Our trip to China was just under 2 weeks. I took 3 cameras: two for stills and video, and one in the suitcase as a backup. I had to also pack a netbook with external HD's to make daily backups of my images. Whilst I also brought a small Manfrotto travel tripod I only used it once, though I carried it with me everywhere we went. On the plane you are limited to space and weight so you just have to make do with what you have.
I came back with over 38 Gigs of mostly video which was all shot handheld using my then new Canon T2i. I used the tripod one evening for some time exposures but it drew so much attention from impoverished residents looking for money or handouts, who obviously think that all tourists are "rich" .
One day when our group went to a mall somewhere in Shanghai it was expected that all of us would remain in the area and shop in the local tourist stores. I decided to explore in a larger radius and found myself in the Old Shanghai Market about a kilometer away. I knew I had a couple of hours to make my way back to the tour bus. I couldn't get over all the photo opps and immediately started aiming my camera everywhere taking pictures of window frames, clothes hanging on the line, old buildings and trying to capture the local people doing their everyday things. The market was also interesting with all the goods for sale, street food, shoemakers doing their work in the street. As this was an older area plumbing was added to the front of their small residences so it was unusual to find the sinks in the street where people were brushing their teeth, washing their hair. For me it was such a cultural shock of seeing life without many modern conveniences.
I brought out my camera and started aiming it everywhere and before I snapped a few frames I heard many people shouting at me and waiving their arms. I don't really know what they were saying but I realized that I was the intruder. I mean, who am I to take photos of them who have little and then leave and return to my deluxe American style hotel with all the trimmings while they remain in poverty . . . It was obvious to me that I could only photograph in these areas if they thought that I was NOT taking photos. So I went into stealth mode and shot mostly video with my camera cradled in my arm and aiming from the waist, without viewing.
I was told that the average wage in Beijing (for the working class) was around RMB 1,500-2,000 which works out to about US$320. per month. A little more in Shanghai, perhaps RMB 2,000. to 2,500 (US$400), so we are looking at under $15. per day. There were labour troubles at Foxcon which was big in the news while we were there. Front page news in some english language newspapers. Foxcon is the company that makes all the iPhones, iPods and apple computers. The workers were promised a wage increase up to RMB 2,500, but the company refused and only gave then RMB 1,800 (US$288). Until this trip I never knew anything about Foxcon, but they employ over a million people in Company cities
Sorry for rambling on and giving you this useless information, but in my long, round-about way I am trying to tell you that I took a lot of video and I have formed some opinions about China from our short stay from what I have seen and from what our Guide has told us. I have so much still to show you, but for now, here is some video from Wuzhen which supplements the previous post.