Women Of China

While touring in China in 2008, shortly after they hosted the Summer Olympics, I took over a thousand photographs, mostly by briefly hanging back as our tour group moved on. Here is a selection of the ones of the women, ranging in age from toddlers to one woman in her 80s. The format of this blog is not designed for many photos, but I am using it anyway. WordPress has many other formats better suited, but they are not worth the effort to set up for just this one time.  Photographically, they could be better, but I usually had my eye on where the tour group had gone.

China is a controlled society, and we only saw what they wanted us to see, but it was done with subtlety. Visits to a home, a school, and several senior activities had been carefully prearranged, and I assume were not typical.   But that was okay.  We are used to advertising puffery.

I picked those photos I found most interesting, and are not meant to be representative of Chinese women in general. Of course, hot is always interesting.  I may be old, but I am not dead.

I hope you can enlarge them to full-screen, somehow, with your browser.  I hope it is even readable. This blog, like any web page, is sent in pieces.  Your browser reassembles it following standard instructions, but what you see with your browser may be very different than what I see with my browser.


I saw these cheerful women while on a pedicab tour of the old section of Beijing.  I don’t know if they were laughing at us or with us.  Only we tourists rode the pedicabs, and only here.  I never saw them anywhere else. It was included in our tour package and I felt foolish riding in one. If they were laughing at us, I would agree.



A family in a Beijing park.  Obviously a special treat for them. Many Chinese we saw were also tourists traveling from other parts of China.





Like children everywhere and a common sight at Longwood Gardens.  This was in Beijing’s Forbidden City.







A proud mother with her daughter.  With the one-child policy (in force then), children were treasured (and still are).

Admiring their child was an easy way to open a conversation with a lot of smiles and gestures.






A gorgeous, fashionable woman at The Great Wall.  She could be a Japanese tourist.






A shop clerk in Beijing, fluent in English, a valuable skill.





Lilly, our Beijing tour guide, as pleasant as she looks.





Waiting for our flight to Shanghai.  The woman on the right seems to be a Chinese housewife all dressed up for the trip. My wife is the one on the left (kidding!).




Newlyweds on Shanghai’s Bund.  Good luck, girlie.  I think you’ll need it.







A photographer on the Bund . . .







. . . and her model.







Wow! You can see anything on the Bund.







Building a new subway line in Shanghai.  Even the construction workers look good.






Woman praying at a Buddhist temple in Shanghai.  Chinese are not religious, and this is unusual.  They only pray for help in a crisis.  I wish her well.






On a Shanghai street corner.  She is waiting to go somewhere . . . or anywhere.







A fashion show at a Shanghai senior center.  Strut your stuff, Granny! Her Chinese dress with a Mandarin collar and high slit is called a “cheongsam,” and probably cost thousands.  A cheongsam is only worn on special occasions.






Woman worker in a Chinese food market, stuffing a dumpling.








Me in Suzhou. I should have brought a towel.  The police were holding back a crowd of Chinese gawkers at the top of the stairs  (kidding!).






Woman entertainer on a cruise down the Li River. Love that cheongsam!







Woman entertainer on a cruise down the Li River.







Woman entertainer on a cruise down the Li River.







Women loungers in Wanxian along the Li River.




Woman entertainer on a cruise down the Li River.  Photo taken on the fly, but one of my best portraits, thanks to an experienced model.







Woman entertainer on a cruise down the Li River.







Schoolgirl greeter in Xi’an.  Her red scarf marks her as a Young Pioneer and a leader in her school.




The girl’s teacher.  They all wear coats in the unheated classroom.







On the streets of Xi’an.







Early morning on the streets of Xi’an.  Shop girls exercising together before work, not expecting an American tourist.




Coming home from work on the streets of Guilin.





Morning chores by women on the banks of the Li River in Guilin.






Waitress in Guilin.







Another waitress at the same place, Guilin.







Woman collecting dinner in the Li River, Guilin.





Privileged child on Hong Kong Island.







Woman park worker in Kowloon, totally protected from the sun.







When I look at these photos now, I have to remind myself that these are of  real people who still exist, who are living their lives as we speak.  But their lives have changed since these photographs.  The children are now teenagers.  The gorgeous shipboard entertainers have children of their own and may not be so gorgeous anymore.  The Guilin waitresses are serving their own families.  The woman construction worker on the new subway line may ride it herself to a new job not as strenuous.  Some of the elderly women at the senior center fashion show must have died.

These photos record only one instant in their lives that has now faded into the past.  They have moved on and others have taken their place.  That’s why we take photos.



About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
This entry was posted in Aging, China, Cruising and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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