Oh I couldn’t pass this one up. When I saw the weekly challenge, I immediately thought of the curves in the Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai. You see, Shanghai and China have been on my mind a lot lately because I’m flying to Shanghai a week from today to begin my summer job. The Yuyuan Gardens are rich with curves in doorways, walkways, and archways — all inviting the tired traveler to a quiet peace.
I am learning to treasure my alone time, even when traveling. There’s always that desire to say, “Oh wow! Look at that!” when I see something spectacular or quirky. However, there’s a peace in alone, and a serenity in quiet. I have also found that spending time alone in a foreign country builds strength and confidence — or perhaps it’s just makes one slightly wacky, which I don’t mind at all.
Today, I enjoyed myself immensely, wandering around Old Shanghai and the Yuyuan Gardens alone. I had visited the gardens with my friends last summer and was eager to get more pictures this year. At first, I was a bit disappointed because some areas were closed off for repairs and because the place was crowded. The throngs of people made it a bit difficult to find a quiet nook to meditate or a scene to photograph. I decided to take a different approach and took pictures of the people and the details of the elaborate carvings and figures on the roofs and walls rather than on larger vistas.
Last year, I took a picture of this famous dragon slithering his way across the top of a wall and got a few shots of him again today.
What I did not notice last summer, or today until I saw the images on my computer, is that the dragon has a little friend. Now I’m curious.
I couldn’t find much information on the Internet about this little guy, but it seems that the frog likes the saliva dripping from the dragon’s open mouth, which contains a pearl. The pearl symbolizes wealth and wisdom; therefore, as the frog laps up the saliva, I suppose he is becoming richer and wiser. The frog, himself, symbolizes wealth and immortality. A symbiotic relationship? If anyone has more information, I’d love to hear it.
Tomorrow, I leave Shanghai to being work in Feicheng, in the Shandong Province.
The Yuyuan Garden in Old Shanghai
I like this image, but the original just didn’t do anything. The colors are washed out — the garden is old and the colors actually are faded and worn. The images was just too “OK.” I think it makes a stronger statement in black & white.
I snapped these doorways in the Yuyuan Garden in Old Shanghai. Each one beckons the visitor into the peace of the gardens, which were 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. The gardens had fallen into disrepair and were almost completely destroyed by the British during the Opium Wars.