In case you are not aware (as I was not, until recently) in China a whole assortment of websites etc are inaccessible ... FB, Google, Twitter ... I couldn't even log in to admin my own website ... or to my member contributor area of the NatGeo website.
The VPN I tried to install worked just great on my phone, but somehow it and Windows 8 were having disagreements ... BUT - here we are, we're finally up and running :)
So let's try and catch up, because the last you really heard from me was that I was on my way here ...
I am currently based in Huangdao, Qingdao, Shandong Province ... hang on, let me pop that map back in here so that you have some sort of point of reference :)
The river is a crazy little tidal thing ... when the tide is out there are small pools of water only ... the moored fishing boats look stranded ... but there is certainly a whole lot of fishing and activity going on.
The last two mornings I was up bright and early at sunrise ... but haven't quite yet managed to be at the beach before sunrise (try again tomorrow) to see what I can see at the beach ... but if you pop on over to the newly stocked China Gallery (use menu above or button below) you will see what I'm talking about :)
So far I've only photographed fishermen and a clam collecting lady ... but I've discovered that there are a whole lot of people very keen on their morning and afternoon exercise. So I've passed many a jogger, folk doing jazzercise in the afternoon, someone practicing his Tai Chi (at least, in my limited understanding, I presume that was his discipline), a few people who shout into the great universe (I assume that is some sort of tension releasing or something, I'll have to find out, 'cause a number of people do it ...), and this morning I saw a gentleman wielding his sword, gleaming in the early morning light ... but by the time I got close enough he had completed his routine and was packing up to head off into his day.
Communication is a little bit of an issue ... I unfortunately speak no Chinese (Mandarin or any other) and the locals ... well ... have very limited English language skill. So even things like understanding food on the breakfast menu is a bit of an adventure! :) But hey - an adventure is what I was up for, so I'm getting one ;) So far I've only learned how to say "thank you" and how to greet ... the greeting has a variety of meanings, anything from a simple hi, to how are you ... the dictionary had about two pages of English interpretation to what sounds like only two words to me ...
Most folk are very friendly ... though some are not quite as ready with a smile ... I've had a variety of reactions, from being stared at quite unashamedly when I walk past, as though I'm some strange creature that's fallen out of the sky, to friendly smiles and greetings (I only figured out later that I was being greeted ;) lol) all the way through to being photographed!! lol ... I guess as much as I am finding my surroundings strange and fascinating, so some people here would also find me strange and (well, I don't know about fascinating) but fascinating enough to stare at or photograph ;)
... but I'm not the only one photographing local activity ... have a look :)
Enjoy! ... and I'll be posting soon again.