Just because I’m a foreigner, the school I am working for sent me to a conference in the pleasant southern city of Yang Zhou. You know, they just put me up in a 5 star hotel for a couple days- which was awesome. I couldn’t really do much for the conference besides pose in some photographs, because I don’t know Chinese of course. Here’s a picture of me sitting near Caspian, a buddy foreign teacher at the College.
The conference was on old school block printing from China’s past. It is pretty cool to see them working on the blocks, and they demonstrated a bunch of methods and even gave me prints.
For the most part I don’t know what the conference was about. Wood block printing of course, but a lot of the talks were about preservation and respect to the old techniques during the age of mechanical reproduction and now digital reproduction.
The best part was the 5 star hotel they put me up in. I’ve stayed in some nice hotels, but this one seemed to have everything! It was 8 buildings, had a gym, pool, hot tubs and such,extravagant breakfast with a lot of international food of very high quality and all you can drink coffee… oh I could just go on and on, it was nice.
While I stayed at the hotel the school official, Wang Ying, took me out to a bunch of parks. There are a lot of famous parks in Yang Zhou because it is located in a southern temperate climate and there is history of rich business men selling salt and other natural minerals that are dug up near by. The first park I visited was Bridges Park- it has something like 80 bridges in it and the place is huge, it takes a good 6 hours to walk around- so I walked for only 2.
This is the famous Golden Bridge, the icon of the park.
And this is a singing rock/bush!
A wall from the 16th century, part of an old village now gone.
The next day we went to a rich man’s mansion from the 16th Century. It was cool, pretty extravagant. The walk there was the best part actually. A river runs through the whole town, so you get to walk along all these bridges and through all this ancient architecture. At one point we passed by a farmers market selling miniature fruit trees. Live bonsai trees and such, it was pretty cool. No tele lens on me, so no pics. sorry.
Hallway Man made cave!
The funnest part for me was the experience of riding a train. I have taken a train before, but not for such a long journey. On the way to Yang Zhou Haoyue and I rode an over night train, a coach with 4 beds that we luckily had to ourselves. Most of China was covered in smog, all the way from Beijing to about mid way south. However, when we arrived in the southern parts of China it cleared up and you could smell the moisture. I don’t know, the fog/smog was alos romantic in the dark, dimly lit emptiness of inner China. Taking the train is the best way to get around.
On the way back we took the much faster bullet trains. They run at 300 kmph and you can get what took 13 hours in a regular train in only 3.5 hours.
And of course on the way out of Yang Zhou the weather finally cleared up, it was no longer grey and cloudy and the sun shone bright. Oh well, enjoy the grey sky vacation photos. All on the Panasonic GH2 with a 14-42 kit lens. Some pictures look weird because of color monitor issues at home, don’t care enough to fix.