Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes…
— W.H. Auden
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.
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.
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.
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.
My brother Sam lives there too. Here he is with his BMW bike.
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.