Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Welcome to Wuhan

Wuhan, in Hubei Province, is quite a bit different from Shanghai. Although we're not located at the city center, what I've read about Wuhan indicates a more developed city than what I'm seeing. From where we're staying, the city looks very much in transition, as you can see from this view from my hotel room.

Here you can see a lot of very nice infrastructure laying fallow in favor of new skyscrapers. Many of the sidewalks on the main roads are made of intricately laid granite, and there's planters in all the medians, but they are already falling to pieces. It seems like there has been a heavy infusion of money for infrastructure, but no local economy to keep it in repair.

It is interesting to see all the new steel and glass office buildings going up right next to what appear to be working class habitats.

While writing this, I've discovered that the Wikipedia website is blocked. I can't even access the cached Google pages. Interesting...

Here is a photo of the sidewalk about a block away from our hotel. You can see the very nice granite stones. The stores on this street range from about 400 sq. ft. to about 100. Some of the clothing shops are only big enough for about two or three people to stand in.

Eric and I are the only westerners in the entire city of Wuhan, from what I can tell, and everywhere we walk the locals are trying their best not to stare. It is an effort that is appreciated by me, because I find it even more difficult act normal, and blend in, when everyone on the street is staring at me. I decided to walk with a pronounced swagger, to convey a deliberately grounded disposition. Actually, it's the same good-ol' boy body language that I learned growing up in West Virginia, to keep people from seeing me as pretentious. It seems to work here as well. If you appear like you're not too good to slouch a little, people seem to relax.

The city is centered at the confluence of two rivers, and there are several small bodies of water throughout the city, which are worked into the cityscape. We're here for five days, so I'm going to make an effort to find a more developed downtown area, to see if it is really anything like what the travelchinaguide.com website says.

4 comments:

diavolo1976 said...

Do you find yourself picking up local body language in an effort to make up for the language barrier? I feel like that might happen naturally.

-Damian

Digitizdat said...

Yes, I think I have assimilated some mannerisms. But they don't use their hands much when speaking, so it is more in terms of my speaking rhythm than my body language.

Mike said...

Ahh, come on… swagger or not, they still thought we were pretentious; still do in fact, for those of us who never really left. Glad to hear all is well. – Mike L.

martin's girl said...

Yes it looks more hig tech than what you've told me. And I agree w/ Mike L!

xoxo

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