Current Works in Progress

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More photowalk highlights from Dongyang (东阳)

This post continues from where I left off in this post the other day. As I mentioned there, I went on a photowalk (photoride/photosit/photodrinking coffee) in this tiny little flyspeck village of a million people where I live, and I took some pictures of things that interested me. I share some of them in the hopes that they will also interest you.

To save bandwidth for those on mobile devices or who use readers and don't want to wait for pictures to load (or who don't want to see them at all) I'll include a break in this post. Click through to see some Dongyang pictures with some sarcastic commentary from yours truly. I'll try not to be too snarky this time.

Here we have a fine example of the sorts of things the girls in Dongyang are wearing this season. This is actually among the more appropriate of the ensembles you can see on any given day here in the 'yang. I've worked in Chinese kindergartens for the past several years and I never get tired of new foreign teachers mistaking the teachers (and the majority of the moms) for prostitutes. While it might seem like common sense that a butt-cheek exposing micro-mini, thigh-high leather boots with a 6" heel and a tube top might be inappropriate attire for teaching 4-year-old children, Chinese women don't let little things like reality interfere with their fashion plans.

I snapped this picture from the hip, because I thought it would be interesting to have a picture of a pretty, young girl sitting on a motorcycle while wearing lingerie. Just in case there is confusion, both girls are sales staff at the clothing shop behind them and they are dressed for work.

I'm glad I stuck around for a bit, because then this happened...

After both young ladies got on the motorcycle, the girl in the front decided to take it for a spin. This is the part where the guy who owns the bike realised she didn't know how to steer or control the throttle. I'm not sure if he was more worried about the girls or the bike, but I've never seen a man move that fast in my life.

Also, I still can't figure out how you'd wear flip-flops with nylons. That can't be comfortable.

Remember in that last photowalk post I mentioned that many people here go outside to do things that we crazy westerners would consider indoor activities? Well here's a perfect example of what I mean.

This young lady is washing her hair in a sink. The sink is attached to the display window of a maternity wear store on one of the main streets in the downtown shopping district. I watched for four or five minutes and although 50 or 60 people walked by, not one of them even took notice of a girl washing her hair on a busy public sidewalk. Had I gone up to her and asked, "Why are you washing your hair here?" she'd likely have answered, "Because it's dirty." Vive la difference. (The real reason is that if she washes her hair at the store, the store has to pay for the water. If she washes her hair at home she has to pay for the water.)

Speaking of paying, in Dongyang, the most you'll ever pay for a taxi is about 20 yuan (and that's if you have to go all the way across town). That's about $3 USD for easy reference. This is expensive enough (in a city that boasts two Maseratis and a baker's dozen of Porches) that there is a thriving market for these guys:

rickshaw drivers. For the equivalent of about $1 they'll take you pretty much anywhere you need to go. Be prepared to bargain though, because the further away from Dongyang you grew up the more they try to charge you, and you come from really far away. Also, be prepared to not get wherever you are going on time. These guys are in no hurry, and who can blame them?

I get a kick out of this photo. I like how the mom is pretending she hasn't noticed me pointing a camera at them (I wasn't trying to be sneaky at all with this one) while her daughter is staring me right in the lens. If she seems annoyed, it probably has more to do with the four hours of homework she does every day than with the weird foreigner taking pictures.

So there you go, another peek into the day to day in Dongyang. Do you have a favorite? Is there anything you always wanted to know about China but didn't have anyone to ask? Let me know down below.


  1. Love your pictures and commentary. It would be great to travel around China with you someday. I think you'd be a perfect guide. But for now I'm off to Turkey. See you in three weeks.

    1. Have a great trip, Stephen. Just remember that if you make a date in Constantinople she'll be waiting in Istanbul. (I've been waiting *years* to use that in a real conversation!)


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