Memories of the continent of the Gods
A world no longer existing
China opened its borders for individual travelers in 1985, allowing foreigners to visit the country without supervision for the first time. It was hard to resist the temptation of discovering the vastness, the ethnic variety and cultural richness of this country. Radical political upheavals and the campaigns of Mao challenged this vast country in the 20th century again and again. What was left of old China and how were the people coping after so many revolutions and disconcerting cultural reorientations?
On the brink of a large Chinese revolution
During the time of our three long trips, China was on the brink of an enormous restructuring period. Probably no one had any idea of the remodeling process that was to come in the decades ahead. It would become the most ambitious test that China has seen so far.
However, we discovered a gently prospering kingdom largely untouched by the Western world. It was a short but predominantly quiet and peaceful period between the storms of Chinese tides, a stroke of luck for us.
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Take me back to Old China!
Thank you, Donat Kamber for creating this amazing collection of photographs depicting the Old China that I remember so fondly!
Your touching photographs depict the rich cultural heritage, the deep history, reflect the generosity of the people, the beauty of the landscape, and showcase the China that was romantic, harsh,simple, struggling yet so vivid, colorful and remarkable.
Fast forward to today, and much of the charm is lost. The old architecture and hutongs replaced by glittering skyscrapers and pollution from cars and industry choking the horizon. More and more people seeking success in the big citiesand struggling in new ways to succeed in this fast-paced world.
Reading these passages and savoring these photographs allowed me to time travel back when I was a backpacker/ language student/ professional and riding on those old trains, boats and buses. I remember the thril of having navigated the city of Beijing on my Flying Pidgeon bicycle. I met some wonderful people along the way and crossed paths with many very gracious people. Your gorgeous book allowed me to sit back, take some deep breaths and savor each page, reliving those precious moments.