Monday, October 15, 2007

Sailing in the rain

Like sails, all those umbrellas.
A light drizzle.
The winds are a little too light for the competition to take place.
This is just practice for the real thing,
that will take place in less than a year.

It's Qingdao.
China. Between Shanghai and Beijing.
On the coast.
Qingdao is going to host the sailing competitions at
the Olympic Games.

The city is surprisingly green and pleasant.
Wide avenues.
Nice looking suburbs.
Gigantic brand new flashy 5 star hotels.
The latest in office architecture.
And of course block after block of buildings with no apparent
architectural idea at all, other than big.

Shopping malls with real Prada, Gucci, Armani, Starbucks.

Stalls with copy watches and fake Louis Vuitton bags.
The latest Hollywood movies before they're officially released.

Private cars are modern.
Trucks are still the old pale blue.

No bicycles.
The claim is Qingdao was always too hilly.
Bicycles were never a practical way to get around.

The new downtown is flat. Still no bicycles.

On the other hand, they drive their cars as if they were bicycles.
Back and forth between the lanes. Left or right. Over-taking whenever.
It's rather nerve-racking for someone used to the relatively orderly traffic of the west.

Even Place Charles de Gaulle, Paris, with its Arc de Triomphe and it's crazy taxi drivers seems
an orderly and peaceful picnic in comparison.

We're in town to shoot some film footage.
Lucky it drizzles.
Would never have thought of bringing out all those umbrellas.
We're not here to film the boats anyway.

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