Photos from China, page 2 of 2

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      I like collecting small denomination banknotes. China used to have the most beautiful money in the world with evocative pictures of the ethnic minorities and before that, classic socialist themes like women marching with shovels in the fields, but now all the newer notes have pictures of Mao and that's it. Anyway, all the money together in this photo is worth about $10. I always get a little nervous when I fly home from a trip and I have to explain to U.S. customs what I am doing with a shoebox full of money.

      My hostel in Beijing was in an area of musical instrument stores, and not only that, it was normal to see people playing drums, trumpets, guitars, violins and saxophones in front of their shops. The guy on the right played "Dust in the Wind" when I passed by and the other guy, Metallica.             How would you like to be in charge of the advertising jingle for this bus company?

      One morning in Beijing I walked outside and at first glance thought to myself, "It snowed!" But at second glance I saw it was dirt. 300,000 tons of dirt had settled on Beijing overnight, the newspaper reported. (I measured only 283,000 tons.) Spring is the worst time to visit Beijing, the air is so horrible. I was still coughing weeks after I came home.

      Donkey is pretty delicious--I had two of these sandwiches, thank you. It is gamey like venison but not rough like dog. (Ruff!) The real treat was in how filthy the restaurant was. In its defense, though, I don't know how you keep anything clean with 300,000 tons of dirt falling from the sky.
     Some of my friends are disturbed by this photo, so I have blacked out my eyes. Maybe they will forget it is me. Actually, this is my culinary stunt double. No relation.

      There are many down-and-out people in the big cities. The ones scavenging are quite clever. As they go through the trash they carry mirrors to look in spots they can't see directly. Lots of smart people in China.             In front of the Forbidden City, feeling very Chinese, very patriotic.

I was the only one on the Great Wall in this section, Huanghua.
It was fantastic despite the haze.

Near the Great Wall at Huanghua.
I was hitchhiking in a lonely spot and came across this guy on his ride.

Across the street from Tiananmen square.
Exhibit A: How to take a beautiful building and ugly it up.

      Walking in the hutongs (alleyways) is one of my favorite things to do. Such life! The first time I felt a little funny traipsing through as if I was roaming around someone's backyard, but these alleys are public thoroughfares and the fact that it's quieter and less trafficked make them a nice way to get around.
      In this photo I stumbled upon a street dumpling stall and FEASTED amongst the locals. I wish this photo captured hutong life better. I am a little shy with my camera sometimes when I am alone. Young Kent Foster would have gotten the perfect shot.

Hangzhou train station toilet

      I love this floor mat, though I guess the symbolism is lost on me since I would never want to wipe my feet on it.      

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