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China Style

One of the aspects of China that continually amazes me, is the Chinese approach to design. You would think that the products of a former "totalitarian" state would be bland and uniform. Well, while there are still some old big square buildings, and a lot of 20 year old trucks that look like 50 year old trucks, China is overflowing with brightly colored and imaginatively shaped things.Two tiles from the sidewalk in LiJiang in Yunan Province

I've had a lot of pleasant surprises in our travels about in this country. One of the first things I noticed here were the sidewalks, which are mostly paved with interesting tiles, pretty much everywhere you go.

I'm kind of a motorcycle snob, and my biggest peeve is motorcycles that are designed principally to announce the presence of their riders with outrageously loud engine noise. Weeny put put dressed up like a real motorcycleOverpowered, super loud chopper bikes ridden by a bunch of accountants and software engineers have a place, but not within earshot of me pleaseandthankyouverymuch.
So what a delight to come to China, and discover the streets filled almost entirely with QUIET machines. Cars and delivery trucks tend to be small, and even the heavy trucks seem less noisy than Stateside. Well the motorcycles are of relative stature, but even though they have tiny engines, and don't make much of a noise, that doesn't stop them from dressing up and playing like the big boys.3 wheeled delivery van


You may also be interested to see my 3 wheeler page


Appearance is of utmost importance here. It is perhaps difficult for westerners to understand that things that look very impressive, may actually not be as thoroughly outfitted as we might expect. This is not to say that they're junk, though they often are (I have to repair almost every toy my kids buy here either because it's broken in use, or was poorly assembled.) Rather that our United States ian assumptions about how things look, and what they are, are not the same as here in China.

This can be seen in almost all aspects of life.Hot Air popcorn popper shaped like a dog.  Poped corn spills from his mouth. You can buy cakes and pastries that are truly gorgeous, they look delicious, and are beautifully decorated, but they taste like nothing -just spongy and bland. You often find amusingly shaped objects like this dog shaped popcorn popper, or the Bird and Dog shaped midi-refrigerators pictured below.

Two small refrigerators styled like a dog and bird respactivelyHere in Shanghai, they are building fabulous apartment blocks and exclusive "Villa" communities as fast as they can. From the street these look really impressive - the buildings themselves are sometimes very cool. The design and decoration can be quite ornate, and even outrageous by US standards. The landscaping is also generally very good. But if you look closer you see that the beautiful chromed railings have been formed from 24 gauge steel (very thin) and welded together without adequate surface preparation, so they will fall apart rather quickly. The large and impressive windows cannot be opened, and are positioned so that they cannot be cleaned, and the lush sod of the lawn has been laid on fill that contains rocks, pieces of brick, and broken glass.

Motorcycles - The Bad Assed 150s of China

Three Wheelers - Tractors, trucks, cabs and more

Cars and Trucks - Not done yet

Sidewalks - Not like back home. Colors and patterns undreamed of in the US.

Trash Cans - Also not done yet, but very cool.



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