Archive - Jan 2007

January 7th


A vanished trade in America, tailors were a common sight on the streets in China. The man above was in Shanghai's old town. Also in Shanghai was this little shop next to our favorite noodle shop.

January 6th

Horse horse, tiger tiger

In a discussion about phrases this morning, Michael told us that a Chinese term for "so so" is "horse horse, tiger tiger." In other words, if you ask somebody how their day is going, instead of responding "Oh, just so so," (which makes no sense taken literally), in Chinese you respond "horse horse, tiger tiger" (which also makes no sense).

Laughing Buddha

This statue of Buddha is over 1,000 years old, carved during a time when Buddhist equanimity was seen as approaching all of life's problems as if one were fat and happy.

Winding down in China

Tomorrow, we fly out of Shanghai to San Francisco, Denver, then Minneapolis. The reports of this trip on the weblog have been sporadic due to the cable outage in the Pacific. Perhaps that was fortunate. I spent more time enjoying the trip and wasn't so preoccupied with reporting daily.

January 3rd


The internet has been very sporadic in Beijing, so I have not been able to post until this morning when suddenly we could connect.

Beijing is a completely different city than Shanghai. The totalitarianism is evident. Soldiers everywhere. Wide avenues, huge Stalinist government buildings and a generally grim appearance.

Yesterday, we went to the Great Wall. I have enough pictures to post for a month.

This evening, after spending the day in the Forbidden City, we will take an overnight train to Hongszhou where we will stay on beautiful West Lake.

December 31st

Two scenes from Suzhou

This is the scene on one of Suzhou's main drags at eight o'clock on a Sunday morning. Meanwhile, in the quieter back alleys, one can find older people sitting outside their homes with a cup of tea.


Suzhou is a city of canals. The oldest surviving city map in the world is a paper map of Suzhou from over 900 years ago. The downtown of Suzhou is still on the same plan.

However, Suzhou has developed on either side of the old town to the point that one-quarter of the world's laptops are built in the city. The picture of the beggar boy below was taken on a street lined with luxury cars and restaurants.

Tai chi

As day breaks on a cloudy morning in Suzhou, retirees gather in the park for their early morning exercise session. The picture was taken through the hotel window.