Archive - Jan 18, 2007

Shanghai supermarket

I made a special trip to the Carrefour supermarket, a French-owned chain, to get pictures of the produce department. I snapped only a few shots before security kicked me out. Taking pictures is "against the rules."

Women in China

One sobering reality in modern China: Women are still regarded as chattel. Although Mao declared women equal, and they have made strides, the overwhelming force of Chinese traditional culture still keeps women in a subservient position.

It starts at birth. The saying, "It is better to have a boy than a girl," still holds sway. There are practical considerations. A girl, when she marries, becomes the property of the groom's family. She will take care of the groom's parents in their old age, not her own parents.


I caught this traffic maneuver without even trying. Cars can make right turns on red in China without yielding. These two cars are roaring around the corner.

Meanwhile, the moped, which isn't considered a vehicle and is thus apparently exempt from the red light, wants to go through the intersection.

I can't describe to you how fast this happened: The moped cut between the two turning cars and went across the intersection, through a red light.

Looking back on China

Since I have returned from China, people have been asking the usual questions:

Did I like China?

Well, that's a difficult question. I enjoyed the trip. I learned a lot and saw many sights. We were inundated by wonderful food. We met wonderful people. But I couldn't live there! Not at this stage in my life, anyway.


A gigantic picture of Mao hangs above Tiananmen Gate, right below the balcony where the Chinese leader proclaimed the People's Republic of China in 1949.

The gate above is one of many landmarks centered on the meridian line, a symbolic line of power which runs through the Forbidden City, right where the Emperor's thrones are, as well as through Tiananmen Square, right through Mao's casket, and then through the Meridian Gate, which is the center of China's road numbering system.