Year 2009. The previous week was a tough one in our project. One of the components, a main drive, failed and we had to make omelettes without eggs, or almost, while waiting for the new drive to be shipped by courier express. After such weeks I knew what most compensated me. While many of my colleagues needed a beer to forget and relax, I needed to go for a stretched pace in my jogging routine and do some photos.
It was Sunday and the day has been sunny with a deep blue sky. After a 14km jogging middle afternoon in the central parque of Hohhot I ate a sandwich plus two bananas at the hotel lounge wetted with my own spot drink, grabbed my camera and walk to the plaza near the main Pagoda in the old town. At the end of the day, specially in slight windy beautiful days, kiting is a common practice for Chinese in the big plaza near the temples area or old town. Today I saw a big potential for it because all ingredients were there for a pleasant evening; fourteen degrees, blue sky, bright half-moon, slight windy and a beautiful sunset light.
After installing my tripod and preparing my camera two kids, sisters, approached and started to play while giggling to call attention. This little girl pointed to my camera and I engaged conversation knowing that she or they could not speak english neither did I speak Chinese. I pointed to my lens visor and pointed to her face miming if she wanted a portrait. She nodded a timid yes, I looked around to see if any relatives were with them to ask permission but no, the kids were alone.
I took the pictures and when finished I showed them. They were happy to see their faces, their shy smiles and sniggers. A lady on her 40th’s approached and I thought she was a relative but she was not, she just wanted to help. She spoke a bit english and told me the little girl wanted one more photo which I did with pleasure. The little girl, named LingLing, look at the camera and put her right hand on the right eye miming a telescope with a very beautiful smile.
After seeing the photos again and with the help of “my” translator I asked if they were happy. The little girl made a telescope shape out of her hand and look at me through it and shake her head in a positive motion. I’m sure she was saying yes about my question but could also mean “it depends the way you see or measure happiness”…