Monthly Archives: September 2012

The 'leader', when I blew my cover.

China Shanghai Tea Festival

There is something going on in Shanghai… everyone wants to invite you for tea… they are really so friendly… or not…?!

Learn more about it in this special audio feature. Duration 7’16.

Yuyuan Garden

China Living Spam!

Le touriste, l’occidental est constamment sollicité dans les rues commerçantes de Shanghai. Montres, sacs, chaussures et bien plus encore… Ces petites personnes chinoises qui vous collent pour vous proposer leur camelotte avec insistance est un véritable harcelement. Je les ai appelé les Spam vivants !

C’est absolument fascinant cette capacité qu’ont les chinois à ne pas se lasser, et à subir tout et n’importe quoi dans une indéfectible indifférence… des vrais machines! Cette pratique en est un bon exemple.

Je vous propose une petite expérience sonore, certes un peu longues (5 minutes), mais c’est dans la longueur que ca devient comique. Je me suis amusé à faire durer, avec une large référence aux Monty Pythons, bien sûr…!

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China Shanghai Street Art

Street art is rare in Shanghai. The Chinese are probably too strict and the police is watching closely. Only one long wall bears graffiti, and it’s in this place that was developed an art centre… well, then Chinese way… so the result resembles more like an Art Gallery Mall than a creative place for art. It’s called M50, because it’s located at 50 Moganshan Road.

The wall was threatened to be taken down two years ago because of a construction project, but it’s still there, for the moment. Behind this wall lays a wasteland, and beyond that, as you can see on the pictures, loom very high apartment blocks. From the density of those housings you can tell the property prices are very high, and days are certainly numbered for this wall.

Singing in central Park, Urumqi, China

China Ah… the sound of China!

When visiting Urumqi, I walked in the central park: People’s Park.

Well it really is People’s Park… mid afternoon, on a sunny Tuesday, lots of people were hanging out, playing Mah-jong, chatting, playing music, or just spitting around… despite the important mix of both Uigurts (the local central Asian ethnics) and Hans (the real Chinese), the park was predominantly crowded with ‘Chinese’.

By a pond, in the shade of a temple-like guinguette a band was playing and singing typical music (the one you can hear in a Chinese restaurant for instance) to the ears of indifferent passers-by and bystanders alike… A woman, a spectator, took part and was slowly waving her arms and body to the gently rhythm of the annoyingly saturated sound…

The scene was worse a bit of sound recording and a picture for the memory… I knew I was in China!

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China Steel and Tin Workers in the Streets of Urumqi

The soundtrack could have been composed by Bjork, but it’s authentic!

In the streets of Urumqi, Uighurts workers make furniture, tools, ovens with steel and tin. They perform their art right outside in the street. I found the show spectacular, and stopped to admire, and record. Play the attached sound above, and watch the slideshow!

 

Yak!

China Mal Bazaar, the animal market in Kashgar

Lots of animals, many people. Sounds, smells all mingling in the heat and the dust.
Sellers show their stock, byers inspect, both haggle. There’s always a group of people forming around the negotiation, they all take part, and wait for the best moment to place their offer.
In the sound recording below, you can hear such a group haggling for a mule. The mule has also its word to say…!

Going to Irkenshtam, enjoying a friendly conversation in Russian, and a nice beer

Kyrgyzstan From Bishkek to Kashgar, an Epic Journey to Get Into China

After finishing editing the Labrys interview and sending the file to my friends at Homolab, I was at last ready to leave Bishkek. On top of the first week when I entered Kyrgyzstan, I had just spent another two weeks in the capital. Enough! I’d had a good time and was happy with the work I’d done, but a fortnight at the Sakura guest house, I had enough! Besides, the nights were getting cold and the days shorter. It was as if the changing weather was urging me to move on. Continue reading