As promised, here are some pictures. I took these about ten days ago, around and on the campus of Shandong University, where some of my classes are held.
Taken between my bus stop and the campus. One of the first trees to blossom.
Typical of this city, just a few meters away from the blossoming tree is this riverbed full of trash and sewage. The contrasts between ugliness and beauty are very sharp here, often prodding me to think about balance, opposition and humanity.
A view of the street. This is fairly typical for a main street in Jinan. The man in orange is a street sweeper; they are everywhere, sweeping the sidewalks and gutters with homemade brooms made out of everything from branches to discarded strips of plastic. Apparently they are city employees. This man didn't speak, but smiled and watched me take photos. There are few Western tourists here, so I'm more of an oddity when taking photos than when going to and from work.
Another view of the street.
On campus. The first two pictures I took just to show how the trees all over town looked up until recently (dead).
As I mentioned in a previous entry, the university campus seems to be one of the earliest places to show signs of spring. The sound of birdsong is a welcome change; I didn't even realize I hadn't heard birds here, until I finally heard some at the university as they migrated back from their winter retreat.
This is a church (Episcopalian?) on the University grounds. It's old and lovely, but even more lovely were the first pale green leaves on the trees.
Below pics are of the campus near the language building, where I teach.
Taken out the classroom window on the second floor.
Kite flying is very popular in even the smallest public park. This week there were dead kites festooning the trees, and even one stuck on the side of the church. The red lanterns and other things are helium; the corner of the university turns into a busy park on weekends for families, and in the square, where the pavilions can be seen, something is always going on - if not a public event, then it's filled with children on rollerskates. There are food and toy vendors all over the square.
The below picture was taken today; for some reason, my big plant, Calathea Makoyana, also known as Peacock Plant, has now pointed all its leaves upward. I'm happy to see it responding, rather than dying after being repotted, but I don't know what this change means. Is it happy? Maybe it wants more light? I did a Google image search and from the many pictures there, it seems that both states are normal for this plant. It was in a sort of greenhouse environment before, and now I have it set where it doesn't get any direct light, so perhaps it's just adjusting to its new home.
Here is a link to the picture I posted when I brought the plant home, for comparison: