Dispatches: Happy Year Of The Snake

School girl, Beijing

School girl, Beijing

This past weekend, billions of Chinese celebrated the new New Year, the Year of The Snake. (And now, the unfortunate side effect of all those trips to get home to be with family – Hukuo Hell.

Watching the reports and viewing the photos – who doesn’t love a guy pulling a snake through his nose – I thought back on when I visited China – twice in one year.

In early 2010, I went to Beijing, as well as Tiayuan and Shanxi. It was an incredible experience for me, not only to meet some of my colleagues in those towns, but also see these amazing place, places I never thought I’d get to.

Beijing was very buttoned up to me, very much the center of the political scene. And crowded, bustling too. Not quite the smog issues that have recently been written about.

I remember being at Tianammen Square, and the military personnel that just would not grant my wish to pose with Flo.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

And the little girl who’s mother practically begged me to take her picture with my little friend.

Tianamen Square

Tianamen Square

From the local tourists at the Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

To the older folks playing checkers outside the Kingdom of Heaven.

Checkers, Temple of Heaven

Checkers, Temple of Heaven

Trinkets outside the Great Wall of China…

(c)JSP_GreatWallKewpies_0528

When I left a week later, I thought “Well, who knows when I’ll get back her to China.” Little did I realize, it would be just 11 months later. This time, though, a very different experience. This time, it was the bustling, innovative, chic city of Shanghai where I would land. And be met by warm, welcoming people

Security Guard, Shanghai

Security Guard, Shanghai

Street portrait, Shanghai

Street portrait, Shanghai

From walking around the Bund in the morning, watching the older gentlemen flying their kites, to catching some night light in the evening, it was a very different experience.

(c)JSP_Fruitstand_Shanghai

Tattoo parlor, Shanghai

Tattoo parlor, Shanghai

More beuatiful light when we visited a family in Shanxi in North China. Shanxi means “mountains west.”

Shanxi Kitchen

Shanxi Kitchen

Diffrent cities, different attitudes. But one thing remains the same…amazing food.

Eggs, Shanghai Market

Eggs, Shanghai Market

Lunch near the Great Wall of China

Lunch near the Great Wall of China

Warm noodle bowl for breakfast, Shanghai

Warm noodle bowl for breakfast, Shanghai

My visits to China left an indelible mark on me. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Happy Year of The Snake!

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