Thursday, November 27, 2008

China November 2008

Yin & yang

Beijing is fairly cold , especially when the wind blows.

But sightseeing is OK in the bright sunshine.
There were some foreigners but it is mainly Chinese that are wandering around Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City. Among the impressive buildings are some pictures and text about the last emperor which made this observer wonder how the locals perceived that part of their history.

Food is everywhere and very good value though perhaps dumplings for breakfast might not suit everyone. It's interesting that a survey mentioned in Peking Daily said that the Chinese eat around 20% more than Westerners but are about 20% slimmer.

From Beijing I took the fast train to Ji'nan.

It's necessary to buy your ticket in advance, a process that can take a while.

But the train is fearsomely efficient.

In Ji'nan amongst the hectic streets there is a harmony to be had in the gardens and springs (its known as the 'city of springs')

The main city square is where the locals do their exercises and the roller skaters are out practising. Memorable and very amusing is seeing the very young kids, all decked out in their helmets, knee guards etc being chased by the older instructor as they try to circle the skating area whilst falling over and bumping into each other.

Kites are flown and people wander around in the bright sunny weather.
A scene that evokes the enjoyment of simpler pleasures.
And the families, usually just the one child, stroll around the springs area or the lake. One group want a photo with this correspondent.

The very young children don't have nappies - just a gap in their clothes.

In a day or so looking around Ji'nan I do not see one other European except in the hotels.

A smile and a nod is recommended and sometimes a halting conversation as a local endeavours to try out their English.

A draw enough.

Shandong Luneng 0 Guangzhou Pharmaceutical 0

The final games of the Chinese Super League season were played on a Sunday afternoon. Here in Ji'nan Shandong, leaders by two points, in the end just needed a draw to clinch their second title.

The game was close to a sell out , of around 40,000, with large queues outside sometime before kick off and plenty sitting in the aisles around me.

As would be expected the home side took the initiative though they only really upped the pace in the second half. Most of the time Guangzhou slowed the game down, played on the break, and wasted time at every opportunity. But they had the best chances - all missed badly.

Shandong did play some good football but lacked any cutting edge near goal. Though it didn't matter in this encounter they will surely struggle against teams with decent strikers.

The crowd celebrated as the players enjoyed their success by parading around the pitch.

So maybe a lot more shirts and scarves will be sold as few fans, bar a smallish groups of 'ultras', wore any colours.

more pics at

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