Fishing for Photos

Fish Focus

There’s a rather grand exhibition hall near the north gate whose actual name I can never quite recall.  It’s named after the architect, a former student (or teacher?) from Tianjin University.   The hall takes up a really large chunk of campus, though the hall inside is only moderately grand.  The building is also home to the infamous “wall to nowhere,” but that’s a story for another time.

Fancy gate and bike lock
Fancy gate and blue bike lock

It has a new fancy gate which rotates around two posts – wide on the right side and narrow on the left.  At night, of course, it’s locked shut with the sturdy bike lock that rests in the middle there in the picture.

The concept of an emergency exit, though known, is rarely practiced in this country. Honestly, I think sometimes that more bike locks are used on doors than on bikes.

hall entrance
The hall entrance is behind these folks
Fish watchers
Poking the fish

Inside the gate lies an attraction for strollers — a watery expanse stocked with goldfish. It’s a constant draw to families with kids. And the temptation to play with these fish is nigh on irresistible.  I dare you to bring a young child here  without poking your finger in the water!!

Certainly I’ve never seen it.

And those fish remain there all year.  In the winter (until this year, at least), the pond freezes over completely, yet under the ice, blurry golden forms yet move!  I guess, then, they can go for months without eating if the water’s cold enough.

The Splash that draws the fish.
The splash that draws the fish.

Anyway, it’s not just women, but men, too, who bring in their infants so they can poke at the fish.  I’m guessing that this poker, actually a splasher,  brought along both his son and grandson so he could jab even harder than those women across the pond.

He demonstrated that you can actually “call” the fish over if you make like a thrashing bug in the water.  Interesting.

The son also seemed unusual. You’d be hard pressed to find anybody dressed like that (or tattooed like that) in China ten years ago.  I hope he has a motorcycle because he’d look pretty silly dressed like that mounted on a Flying Pigeon, the classic bicycle that I own.

a wall of viy
A whole wall as ivy playground

The architect designed the building’s huge expanse of walls partly as an ivy sculpture, though it’s still a few years from maturity.  The surface suits grasping plants perfectly, as exhibited by  the gleefully reaching tendrils in this picture.


Zombies are just as popular here as they are in many places.  Maybe more popular.  I think I finally understand why – because they actually exist. Luckily, they don’t devour human flesh — just reading material.

student zombie memorizing texts
The building 24 cafe

The example here was spotted slowly weaving his way back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, mumbling incoherently all the time, completely insensitive to his (or its?) surroundings, unstoppable, yet slow enough that passersby can easily outmaneuver or outrun him.

Yeah, a typical zombie.  You see them everywhere, particularly in the early morning hours.

This particular example is tramping through building 24, a huge conglomerate of classrooms and lecture halls.  The cafe, where the other studiers are congregating, was installed a couple years ago to relieve the otherwise hard institutional atmosphere.  It’s really quite pleasant and convenient, and on the opposite wall (outside the frame of the picture) an artsy collection of photos and drawings has collected in the otherwise blank and forbidding space.  I’m surprised that the cafe isn’t even more crowded.

The Administration building back patio
The administration building back patio

The parting shot features the otherwise obscure back patio of the main administration building. Across the street lies the new administration building.  So there’s not much traffic there, foot or otherwise.  I always wonder if that design was built there when the buildings first opened in the early 1950’s, or whether it represents a newer addition.

Strangely enough, I’ve never witnessed a fish in that pond.