China Photography travel

People of China

First off, I need to get on my soap box for a moment.

We utilize Trip Advisor a lot when planning our trips and Karen contributes a lot of reviews on places we have been. One of the funny things about reading a lot of the reviews about China is the indignation when people find that most people do not speak English, even at major hotels. What we found funny about it is the pompous self importance of people complaining about it. In our travels in China we found that English speaking tourists probably accounted for less than 1/10 of 1% of the tourists we saw. Why would they feel the need to speak English? By far the greatest number of tourists here are Chinese, from China. Next was Europeans and Indians. The workers we met tried at least a bit to help us when it became obvious we were idiots and didn’t speak their language, but truly, it was an us problem not a them problem. Ok, all done now. On with the people.

As we did our tour in China and then spent 10 days house sitting one thing became abundantly obvious. People are just human no matter where in the world you go. I had come to this realization a few years ago, but being in China really hammered it home for me again. I think a big reason for this is that China, as a nation, is different from most places we have been. Whether it is the politics, the shear number of people, or their culture, they are different from what we are used to. But at an individual level, they are the same.

Street Cleaner
Whether it is working for the local authority keeping the streets spotless, which they do a fantastic job of.
Setting his Nets
Or working for themselves putting food on the table. Most people just want friends, family, and some security. Which come in many forms.
Muslim Street Chef
Its is always interesting watching street vendors preparing food for sale. This fellow on Muslim Street in Xi’an had a good audience for his work.
Preparing Food for Sale
I loved this image of this lady putting together meals to go in banana leaves at a little street stand in Zhujiajiao.
Shopping Time
It is hard to comprehend the density of people in China until you see it. The thing I truly appreciated is how well the locals cope with it. They are exceptional at just rolling with it. Whether on big busy streets or small side streets.
Silk Duvet Construction
Even when we attended the tourist traps and were given the demonstrations of silk making or jade carving the workers did their best to communicate with us. Mainly with smiles. By the way, the silk making was actually very cool. Almost made me wish we had a bed to buy a silk duvet for.
Keeping the Three Gorges Clean
One of the other impressions of China, for us, was the cleanliness. Of course it helps when you have a workforce that allows you to have a street sweeper on nearly every block of every city. They do a hell of of a job though.
Getting the Mopping Done
This lady using what was available to get her cleaning done was an example of what I loved about the peoples thinking to just get the job done.
A Game of Cards by the Canal
Of course you didn’t have to look far to find a group of men, or ladies, gathered around enjoying a game of mahjong or cards.
Instagram Photoshoot
This was a great example of the Chinese millennials doing their version of an Instagram photo shoot.
Water Delivery
But most people you saw were making a living. Like this fellow doing a water delivery on the Yangtze River. Interestingly, all the homes along the Yangtze have power, but none have supplied water. The residents either have a well or bring it in by bottle. Or use the water from the Yangtze itself.
Laundry Day
And speaking of using the river. As we completed our river cruise it must have been laundry day in Chongqing. There were hundreds of people along the rivers edge doing laundry.
Lake Swimming
While we are on a bit of a water theme I’ll include this. While in Beijing we were walking through a part of Old Beijing around Qianhai Lake where there appeared to be a swim club for older men and they were working their way back and forth the lake all afternoon. Despite  an abundance of signs stating no swimming.
Tree Pruner
As well by the lake we watched some fine arborist work. No need for ladders or harnesses, just get up there and get it done.


Chinese Temple
Being a communist country, there are no lack of Buddhist and Taoist temples to be found. Without an exception, every one we visited had worshippers doing their thing.

Without a doubt one of the biggest benefits of travel is being reminded that people are more alike, than different. Whether one is a Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Atheist, we all just want to have a place to live safely, with a roof over our heads and food to eat.


Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

4 comments on “People of China

  1. This is a fabulous post Peter and Karen. I do love how your final paragraph hits home the truth of the world.

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