art in the area around Weifang.
Flying Kites for Recreation
Many people fly kites for enjoyment and relaxation. There are a couple of public squares where people come to fly kites, on weekdays this seems to be mostly retired men. On the weekends with good conditions everyone comes out. On my first trip to Weifang I was fortunate to be invited to come along to watch. My post A chance encounter tells about this.
A few pictures of people in the park (including me):
Kite Making Industry
In the countryside around Weifang City you occasionally will see a display of bright, billowing kites at the entrance to a narrow dirt road. These indicate that if you wander down that road you will come to a kite factory.
Here is a picture from the shop owned by this particular factory:
International Kite Festival
It is held at “The beach of Happy Sea of Binhai development zone in Weifang City, Shandong, P.R.C.” It is a long trip from the city center. I’ve been twice. Both times I took public buses, a great deal but not for the feint of heart.
The first time it poured rain, I spent about 4 hour there and was wetter than I have probably ever been. It was still fascinating to see the wide variety of kites. The post I wrote about that experience is Kites and Umbrellas. The next day, naturally, was gorgeous, we spent it at a special kite field day at the school where my son taught, the post about that is Kites and Kids.
Last year, the weather was beautiful, and so were the many beautiful kites. Because I took a bus after breakfast and missed the big opening. But there were many families out flying kites on the beach in addition to the extra large and fancy ones. It was a pleasant day, in town it was in the 80’s but at the beach of Happy Sea it was cooler.
I’m hoping to get there again this year. Maybe I’ll finally get to see the big dragon in flight.
I just came across these pictures from a couple of years ago. In Wiefang (Shandong Province) while visiting my son I made use of the time while he was working to wander around the city. In several spots they had parks between the streets that made a pleasant way to get around. A little longer but much quieter than walking along the busy streets.
Shouguang has a large indoor, or at least under-roof, marketplace. It seems to sell everything
from bright red undies for good fortune:
to brooms and other cleaning supplies
to seafood, meats, bread, spices, oils, lots and lots of vegetables, and several things I couldn’t identify.
This gallery may seem overwhelming…but then so is the market. It was so large that people were riding scooters and driving their three wheeled scooter “pick up trucks”.
Click on any picture to see it larger.
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.
These are some street scenes. In my experience, which isn’t vast but also isn’t negligible (this was my seventh trip to China), these are typical of a Chinese city. Just like the markets have a wider variety of eggs and vegetables than one typically finds in the US, there is also a much wider variety of vehicles.
I sometimes wonder if Seattle would do better to look into some of these, instead of trying to get people out bicycling in the rain, up steep hills on the poorly maintained, bumpy streets. I’ve seen some clever, three-wheeled scooters and cycles that are more stable than bicycles and have some amount of shelter from rain.
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.