Another day and another walk around Chongqing. This time Caden and Lynne accompanied me and Lynne took the pictures.

Porter on a crowded street

Whenever we go out with Caden she gets put in the sling, which does several things. The first thing it does is save my back. The second thing the sling does is cover most of Caden, with a hat only her eyes are visible outside of the sling if she's awake, and she is completely hidden if she falls asleep. The reason you want to keep her hidden is to avoid the "clothing police". The "clothing police", as we call them, are well meaning older chinese women that will run up to you and cover any exposed part of a child and admonish you to keep them covered. The first time we went out Caden had the lower part of her legs exposed and three times on the walk we had ladies approach and pull her pant legs down further over her socks. The "clothing police" are only bested by the "thumb police". Caden sucks her thumb which is apparently a big no-no in China and complete strangers have no problem walking up to her and yanking her thumb from her mouth while admonishing us. Now you could try to explain that we just adopted her and that this is a particularly stressful time for her and we'll deal with the thumb sucking at a later date, but when you only speak english and they only speak Mandarin, well, you just keep the thumb hidden.

Caden in the sling.

Being so deep in China anybody who isn't non-Asian is a rare sight and Lynne and I are constantly stared at just for our looks alone, but the attention is much greater when were out with Caden. Lots of pleasant stares and smiles as we walk along, but if we stop, a crowd will gather. This has an interesting dynamic as many people try out their English on us and if one person 'makes contact', that is they say something we understand, they instantly get promoted to 'local translator' and everyone around them starts peppering them with questions to ask us. News that we are Americans and that we just adopted Caden is always greeted with huge smiles and great appreciation. Here I am getting slightly mobbed on the pedestrian mall.

A crowd gathers around me and Caden

These two girls were at first shy, but after asking about Caden and getting a couple pictures of themselves taken they started to ham it up.

Two children.

One of the strangest sights in both Beijing and Chongqing has been the sight of decidedly non-Asian mannequins. And it doesn't just end with the mannequins, a good portion of the advertising is populated with decidedly European looking models.

Mannequins

Did I mention that there's a lot of people here.

A crowd

One of the things I won't be able to get across, no matter how many pictures or videos I take, is the amazing contrasts that you can find in Chongqing. The brand new building in the front is built right up to, and includes a bit of a facade for, the aging apartment building behind it. Everywhere you see these contrasts and amazing changes. There is a high-rise across the street from the hotel that is under construction. In the uncompleted ground floor of the building people have already setup a noodle shop. From our hotel window I can count 17 cranes on 15 high-rises currently under construction.

Two buildings

Even in the midst of the all the construction and modernity there are reminders that this is an ancient land and culture. Less than half a block from our hotel is this drug-store which is six feet wide it is a single aisle twenty feet long.

Drug store

I hope you're all enjoying the photos. Once I get back to the US I need to learn some more about photography in general and digital photograpy in particular. For example, here is my current 'system' for handling digital photos.

  1. Load photo into Paint Shop Pro.
  2. Crop and resize.
  3. Press "One step photo fix..."
  4. If it doesn't look good then choose another photo.

Joe - it's been really interesting reading about your trip. I can totally relate to some of your "Lost in Translation" moments, as my wife is Chinese (I am not) and we occasionally visit Taiwan.

Congratulations on the adoption!

Posted by Craig Andera on 2004-01-08