My feet hurt and I feel uncomfortable. It is so hot that my pants are wrapping around my legs like a pair of moist towels. My cap is squeezing around my head but I can’t take it off unless I want to burn my head. The sun is so high that if it were to fall down, I would be the one to get crushed. I don’t know where I am exactly or what’s behind the next corner. I stop to sit down for a second and get my bearings. As I sit, I feel a light touch on my shoulder, barely strong enough to feel. A young child is pulling on my shirt and standing unusually close to me. She smiles and says something I cannot understand. I ask her to repeat herself in English. I know that it’s a long shot. No English. We don’t have a common language. That doesn’t matter. She keeps smiling and talking. I talk English to her, she responds in Chinese. We both laugh. Eventually her mother comes along from the corner store, smiles at me and takes her daughter by the hand. As they leave, she turns around and waves at me. I wave back. I sit for a little while longer and get up. I no longer feel uncomfortable.
Situations like the one described above were commonplace during my trip to China. Outside of the big cities, I was truly exotic as a white Scandinavian. People seemed curious and sometimes confused, but never hostile or angry. I enjoyed myself.
Particularly so in Leshan.
Leshan is a Chinese city located in the Sichuan province, not too far from Chengdu. I travelled to China to take part in a wedding but also to just make photographs and get to know China a little bit.
Beforehand I was told that Leshan is a very small city. As it turns out, it was much bigger and more dense than Helsinki and in Europe it would be considered a proper big city. I guess the Chinese standards for small really are that different.
I spent a little over a week in Leshan and made quite a lot of photographs. Here are some of them.