Thursday, March 08, 2007

Remembering Dalian; Words of Wisdom from the Mistress of Green Gables Herself

Oh, Dalian. What a large small city, is how Jenny and I both described it. This up there is my photo, the rest are Jenny's. We traveled up the peninsula to Dalian last year just about this time, the last weekend in March. That was a great trip. And when I look back on these photos, and I see the sun shining outside [OK, during the day at work, not right now at night peering at the streetlight coming in through the fogged-up window, still damp and impenetrable from the spaghetti my roommates just cooked], I think This is what life really is about, and everything else, all the small worries and trivial details that seem to bog me down, really, those are not important at all. I know I talk about China a lot, but it was and is quite important to me, and it helps give me perspective.

After going on this trip with Jenny and seeing how vastly different our photos came out, for all that we visited the same place, really got me started thinking about photography and how i Photograph things. How I see them. What I look for. Some people have a very bold, clean, minimalistic asthetic. I'm afraid taht could never be me.

[Like this photo, with the lines and the colors and textures and movement and direction and contrast, this is more me. I didn't snap this photo, but it is most definitely me.]

Oh my gosh, the sleeper buses. This photo probably does them better justice than any I've ever taken. They are something to experience yourself. I remember when I was in southwest China with my brother, I spotted a set of sleeper buses on my way to a bathroom. I believe I squealed, clapped, pointed and exclaimed to Michael, "I'm going to ride in one of those these days!"

Just think. Its like a tour bus, except probably narrower, and fitted with 3, that's right THREE, rows of beds. Bunk beds. And as you can see, you don't even get the luxury of lying all the way down. Nope. You're half propped up, so that somebody's feet can be tucked in under your torso. Saves room and you can cram more people into the bus, in other words. Make more money per run. I'm pretty sure these things are the biggest transportation and fire hazard out there, but in third world countries, sometimes you don't have the luxury of those types of worries.

I was super excited because they seemed so quirky and just how the 'natives' travel, you know? And there's Michael with numerous grains of salt, because he'd read about how bad they can get and frankly, come on now, we can pretend that there's something romantic about certain situations, but the reality? The reality is close quarters, uncomfortable sleeping positions, the smell of feet ALL OVER, farting and burping ... but you know? It's cheap, and that's how a fair amount of the population gets about. When you have no other choice, you adapt.

The first sleeper bus, gosh, I hated that. Couldn't sleep at all. The second one, I was so exhausted and used to China that it was beautiful. [I should mention that the sleeper bus in that photo? Much cleaner than most I've seen]. We pulled out an hour late because the bus drivers were trying to catch more passengers to raise their profit [naturally; this is perfectly normal in China]. We were supposed to get in at 2 or 3AM; 10AM the next morning and we're still on the road. I had crammed my little backpacking pack in at my feet [trust me, there ain't a lot of room] because I didn't realize you could store it at the bottom of the bus [no wonder everybody was staring at me!], and frankly the place reeked of FEET because, hello, the guy behind me had his bare feet propped up on the rails and therefore practically in my hair. But oh well! Because you get used to a certain amount of dirt when you're hoofing around the poor backwaters of a developing nation.

This boy was so adorable. Ack. The heart breaks with the adorableness of it all.

Dalian is near Japan and Russia and Korea, so there are lots of foreign influences in the city. Of course, I think this was a tourist destination built AFTER the Communists took over. But then again, that's also very characteristic of modern history in China. So ... its like doubly Chinese or something ...

Thanks Jenny for all the wonderful memories! Thinking of you on this half of the world!

Oh, and words of wisdom from Anne Shirley, of Anne of Green Gables. She is seriously one of my favorite heroines of all times. Heck, I view her as a 'role model' for myself, even to this day. One of those fictional characters I aspire towars, I'm not ashamed to admit.

Isn't it good to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people who aren't born yet for missing it.
What do you do when you meet with an irresistible temptation?
When I am grown up, I'm always going to talk to little girls as if they were grown up, too, and I"ll never laugh at them when they use big words.
Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it?
It must be a great deal better to be sensible; but still, I don't believe I"d really want to be a sensible person, because they are so unromantic.

No comments: