Month: March 2012

Man Push San Lun Che

Man Push San Lun Che

I tried to watch Man Push Cart a few years ago… well after I was indoctrinated into Chinese life. I ended-up turning it off. It probably would’ve had more resonance if I’d not seen so many people doing far more manual tasks as just part of their daily lives.

A Simple First Step to Meaningful Negotiations with North Korea

Refer to the country by the correct name… the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I can tell you from first-hand experience that they don’t like being called North Korea. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK, or Korea were the three choices that were given to me when I visited Pyongyang in 2009.

Here are some other indicators:

Heck, in an article on the China Daily site, they even go so far as to correct the president:

“North Korea (DPRK) will achieve nothing by threats or provocations,” Obama said during a press conference in Seoul after talks with his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak.

Look, we’re talking about a country that has the fifth largest active army, the capacity to launch rockets/long-range missiles, and might be developing nuclear weapons.

If the US is really intent on reaching-out to the people and/or government of the country, they can start by using their chosen name.

Beijing Bicycle (Rental)

In August of 2007, roughly a year before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an entrepreneur rolled-out a bicycle rental scheme in the capital city. This effort was noted in both Chinese and Western media:

Although I think Mr Wang surely must’ve made money off of foreigners visiting the city for the Olympics, here’s what one of the rental stations now looks like:

Beijing Bicycle (Rental)

The bicycles have long been abandoned, left chained together in key places through-out the city as they rot away. This particular place, in the Wudaokou area, had more than 50 bicycles. (There are actually two groups of bicycles here — one red and one white — I think the red ones might’ve been from a competing company.)

In discussions with friends at the time, there was a general consensus that the scheme would fail:

  • The bikes were of poor quality
  • Most people who would ride bikes already had them
  • The one year fee was more than that a person would pay to own a bike outright (especially at some of the city’s “used” bike markets)

In addition, it seems that there wasn’t much maintenance being performed on the bicycles.

Note: the title refers to the movie Beijing Bicycle.

Two Conversations with the Wife


Me: So, your parents are coming over for dinner tonight?

Wife: Yep, they’ll be here at 5:30.

Me: So, they’ll bring food with them?

Wife: Nope, I’ll order.

Me: Order what?

Wife: Chinese.

A Few Days Ago

[Walking by an elaborate restaurant that we’d gone by many times before, with me always asking what they served.]

Me:What do they serve there?

Wife [somewhat annoyed]: A famous Beijing dish

Me: Sea Cucumber?

Wife: No.

Me: Beijing Kao Ya?

Wife: Yes.

Me: Bu Shi Peking Kao Ya Ma?

Wife: No.

Me: Then, who calls it Peking Roast Duck?

Wife: You foreigners.

Thirteen Skies of Blue

We had another absolutely stunning spring day here in Beijing…. blue skies, white wispy clouds, and bright sunshine. (Not that you’d see mention of this in the Western Media… it seems only the “bad weather days” are worthy of coverage.)

Shanshan and I headed off by taxi to Ten Years Cafe in the Wudaokou area (once again become a Saturday routine). She needed to head into work, so I decided to walk around a bit taking pictures, stop by the area hardware store to get some duct tape and wall fasteners, and then head home by bus.

Since the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games is only a few months away, I thought it might be nice to give a “four years after” view of places/things related to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. You’ll see some of those shots in today’s post. In addition, I’ve added a new category to my blog called… wait for it… Beijing Olympics – Four Years After.

Beijing 2008 Central Planning Building 1

The building is still in use, not quite sure happening there.

Blue Skies and Light Traffic

Taken from a “sky bridge’ (pedestrian over-crossing) on Chengfu Lu.Again, although Beijing certainly has bad traffic at times, it just isn’t true to say everyplace in Beijing has bad traffic all the time.

Sky Bridge, Blue Sky, and White Clouds

Idle Smokestack in Wudaokou

One of the few remaining smokestacks in the area. I think this one is for a coal-fired plant that is used to produce steam for winter heating, but I could be mistaken.

Khoo Teck Puat Gymnasium

The gymnasium, on the Peking University Campus, was a venue for the 2008 Olympic Games.

375 with Blue Skies and White Clouds

Older Building with Blue Skies and White Clouds

This building, which was probably constructed in the late 1980’s, is old by Beijing standards. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was torn down and replaced within the next five years.

Pagodas with Trees

Beijing 2008 Central Planning Building 2

Beichen Bridge

Okay, I must admit that I took this picture not only because of the colors and shapes, but because I found myself chuckling at what I did with the name on the sign… imagining it being said as ‘Bitchen Bridge”.

Dragon's Pearl

The Dragon’s Pearl on the Pangu Plaza Hotel. Located right next to the main Olympic venues, this “seven star” hotel was the place to stay for the 2008 Olympic Games, if you had the cash/connections.

North Star Continental Grand Hotel

Also located near the Olympic Green… available for those with less cash/connections than were needed to stay at the Pangu Plaza.

Tower F in Blue and White

Yep, that’s my apartment complex once again. Notice the enclosed balcony. More about that in a later positing.

The 300

I stopped shooting with zoom lenses years ago. Gave them away. The three lenses I primarily use now are 14 mm, 85 mm, and 300 mm. Actually, it’s been awhile since I shot with the 300. So, with another absolutely gorgeous Beijing day outside, I took it with me as I headed down to the third ring road.

This is the top of a neighboring apartment complex.

Green, White, and Blue

The next four I took waiting for the bus (not sure if the first one works or not)

Branches and Building

Zhong Hua (China)

Twin Triangles

The triangles are on top of each tower of my apartment complex. You’ll see them again later in the series.

Electric Bicycle and Scooter

After exiting the bus, I walked a bit to my friend’s apartment complex. A new tower is nearing completion, and with it comes finishing touches like putting in brick pavers

Setting Brick Pavers

Here’s another picture of the triangles from his apartment

Roman Gardens from Third Ring Road

Even though it was a bit windy out today, I decided to walk back instead of taking the bus. The rest of the shots were taking on the way home.


Dish in Gray

Drain Pipe

Torn Awnings

There is something about the above shot I really like

Three Mops

Nope, they’re not men, they’re mop heads (with apologies to both Gary and Walter)


Two Bridges

Car Wash Attendant

The last photo in the set was taken at a one-stall car wash very close to my apartment. I’ve been intrigued by the outfits worn by some of the women who work there. Tried several times to capture them with my iPhone 4 asĀ  I walked by, but ended-up with blurry messes. This type of shot is something for which I think the 300 mm is ideally suited.