Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Posts Tagged ‘China

Li River cooking

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Li River CookingOf course a picture’s worth a thousand words, but it strikes me just how often a photo will tell me one story and then a year or two later, it tells me something rather different. I’ve worked on this one a few times, published it here  two years ago. Same photo, but one is in broad daylight. This version appears to be at dusk, with the sun setting off to the left. The cook seems so much lonelier, the task less joyful. Just one of those moment shots that I love. And… I guess all the stories it tells me are true. Wonder what I will see and hear next year…


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21/02/2013 at 12:21 am

Li River Homestead

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I’ve been using Lightroom to process my Raw files these days. Put off taking that on for a good long while – and like all things one should be doing, but isn’t, for watever reason – when you finally do it, you can’t quite remember why you resisted. I am very happy with how my images have been turning out lately. But… what about those old  images – the ones I saved the raw files from in the hope that ‘one day’ I would be able to make them look the way they should – if only I had known what I was doing behind the camera. This was washed out and dirty looking – the sort of holiday photos that make your eyes glaze over should someone pull them out and force you to look at them. I rather like it now.

And I would sure love to revisit China… This was taken on a day cruise on the Li River, ending up in Yangshuo. It was near the end of the month-long trip and we were very tired… it was nice to sit and watch the world go by… and what a world…



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16/02/2013 at 1:13 am

Suzhou Garden Reflections

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Been thinking about memory lately, how fickle it can be, how downright deceptive – and you think you’re being completely honest with yourself. Hah! I remember when ‘facing reality’ was something I could do. Or thought I could.

This image of a Suzhou Garden is completely deceptive…

Trust me – nothing about it is what you might think. Sure is pretty, though, isn’t it?


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06/03/2012 at 9:35 pm

Yangtze traffic

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We’d disembarked our riverboat a few miles down river (think 19th century Mississippi Riverboat). The waters this high up a tributary were far too shallow for anything that size to navigate. And we got into boats just like this, powered by shoulders and sweat and amazingly muscular thighs – that disembarked and pulled us through the bits of the river that were too shallow to navigate by oar.

This was a lovely sight, oddly muted in the way that foreign languages often are when you cannot understand a word – and these remote villagers spoke a dialect only our local guide understood. A truly lovely young woman, she couldn’t refrain from breaking into song and regaled us with several Carpenters melodies, while the villagers bargained, unloaded their goods and the river gurgled and the sun beat down as if it had nothing else to do that day.

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19/12/2011 at 10:53 pm

Panda Ponder

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I really do wish this photo was better. My trip to China coincided with the purchase of my first digital SLR and I had everything set to Auto and pretty much hoped the photos would turn out well.

We arrived in Chongqing, one of the largest cities in all of China after a blissful 3 day cruise up the Yangtze River in an old style riverboat. Since it was my birthday, my hubby treated us to a mini-suite, so we got to watch the most amazing scenery in the world while reclining on the bed with the ranch sliders wide open. It was just mile after mile of absolutely breathtaking mountains and cliff faces and fascinating glimpses into Chinese minority cultures no one knew were there until the 3 Gorges Dam was built.

At the end of that excursion, my hubby fell ill. Not a kidney stone or the flu or a bad cold, but scary, ‘something is really wrong’ ill. He protested that he did not need to go to hospital in Chongqing. He wanted to go to the zoo to see the pandas. Which we did, and he did, and then sat quietly until we were ready to go.

I wandered around my camera as usual, snapping at everything. The day was dull and grey, I only had one, very short lens, so no close ups of anything were possible and the pandas were so very far away. But they were cute. They did come out and sit and nibble away at their tender bamboo shoots. And they had a reasonable enclosure, lots of space and trees and mostly grass.

The rest of the zoo was a shocker though, like the 50s and 60s in the west, with animals in concrete cages with metal bars and nothing to do but pace or lay around looking despondent. It left me feeling very sad. I realise that zoos with naturalised habitants and space for animals to run and be as ‘normal’ as possible are the product of wealthy societies that have sorted the needs of their human population and so can indulge raising the standard of living for their captive animals.  With over a billion people, China has a way to go in a number of areas, though after spending a month there, I have little doubt they will get there. But I was not unhappy to leave that zoo behind us.

On to Kunming – a jewel of city, just a few miles from the Laotian border – where we learned firsthand just how the Chinese medical system works… but that’s a story for another day… you can find it buried in the Travel section of this blog – or click here and be whisked directly there!

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21/07/2011 at 11:54 pm

Welcome to Beijing

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Beijing was the first stop on a month long trip around the eastern half of China. After a 2-hour ride from the airport, we checked into the Garden Hotel, quite nice accommodation in an out of the way neighbourhood. We were nonplussed when we saw they had given us twin beds and asked for a double – an exceptionally good move as we ended up with superior accommodation for the entire trip…

My hubby was tired and wanted to nap, but I needed desperately to shake a leg. Stepping out into the warm spring afternoon, I had a sense of horror – I could bite the air! It was crunchy and kind of sharp… Industrial pollution and dust and dirt particles blowing in from the deserts to the west. The sky was dull and despite being high in the sky, I noticed the shadows on the ground were soft when they should have been crisp. I carried on in search of the garden after which our hotel was named and soon came upon it…

It was lovely, calm and soothing. I would soon learn that groups of westerners are most often surrounded by hawkers, vendors and beggars, but a single person strolling along was respected. I had no idea what sort of crazy adventure I was setting out on as I stood here. Just as well – it’s not as if I could have turned tail and gone home if I had a mind to…

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22/04/2011 at 12:12 am

Home Cookin’

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China is hard – possibly the most difficult country I have travelled. it was also one of the most rewarding, certainly the most surprising, land of mists, elusive and mysterious and at the same time open, charming and disarming.

This young man appears to be preparing a banquet sized meal on the edges of the Li River in the south of China – somewhere between Guilin and Yangshuo. Keep Beijing – if I ever get back – I’m heading straight to this spot!

I’ve had quite a few queries as to what else was goin gon in the river nearby. Here is another image from directly across the way. This image doesn’t satisfy in quite the same way, though. Thus, it is an add-on, not its own post…

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10/02/2011 at 9:23 pm

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