Where’s My Leica?

My “new” Leica M2. It is dinged, engraved, and seen better days. But at the end of the day, it is still smooth and works like a dream.
So, after much drooling and sitting on the fence, I finally have a Leica. It was purchased from Harry’s Pro Shop, hand checked by Fred Lum, Shipped to my mother for safe keeping and finally hand delivered to me in China by my big sis.

Speaking of which, Danielle and Brian are in China. They arrived on Thursday and I surprised them in Shanghai on Saturday. It was SO nice to see family. I never realized how much I would miss family and friends. I mean, Toronto was far away and everything, but at least I made many good friends there. Here in China it isn’t so easy. In linping, there is a total for about 10 foreigners, I think I have met 5 of them and really have not too much in common with any of them.

So While in Shanghai, D&B and I ate like kings. We toured around. We took pictures. We got offered bags, watches, shoes, children’s underpants and hookers. WAIT, WHAT? you say.


One street pusher offered up children’s underpants immediately followed by hookers. I am blaming it all on Danielle’s tattoo. Never have I seen so much attention paid to ink. You see, most girls here don’t have tattoos. Those that do usually have a very small tattoo that is usually nearly hidden. As most of you know, Danielle and a GIANT full arm tattoo.

Soon they will be in Linping to hang out with me for five days. I am guessing more beer, food and fun times. I can’t wait…

Death Camp Of Intolerance

You know the drill. You are hungry. You don’t want to spoil your appetite for that big lobster bisque that you have planned for supper. What do you do? Well if you are in China, you reach for a tasty box of Pocky Sticks is the newest taste sensation flavor of Mango, or if sweet just isn’t on the menu, you grab Caribbean Captain Roasted Eel Fillet.

“I want taste” and “Wild from deep sea, loaded with DHA”

So I learned a new phrase today. Wo neng bang ni mah. It means “Can I help you?” I asked a friend how to say this after getting rather fed up with people staring at me last night. Now I know that I am a little out of place here. Many people have never seen a real live Caucasian before. I am quite comfortable with the quick glance or the double take with a smile. Heck, even the constant “Hello”.

All of that I am good with. It is the long, intolerant, “my-mother-never- taught-me- how-not-to-be-rude” show-down stare that I dislike. I usually just shrug it off and keep eating my Zhong Zi or Bao Zi, but last night – after six months of it – I hit my breaking point. It came after a local girl, who was desperately trying to stand out with her bleached and dyed neon orange hair and 1985 punk clothing, stopped walking and stared for a good 30 seconds. I just stared right back thinking of how rebel she was for not conforming. (Sarcasm intended – even though I was like that at age 15 as well)

That was when I texted Emily. Like a champ, she came through. She always does. Maybe I’ll get her to teach me some more useful street phrases. Nothing makes a local try to pull their foot out of their mouth like a crazy Laowai (Foreigner) actually using the local language.

One final image of my main mode of transportation. While dodging crazy drivers and wild pedestrians, I managed to snap this photo of me riding home on my sweet ride.

Great Days

I just had the greatest day. I decided to head to Hangzhou this morning to get a cup of coffee. “But Vance, that is 45 minutes away!” you are probably thinking. Well, yes, it is. But when you need a cup of coffee and Mc Donalds just isn’t going to cut it, that is what you do.

So I head in to HZ. Hit up a Starbucks and hang out at the lake for a couple hours. Just doing nothing. Sitting, tanning, and not getting hassled. (It was rather quiet at the lake today) As an aside, Starbucks has the most killer location. Right next to the Ferrari dealership, on the lake side, near the Rolex and Omega store. If you want to feel rich, hang out here.

After that I went to the Foreign Language bookstore. In complete surprise, they had not one, but two issues of National Geographic. So I now have July and August to read.

As a final stop, I hit up the camera super-mall to pick up the rest of the supplies I needed to develop my film. I am now ready to shoot film in China. Shibby.

Linping – A city divided

This is what I see many mornings, afternoons and nights. My neighbors like the fireworks… Just so you get a scale of how close this is to me, I shot this with a 16mm lens on a 30D. They are literally one building away.

There are things here that continue to amaze me. Linping is a small city. When I say small, I mean area, there is no shortage of people. The thing that really makes me think is when I talk to people that have never been downtown. This is a factory town. As such, many employees live in the provided dorm apartments. Markets and small stores are everywhere so they have no NEED to leave their little comfort zone of the factory.

When I go downtown, 90% of the time I do not buy anything or have any reason to go there. I just go to explore. I have the need to see places that I have never been to. I have been like this as long as I can remember. Back on Adelaide Street, I would venture to the Exhibition and wander in the horse stables. Later when we moved to Clark Cr, I ventured past 8th street and found Doug’s Spoke N Sport. I came to China because I have never lived out of Canada, why take baby steps when my legs are long?

I guess the point of this post is just to let people know that the world is a big place, explore it. Even if it is your own city. Go to that market in the ethnic part of town. Check out the industrial area. Just got out of your apartment complex.

Lan, If you happen to read this, fire me off an e-mail.

From a bag that I purchased

I was cleaning my apartment in preparation for Danielle and Brian’s arrival. While cleaning out a drawer I found a tag that was on a bag that I purchased a while back. Here is a word for word of the tag…

Boss Mien Leather Series. Is to be design by the famous master. Adopt the upscale material. Through done with meticulous care, strict examination but become.use if discover the quality problem. Please contact the local dealer. Welcome to put forward the precious opinion.

Leather Maintain Explain

  • *discreet rain and exquisite torrid, taboo sour and alkaline matter contact
  • *periodical use the leather protection to wipe lightly, to keep the skin to have shinning and enduring
  • *usually put on the metals accessories with the dry cloth, make it shinning, in order to prevent the change countenance
  • *the pore and the skin on the leather attribute abiogenetic, don’t belong to the main scope.

Typhoon Alley

Typhoons cause some pretty cool looking clouds. These were taken out my window while I was kicking back and relaxing one warm and humid afternoon. Not too much PS work. Just enough to make the files look like the clouds did in real life.

Taj and I were out at a local gin joint tonight for a cold refreshing beverage. Just the general expat talk. Taj then points over my shoulder and starts laughing. There was a local police officer slamming one of three beers back with a very pretty lady. He was wearing full uniform. In Canada, he would be fired in a heart beat. Here, no one batted an eye.

My mother was complaining about my lack of updates. This one is dedicated to her. I am not dead, and not in jail. Surviving. Day to day.