I'm so far behind. I still haven't wrapped up my trip this summer. There are a few more things to say, people to thank, some statistics, thoughts about riding solo for so many miles and perhaps how much a trip like this would cost, similar to this for others contemplating a long multi-week trip across the country. I am thankful for being hosted by some of you, some of whom I visited for a few hours and others for a few days. My hosts went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and gave me a home away from home as you will see on future posts.
I have been working on a project for the past couple of weeks, finding tutorials on the internet and I even bought a book but it has been a frustrating experience trying to get things to work. I read the words and I think I understand the steps but when I try them myself, it doesn't work. The problem with self instruction is that you follow the steps exactly laid out, sort of like this
1) open the image (background layer)
2) duplicate layer (layer 0)
3) make new adj/fill layer . . . etc. I mean where is Steve Williams when you really need him ?
I'm still upset with the closure of Webshots, my former photo host. My blog was supposed to be my Diary and something that I could look back upon to see where I had been, but all is now lost. All I have are words with no images to remember the good times, like our trip to China back in 2010 so from time to time I will post some "flashbacks" . . . and most of these images would also be those I had never posted before
It was not easy to snap photos while walking around. I had problems with people staring at me and some were actually shouting something that I did not understand and waving their hands, so I immediately went into stealth mode. This meant that I had to cradle my big Canon dSLR in my elbow and snap photos without aiming so most of the locals didn't really know if I was taking their photo or not. In retrospect I think a GoPro Hero would have been a better choice
Here's what I mean. See how low my camera angle is, around waist level and he is staring me down not wanting me to snap his photo. He is another food cart vendor. You will find areas like this just around the corner from a 5-star hotel. Cars would be a rarity in these neighbourhoods as you will see mostly electric scooters, bicycle or these 3 wheeled bicycle carts. This is a poor area and most of these homes will NOT have running water
Lots of human powered carts delivering goods. In the background you will see that most business is conducted in the streets. The Vendors would have their wares on the sidewalk in front of where they live
Again, it was difficult to raise my camera and snap an overhead shot so I can't remember what this vendor was selling. Perhaps live fish. You will see mostly live animals being sold. Live fish, live chicken, live frogs and when you buy a fish, they will kill it in front of you and gut it so you have the freshest fish to take home. Some will just take the live fish home in plastic bags filled with water and tied at the top
We were walking around before lunchtime so some vendors were still setting up their tables
Everything is done "on the street". Those clothes in the left background may be for sale, or they may be laundry left outside, hanging to dry. Those bicycle would be for the residents transportation. There would be no hope for any of them to be able to have a car, or even afford a scooter
Notice the "sink" outside. Probably COLD water only. Most likely this would be the only sink for the residents living in the apartment accessed from that door on the left. These sinks are found at recurring intervals up and down the street on both sides. We have seen people brushing their teeth, washing their hair and doing laundry using these sinks
That store on the right is typical of most stores which only do ONE THING. The owner would live in the back and have things for sale in front. That looks like a window pane store
Another one of many bicycle vendors you will see on the street
There you see another one of those sinks. Those people must live there but their living room is on the street. That vendor has no table to display things for sale, so they use the road and put things for sale on top of a blanket or ground sheet
There is virtually no such thing as a grocery store here. Fruit is displayed outside and different vendors will sell different fruit or vegetables. We stick out like a sore thumb. We get stares from everyone wondering why we are there. These are areas which the Government wants to keep away from tourists. There are no other tourists here, other than us. We are only here because we decided to stay over another day after our tour ended, thus giving us more time to wander around by ourselves. Our tour was sponsored by the People's Republic of China and our tour guide told us they were not allowed to take us to certain areas. They were restricted to places where they wanted tourists to spend money
Here is a typical local neighbourhood "cafe". Most of these places would have a limited selection of specialty items, or may only make just one thing. You eat and walk as there are no places to sit down. Oh almost forgot none of these places would have washrooms either. There are communal washrooms on every block using those "Pit Type" toilets. I can dig out photos if you want. You even see these at the airport when you arrive. Just make sure you use the hotel facilities before you leave for the day. Western type hotels mostly have western standard fixtures
I can't remember but I think this guy is delivering LIVE chickens. He is using a tricycle with a small motor
80-90% of scooters are electric, maybe more. You will seldom see a gas powered scooter here. They are trying to cut down on smog so have banned most of them. You are not allowed to ride a scooter or motorcycle on a highway or over most bridges. Notice the smog in the background. You can barely see the building (top of photo)
Typical household. These people are lucky to have their own sink and not have to share with other residents. It is usual to have your living room outside on the street and just watch the world pass by.
Can't be sure but it looks like they are playing some sort of game and having lunch in their outside "living room"
Relaxing and enjoying the summer sun with nothing better to do
It seems like he is trying to feed an animal under that basket.
That's it for now. Just some street scenes from a poor part of Shangahi under the shadow of our 5-star hotel. Our hotel was 5-star western standard. We had marble entrance, marble washrooms, flat screen TV, electric curtains. The locals are not allowed inside of our hotel and we as westerners are not allowed inside a Chinese Standard hotel either. Streets are very clean as the Government pays people to sweep them up as there is no such thing as welfare. You can spot these people as they are always wearing BLUE clothes and ride around on a standard issue CART and carrying straw type brooms.
I have more photos if you are interested . . .