Sign for the Hall of Mildness at the Yuyuan Gardens, Shanghai

The Path to Happiness, Shanghai

Both places sound inviting, don’t they?

This is a sign at the Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai. Located in the northeast of the Old City of Shanghai [map], Yuyuan, or simply Yu, is considered to be one of the four finest Chinese gardens. It dates back to the Ming Dynasty of mid 1500s.

Even though it’s presented as such, I don’t consider this a translation, but rather an attempt to define concepts that don’t exist precisely across cultures. A convergence of languages of sorts, for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, convergence.

Or more simply, a place where the paths to happiness and mildness converge.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 319th straight, was snapped in Shanghai on 25-May-2014.

Gang of mannequins, Shanghai

Mannequin Monday #14

For Mannequin Monday #14 we head to China for the first time where I discovered this gang entertaining late night shoppers at Shanghai’s busy Nanjing Road commercial district. They looked more like the cast of a remake of A Clockwork Orange than they did the contemporary urban Chinese hipsters who were out shopping late into the evening.

If you just stumbled upon this newish weekly series that’s taking and breaking the internets by storm, you can and should catch up here. Enjoy and do spread the word.

By the way, this image, snapped on 24 May 2010, also serves as today’s Pic du Jour, the 232nd (!!) straight. When you’ve got a few minutes to spare, you can catch up with some of those here.

Drummers suspended over hundreds of dancers at the 2008 Olympic Closing Ceremony in Beijing

Beijing Olympics, Revisited

As I mentioned when I returned from covering the Beijing Olympic Games six years ago, a heavy workload coupled with the Great Firewall that kept WordPress at a distance prevented me from blogging at all from the Chinese capital. With today marking the sixth anniversary of the Games’ official close, I decided that a few shots from the Closing Ceremonies would be fitting for today’s Pics du Jour, the 224th (!!) straight since the daily chore was re-inaugurated.

It was an excellent show, with these three shots of drummers suspended high above the surface at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, typical of the festivities.

Drummers suspended over hundreds of dancers at the 2008 Olympic Closing Ceremony in Beijing

Drummers at the 2008 Olympic Closing Ceremony in Beijing

Fireworks over the Bird's Nest stadium at the 2008 Olympic Closing Ceremony in Beijing

Fireworks over the Bird’s Nest stadium at the 2008 Olympic Closing Ceremony in Beijing

But since I’m on the topic, I’ve got to say that I enjoyed the 2012 close in London much more, the best of the three Closing Ceremonies I’ve witnessed. Focused on the UK’s No 1 export –its popular music– it was a phenomenal four-hour long rock concert featuring Annie Lennox, Monty Python, a Spice Girls reunion and The Who. Here’s a post of the highlights in 22 photos.




Napping shoppers, Shanghai, 2010

Shopping Fatigue, Shanghai

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 207th (!) straight, illustrates that even shoppers in China apparently get tired of buying all the things they make.

I’m relearning and further investigating minimalism and how to scale back, prompting a search for this photo I snapped in Shanghai on 25 May 2010. It’ll be much easier now. :)

Turtles at market, Nanning, China

Turtles at Market, Nanning

These turtles were swimming in a small pool at a market on the fringes of Nanning, China, a sprawling city of seven million many of you have never heard of. So it goes with many mid-sized Chinese cities.

There was an amazing number of them in various stalls, in an assortment of sizes and colors. According to figures available from 2008, China has nearly 1500 registered turtle farms, bringing in an estimated $800 million annually. They’re raised as delicacies for upscale restaurants, ingredients for herbal medicines, and as pets.

“People in China like and respect turtles very much,” Edward, my official guide/shadow for five days, said. “We’d all like to live long lives like turtles.”

Today;s Pic du Jour, the 205th (!!) straight, was snapped in Nanning, China, on 14-Oct-2010. Full uncropped version is below.

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Ba Gui Agricultural Research Garden, Nanning, China

Ba Gui Agricultural Research Garden, Nanning

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 193rd (!) straight, provides a brief throwback to a late 2010 visit to the Ba Gui Agricultural Research Garden in Nanning, China, quite likely one of the biggest cities you’ve never heard of*. The city of 6.6 million is the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China situated along the border with Vietnam.

I was in Nanning to cover the World Half Marathon Championships that fall and this was a stop on a morning-long tour organized by the local tourism organization and chaperoned by guides moonlighting with the regional office of the interior ministry. It’s located on the campus of the Guangxi Agricultural Vocational-Technical College, a very attractive setting; an English language intro is here.

Previous posts about Nanning:

*Not to be confused with the larger eastern city of Nanjing. Thank you. :)

Nanning, China, 14-Oct-2010
Nanning, China at night

Nanning Nightscape (Pic du Jour)

Nanning is the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China along the border with Vietnam. With a population of 6.6 million, it’s probably one of the biggest cities you’ve never heard of. It was also, by far, the least smoggy city I’ve visited in China.

Snapped in October 2010

Previous posts about Nanning:

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Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai

Big – Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower

I just finished lamenting how un-big the backpack I’ll be living out of for the next 14 to 16 months is going to be, so it’s nice to have this antidote, courtesy of this week’s Wordress Photo Challenge.

This is the 88-story tall Jin Mao Tower, one of three skyscrapers that provide the primary focal points of Shanghai’s Pudong district, an area that Fox Nomad today reminded us requires about eight percent of this massive city’s total electrical output. I like how at this angle it appears to disappear into the night sky. At 421 meters, t’s the 13th tallest building in the world, but just the fifth tallest in China.

The top floor is an observation deck with incredible panoramic views of the city. My visit in May 2010 coincided with the World Expo, which meant long lines and long wait. Was it worth it? Absolutely. A few shots facing The Bund are below.

Shanghai from the Jin Mao tower’s 88th floor observation deck. 25-May-2010

Shanghai from the Jin Mao tower’s 88th floor observation deck. 25-May-2010

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freshly-boiled dog at a market in Nanning

A Dog at the Market

You can now cross Boiled Dog in a Nanning Market off your list of things to see before you die.

I’ve posted this pic a couple times before but it’s the first one to come to mind when Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack asked visitors to share some market pics in her latest challenge.

More about that October 2010 market visit –along with a dog and cat consumption in China update– is here. It was also the Gadling Photo of the Day for 18-Oct-2010.