I know, it's fish.
I know, it's fish. But after the frustration of trying to describe the last picture, I'm fairly confident I can recreate in words the day that I saw the fish.
It was in another garden in Nanjing. The pond dominated the area I was in. On one side of the bridge across the water was a stone and wood boat, one with beautiful carvings making up the interior. And on the other side, completely oblivious to the beauty of this boat, was a small child. He was holding popcorn in his hand, and with gleeful giggles was feeding it to these huge gold fish.
I can still remember the big mouths on this fish, each one opening and closing as they swarmed up to the surface of the water. They were all huge, fat, long gold fish, obviously spoiled by years of small children feeding them popcorn and bread. All of them many colours of gold and white and black, and each of them eager to get more popcorn, eager to get more attention. A few of them followed me when I walked away, swimming along the edge of the bridge until they realized I didn't have any popcorn, and they hurried back to the giggling child.
I like those sorts of images, of spoiled and pampered gold fish in carefully maintained ponds. The idea of a leisurely class of people, who had the time and the inclination to create gardens and sheltered places like this, appeals to me. It's an image I like to keep in my mind, the one I like to talk about when I talk about China.
But then it does give the wrong impression in a lot of ways, gives this idea that China is full of these idlyic little places. But I still have difficulty talking about the poverty that so many people live in there. That the people I worked with walked past without a moment's thought or glance, and the disdain that some of them showed for people living in poverty. Occasionally I still have dreams about children begging on the streets, and even now, when I walk past buskers in Edmonton, it haunts me the different levels of what is poverty in different areas of the world.
Sometimes it's so hard to think of what to write about. I don't think people come to see my pictures wanting a realistic view of China. I think they want what I want to give them - fun stories of my adventures, fun travel things that happened. But sometimes I just can't create that.