Sky over Beijing

It is very easy to breathe in the post-Olimpic Beijing, no matter what. It is easier than two years ago. The authorities have overcome sand storms by way of making a forest shelter belt. The trees have been taken from southern regions of the country. In addition, the authorities have closed hazardous industries and prohibited many automobilists and companies from using vehicles. In Beijing there are more than three million automobiles. The Government’s anti-smoking action has also been succesful: now one can seldom see a smoking person in the center of the city but there are many signs reminding of the adverse health effects of tobacco smoke. And there is no twenty-four-hour smog in the city. It appears only towards evenings. The wind blows it away in nights, and in the mornings one can admire the blue sky which is usually depicted in every possible guide-book.

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Glitchy San Francisco

At first I did not like San Francisco, and then I liked it very much. By means of such a simple language I want to say that San Francisco is a far from ordinary place. It arouses mixed feelings and there is no doubt that it is really interesting. In the foreseeable future I will definitely return to “Sanfran” as Russian immigrants call it.

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Hong Kong: Suburbs

There are no cars here, on Lamma Island which is near Hong Kong. As soon as you have sailed up to Lamma Island you can walk up the hills and view the outskirts. Mainly, the view is traders and barges that can be seen in the distance. The island has an area of 13.55 km2 and is 7 km in length, the height of the island is 353 m. Only about six thousand people live there.

The post is continued with photos and comments .

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Hong Kong: People

An Asian businessman at the Kowloon Waterfront Promenade.
There live more than 7 million people in cramped Hong Kong. They get born, hurry to their scheduled affairs, laugh, cry and die. Today I am going to post photos of some people living in this striking city.

“Pirates” on board of a sailing vessel “Aqua Luna”.

In spite of a great number of people in every place of Hong Kong, for some reason, the city seemed to me “uninhabited”. May be, that was why I got photos of individuals and not pictures of omnipresent and constantly hurrying crowd consisting of dark-haired units of a new communist-and-capitalist world.

Appreciate the color-and-type decision in the stand signs of an underground passage in Hong Kong metro.

A night guard next to a laundry in the center of Kowloon.

An Indian paterfamilias in 3D-glasses in the amusement park.

A tired tourist at the Kowloon Waterfront Promenade next to the Avenue of Stars. In the Avenue there, I found out that Mark Dakaskos had “girl’s”palms, and as for Jackie Chan, we were “palm twins”.

A man staring into the distance. You see it yourselves, though.

A man sleeping under the sign “”Crossing the Victoria Harbour” with Star Ferry is one of the fifty places of a life time”. That what they wrote in “National Geographic Traveler”.

A group of builders busy with the renewing of a decrepit high-rise building in bamboo scaffolding.

A nice Chinese girl with the Diana lomo camera which was no less nice than the girl.

Children rejoicing at soap bubbles in Hong Kong Disneyland. I showed pictures from there but it was long ago.

At the same place, in Disneyland, a boy is enjoying with rather primitive “races” created after the cartoon “Cars”.

An inhabitant of the Lamma island which I wrote about yesterday. As you can read on the sign in the background, the land is a property of the state and one can neither dig nor even just go there. 

An elderly Chinese man at the waterfront is showing the other bank of the Victoria harbor to a child.

Hong Kong: City

For a few days of my stay in Hong Kong I kept roaming about the streets of that super city and could not help but strike dumb. During long Easter holidays I’ve sorted out my archive files and processed a few dozens of Hong Kong photos. For convenience, I will divide them into three posts which will be entitled as “city”, “people” and “suburb”.

The central part of Hong Kong reminds an anthill made of glass and concrete. High-rise buildings in new districts grow like mushrooms. In China, people like adjectives in the superlative, for example, a building is the highest and the tunnel is the deepest and the longest. That love for the superlatives is deeply rooted in the tradition of Great China.

Those, who have been to such megalopolises as New York or Tokyo, must be familiar with the feeling of reverence for human engineering achievements. One is seized with awe when, throwing back one’s head until the jugular vertebrae crunch, he or she tries to figure out how many floors there can be in this or that building. The tempo of life certainly depends on the city size and on the population density. In Hong Kong, everybody is in a rush exactly like in detective stories of Darya Dontsova (“I rushed to the police station”, “I’ve done my shopping in a rush” or “I rushed to work”).

For a long time Gaulung (Kowloon) have been considered one of the most densely populated area of the world. The population density here is about 40 000 people per km2. I counted one day that if the population of that district is to be arranged on plane there would be a man every five meters. There would be no room to move. Regarding the size of the megalopolis, Hong Kong is fifth in the rank nowadays (graph).

The post is continued with photos of Hong Kong city labyrinth. All the photos are clickable.

Balconies and windows are hanged with air-conditioners. Nothing saves people from heat and dampness but air-conditioning only.

The height of the International Commerce Centre 2 is 417 meters.

Traditionally: where there is the rich there is the poor.

In the distance, one can discern a small fragment of a green hill hidden from view by the buildings and the smog.

My favourite picture of the series. This is how the Asian city jungle looks like. The piece of live greenery is lost among the reinforced concrete constructions. This is a city for those who are organized, active and accelerated. No doubt that it can be considered one of the centers of our civilization: you can find here all things that are the newest, the most beautiful, the most technical, as well as the dirtiest and the poorest.

Next time I will show Hong Kong suburbs (it will be Lamma Island) which strongly differ from the cement boxes of the city.

Don’t miss the post with photos of Chinese twin city Shenzhen which is just “across the road” from Hong Kong, on the Canton side.

Keep abreast with the updates, or “stay tuned” as Sergei Dolya says, there will be two more posts of the series.

Getty Images Editors’ Choice

Today I would like to share with my humble subscribers my photographs selected by Getty Images editors to be sold under Royalty Free license. Please feel free to purchase any of these at Getty Images photo stock website.

A City by the Sea, 2005

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Shanghai is a real City: it engulfs and amazes from all directions. With building size, Victorian architecture and the countering cosmic forms of the business center across the street. In Shanghai, which translates as “on-above the sea,” there are, according to different estimates, 16 to 20 million people, the density is, on average, is over 2000 per square kilometer. Managers in extremely expensive suits, vendors of fakes, freaks and beggars who ask for charity all bustle back and forth, above the crowd tower fat American tourists. In the center, where several streets are closed to drivers, people mostly speak English, unlike in China. To sit in an Internet cafe, you must show your passport, they are afraid of the white threat, yep. Only two blocks away from a magnificent flower park with mirror buildings across the street, ground rhinoceros horns and deer hooves are sold from a rag that is spread out on the roadway, and the vendor rather aggressively suggests walking past with photo cameras. This is China: the country of contrasts.

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