Let’s take a walk

I thought you might be interested to see what our city of Shenyang is like on a typical Spring day so I thought I’d take you on a walk with me. This is the main street that brings you into Shenyang called Qingnian Dajie. It’s just outside the West Gate of Riverside Garden.

I have to laugh when I think back to when we first arrived in Shenyang. When we were choosing our apartment, we debated if this would be a comfortable walk from our place to the big grocery store, Carrefour. We finally concluded that it was possible but not comfortable. This is funny to me now because what seemed too far when we moved here is a walk I make multiple times a week. And actually much less than I typically walk in a day. And I do it now while carrying groceries.

Funny how our perspective changes.

Want to make time for more exercise in your life? Just move to a city where you don’t have a car and it’s a challenge to tell a taxi driver where to go. A 30-minute walk becomes “just around the corner”.

It’s also funny that even though I’ve been here a year and a half, I still can’t take a walk without shaking my head. Smiling at just another unbelievable sight in this crazy country. Saying “Zhendema?” (which means, “Really?”) at least 100 times a day. And asking myself, “Is this real life?” Although, I think I have finally have gotten over being surprised at what I see.

Nothing surprises me anymore.

It’s just a typical day in China.

Shenyang has a new subway system. It’s really awesome and I love to use it. That big building on the right is a Science Museum… or to us, the big landmark called “the big spiky ball”.

Bikes, mopeds and pedestrians all share the sidewalk on this street. The concrete cylinders are to keep the cars off. Otherwise, we’d be sharing with them too.

This was a new sight for me. Some kind of castle they put up in the parking lot. I don’t know what it is. Your guess is as good as mine.

Now that Spring is here, construction is in full swing. And it’s everywhere. I guess that happens when you only have 7 months of working weather.

The lady on the right just plopped down right where she was to go through the recycling she was collecting. I guess she was tired?

This is a legal cross-walk… across eight lanes of major traffic. There is no light. You’d better be good at frogger. Or get good in a hurry. Pedestrians do not have the right of way in China.

Getting ready to cross the street.

Wait…

Did you notice that in the corner of the photo?

He just had to squeeze by. Probably didn’t even notice he brushed my arm as he rode by. You’ve got to watch your back around here.

It still amazes me how the intersections work. The pedestrians, bikes and mopeds are supposed to go straight across at the same time the cars on both sides are turning left. They all have green lights.

Even if you have the little green man that says to walk, you still have to watch for cars…

Or buses.

And cement trucks.

This is a delivery guy. On a bicycle. For the China Post.

Yes, the real China Post.

Have you noticed how many people I’ve passed at this point? This isn’t a weekend. And this isn’t a holiday. This is just a typical day in China.

It’s crowded here.

Umbrellas aren’t just for rain in China. You see them just as often on a sunny day.

Almost there.

If you get tired, you just find a curb.

I actually took a cue from these guys and took a little break in this same spot after I got my groceries. I didn’t have enough hands to carry my groceries and drink my Dunkin iced coffee at the same time. When in Rome… right?

Finally made it to Carrefour. I’ll have to take you on a photo tour of that store sometime later. It’s crazy. Like Black Friday on steroids. With Red Bull thrown in. And that’s just the weekdays. I don’t even have a comparison for the weekends.

As a foreigner in China, I just don’t think you ever get over the fact “I’m in a FOREIGN country”. Just a short walk outside your door and there it is. You get used to it, maybe. But it still doesn’t feel “normal”.

And I’m glad about that. I hope I can live the rest of life with my eyes as wide open as they are now.

Hope you enjoyed the little peek into my everyday life in China.

 

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5 thoughts on “Let’s take a walk

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog. We just moved to Shenyang 4 days ago (feels like weeks and 5 minutes ago all at the same time- is that normal??! haha). We are looking at apartments now and hoping to find something we can call home while we are on this adventure. We may be doing the same walk as you one of these days. :)

  2. Glad to have come across your blog! I moved to Shenyang from Australia (Sydney) 6mths ago. Although I’m of Chinese origin so I don’t have the language barrier, but the foreign-ness I feel is still the same. (Without sounding too creepy) I live in the same gate community as you, and I, too, hesitate to walk on either Qiangnian or Wuai. Out there, you have to fight against the noise, traffic, all the dust from the constructions, uneven pathways, not to mention the constant fear of being run over by a bike/scooter/delivery tricycle right in front/behind you. Even though we have to share the same pathway, ppl on a vehicle regardless of its form, seem to use it as a race track and are totally oblivious to pedestrians…Grrrrrr!

    It’s a good thing that you don’t drive though, as drivers (esp in Shenyang) here generally lacks common sense and are oblivious to traffic rules, so you’ll likely be saying a lot more “zhen de ma?!” than you already are…SIGH…

  3. Dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, parrots – who do you prefer? Or dialect mayhap what that odd animals – snakes, crocodiles, lizards, monkeys?

  4. I love that guy, with the moped rickshaw. I use him all the time outside of the Carrefour. Sometimes he doesn’t even charge me for rides. The downfall with him and the subway i find myself getting lazy instead of walking. But its nice to have after buying to much groceries.