I have loved Hong Kong since the first time I set foot here during the Chinese lunar new year in the winter of 1988. I’m here for five days this time and still loving it. Kowloon is the very tip of the Chinese mainland, as seen in this view from Hong Kong island. Kowloon or 九龍 (Jiulong in Mandarin) means nine dragons.
The old imperial college (guozijian / 国子监) and Beijing’s Confucius temple are along this gorgeous tree-lined street. The site of occasional horn-honking traffic jams, the street is nonetheless reasonably peaceful most of the time. I had peace, quiet, and a truly beautiful, blue-sky Beijing day for my visit. The banner – almost impossible to translate into anything but stilted English – says something like “the sacred locale of the national academy, bringing virtue to the entire world”.
Personally, being surrounded by a crowd of hungry pigeons is not my idea of a good time. But there were several people, this couple included, who had bought bags of seeds and were feeding big gatherings of pigeons. This small but rather elegant park in the southwest corner of Chiang Mai’s Old City is called Nong Bauk Hard Park. The place has a bit of the feel of the Public Garden in Boston.
The four red characters in the yellow sign at the upper right mean, roughly, “reasonably prosperous life” or perhaps “moderately prosperous life”. Guaranteeing all Chinese a reasonably prosperous life is one of the Communist Party’s stated goals and the expression “小康生活” (xiaokang shenghuo) appears regularly in the Chinese media and Party publications. In any case, I think the expression nicely frames the Beijing street scene going on below the sign.