Say Hello To The Neighbors
It was crazy warm hot here again today… 86 on my balcony this afternoon with a nice helping of humidity to boot. It’s weird. Two years ago Liuzhou had it’s coldest winter in 50 years. It won’t last of course, the forecast calls for temps to return to the 50’s by the weekend along with some rain, just in time for Chinese New Year.
I took advantage of the warm weather and went for a stroll around the neighborhood last night. I try to be overtly friendly when I’m out with the camera (especially at night) and it’s always a sure bet that someone is going to ask me to take a picture. This kid practically accosted me just outside the front door of my building. “Do me, do me, nice to meet you, do me!” I almost wet myself laughing, which in turn made his friends crack up as well. After I stopped crying, I took a few shots. He insisted on flashing the ubiquitous Asian peace sign so I got right in front of him to get his hand out of the frame.
Liuzhou Hairdoo – d
Chinese New Year, AKA The Spring Festival, officially begins on the 14th this year. The celebrating has already begun of course with fireworks and firecrackers and cherry bombs exploding all day until well after midnight. In fact, I’m being treated to some of the noisy celebration as I type this. About a week ago the fireworks dealers began setting up their stands all over the city. The “offical” stands are all housed in these identical red and blue tents. The workers will actually live in the tents to protect their wares. It’s not unusual to find two stands at opposite ends of the same block and they’ll sell everything they have and you’d better not wait until the 13th or you’ll be too late!
This is Mr. Huang. He has a small family restaurant near the bus station on Gu Bu Jie, which is about 500 feet from my house. I stop in fairly regularly and this guy has NEVER not been there. That’s his daughter Apple on the right and the two girls on the left are nieces. They do a pretty good job with the dumplings along with a hot sauce that never disappoints. You don’t need a reservation but if you tell Huang I sent you you might get an extra dumpling.
Each night, all across the neighborhood, guys will roll out these large mobile grills. You can pretty much get anything you can imagine, cooked and seasoned over a charcoal flame. I do mean anything. Those plastic water bottles under his right hand are full of different seasonings and spices.
I took this shot mostly because of the color. At first I was ticked when the kid on the bike rode into the shot but in the end found it more interesting with him there than just the billboard by itself. This is an advertisment for Liang Mian Zheng herbal toohpaste. 兩面針 is one of China’s most famous brands and is made right here in Liuzhou. I’ve been trying to get a state sanctioned visit approved. I thought it might be interesting to photograph the factory process.
So that’s the latest from South China. I, along with a few billion others, am gearing up for Chinese New Year. It should be a lot of fun and I am hoping to give those unfamiliar with the holiday some insight with a rather ambitious photo essay. I plan to shoot continuously for 24 hours beginning the morning of Chinese New Year’s Eve and though the early hours of New Year’s Day. Yep, 24 hours, no sleep, documenting Chinese New Year in Liuzhou. Xin nian hao! The Year of the Tiger – stay tuned.