Sharing some images from the trip I had to one of the most amazing places in Sichuan, China: Yarchen Gar (Yaqing Si) buddhist monastery. The view of the monk shanty town (female monks living within the “island”, male monks – outside)  enclosed by meandering river is simply surreal. Too bad the authorities are “developing” the place and tearing it down…

Plus some photos from near Tagong.

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Wrzucam kilka obrazków z jednego z najbardziej niesamowitych miejsc, które można odwiedzić w regionie Siczuan: klasztor i świątynia Yarchen Gar (Yaqing Si). Widok wyspy szczelnie zabudowanej mnisimi chatkami z byle czego robi spore wrażenie. Z perspektywy turysty – trochę szkoda, że władze próbują “udoskonalić” mnisie miasteczko, głównie poprzez wyburzanie jego części…

Plus kilka zdjęć z okolic Tagong.

Inside tulou

One of Fujian’s highlights are the tulous – the impressive earth and wood clan buildings dating centuries ago. Here are some photos of that wonder… And right after that – a video bringing you the very unknown art of cork painting/carving practised in the capital city of Fujian – Fuzhou.

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Jedną z większych atrakcji prowincji Fujian stanowią tulou – ogromne budynki o konstrukcji ziemno-drewnianej, pobudowane przed stuleciami. Poniżej zamieszczam zdjęcia tych cudów architektury… A zaraz potem – filmik o niezbyt znanej sztuce rzeźbienia w korku, praktykowanej w stolicy prowincji – Fuzhou.

Monkeys in the park

I had this idea to go to Korea by sea. After doing the math I chose Lianyungang in Jiangsu province as my port of departure (you can find the full list of ferry connections here: http://byferryfrom2japan.com/en/korea-china NOTE: the schedules are prone to changes, be prepared for all sorts of surprises).

After a night on sociable and talkative train I reached Lianyungang railway station. From here I took a couple of buses (1h30 in total) to get to the ferryboat ticket office/terminal (located away from the town itself; and far from the port, too). Surprise: today’s boat’s engine is broken, no trip today. But there is another ferry leaving tomorrow noon.

No problem at all. While waiting I will check one of the biggest local tourist attractions: Huaguoshan Park, where Sun Wukong, the Monkey King from the novel “Journey to the West”, found a cave hidden behind a water curtain and spent some fun time there (inside the cave there…

A short stay in the capital city of Xinjiang province. Though long enough to discover an intriguing lodging option – „Da He” – a big public bath house, where for the price of 39 yuan (+ getting naked in front of other bathers) you can bathe as much as you want, eat, play video games, ping-pong, get a massage (you have to pay extra), and sleep on one of the many couches.

I also checked out a couple of parks and the picturesque Uighur ghetto with its bazaars, dining places, guys pulling snakes out of their suitcases and with strong Chinese military presence, especially after dark.

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Krótki przystanek w stolicy Xinjiangu. Podczas pobytu zdążyłem jednak odkryć dość oryginalną opcję noclegową, a mianowicie „Da He” czyli wielki kompleks łaźniowy, w którym za cenę 39 yuanów (i obnażenia się przed setką zdziwionych Chińczyków) można do woli się kąpać, a po kąpieli najeść się, pograć w gry wideo,…

It so happened that I paid a short visit here. Located in northern China, Shanxi province, Datong shows you what modern China is about. Imagine a medium sized city („medium” as understood in China) where the whole central part is under construction – excavators cranes and other machines work day and night in front of the windows of citizens who never complain. And the goal of it all is not constructing new skyscrapers – that would be too obvious. They’re making all the mess to destroy the dwelling boroughs and replace them with new „old town” with its „ancient” city walls. The size of the project and its absurdity is quite shocking. But I guess somebody (who doesn’t really care about historical authenticity) calculated that this will pay off and will draw hordes of tourists with loads of money.

