Life in China 2017: A Picture A Day, January 13 – The use of dougong brackets goes back thousands of years in Chinese architecture. The word “dougong” literally means “cap and block.” They were/are a system of wooden interlocking pieces that gave the needed support because the walls were not load-bearing. They were layered under the wide eaves to support the load of the roof. The more important the building, the more layers of brackets. This system supposedly holds up very well in earthquakes, holding even when brick walls fall. They are credited as the reason so many ancient Chinese buildings lasted for so long. As time passed, methods changed some and the dougong brackets became more decorative and artistic. Today, you can still see beautiful, brightly colored dougong brackets on special buildings. These in the pictures are from the Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Guangzhou. You can see more pictures of the ones used at the Po Lin Monastery in my blog post here: http://www.myownchinesebrocade.com/travel/2017/1/12/big-buddha-and-ngong-ping
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, December 11 – I’ve definitely been enjoying the weather since returning to South China ten days ago, and very glad that I left Ohio before the snowstorm hit! I prefer the flowers over snow! There are some beautiful trees blooming here right now, and one is the Bauhinia Tree. The Bauhinia is also called the Hong Kong Orchid because it is the official emblem of Hong Kong. They even have a large golden bauhinia statue near the harbor and a representation of the bauhinia on their flag. The Bauhinia is also called the Purple Camel’s Foot and the Hawaiian Orchid Tree. They are native to Southeast Asia, but are now also grown in other areas of the world with warm climates. The flowers, in varying shades of pinks and purples and also white, bloom throughout the winter. They eventually get long seed pods, but it’s too early for them now and I can’t find a good picture I’ve previously taken. www.myownchinesebrocade.com
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, December 3 – I am back in China and ready to finish my year of “A Picture a Day” up. I’ve posted before about the fact that you don’t drink the tap water here, and that we have bottled water in our home. When I was back in the USA, I enjoyed the ability to get drinks at drinking fountains while out shopping. There are no drinking fountains in China. If you want a drink of water when you are out shopping, you buy a bottle of water. These pictures are from the Hong Kong Airport. Still not regular drinking fountains, but quite fancy “Water Zones.” Leah said the Chinese says “Drinking Water.” They have hot, cold or room temperature water available. The one on the left was from when we left HK; it also has fluid disposal because you can’t take any drinks or filled bottles on the planes, even if you have bought them at the airport! The picture on the right was after we arrived back in HK and were in the area waiting for a ferry to return to mainland China. Here, they even had ice available!
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, October 28 – There are thousands of schoolchildren who cross the border from Shenzhen, China, into Hong Kong every school day. In 2014-15, there were supposedly almost 25,000! As young as 3 years old, and up through high school. I’m not very knowledgeable about this, so I’m going to quote a China Daily newspaper article:
“More than 202,300 non-local children had been born in Hong Kong by the time the ban (passed in 2013) was imposed. They have permanent residence, but their parents, who are mostly from the mainland, don't, so the children live in Shenzhen and cross the border every day to go to school.The number of children crossing the border for schooling will peak in the 2018-19 school year, before gradually decreasing, according to the Hong Kong Education Bureau…” http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2016-05/04/content_25061392.htm
These children can spend up to 4 hours a day getting to school and back home again. Sometimes they have an adult accompany them, but, more often, assistants are in charge of groups of students; The older ones are on their own. There are special lines at immigration for these cross-border students. Although the immigration halls are usually quiet places, if you happen to be there when the school children help fill the hall, it can be quite noisy! You aren’t supposed to use your mobile phones in the Immigration Hall, so I don’t have pictures of them all lined up, but here are a couple photos of children before we got to the immigration lines today, when returning to China from Hong Kong.
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, September 8 – One week from today is the Mid-Autumn Festival, so I’ll be posting some pictures for this holiday. While we were in Hong Kong on Tuesday, we walked through Victoria Park, and they were setting up a display of the large, colorful, modern style lanterns. There were so many that I loved: fish, turtles, penguins, elephants, llamas, rabbits, monkeys, ladybugs, the Monkey King, and other Chinese characters! I wish I could go back and see them all set up and glowing at night, but here are some pictures of getting ready for the holiday.
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, September 6 - Today, we had to go to Hong Kong. We have many options of how to go: by car, bus, metro, train or ferry, and sometimes a combination. Depending on where in Hong Kong we need to go, we choose a different way. Today, we went to Jim's company Headquarters, which Is on Hong Kong Island. We had a car drive us the hour back to where we used to live and then took the ferry, which is a one hour trip one way. The nice part of going this way is that you get through immigration quickly because it is only those people taking the ferry that go through at this point - this makes a big difference compared to places where you walk or drive to cross the border! On weekdays, a one way ferry ticket costs 120rmb (18usd) for an economy class ticket or 150 rmb (22.50) for round trip. I think weekends are a little less. The ferry is nothing fancy, but I think more comfortable than by bus or car. The terminal in Hong Kong is attached to a shopping mall and the metro system, so it's very convenient :-) The lower picture is a ferry on the way there in the rain. The upper picture was crossing the footbridge to enter the terminal to return to China and by then the weather had cleared up :-)
Life in China: A Picture a Day, 2016, January 7 - Today we went to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin. My favorite part was the temporary exhibit of Chinese Children’s Clothing. Because of the high mortality rate in the past, babies and young children wore highly decorated clothing, filled with items in nature that had/have symbolism for health and longevity and to ward off sickness and evil spirits. The clothing was all so beautifully made, but I’d like to share this one: I will quote part of the information that was accompanying the display: “Baijiayi, hundred households garment, is a baby garment sewn by putting together scraps of cloth contributed by many households. In the past, after a child was born, the baby’s family would announce the good news to their relatives and neighbors, and scraps of cloth would be collected from close relatives and good friends to be sewn into a ‘hundred households garment,’ so that the blessings from many households would be assembled to ensure the healthy growth of the child.”
Life in China: A Picture a Day, 2016, January 6 - So hard to pick just one picture from Hong Kong today! Tonight, we shopped the Ladies Market in Mongkok - this is a large outdoor market along a pedestrian street. This picture is from one of the intersecting side streets, always love all the neon lights! (For one night!)