Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
I had always wondered how people in other parts of the world get around, and, I must admit, I had rather chauvinistic attitudes, believing that only in my Western world would automobiles be modern and advanced. I was humbled and surprised to find the same cars on the streets of China that I see here in the United States: Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes, as well as Honda, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, Ford, VW, and Nissan.
So, the cars and vans didn’t interest me enough to photograph them. What caught my attention were the other modes of transportation, especially those vehicles that I do not see at home. While the automobiles dominate the streets, bikes of every shape, size, condition and age share the space. I never got comfortable with the practice of carrying children and babies on the scooters and bikes … and without helmets! However, I did not see a child injured in spite of the frighteningly unsafe drivers.
I am a bit frustrated that I was not able to convey the intensely crowded streets or the aggressiveness displayed by all of the drivers. I was terrified to cross the street and remember the relief and pride I felt when I finally learned how to maneuver amidst the heavy machinery and pedestrians. (Click on any image to see it full size.)
No theme …… No real reason for this post, except nostalgia.
It was 1962. My sister Rose was a baby. Rose is not the youngest in our clan; in fact, two boys and a girl follow her.
Notice that my sister Phyllis & I are wearing identical blouses, which means that my mother probably made them. (I’m the one with the dark permed hair in the back.) By the way, I’m the oldest of the clan.
Check out the buzz cuts on my brothers; Mother took the electric clippers to them regularly.
Our growing family
I’ve recently returned home from my travels and work in China and when I saw this week’s theme of “leading lines” from Where’s My Backpack, I immediately thought of the Yuyuan Gardens in Old Shanghai. These beautiful gardens were first established in 1559 as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan to please his father Pan En, a high-ranking official in the Ming Dynasty. They had fallen into disrepair and were almost completely destroyed by the British during the Opium Wars; fortunately, they have been restored and provide a quiet respite from the chaos and noise of the tourist marketplace of Old Shanghai.
Pan was a master of using the “leading lines” to beckon the visitor into the gardens. I imagine Pan Yunduan’s visitors as they were drawn further in, wandering through the harmony of water, wood, and stone, and I can picture them sitting on one of the many benches, meditating or gossiping.
Initially, I was dismayed to share this peaceful place with throngs of tourists; yet, in their lines, I found comfort as I listened to myriad languages and watched them enjoy the gardens and one another.
Visitors to the gardens follow the lines, stopping here and there to look, to take pictures ….
Take the steps…follow the lines into the ancient gardens.
The stone wall appears to present a barrier, yet the beautiful woodwork invites me to enter.
Lines in the garden are not straight. They meander, inviting the visitor to slow down.
Lines leading toward rest …..
I’m beginning to adjust to being back in the states and am starting to settle into my new apt and the new school year. Tomorrow, I’ll go to school to set up my classroom, getting prepared to greet 150+ freshmen on Monday morning.
Today, I babysat. My granddaughter and I built houses from blocks, read countless books, drew pictures, had tea parties, pretended, danced, giggled, and told stories. As you can probably tell … she is my light and joy.
Her mother is a superb pianist.
Sparkling Beads, Bracelets, Princess High Heeled Slippers, Princess Crown, and ATTITUDE!
She wore the crown for hours. Elle: “Where’s my crown?” Me: “On your head.” Elle: “Oh yeah!” I had to giggle…so much like her grandma!