Today is China's National Day, and also 30 years to the day plus one, since I arrived in China for the first time. It was a beautiful sunny morning when I hopped off the Trans-Siberian Train in Beijing 12 days after leaving Oslo. And just like that, China became my life.
That day, Tiananmen Square was festooned with pictures of Lenin, Mao, Marx and Stalin. Now only the teachers' rooms at state schools sport the visages of these luminaries, plus Deng Xiaoping of course. But Mao is on all the nominations of the Renminbi (The People's Currency) and his photo is used to ward off bad luck in taxis.
That year, very few people had even a landline in their house. Then they jumped straight to iPhones without even going via pagers.
That year, owning a bicycle was still something of a status symbol. Now everyone has a car.
I'm sure the average person in China is much better off now than on October 1st, 1988; economically at least. But me, I miss the days without cars, without high-rises and without constant coughing. It's selfish, I know. Maybe I just miss my youth with constant excitement and adventure. Anyway, I'll just celebrate this quite momentous day with some of my photos from China.
Ah-On contemplating the intense cold of Guiyang, Christmas Day 2013. That was the week after which I never smoked again.
Jiayuguan Fort, Gansu provimce, at sunset, August 2008.
Geezers playing traditional Chinese music on saxophone and electric guitar - and erhu. With artwork above them featuring drunk scribbles by an avant-garde art group. Yeung Gong, Guangdong province
Coal workers taking a rest.
Phoenix Town in Hunan.
Uncle enjoying his daily visit to the main park in Seun Dak, Guangdong Province
Aunties getting ready for yam cha, Sei Wui, Guangdong province
Abandoned house, Guangdong province
Monastery and Tibetan town, Xiahe, Gansu province
Ellen in Guangdong province
Curious but a little worried ("why is your hair yellow?") Xinjiang province
Grapevines near Urumqi, Xinjiang province
Sigh. I miss China. But only the China of YORE. Not the China of Social Credit (google it. Unless you live in China of course - they can't access Google. or Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp...).