Rainy Day

It rained all morning, from the early morning hours until noon. I hadn’t taken many pictures this year on rainy days, so I spent a couple hours wandering around and snapping some shots for my PowerPoint slide show. I got a nice selection, so, before I decide which ones to use, I figured I’d post a bunch here. The old “run it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes” sort of deal.

And remember, you can get the larger view just by clicking on the image.

umbrellas passing by
The recycler and the pedestrians

The first shot this morning shows a few Saturday strollers passing by a bouquet of garbage cans.

The garbage trucks here are nowhere near as large as those back home. They don’t have to be, in part because of people like the guy in the picture. Whereas most people made a deposit, he’s making a rather thorough and detailed withdrawal.   This sort of thing happens at every garbage can in the city – cardboard, wire, bottles, and old bicycle chains are extracted and sold to somebody somewhere.

It makes my wonder if, on the new campus,  such people might not be as readily available, since its about 20 miles away from anything else and isolated behind a moat.  We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

trees, grass and bushes
Straight rows of trees stand ready for employment

Not far from that spot is one of two “tree farms” that I know of on campus.

When similar trees get diseases or get knocked down by the wind, these trees can readily take their place.

In fact, I’ve only recently become aware of how much planting and replanting of trees is constantly going on.

flowers and the people who plant them.
Every living thing in this picture was just put there.

Here’s another example of replanting – a flower display of annuals going into the central square on campus.  And it’s not just  the flowers. The grass had also just been laid down like a carpet.  Actually I took this picture yesterday before the rains began.

buying snacks with umbrellas
A campus street and its snack centers

This next shot show  one of the many street-side snack sources near dining hall number one.  The dining hall itself was closed, totally shut down for the hours between breakfast and lunch.

But, luckily, little snack centers like this one are everywhere.  One hopes that the new campus will also have some, even though they are often viewed as cluttered and messy institutions.

cleaning up
The Dining Hall without students

I was able to grab a quick shot of the dining hall itself when I walked up the stairs. Actually, it surprised me that I could do this, since most dining halls are shut up tighter than a thermos between meals.

The food is available from separate vendors which are arranged behind the windows that line the periphery of the room.  This sort of arrangement, with ten or twenty independent  vendors in one cafeteria , seems to exhibit a level of private enterprise that I don’t remember seeing at universities in America.  Of course, it’s only been about three or four decades since I’ve actually gotten food from one of those, so who knows?

Tianjin, jungle city
                     Tianjin, jungle city

From the top of the dining hall, one can gaze out over the trees and see how thickly they crowd around all the buildings.  It almost looks like the forest moon of Endor.  The tall buildings in the background are almost all recent constructions and are part of the city, not the university.

architecture building
The lake, the bridge, and the hidden building

Continuing the jungle theme, we see here the architecture building, sitting at one end of the “Lake of Task Commitment.”  Yes, that really is its name — 敬业 湖.

From a certain angle, it kind of looks like a forest building, too.  Yep, Endor’s got nothing on us.

The trees in the doorway
          The trees in the doorway

And taking the forest theme to its illogical extremity, here’s the entrance to the faculty activities building over by Aiwan Lake. It seems like the jungle has even wormed its way inside the building!!

Yes, there’s a lot more to this campus than the concrete and asphalt.

Toddlers sail the waters in Beiyang Square
Toddlers sail the waters in Beiyang Square

On the other hand, there certainly is a lot of concrete over by my office, at Beiyang Square. This morning it was used to good advantage by a couple bicycling toddlers. Or maybe it was a couple toddling bicyclers.  Anyway, they’re as skittish as magpies, so I was lucky to get this shot of one as he fled.

State secrets
You’ll never get the truth from these guys.

Nearby is something unknown, but not anonymous.

A few days ago I finally noticed this sign at the front of our office building – building 25.  It says “The School of State Secret Protection.”

Man, I never knew they had schools for that sort of thing, let alone one on my own campus.  As you can see, even the human members of this school are cut off from the rest of us behind glass enclosures.   There’s no way you’ll ever wrench a secret  from them!!!

not that kind of "Bud"
          An old guy stalks a bud

I asked a student about that department, and he’s told me he’s never met anyone from there. Well, no surprise, I guess.

It’s said that in the springtime a young man’s fancy turns to love.  One can also say that an old man’s fancy turns to photos of flowers.   Those old guys cluster like hummingbirds around every single floral display you can find.

A bud
A budding rain-soaked flower.

I wonder where they migrate to in the winter?

And  did I also bag a shot of these flowers? Of course, I did.  And I do know where I migrate to in the winter.

Walking in the streets
The walker keeps to his lane

Okay, I’ll finish up today with two ordinary pictures.  First, the typical pedestrian walking down the middle of the street. Again, one of these days, I’ll have to put together an analysis of why this behavior exists.

It really is quite an interesting phenomenon, and something I think about a lot, since I’m so afraid of doing the same thing out of habit when I’m in America, and thus ending my life before its time.

vehicular sidewalk traffic
               Not keeping to his lane

Anyway, here is the opposite scenario – a vehicle negotiating the sidewalk. This phenomenon is much less common than than in the good old days, and now mainly with miniaturized coaches instead of full-sized one.

Okay – that’s all for now, I guess. I’m off to a play.