Thursday, August 7, 2014

Colorful Chinatown












San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest in North America, and the largest outside of Asia, but it doesn't feel huge, and it sort of blends with the neighborhood around it - a district of banks and corporate and government offices. Strands of lanterns criss-cross overhead between buildings, dancing in the breeze. The buildings of Chinatown seem older than they are; all were built since the great earthquake of 1906. The main streets hold most of the action; souvenir shops and restaurants dominate, tourists moving in herds along the sidewalks, stopping every few feet to look in shop windows or duck through low doorways to examine all manner of goods: jewelry, carved stone, knock-off designer clothing and purses and watches, cheap plastic toys, expensive electronic toys, refrigerator magnets, makeup and wigs and lingerie.

We prefer the side streets. There, the locals are doing their actual household shopping, buying fresh goods from tables in front of tiny shops - vegetables, fruits and flowers. There are shops selling brooms and dust cloths, hairnets and flip-flops. Elderly women push small wheeled carts heaped with fresh produce - the week's grocery shopping in progress. Small children move confidently through the crowds; this is their neighborhood and they know their way around. Look up: windows are open in the apartments above the shops, a warm breeze blowing in from the bay. On the street, work crews dig for cables, vendors shout, families converse. It's overwhelming and overcrowded. Color, noise and motion are all around. Time seems fluid here; we check maps on our smartphones while standing in front of a restaurant in business since 1912. We wander, fascinated and curious, a foot in each world.

35 comments:

  1. What an amazing place! It sounds fantastic and you describe it so well.

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  2. Whenever I visit a new place I always eat where the locals go .Not for me are the tourist bits .I recently visited Florida , my foodie friends had told me about a place that was in downtown. I asked the hotel receptionist where it was and she warned the area was filled with local and we shouldn't go. We went and had the most amazing Mexican food I have ever had. The local market was filled with produce I had only read about. Just like your Chinatown it was filled with such bright happy things and such great value for money. The colours in your photos remind of that day.

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  3. Such a colourful place. I like to head out of the touristy areas too, you get a proper feel for a place when you're amongst the locals.

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  4. It is fascinating how all chinese quarters, no matter in which city they are, have one thing in common : colour. Huge amounts of exaggerated colours. I love it :-) !

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  5. Sounds amazing!!!! I love paper lanterns!!! They so jolly and colorful!!!! Have a fab weekend!!!
    Love
    AMarie xxx

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  6. I just can't stop looking at the beautiful vibrant colours in those photos - gorgeous! xxx

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  7. What a colorful place! It looks like a fun place to visit.

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  8. Oh wow, amazing, so much colour!!! :)
    v x

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  9. Such bright vibrant colours what a super place to shop, eat and visit.

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  10. The colors are so vibrant I felt I could actually touch the fruit and the candy. Beautiful!

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  11. I love how colorful it is! I've had friends who have visited over there and absolutely loved it. Maybe one day I'll take a trip down there. :)

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  12. Your photos are amazing Jennifer and you most DEFINITELY have the gift of writing. You make me feel as though I'm actually experiencing Chinatown right along with you. I've been to Chinatown in Tokyo-funny huh? It looks remarkably like yours. Harumi, who lives close by and is like a daughter to us took us off the beaten path to the more local places. I agree with you-much better than the tourist places.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  13. Wow - such wonderful colours. It took my breath away.
    x

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  14. Wonderful. I love Chinatown in London, it's my favourite place to eat after a long day trekking the streets. You've made me long to visit again. It's always so vibrant and full of life. CJ xx

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  15. Looks fabulous and wonderful pictures Jennifer ♥

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  16. The colour in your pictures always makes me so happy! I do miss having a Chinatown, now we no longer live in the city. Asian food is my very favourite :)

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  17. I LOVED the color in this post Jennifer! I have not been to San Francisco's Chinatown but it looks unbelievable!!! I really can not get over the color you captured! Wishing you an outstanding weekend!! Nicole xo

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  18. Beautiful and bold colours - ethnic energy punctuating the vibe in the streets of San Francisco's Chinatown!
    Thanks for taking us along and happy weekend, Jennifer!

    Poppy

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  19. Beautiful colours, you have captured them perfectly. I love visiting Chinatowns whenever I can.

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  20. I would love to shop here I would definitely buy a lantern or two x

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  21. What a colourful and vibrant post, it certainly looks like the kind of place I would love to stroll around. Pleased you enjoyed your time there xoxo

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  22. Chinatown was one of the places we visited when we were in San Francisco in 2006. It's a fabulous place. :o)

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  23. Colourful indeed :) Gorgeous pics
    Jillxo

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  24. I have been there and loved every moment of my visit. You are right it is so colorful and fascinating.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  25. Loved the photos, so vivid and alive!! Your description is wonderful, and brings us all there with you. Enjoy! Wendy x

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  26. I love San Francisco! I've not been there since the early noughties so it may have changed. I visited several times, once on holiday and a few time while on business visits to silicon valley - I used to work for an American company in Scotland but their headquarters were in Santa Clara, didn't have family at the time so business trips were a definite perk! I still have some souvenirs dotted round the house that I bought in Chinatown there :)

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  27. Oh, wonderful. All that colour, bustle and noise, I can just feel it. And the amazing food smells too! A glorious assault on the senses. X

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  28. Stunning pictures, Jennifer...I really enjoyed them all and reading your description too....such a fascinating post.
    Happy weekend.
    Helen xox

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  29. Hi, just discovered your blog. Thanks for sharing some colourful images of a part of the world I will probably never see :-) Leah xxx

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  30. Oh my goodness, these colourful photos are just amazing! What a wonderful place. Oh how I really want to visit San Francisco...
    Marianne x

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  31. Chinatown looks fabulous, and so colorful! I hope to visit San Fran some day. I have visited Chinatown in New York, and it was a wonderful experience!

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  32. I would absolutely LOVE to visit San Francisco, it's one of the places I have never been... You're so blessed!! It looks wonderful!
    I love all of the colors and your photography is great!
    I Hope you're having a great start to the week,
    Tammy

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  33. Jennifer you've done it again... an elegantly phrased description of an experience so similar to what we encountered on our honeymoon... I eish I could send you to all the places I've been to write about them so beautifully, thank you for sharing this wonderful post! x

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  34. Those photos look amazing, Jennifer! The vibrant colours are just how I remember China Town when I visited. I remember it was very busy and difficult to walk down the streets because of the hustle and bustle. It's a fabulous place to visit and I love the description of your trip there! :)

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