There was a huge rain storm in New England while I was in China. This is the Ipswich River by the EBSCO Publishing mill building. I took these pictures a couple of days after the river crested. At the high water mark, the water was at the bottom of the bridge in the last photo. It had dropped a good 18 inches.
I was walking by the docks and saw a couple of male Common Eiders sauntering in. This is a bit unusual because the tend to shy away from people. But sometimes you get lucky and if you are in an area where they are used to see fishermen working on the docks, they may come in. This time I got lucky.
I have a soft spot for Yixing (pronounced ee-shing) teapots. I'm not a big tea drinker, but sometimes I like to have green tea while I'm blogging. I bought our first pots several years ago, so the concept was not a new one for me, but I've always bought them sight unseen on-line.
YiXing teapot, also known as Zisha (Purple Sand), first originated in China and is made from clay produced in the town of YiXing, located northwest of Shanghai in the province of Jiangsu.
Yixing teaware is prized because the unglazed surfaces absorb traces of the tea which enhances the brew and therefore a teapot should be dedicated to a single type of tea consumed.
The colors form naturally from the clay and come in purple, yellow, green and red. The forms of Yixing teapots include antique styles, modern motifs of nature, animals, geometric figures, Chinese Zodiac and Buddhist forms.
I was hoping to find a pot to bring home for Becky as a gift. I was pleasantly surprised to find many shops carried Yixing pots. This shop was in the old Shanghai district. Yes, I had to haggle. The price I wound up paying was competitive to what I would have paid on-line. But it was a good experience and this was the first time that I got to see the pot before I bought it.
Becky's new pot
This shop carried some mid level pots and some finer pots. Since I made my purchase before looking at other shops, I was nervous that I could have found a better pot for my money. As the trip went on I leaned that I got a good pot and could have done a lot worse. My haggling skills may have been better, but I did as well as I would have on-line (and then there would have been shipping) and my dealer made a profit. So it was win-win.
Here is a video presentation of a master potter making an Yixing teapot.
My buddy Mike arrived a day before I did and had Hot Pot. For three days, he was just jonesing for Hot Pot. Finally, we got him his fix. Through this door was a great dining experience.
First we had a look at the menu. What is "Wild Wuji bacteria pot???" Actually, it is a mis-translation. My local colleague said the characters said something like Wild Black Chicken. I ordered the mushroom broth. The idea is that you order the base broth which comes in your own boiling pot. Then you order meats, fish and vegetables to boil in the soup. YUM!
We'll let our local team order the stuff.
The next step is to get your condiments. My colleague from India knows what he's doing!
Here is what I started with. Cilantro and green onion. A spice blend and a chile mixture.
Oh yeah, thinly sliced lamb, pork and beef. There were also absolutely wonderful vegetable greens which I have no clue what they were, but they were oh so good.
What is this? Flounder? You dare serve a Gloucesterman fish? Let me tell you, this fish was absolutely spectacular. They filleted flounder and placed the head and tail in the ice and thinly sliced the fillet. Fifteen seconds in the boiling soup and then I was in Heaven.
Then they brough out another fresh water fish. Same presentation.
The food kept coming and coming. Vegtables, prawns, mushrooms, pork balls...
This is how my generation was brought up to perceive the Chinese. And let this be a lesson to you, where this may look like stern, authoritarian security figure getting a person to move along, in reality, this security guard and shopper were having a cordial conversation.
I put together a collection of people shots which is a departure from my normal photographic activities. I love taking candid photos and with the little spare time that I had, I wanted to capture some of the faces of Shanghai.
On our Saturday sight-seeing day, we took walk along the Huangpu River near the Financial District. This area used to be the home of shipyards and this anchor commemorates that heritage. Since it was the only monument along that section of walk, many people gravitated to it just to get their photo taken with some landmark, much like our Man at the Wheel statue. I could not resist snapping a few pictures of this young girl as she posed for her parents.
At one of our dinners out, we had a fruit plate delivered to the table for desert. Our waitress was pleased to be asked to pose with the fruit plate. I just could not resist the colors and form with the fresh face. During the trip, I was able to try many new foods, including the fruit, if you take a close look, the white fruit with the pink rind. It was much like watermelon, but not as sweet. It was very watery and refreshing.
This is a shot of the man that officially invited me to China. When you travel to China on business, you need a business visa. To get a business visa, you must be invited by a business in China, expressing who, what, where, when and why. Here he is getting our group lined up for a photo. His is fluent in Mandarin, German and English. (Okay you Americans, how many languages do you speak?)
This is just a random shot of a street vendor.
On the last morning of my stay after the business emails were handled and before catching the taxi to the airport I had a little walk around time. I thought I had better because I had a 14 hour flight to Newark, NJ and another hop to Boston. Yes, it would be a long day.
This is one of the last photos I took in Shanghai. While walking about I heard children's music coming from a school yard. I had reach over a six foot hedge to get this shot of preschool children exercising.
I could have worked with these kids for hours but I only took two shots. After all, I was a stranger in a strange land. Imagine me trying to explain Shooting My Universe to someone wondering who was hanging about a schoolyard snapping pictures of children? But look at these kids! They are too cool.
This is how we usually think of Gulls. Noisy, boisterous creatures.
Perhaps if you get them in the right light, you can see something else.
The tip of the day is to take time with you subject. Even a Herring Gull can be an interesting subject. If you have a bird that is willing to sit still for you, take advantage of it. I say it over and over that I see thousands of gulls. I could have just passed this one as just another common, trite subject. But by looking over the background, playing with the settings on the camera and taking the time to watch, you can get a shot that nobody has seen before.
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