Images from northern China
Spring 2002
Here are a few low resolution images from April 2002--the first of three trips I made to Northern China in 2002. Many of these images are taken just outside of Harbin in surrounding villages and farms.

Harbin, by the way, is a huge city of about 5 million. The greater Harbin area is reported to have about 7 million residents. There are about 38 million people in Heilongjiang, of which about 25 million farm on some 9 million hectares of land. That's about one-third ha per person or about 3 to 4 acres per family of four. Farm families live in villages near their farm land. Villages are dotted across the countryside about every two or three km in every direction.
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Virtually every building (except high rises) in this part of China is made out of red brick. Brick factories literally dot the countryside and you can see several each day while traveling. 
Open-air markets are everywhere, everyday, any weather-at least in summer.  People buy their daily needs--daily. 
The lady (below) at this stall in a small village was selling some rather exotic fruits--most from the "South." 
The elderly lady at the stall was pleased to have her picture taken. 
This man has a knife-sharpening business. He was set up outside of a small village cafe and was sharpening cleavers for the restaurant when we arrived.  The meal today included "Three Fresh" a delicious mix of green peppers, eggplant and potatoes cooked in soya oil and soy sauce. The green dish is leek seedlings with slivered pork and garlic. 
Harbin can be full of color. The lanterns on the left were on display outside of an office-factory building. The street scene is in a new district of Harbin. This is a main restaurant street in this part of the city. Yes (although blurred) that is a horse cart on the left side of the street. 
At about 5:30 AM (or earlier) owners of song birds come to a park (boulevard) near the hotel I stay at. All the birds were the same type and have wonderful melodic voices. 
And this is why it is called "steamed rice." It IS steamed. This family was cooking their evening meal in  huge wok heated over a wood or corn stalk stove outside their residence. 
The elderly exercise a lot in Harbin. The scene on the left is apparently quite common, although this was the first time I have seen this in six trips to China. Seniors dress up and dance in the side street for exercise and entertainment. (I was there in early spring and the weather was great--a good reason to be outside. My other trips have been in summer and fall. In July abd August it has been hot and humid--not comfortable dancing weather.) The group in the right is practicing early-morning tai chi (BTW, pronounced "tai gee"). Hundreds of people--mostly elderly, but not all--use parking lots, boulevards and other open spaces to practice this graceful exercise. 
Market stalls are everywhere. The one on the left is in a Harbin residential district. The lady is cutting up fresh pork meat. The stall on the right in a small village. That's a shallow water tank with live carp swimming around. 
Village life is 'interesting' as we might say. Houses are far smaller than Canadians are used to--typically a few hundred square feet. All village homes have electricity, however they may or may not have running water. Streets are narrow and often teeming with people, vehicles of every description, and frequently ducks or pigs. A man and his son are standing in their house yard at the bottom right. A few geese waddle around the enclosed yard--in the background. 

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