Dispatch from the proximity of the Blue Sky Foot Message Centre

I really did work while I was away. Honest. Thing is, though, when I was working, I was too busy to take pictures. Sonia took a bunch of photos at the schools we visited, and when I figure out how to get them off We Chat, which is what they use for social networking in China since Facebook is blocked, I’ll post some.

Today I want to do a little exercise in Compare and Contrast with some images I recorded ten years ago at the promenade leading up to the Ming Tombs and some photos I shot at a park in Kowloon on the day trip we took to Hong Kong so Sonia could get her visa stamped. Even with a visa that says you’re legal to work in China, you can’t be there more than 30 consecutive days. Ah, bureaucracy! Sweet rustle of paperwork! At this point — 5 days into my stay — we had left Beijing and were staying in Shenzhen, an hour’s ferry ride from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is pretty slick and orderly. Not only urban but urbane. So we found the nearest metro station and headed for Kowloon, which is urban, but you would never accuse it of being slick, orderly, or urbane. It was the densest array of signage that’s ever assaulted my eyes. I say “assault,” but my eyes were dancing! I’d love to see the place at night when all the neon is lit.

A few block’s walk from the metro, we found ourselves in a sculpture garden watched over by anime demigods and heroes — much the same way these dudes welcome visitors to the Ming Tombs in Beijing:

Here’s the 2015 Kowloon variation on a theme of dignitaries guarding sacred space:

My kids probably know who some of these characters are. I haven’t got a clue.

No insights to offer. No conclusions. I just thought it was a hoot.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The new museum

One of our dinner companions on Friday told us about her favorite museum in Shanghai. She said going inside felt like traveling down a corridor of decades, where the specimens looked as if they hadn’t been moved since the day they were mounted fifty, seventy, a hundred years ago. Jack and I perked up. It sounded like a perfect excursion. She told us, sadly the museum is no longer there. It was the old natural history museum, and now they have a new one.

We were consoled.

Before we left home, we had seen photos of the new museum. Amazing! Definitely not to be missed. It would be our first order of business on Saturday morning.

Do an image search — “shanghai natural history museum.” It looks epic!

I went in thinking of New York’s natural history museum. LA’s…which I remember from field trips as a child. Here in the fifth largest city in the world I was expecting cavernous spaces and meandering corridors.

The new museum is really pretty small. Maybe they’re working on it and will get the temperature sorted out, but it’s really hot and stuffy inside — way too hot for museum artifacts and specimens. And the displays look as though they had already spent several decades getting chewed by mites and gathering dust somewhere else.

But dadgum…from a hundred yards off, the new building looks great.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment