“I’ve always wanted to go there,” my aunt told me with a big smile: “I’ve seen it in many historical dramas; this watertown makes a really lovely backdrop. The buildings are packed together and neatly arranged along a small river, and the blend of nature and traditional wood structures feels like a Chinese watercolor painting come alive.” I smiled and stared into my flight ticket. With anticipation, I slowly rubbed my thumb on the destination box of my boarding pass as the plane took off.
Oh, The Bund of Shanghai, the scenic backdrop of many car chases, gang fights, and passionate kisses from movies made in China and abroad. I finally got a chance to visit it.
Many people often say that when you actually visit a famous place, it won’t be all you imagined it to be, and it won’t look like the one portrayed in manipulated photos or glorified and edited videos. While I’m sure there’s some truth to that, I think a lot of what you see depends on your attitude. Just like in these blog entries, I only display photos that portray my impression of a place, that align with a story I’m trying to tell. Photographers and videographers edit their own impressions or even imaginations into their photos and videos. Those pieces are finished artwork.
I woke up earlier than worms did on 2016/01/08 to catch a flight to Shanghai. Thankfully, to shake off my drowsiness, we had noodles from supposedly one of the best places in Changsha. This family restaurant wastes no time to prepare for the early birds, which is probably why the broth and beef in the bowl were cooked to perfection. At least according to my hungry stomach at 6:30AM. It was still pitch dark and icy cold outside the foggy streets in Changsha.
When I think of Changsha, my hometown, tasty and spicy food tops the list of things to long for. Pozijie, or Pozi St. (坡子街), a street known for its thriving shopping district, gourmet traditional restaurants, and cultural events, has been an icon of Xiang culture in the Hunan region since 2002. Why only 2002, you may ask? The actual Pozijie, carrying at least 1,200 years of documented history, was destroyed in a fire named The Great Wenxi Fire in 1938, which burned down 90% of the buildings in the city, making Changsha one of the most heavily damaged cities in WWII, alongside Stalingrad, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. The government decided to rejuvenate the district in 2002, in an effort to preserve and promote the Xiang culture.
A while ago, my roommate and I stumbled upon an article by Derek Low called “Across the USA by Train for Just $213“. Strangely, of all the travel posts we’ve seen, this one in particular stroke a chord with me. Perhaps it’s the seemingly affordable cost, or the romance of sightseeing on trains. It feels as if a switch to empty a stagnant reservoir of wanderlust is triggered, I suddenly look forward to my upcoming trip to China more so than ever.
You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want. – Ging Freecs
I dedicate this blog to the journeys I will embark on.