Sonntag, 30. Oktober 2011

Harvest time

 For a couple of weeks now the streets and sidewalks of Shenyang are almost literally paved with vegetables. It`s harvest season for the most common  produce in China, 白菜 (baicai), Chinese cabbage, or white cabbage, as the Chinese call it themselves. Every day you see trucks loaded with cabbage or leek like the ones on the pictures on street crossings or in front of main gates of residential complexes, selling their load directly from the truck beds. And pretty cheap, too - you pay around 3 Mao for a cabbage, which is about 3,5 Eurocents nowadays.

 People often buy them in dozens or even more to lay them out in the open to dry (called "shai" ) . And obviously don`t fear theft, as they put them everywhere, in house floors, in backyards, on porches, on the sidewalks, in front of their shops, on roofs, or, as the last picture shows, even on statues. But who would steal cabbage even in China worth nearly nothing anyway?

Most of the cabbage will turn into delicious kimchi during the coming winter. After all, we´re still only about 250 km east of the Korean border.....

Samstag, 22. Oktober 2011

A small step forward.....

Hanging above urinals in several public toilets in the metros of Shenyang and Beijing :

 "A small step forward, a big step for culture"

Dienstag, 18. Oktober 2011

(silent) protests in my hood

When something new is about to be built, often something old(er) has to go to make room for what is to come. In Shenyang, as in many bigger Chinese cities, this happens a lot these days due to the fast pace of the country`s economic development and modernization. And of course, if you`re living in one of this older somethings that has to go, in this case a residential block, you`re not willing to leave without at least making a statement of disagreement - sprayed on your walls or displayed in your windows, for example.

 "I want security - oppose demolition by force"

written in black: "oppose demolition by force"  written in red: "my home"

"oppose demolition by force - protect our homes"

"Give back my security"

"oppose demolition by force
protect legal rights to the end
give me back security"

I don`t know why this block is about to be teared down, one reason might be the expansion of the central train station nearby, and these houses would be in the way for a passage into this district - so far the train station only has one entrance on the other side. Another explanation might be that often land or house owners get ample compensations for giving away their usage rights to the government or real estate project developers - and occupants get nothing but a date until when they have to move out. But don`t know if that`s the case here, haven`t talked to people living there so far.

Another strange thing - a real estate agent was showing my girlfriend an apartment in this block just six weeks ago.....

Sonntag, 16. Oktober 2011

A Trojan horse...

In China, they put meat in everything - even a sausage into a sweet waffle on a stick. Much to my girlfriends chagrin.

Samstag, 15. Oktober 2011

New Home: Iron West

From now on living on the "Iron West corridor of industry culture". Tiexi, translated Iron West, is the name of the quarter where we`ve settled for probably the next two years. So far Shenyang appears to be like many other big Chinese cities: a noisy, dusty, crowded, air polluted huge construction site. At least there`s fewer traffic jams as in Beijing, as far as I can tell after the first two weeks. Definitely fewer Westerners - even when walking through the city half the day you encounter maybe one or two non-chinese faces. Which so far appears to be a good thing - the Shenyangers seem to be more open-minded, patient and friendly to foreigners than what I´ve experienced in bigger cities like Shanghai and Beijing so far. Or maybe I´ve just become a people person.....