Snow and Blue Skies

I woke-up early this morning. Went into the home office to check email and such. When I returned to bed, I found that I’d been replaced.

Shanshan and Xiao Mao

Nudging the cat (and, now the dog, who had also joined us) out of the way, I returned to bed for a while. One of the emails I’d received was from Shanshan’s mother, and it contained some pictures of snow outside. It didn’t quite dawn on me that these were recent pictures. But, when I opened-up the drapes, here’s what I saw:

Snow in the Courtyard

Shanshan and I decided to catch a taxi over to the Ten Years After Cafe, which is in the Wudaokou area. On the way out of the complex, I took this shot of two of the towers.

Towers in Blue

Yep, the snow also brought beautiful blue skies and clean air. Not that one would ever hear about clear skies in Beijing from most Western media sources, mind you.

After breakfast, Shanshan went off to meet a friend and go shopping, shopping, shopping. I decided to snap some photographs before heading home. The Wudaokou Subway Station is in the background of this shot.

Wudaokou

I walked down a side street and into an older neighborhood, where I shot these five photographs:

White Doors and Bread

Coca Cola and Backpack

Convenience Store and Beauty Salon

Fruit and the Colonel

San Lun Che with Dumplings

Now, right between the san lun che and micro-van in the preceding shot, was this:

Trash and More

I think those are legs from a mannequin, but I’m really not all that certain. And, well, I think they were in the area because of this building, which (again with some uncertainty) seemed to be some sort of solid waste processing center:

Waste Processing Center

The trash behind me, I slipped down another alleyway into a more crowded area:

Market Entrance

Many of the photographs I took there were  shot at waist-level and whilst I was walking. The 14 mm isn’t nearly as fast as the 85 mm, but it is ideally suited for taking unobtrusive shots in such an environment. Anyway, if you’re wondering about the angle and soft focus of some of the shots, that’s the reason.

Cook and Coal

Steamed Dumplings

Peeling Dough 1

Brazil

If you don’t get the Brazil title for the above shot, I ain’t gonna explain it to you. Sorry.

Electric Bicycle and Fresh Eggs

Chicken Toenails and Red Meat

Once again, f*ck you, David Sedaris!

Bricks and Water

Fresh Eggs and Mushrooms

Quilts and Wires

What I was trying to do was capture some of the feeling of this small neighborhood. Also, if it isn’t clear from my shots, I really appreciate such places, and feel extremely comfortable walking around in them.

Once I exited the village, I passed by this police substation:

Police Substation

I then came across a san lun che having an inner tube replaced.

Mobile Repair Station

Before coming across this small sidewalk restaurant, where another cook was peeling noodles off of a loaf of dough into boiling water.

Peeling Dough 2

As a side note, I would definitely eat there. My wife, however, (perhaps just as definitely) would not.

There was a brick construction wall in front of this area, so I held the camera up over it, and took this picture.

Deconstruction with Trees

When I first came to Beijing, my co-workers took me to an excellent hot-pot restaurant. Unfortunately, it has been closed and bricked-up for a couple of years:

Graffiti (On Closed Hot Pot Restaurant)

btw, graffiti of this type is still very uncommon in Beijing.

It was still Saint Patrick’s Day in the US when I was walking around, so I figured I might as well take this shot:

Restaurant in Green

As I waited for the 656 to take me back home, I saw a young girl who seemed absolutely giddy over her mother. There was just something so heartwarming about it, that I just had to take a shot.

Mother and Daughter

The bus took awhile to come, so… more proof of the wonderful sky today:

Sky and Towers

And, perhaps because there was a large span between buses arriving, the 656 was quite crowded when I boarded it.

Crowded 656

Upon exiting in my neighborhood, I was treated to this advertisement for Disney’s John Carter. Let’s just say I won’t be going to the neighborhood Megabox to see it.

John Carter Movie Poster

Here’s another view of the towers as I walked home:

Bicycle and Towers

One way to make sure that your chairs don’t disappear.

Locked Chairs

Finally, before heading into the complex, I took this picture of  a propaganda poster.

Patriotism Innovation Inclusiveness Virtue

I’ve been told that I’m probably more aware of it than most Chinese, who I think tend to ignore it. (This, btw, is in stark contrast to the folks I spoke to in Pyongyang when I traveled there in 2009… they were very aware of such, umh, communication.)

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