A Tale of Three Cities Home

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Introduction

Shanghai, Fuzhou, Taipei: A Tale of Three Cities. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a 3-week vacation filled with delights, it was a vacation punctuated by moments of disappointments, it was delightful to visit 40 relatives in Shanghai and Fuzhou for the first time, it was disappointing not be able to find my junior high school teacher in Taipei, it was a gourmet dining experience filled with steamed dumplings in Shanghai, sweet taro pudding in Fuzhou, soy-bean milk,  Chinese donut and Mongolian BBQ in Taipei, it was a paralyzing experience of not having enough courage to sample the fried squid and sugar cane juice from street vendors and suffering from indigestion after consuming a 2-pound pear, it was astonishing to locate a picture of me playing in my elementary school marching band and also reminisce with my two elementary school classmates from 30 years ago, it was annoying to be harassed by hustlers at a busy Shanghai market who kept on asking us "DVDs, watches, bags?" it was inexpensive to eat at local restaurants and to shop for inexpensive clothing items and souvenirs, it was appalling to receive a bill for 20 U.S. dollars for one cup of coffee and a cup of tea, it was safe and civilized to cross busy streets in Taipei where there were count-down timers at pedestrian crosswalks that show seconds remaining before the lights will turn red, it was perilous and thrilling to cross busy streets in Shanghai where you have to watch for buses, cars, and bicycles that cut across both in front and in the back of you (perhaps an appropriate title will be Jame Bond's new movies Die Another Day :-), standing in front of my ancestors' grave was tranquil and moving by knowing that I'm the 21st-generation of Woo's from Fuzhou, standing on top of the Oriental Pearl Tower was exciting and invigorating by seeing the frantic and delirious pace of progress in Shanghai, taking the Metro in Taipei was easy and inexpensive, taking a taxi cab ride in all three cities requires a strong heart, empty stomach, courage, and a sincere prayer. It was a vacation far, far better than all the previous vacations that Theresa and I have ever taken.

Another author's opening and closing lines:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair....It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

Which lines do you prefer? Of course the first ones, right? :-)

If the second author's lines sound familiar, you are right. The excerpt is from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I usually come up with the title of my photo journal after I have been on the trip, taken the photos, and written the story. This is the first time that I have a working title several months prior to our vacation in November of 2002.

Please enjoy my travel photo journal "A Tale of Three Cities." I am no Charles Dickens. But then again Charles Dickens did not take 2300 digital images with a Nikon Coolpix 5700 either when he wrote A Tale of Two Cities:-)

 

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