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copyright 1998, james waldron design,  
all rights reserved

Stories and images 
by Jim Waldron
I didn't really visit China. Instead I visited Beijing. Although technically in China, I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of the country is not like this place. Beijing was actually just a rest stop before beginning my Trans-Mongolian Railway trip. So rather than exploring the rural villages and trying to dive into Chinese culture, I hung around a hostel, went to some tourist destinations, and ate a lot of Western fast-food while reading overpriced English language periodicals. 


Tales of Tianamen
Learning to love 
spies in the crowd


Some favorites
ChBeijing_FCreddoorLR.jpg 1.2KChBeijing_TianFlagGlowLR.jpg 1.3KChBeijing_TianThePeopleLR.jpg 1.5KChBeijing_TianMaoAngleLR.jpg 1.3KChBeijing_PeTouristsLR.jpg 1.1K
ChBeijing_FCbikendoorLR.jpg 1.4KChBeijing_TianMaoSoldierLR.jpg 1.4KChBeijing_squareLR.jpg 1.0KChBeijing_PeStreetBiketrafficLR.jpg 1.6KChBeijing_FCeaves4LR.jpg 1.5K
See them all at once
Look at thumbnails of all the photographs from this country. 
Each picture was made with the Agfa ePhoto 1280 digital camera. 

Beijing, Forbidden City
It's big, it's confusing, it's exceptionally old, and it's perhaps the largest tourist destination in all of China. The Forbidden City lies at the heart of Beijing and was the home of royalty until royalty was overthrown and outlawed a few hundred years ago. However it's a very interesting place to photograph, especially if you like the color red. 

Tourists - resting with their leader 
firstsquare - your entry view of the forbidden city 
square - inside the Forbidden City 
architecture - rooftops in classice chinese style 
bikendoor - workers bike framed in ornate doorway 
clothesline - workers clothes hanging to dry 
eaves1 - bits of rooftop eaves 
housing - the simple houses for staff 
posts - abstract of columns 
reddoor - red door with polished knob 
tunnel - following the tourists 
wastebasket - old arch with new trashbasket 
workbike - the way workers get around the city 

Beijing, Summer Palace
Where royalty spent their vacation time, and a welcome respite to the rest of Beijing's grey concrete. 

Boats - ornate dragon boats please the tourists 
Bridge - lots of arches on this stone bridge 
Tower - gotta make the highest tower at the summer residence 

Beijing, Tianamen Square
This is the place I spent most of my Beijing stay exploring. It's a facinating place, especially for someone like myself wh does not really understand it's historical and political importance. It is a great place to see tens of thousands of Chinese people spending their time talking, gawking, courting, and playing. I also enjoyed the novelty of being one of the tallest people amongst the hoardes. During three visits I estimate I was asked to join ninety or so family portraits at the Square. Simply standing in one place usually drew a crowd of curious people, and each time I went someone adopted me and spent an hour or so asking me in broken english about life around the world. It was my most enjoyable time in the city. 

Read the Story Tales of Tianamen

MyGang - I was a celebrity on the square, here's my entourage 
ThePeople1 - the kind of crowd I drew 
Shoegirl - big shoes and small stockings 
Girls - three of the folks who made a portrait with me 
MaoGate - Mao portrait with rooftop 
Gate - Mao and the tourists at night 
MaoSoldier - illegal to photograph soldiers, this one just about caught me 
MaoSoldierBack - soldiers everywhere 
MaoAngle - I'm not sure this is the officially recognized angle to photograph 
MaoTigerAngle - Tiger and Mao 
MaoTigerStraight - Tiger and mao normal again 
Selfport - me and Mao 
ImperialGate - flags and rootop 
kite  - mammoth kite. Every night there were hundreds of kite flyers at the square 
abstract - sunlight screams against red flag 
FlagGlow - sunlight screams against red flag 

Beijing, Around Town
Beijing is a very large city, nearly 20 kilometers across. That does not make it a very walkable place, my usual mode of transportation upon arriving at a new destination. There are 12 million people in Beijing, and the city is a center of new construction, smoke-spewing vehicles and bicycles. 

Traffic - crowded on the street 
StreetBiketraffic - who goes first  in the bike melee 
Loadedbike - how much is too much? 
PeExercise - one of thousands of exercisers every day 
Meditation - hundreds of groups meet every morning to meditate in the park 
square - Heavenly Temple walkway 
StreetConstructioncranes - downtown construction everywhere 
StreetConstructionSolo - thousands of workers are rebuilding the city core 
stairs - stairs at the new mall downtown 
BrandKFC - my second choice for everyday food 
BrandMcdonalds - my first 
BrandMcMap - thirty-eight and counting 
BrandUncleChen - branding knockoffs in china, Uncle Chen's 
cadaverface - a former dissident? 
cadaverneck - see the skeleton? 
Depression - my view of my room which I stayed in for three days 

Great Wall of China, Simitar
When United States President Richard M. Nixon made his groundbreaking visit to China in the early 1970's he commented upon visiting the Great Wall this way, "It truly is a great wall." I begrudgingly agree. Over four hours spent trapsing up a kilometer-long segment made me wonder about such a huge fear of invasion existing, that a culture could expend the amount of money, blood, sweat and intense human suffering the wall represents. Maybe I was just pissed off that it was a cloudy day and my photographs largely sucked. 

lengthview - hazy day fiew across the mountains 
stairview - simitar has only been partially renovated 
archview - the way up the stairs. 

See the other places
new zealand 
trans-mongolian railway 
united states
© (1998) James Waldron Design -- Waldron@interport.net