The Chinatown Syndrome ~

In case you haven't noticed, I love the urban landscape. Oh sure, landscapes in general, too; what photographer doesn't like a nice big tree now and then? But I'm not Gainsborough, and I'm not Monet. The human imprint on the world provides challenge and inspiration, and I'm a total sucker for it. Nowhere is this more evident than in those parts of cities and towns that we collectively call Chinatown; a total feast for the senses, in every sense of the word. The camera loves the bright colors and textures, but there's also music in hearing Mandarin, and obviously some of the best food in the world. What's not to love?

I've had the delightfully good fortune to wander through many a Chinatown in North America over the years: New York, Toronto, Vancouver BC, and countless times in San Francisco when I lived nearby; heck I've even been to Chinatown in Guadalajara. Our own here in Portland is a bit meager by comparison, but holds forth its charms nonetheless. The iPhone is great for that (hopefully) unobtrusive shot, but I've been chased away by more than a few shopkeepers, too. So I usually make some token purchase just to keep things honest, and besides, who couldn't use a couple dried anchovies? At least that's what I think they were.

So however far afield I may wander (and as forgetful as I'm getting, it may be far indeed) I will always and forever be drawn to these breathlessly beautiful Asian spaces. The photographic opportunities are limitless, but the cultural, human connections are more priceless still.  Come with me next time, and we'll explore the shops, alleyways, fruit and veggie stands, fish markets, tea houses and the spots where off-duty cooks gather and smoke in the wee hours. Probably pick up some dried anchovies.

Pretty sure that's what they are.