Notes on the Geography of China: Taiyuan
Taiyuan is another of those second-tier Chinese cities that are hardly known outside China despite having populations approaching or in excess of three million. What to expect? The best short answer is: more than you expect.
Aerial approach. Looks like a City of the Future, as envisioned early in the 20th century. Except that this is no artist's conception. That's the Fenhe flowing south toward its confluence, a couple of hundred miles downstream, with the Yellow River.
Not only is this a place of high-rises, it's a place where high-rises grow in thickets or, in that ugly word, complexes. You can see at least three generations of housing here: pre-Revolutionary, Maoist, and recent.
The older areas are a reminder of the poverty from which China is emerging.
Another view, with the Longtan Park in the upper left.
Fu Xi Street and Xin Jian Road. This corner is the city's aspirational focus.
The magnetic attraction of luxury brands, for the moment at least foreign.
The models are White.
Surely the Chinese do not wish to be rich Whites, but the ad agency seems to have thought otherwise.
Taiyuan is sometimes called a rust-belt city, and when it appears in Western news stories, the topic is usually related to coal. You'd never know it.
Wealth, respect, and fun? Is that it, folks?
For people who work themselves as hard as the Chinese, perhaps nothing is as alluring as time-wasting.
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