Falstaff wrote:Alberta is certainly getting the glossy, "made for Westerners" tour. Don't mistake the tip of the iceberg for the whole thing.
Well, in fairness, a few hundred photos of anything in China is only the tip of the iceberg, and while I admit that this particular post was only lights-flashing pretty stuff, it's possibly useful to keep in mind...
One: I've wandered any place I in China wanted to...and I've chosen where to go, every single minute of every day. At least so far, I've never been stopped or turned away. In every city I've been in, I've wandered at least 7 hours a day with no fixed itinerary (sometimes 10 or more hours, just on my feet, walking, camera in hand, turning left or right based on nothing more than my whims and curiosity.
It's not like Soviet-era Russia where I'm constantly accompanied by an Intourist government "guide/handler". I've walked all by myself, essentially always, while I'm here unless it's been one of the very few times I've spent actively with friends or at the SGWG facility. Solo time (not including sleeping etc) has accounted for roughly 80% of my stay.
Two: This is not an arranged tour, except for the Tianjin/Sea-Gull facility visit. I picked the cities, and I picked the hotels, and although I have friends here, as I said, I travel alone, including between cities. Well, by myself; lots of Chinese folks are travelling around China all the time, so they ride with me ;-). I can't afford a personal limousine.
Three: No one who has read my all reports (including about Beijing's hutongs or Shijiazhuang's back-alley market areas, for two examples) can reasonably accuse me of just hanging out in the glossy tourist areas. And I'm not finished yet with my posts. Just as I had photos of the rural areas between Shijiazhuang and Cangyanshan, I have similar photos of the rural areas between Shijiazhuang and Tianjin, and I'll be posting those too.
Four: North American or European or Central American slums are every bit as much the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to those places, as well. So???
And even in my pretty photos of Tianjin, or my photos of everywhere else I've been, in both upper or lower scale neighbourhoods...did you notice that all
the folks around me are Chinese? They're not odd Chinese, Falstaff, they're normal
Would you (and/or Slowpo) prefer it, perhaps, if I photographed some panhandlers or drunks on the street, or a tenement or two? After all, I can very easily find slums and abject poverty in most countries (every country?) of the world, including Canada and you know it, or ought to
. And I can do it just as easily in China, that's true.
But why should I feed those shallow stereotypes; they seem firm enough already without my help.