Thursday, September 23, 2010

{My Neighborhood} Daily Doings

If you visit this space very much, you may begin to feel I do nothing but walk around all day, dragging you along with me. And to be honest, much of it is true. I think my daughter feels this way as well. But here in China, in the neighborhood I live in, walking is a very big part of my day. We live in a city after all, and much of what we need is quite close, too close to warrant a taxi ride or even a hop on the bus. There are many places that do require transportation, but most of the small things, the daily things-- like the stops at the market, the grocery store, the coffee shop, the park, the boardwalk, the beach-- are all at a distance even little (nearly) two year old legs can handle. 

So today you can come with me once again. Let me show you some of the doings in my neighborhood.
First stop, the fruit and vegetable market. Our friend Lotus is the same woman I spoke about that so generously supplies little Scout here with grapes each and every time we stop in. She was also cooking up some hot peanut soup on a little stool by the doorway, which she quickly scooped into a little plastic bag and handed us for a treat on the way home.

hard at work...
We walk up and down this brick sidewalk countless times per day it seems. And as monotonous as it may seem to me, I know these water porters must tire of it even more than I, they who have to maneuver their motorbikes rigged in every which way with what seems to me as an unsafe number of bottles, and then scurry them up to whichever apartment is waiting for them. We love these guys; they bring water rain or shine, cold or sweltering heat, from morning until night every day of the week.

Some of the friendliest, and it often appears to me, unmotivated workers in China are the street and sidewalk sweepers. They do their work faithfully, with these straw brooms that you often see leaning against tree posts, old carts, or resting beside a dozing body. 

at play...
Today it was in the central courtyard, but on any given day it might be on a street corner, or outside a row of shops, or gathered around small makeshift tables and stools in a park where men will gather, sometimes dozens, to play a rowdy game of Xiangqi, or Chinese Chess. It is usually accompanied by lots of cigarette smoke, loud slapping of chess pieces, exclamations and grunts, and much advice from fellow bystanders.

coffee stop...
One place we frequent nearly as often as the grocery store is this little hole in the wall coffee roasting shop. 

Most people don't think of coffee when they think of China, and this man worked for years all over the world, watching how other countries drank and savored their coffee before finally opening up his own store right here in our city. Coffee drinking in China is on the rise and I am doing all I can to keep our friend here in business, hoping others are joining the cause as well. We love his cozy little shop with its bean roaster tucked in the back room, burlap bags hanging on the wall and a fresh cup made just for you while you wait.

No matter where you live or what you wish your neighborhood was like, I hope you can look at it afresh today and appreciate the things about it that weave their way into your life, your days, and become in a sense a part of who you (and your neighbors) are.

This post is a part of The View From Here's weekly photo challenge. You can hop on over there and join in every week for a new theme. 

1 comment:

  1. Your photos are so good, Christine, I am impressed again and again. The last time I was in Lotus' shop I noticed the light is really nice in there. You captured it well. Plus I love how you got right in on top of the checkers game. Love the shot of the guy smoking and thinking about his next move. Lastly, please take me to your coffee shop for a cup. I don't know where it is!