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Henan Haiku IV

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Henan Haiku IV

Man approaching bus:

Sunken cheeked wild eye monkey

man. Approaching bus.

© E. C. Richardson

Henan Haiku II

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Henan Haiku II

Bumper to bumper,

Cardboard-crushing three-wheeled

China churns and thrills.

© E. C. Richardson

A Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Special

Say this city has ten million souls,

Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes…

— W.H. Auden

Some of the holes look less than live-able.

Some of the holes look less than live-able.

Auden may well have been describing Kaifeng with those words: a small city of some 10 million souls, east-central Henan Province, Yellow River country, P.R. C. One of seven ancient cities, once among the capitals of China, Kaifeng has its fair share of holes, of brokenness and poverty but also much of brightness and beauty. The provincial flower is the “ju gwaa” or Chrysanthemum, a flower native to Asia.

Up close and colourful with a Kaifeng chrysanthemum!

Up close and colourful with a Kaifeng chrysanthemum!

The annual Chrysanthemum Festival is one noticeable brightening of the yearly calendar. The streets are decked out with blooms of pink, yellow, purple and red. The businesses put out their potted specimens for display, and the city parks hold celebrations of floral cheer. There is much liveliness; less of the glum grey blocks and smoggy, sloping skies.

Jumbo the ju gwaa elephant presides over this garden.
Jumbo the ju gwaa elephant presides over this garden.
Chrysanthemum colour house.

Chrysanthemum colour house.

Weavers of the chrysanthemum structural framing at work.

Weavers of the chrysanthemum structural framing at work.

Back to the Future

Here’s to a sustained absence– a year’s ‘holiday’ in which much was explored

Continents crossed, countries traveled and toured and remembered.

(Some half forgotten, to make space, shall we say).

,A series of photos spanning space and time, not the full truth

Nor a lie; neither a complete record, a far cry.

Snapshots of people moving in a far-from perfect world–

The smog of China; a rough-shod  street in Rome–

But for all its imperfections, a perfect place of storm.

For all the impending doom, the threats of near disaster

There is still much of tranquility, beauty, repose.

Somewhere in South America, the deep-end of Patagonia

A wheel came unstuck; a back broke, the camera froze.

Back to bed, and back to the future–

I see slowly. The things once familiar, now new.

Signs of Sydney

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An offence: these inviting concrete stairs are not to be sat upon, as an official sign tells visitors to the Sydney Anzac Memorial.

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Blue on blue: the amp for a peaceful city?

Outside: The House of Opera

And here’s the Sydney Opera House where those white-sail walls are worth a look.

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Then there’s the harbour bridge…

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And the ferries…

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Sam-bro’s coffee cruise

Coffee overlooking the saltwater baths.

Newcastle or “Newy” in New South Wales is a comfortable three hour train journey from Sydney central. It’s an interesting mix of industrial enterprise interspersed with beaches, pelicans, cappucino and classy red motorbikes.

Passing pelicans. These patient locals wait for fish scraps at the marina.

Newcastle Beach: warm enough for a mid-winter swim.

My brother Sam lives there too. Here he is with his BMW bike.

Round town on the red machine!

Sam's house.

Sam’s house.

Cruising round between coffee shops is an enjoyable way to see the sights. This morning coffee club in the suburbs provides plenty of leafy trees, and a good gathering place. The kids are conveniently congregated  on a nearby trampoline.