I went to West Lake in Hangzhou, China in May and saw so many colorful flowers and people. Walk with me by the lake, on paths across stone bridges, through parks, temples, pavilions, and historic buildings with statues. West Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province. For 2000 years it has been the source of inspiration for poets, artists, photographers, and even filmmakers. My students told me the romantic story of the immortal White Snake who became a woman and fell in love with a mortal man. The turtle god of the lake was jealous, so he imprisoned her under a pagoda. However, the man still loved the White Snake Woman, and they were eventually reunited and had a son. This story has been made into television series and films. Emperors from many Chinese Dynasties visited West Lake and inscribed its famous “Ten Scenes” with poetic names like “Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds,” “Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon, and “Orioles Singing in the Willows.” As far back as the 14th Century, Europeans visited West Lake, including Italian explorer Marco Polo, who wrote that Hangzhou “is the most splendid heavenly city in the world.” Spring and romance are here in China!
China has some amazing modern architecture in over-the-top hotels such as this one near Shanghai. Traditional flowers blend with modern angles and chandeliers. If you come to China, take some time to explore such places on a rainy afternoon. If you like my posts, please check out my books.
China always surprises me. I find the most unexpected things in the country where I’ve been teaching English for the past 9 months. My life often feels surreal, like I’ve wondered into another universe. When I was walking by the Songhua River in Jilin Province (northeast), I spotted these giant fake flowers that were left over from the Dragon Festival. They were near the entrance to the dragon boats. See more photos and enjoy the serendipity of China with me.
This year, Valentine’s Day in China was on the same day as the Lantern Festival which marks the last day of Lunar New Year’s celebrations, so everywhere there were fireworks, red lanterns, and big bouquets of flowers. Read more about how the Chinese celebrated on Digital Journal. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Even if there was no romance in your life, perhaps you experienced true love! See how I did in my newest book, Fire and Ice.
Notice the customers in the back of this dress shop, watching me take a photo
Sometimes we take photos of objects close to us and don’t even notice things (or people) in the background. Here in Turkey, I am shy about taking photos of strangers because they may object. But they can show up in unexpected places in the background!
The florist, almost hidden in the back of his shop, also watches me
My Turkish husband stands next to me as I take a photo of this Istanbul glass gallery
A woman sits beside the glass walls of Marina Cafe in Izmit, Kocaeli
Hello, everyone! Happy New Year. After a period of holiday blues because I could not go home for Christmas to visit my two teenagers in California whom I haven’t seen in over two years, I’m back to my Blog. I’m still in Turkey, looking for a new teaching job near Istanbul or somewhere in the world.
Sadly, my job at Akdeniz (Mediterranean) University in Antalya didn’t work out because they couldn’t get my contract as promised, so I came back to Kocaeli. I didn’t spend all my time during Christmas sulking, however. I wrote news articles and photo essays for the online newspaper, Digital Journal. Here is one of my favorites, “Places in Turkey”:
For my first post of 2013, I decided to post images of lights behind glass in places I found around Kocaeli, Turkey. These photos were taken at twilight or evening. I hope you enjoy them. I am resolved to see my two children soon in this new year, and I hope you experience great moments, too! Oh, and please do check out my 5 books on Amazon. Your support could help me go home to see my children this year.
My daughter Jessica, 19, took this photo in our old California home’s side yard. Her fingernails match the color of the flower on the bush. Yard Photography! Part of her Random Photos Collection. What do you think?