Nicole McKeever, Irish Dance Troupe, China Tour
After carefully selecting my images for this week’s blog, I realized they all share one common theme. All of them convey how I have encountered different aspects of Chinese culture on tour. Whether it’s through a bus window or during a ravenous search for street food, I happened upon some intriguing and foreign aspects of daily life here in China.
Out of desperation I begrudgingly ate from a fast food chain in Zhangjiagang. I peered out the window and saw two endearing elderly women practicing their Tai Chi. Amidst the frenzy of this modern shopping mecca these two women found a spot of open air to conduct an ancient and calming practice. What I appreciate most from this image is their focused countenance and soft grandmotherly appearance.
The next voyeuristic image was also captured through a windowpane. Traveling to Hefei on a long and bumpy journey I was captivated by small houses and farms, even graveyards zipping past my window. I snapped indiscriminately hoping to capture in focus some of the scenery passing me by. This image shows a wall of sandy soil and man carrying what looks to be a burdensome stack of dried grasses on his back. What struck me during this journey, and what is expressed in this photo are the seemingly antiquated traditions or ways of life set against an explosion of modern urban growth.
During a later bus journey we traveled alongside a windy river for the majority of our trip. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and tiny villages I sat peacefully absorbed in the sights that unfolded before me. This picture gives you an idea of some of the provincial dwellings I observed tucked into the rolling hills.
The last three images come to you from the city of Wenzhou. Another “Moment of Zen” was experienced when I visited Jiangxinyu Island. The sun was shining the air was clear and filled with the scent of flowers and trees. It was so rejuvenating to visit this island and discover its ancient temples and peaceful environment. The blue sky in this image contrasts with vivid yellow walls of the Buddhist temple as a monk walks past in his bright flowing robe.
After visiting the Island, I searched for food alongside my friend Iseult and discovered a gathering of tents. It was hard to tell what it was from a distance but we stepped inside and saw an abundance of small food vendors and market stalls. This friendly lady cooked everything from scratch in her makeshift outdoor kitchen. What I found endearing was her friendly nature and the fact that it felt like I had stepped into her home. Her young grandson riding up on his bike talking to her while she cooked, and local people she knew well coming up to sit and have a meal.
What can be even more personal than feeling like you are in someone’s kitchen? How about someone’s wedding? Our hotel in Wenzhou had several wedding receptions take place in the lobby and the pomp and circumstance surrounding the events was quite entertaining! Incessant fireworks preceded the arrival of the bride and her wedding party while two dancing dragons performed before them. It was a moment captured in my last photo. The tension of the dragon’s stance is captured as it pounces at the bride with her bright red parasol. All the while a crowd of onlookers remain in the distance making this an action filled shot.
Whether it’s through a bus window or during a ravenousness search for street food, I’ve happened upon some intriguing and foreign aspects of daily life here in China.