Travel Report: Zhongshan Square, Ningbo.
Zhongshan Square, Ningbo.
August 2017. We were walking down the atmospheric Gongyuan Lu shopping street when I saw the entrance gates to a leafy square at the end of the road. Strolling in, we suddenly found ourselves among a hundred or so local pensioners. The atmosphere was joyous, with live traditional Chinese music drifting across the clustered groups of gathered oldies.
Zhongshan Square, Ningbo.
There were so many interesting people around Zhongshan Square. Thus I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store with my camera. Virtually everyone was staring at us. Some with broad smiles on their faces and looks of penetrating curiosity.
Others seemed to regard me with narrow-eyed suspicion and even downright confusion. A few, like this woman pictured above, were so enthralled by the music they didn’t even notice us.
People weren’t shy in coming right up to us for a good look. This old man didn’t seem to care that my camera was just inches away from his nose. Another grizzled, middle-aged man meanwhile, kept following us around and chattering away in Chinese with an amused smile. He wasn’t at all bothered that we couldn’t understand him.
There’s a stone staircase leading up from one of Zhongshan Square’s gazebos. Follow it up and eventually you’ll arrive at a platform offering choice views over the area.
This guy had gotten himself into the perfect spot to listen to the music and watch the various card games unfold. And, like the others, he didn’t flinch as I stood there blatantly photographing him. In fact, I believe that’s a little smile.
There was a great sense of community on Zhongshan Square that morning. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming; Ningbo’s music-loving seniors lazing about with not a care in the world.
“This feels like the heart of Ningbo”
said my travel buddy, which felt right on the button. The above shot is my unequivocal favourite. He’d parked himself away from the crowd, watching proceedings from afar with an almost menacing snarl. “He’s so fucking cool!” I exclaimed as we stared each other out. “I want to BE him!”
For more on my time in the city, check out my other articles on Ningbo.
For more on the region, have a look at my travel reports from around Zhejiang Province.
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