Welcome to Fuxing Park

china, Poetry

The skies were blue
The trees were bare

French in part
Shanghai at heart

Even with the cool winter air
Warm hearts were there

Dance, play mahjong
Or take a stroll with mum

Welcome to Fuxing Park



A little practice poem inspired by this photo I took at Fuxing Park in Shanghai, China. This is a very famous park, it was originally designed by the French; being part of the French concession in Shanghai. It’s a popular spot to see people playing, dancing, exercising, or as seen here – out for a stroll with their mum.

I’m in Travel + Leisure Mag (June 17)

china

Good news!…

I’m in Travel + Leisure June 2017.

A couple of months ago one of their researchers contacted me about Shenzhen photos. Last year I spent a day in Shenzhen’s contemporary art centre; OCT Loft. I really love the ‘former industrial building’ becomes ‘contemporary art centre’ thing.

I think re-purposed industrial buildings hold a certain artistic commentary on life and hence provide an interesting contextual background to contemporary art.

I often enjoy art that makes surprising / interesting / thoughtful statements on life, a big part of which is work.

If you are into this kind of thing I also recommend Moganshan 50 in Shanghai. There is also Tate Modern in London, even if the art on display isn’t great, the former power station is a delight.

If you can find a copy of Travel + Leisure I recommend picking it up, the article on Shenzhen is fascinating, – I wish I had the author’s knowledge before I went.

This inspires me to research my destinations better in future, think like a journalist!

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It’s tough to be commercially successful with travel photography – I am so delighted to get into a major magazine!

It’s especially awesome to contribute photographs to an article that focuses on the development of creative and artistic culture in modern China.

OCT Loft (Shenzhen Contemporary Art)

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I went to OCT Loft in Shenzhen yesterday. It’s a contemporary art centre in a former industrial complex. The look and feel of OCT Loft reminded me of Moganshan 50 (M50) in Shanghai, I posted some pictures about my trip there last year.

I only had a little time so I didn’t go inside many places; but I am definitely going to go back, in the meantime I can share some pictures of the complex and exhibition hall A:

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China, Tai Chi and A Little Autumn Regret

china, london

I’ve done it! I’m so spontaneous (crazy?). In three days I converted an idea over a coffee into a shiny new Chinese visa and a new plan for the next month.

I’m a little surprised they are letting me back in. I went to China in 2014 and was obviously causing lot’s of trouble.

On my last trip I went to Yangshuo in Guilin to do some Tai Chi and Qi Gong Fu. I didn’t make much progress as it was a short stay; I also wanted to visit Shanghai.

I don’t know why, but I always feel nervous about applying for a Chinese visa and entering china. Despite my nerves my experience in China was quite positive. Not scary at all.

I think the nerves come from spending almost a year in Russia; which is not exactly happy happy la la la land.

I was browsing around the web a few days ago and I noticed there is a good Tai Chi teacher in Shenzhen who speaks English. I remember last time in Yangshuo most of us foreigners couldn’t really understand the Tai Chi teacher, he spoke English, but he would go into rambling stories in a strong local accent.

So I’m off to Shenzhen to have another go at Tai Chi.

I’m quite often tired and my digestion sucks which can put me in a little bit of a low mood. I think it stems from years and years of office work, electronic screens and not the best diet. In recent years I have improved my condition quite a lot through better diet, yoga and meditation. But when I’m travelling I can get fatigued quite easily which really throws a spanner in the works of being able to see lot’s of sights and experience local culture to the fullest extent. The blog is great at showing the beautiful days out, but doesn’t highlight the long lies and coffee shop days!

So my plan is to invest at least a few weeks in Tai Chi to see if I can get a bit of a reset on my system, balance out an increase my energy.

Let’s get into the ‘China’ mindset by taking a quick look at a few of my 2014 pics!

Yangshuo:

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Moganshan 50 Shanghai (M50)

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I had a dream-like three weeks in shanghai earlier this year. I want to introduce you to m50; the contemperary art district.

Shanghai itself is a bit of an enigma, it’s China of course; but also very much it’s own place. The history is fascinating and provides background perspective on the modern day relationship between east and west. Shanghai also has it’s own dialect and other Chinese people may consider the Shanghainese as overly proud.

m50 sign

m50 entrance

It’s a city of old and new, a city of hope, and also a city of hope lost. There is division of rich and poor that reminded me of my time in Russia years before. In big Chinese cities there is a context of rich people becoming super rich on massive growth vs. poor people arriving in the cities with nothing but hope. But there is a sense that anything can happen, although perhaps only to the lucky or entreprenuerial few.

When I was there I stayed in a traditional lilong / longdang apartment for two weeks and a more modern apartment in the french concession for one week. I like to avoid hotels or restaurants with other foreigners and stay local and eat local.

When I was in Shanghai I read the excellent five star billionaire by tash aw; which further lost me in the feeling of the city. I can’t recommend enough reading novels set in a place you are visiting.

There is so much to say about Shanghai, but I want to talk about Moganshan 50 in this post. It’s abbrievated as m50 and is the site of a former mill that is now a contemperary art district. It was perhaps my favourite place to visit.

m50 chains

The mill has been converted into a lot of individual galleries (over a hundred?). The art varies from traditional oil paintings to fairly ‘out there’ stuff. In addition to the galleries there are working art studios; you can see some artists at work. Unfortunately I couldn’t photograph any of the art itself.

m50 door

m50 pipe

When I was there I really wanted to buy some artwork; I had my eye on a few peices, but I just couldn’t afford it.

One of the best things about m50 is the aged industrial architecture, which I always thinks goes so well with art; particularly contemporary. This is why I like Tate Modern in London, the turbine hall is breathtaking; even if a lot of the art misses the mark to my taste.

m50 girls

m50 posters

There is also an excellent cafe at m50 – with wonton in soup to die for, not the main cafe at the entrance, just nearby at the side. It’s also an art bookstore.

m50 allioth

m50 gallery and people

If you visit Shanghai please be sure to go and have a look around m50.