Adventures in Shenyang, a frozen vista and walking the street

Shenyangweather12_02_15EDITIt’s freezing cold in Shenyang. Daily temperatures are down to single figures and that’s during the day! At night apparently it gets colder. Thankfully, the people who administer the building that my wife’s parents live decided that there’s enough money in the heating fund to actually send some heat through the tower block. (Later on in the month they did actually reduce the heat flow from less than toasty to absolutely meager flows of warmth).  Having arrived directly after the initial Lunar new year’s celebrations, I managed to miss the first salvo of fireworks. Not to worry, there was a second (closing) firing of fireworks 15 days later. I have to say that having seen it kick off for the third or fourth time, It wasn’t their most colourfull or noisy effort. Still, not bad for something that’s not formally organized. Some years they actually prohibit the use of fireworks because of pollution which hangs low in the cold, still air. I can attest to this. Fun does have it’s price.

In the 30 days I stayed in Shenyang (30 days is the maximum allowable length for a visa for China) we went shopping, but mainly went to a massager that lives across town. I have to say that she was quite good at loosening up my shoulder. But in waiting for my wife to finish, I’d hang out at the local Starbucks order a  hot chocolate and very slowly drink it. I have to say that it was delicious topped off with mock cream with the heavier, chocolatety fraction condensing at the bottom. Drinking the last third was like having a dessert course within a dessert course. The dark chocolate was a silky, made almost syrupy by the cooled milk already in the cup. Another thing that was good about Starbucks was the free wi-fi.  Made possible with my Toshiba Thrive, I blended in well with the rest of the patrons, as they were also surfing hard on their laptops or smartphones.

Traverse this.

Something I never ever do in Korea or indeed anywhere else is jaywalk across a road. For me this is no small matter, and in veritably I’m the first person across since I don’t just walk, I jog or sprint. I’m just shit-scared of getting hit by a car. It’s the mindset of the person behind the wheel that is just deadset on driving, and not even pedestrians, will stop that. I once saw a woman driver veer towards some fellow ‘froggers’ waiting along the middle of the road. I can’t think of any reason than they (the froggers) might be known to the driver, or, she was on some sort of power trip. The fellow pedestrians glanced at her go by. Maybe they were as surprised as I was.

But aside from going out for massages, there wasn’t a lot for me to do. Once I went out to take photographs. It was Shenyang’s finest weather that it had to offer, the sky was a powder blue with a pale sun hung halfway in the sky. A walk around the neighbourhood that surrounded the tower block apartments that my wife’s parents lived in yielded some photographs.  Passing through residential areas, and the nearby shops that support the also nearby monastery, I snapped photographs, cursing my laziness for not packing my zoom lens. I’ve been known to say, “just get closer”.  I cursed again as the reason for the super zoom lens was the prevention of shyness, on the part of both parties.  Having said that, I do think that I got at least one photograph that made the walk worth the effort.

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