One Polish tourist went to the most famous and authentic (I hope) historical site, a UNESCO World Heritage spot…

Furniture factory video:

This time – a short video footage from a couple of furniture factories located not that far away from Shanghai that I was lucky to visit. During those 2 days I saw a full spectrum from modern clean production halls to dirty, messy places that fit the stereotype image of Thirld World factories. I also witnessed the process of actual furniture production almost from A to Z and that is truly a visually stunning thing to see.

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Tym razem zamieszczam krótki materiał video z kilku fabryk mebli z bliższego i dalszego sąsiedztwa Szanghaju, które – tak się złożyło – dane było mi odwiedzić. W ciągu 2 dni zaliczyłem pełny przekrój jakościowy – od nowoczesnych i czystych hal produkcyjnych po brudne, zabałaganione, niedoświetlone i w pełni odpowiadające stereotypowi fabryki w kraju Trzeciego Świata. Miałem też okazję obejrzeć niemal od A do Z, proces powstawania mebli, którego kolejne etapy bywają wizualnie fascynujące…

A popular getaway destination for all Shanghaiese who are tired with the bustle of a big city. One hour by train, Suzhou is … yet another big city, though a lot smaller than Shanghai and more relaxed. It is famouns for its parks and gardens, during my trip, however, I focused on the „snack street” – Shang Tang.

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Popularne miejsce, do którego uciekają mieszkańcy Szanghaju, zmęczeni zgiełkiem wielkiego miasta. Oddalone o godzinę jazdy pociągiem, Suzhou to … również wielkie miasto, ale zdecydowanie mniejsze od Szanghaju i nieco mniej hałaśliwe. Słynie z wielości parków i ogrodów, jednak podczas mojej krótkiej wizyty skupiłem się na „ulicy przekąskowej” czyli położonej przy kanale malowniczej Shang Tang.

Back to China / Powrót do Chin

I’m leaving the place where the time has frozen (in a way), at least for local Chinese who are still cultivating old traditions, and head for modern amnesiac China, where they sometimes try to refresh their memories by going on a trip to places like Penang.

Just a stopover in Singapore (one of the most entertaining airports I have ever seen – better go through the security check as quickly as possible and use all those – mostly free of charge – benefits that the airport offers: video games, cinema room, gym…) and I’m already shaking the humid and cold hand of Shanghai. Luckily I’m bringing a backpack full of warm memories of my trip through Thailand (and through that little tasty bit of Malaysia)…

Z miejsca, w którym czas w pewnym sensie się zatrzymał, przynajmniej dla Chińczyków, którzy wciąż kultywują dawne tradycje, wracam do Chin współczesnych,…

As promised – a micro report from Shanghai Biennial. Short and to the point – check the photos to know more.

But before we kick it off with the Biennial – a short note about a nice vernissage I was lucky to experience. On November the 30th a grand opening (and closing – don’t ask me why, it’s the Museum’s bosses who made the decision) of Ailadi Cortelletti’s drawings took place. In case if you are wondering who Ailadi is – she is a very talented young Italian illustrator. The exhibition was a success, initial doubts that this could become a kind of “foreigners for foreigners” thing dissolved after the place was raided by crowds (200 people) of Chinese guys and gals – which proves that Shanghai’s youth are interested in cultural life (and that the propaganda strategy chosen by museum and by the curator – Paulina Salas Ruiz of Kankan media – http://kankanmedia.org ).

Ailadi showed her project consisting…

This is something you cannot miss if you are in the least bit interested in a(A)rt. The newly created Power Station of Art (that looks a little bit like oversized Tate Modern) has brought artists from all around the world, letting them use its huge spaces. What is the outcome? For me personally – painful legs after marching the whole day. But one day is definitely not enough to see it all. By the way: you should book your tickets online – that’s the theory but in real life you just give your best white face smile and enter with no fuss.

And what you get to see inside is a bit of gigantomania (Huang Yongping, “Thousand Hands Kuanyin”; a little too direct a reference to Duchamp), lots of installations marked with “Don’t touch” warning (those that have no such tag can be touched when the security guards are not looking; if you ask them whether…