Life at 350 kilometres per hour

Yowsers!  It’s been a long time between posts!  The Doctor has been busy … getting some projects finished off, making a trip home and then hosting some of the Bullshit Clan for a while.  While the family were here, we took a trip to Hangzhou, the preferred weekend destination of the Shanghainese (and a good percentage of the 20 million were there when we went, it seems).  The quickest way to get there is on the newish express train – covering the 180 kilometre journey in about 40 minutes.

Such a fast speed – 350 km/h for most of the journey – does not lend itself to photography (not with my soon-to-be-replaced low-end camera at least).  Nonetheless, I sat lens-to-window, documenting the landscape as it rapidly changed before me.

Don’t be misled by the use of the word ‘landscape’ though.  The two cities are basically joined, with vast stretches of housing, industry and intensive farming between them.  The transition from one to the next can be quite abrupt, with multi-storey residential buildings overlooking vege crops or nestled against coal-fired power plants.  The housing towers are pretty monotonous, with row after row of identical structures.

Similarly, lines of greenhouses and cultivated land have an almost hypnotic affect, flicking past at great speed.  Big cities have big appetites I guess.

All types of human activity were on display.

And as you’d expect, roads as well as rail lines – multi-stacked interchanges and highways, complete (some strangely empty) and under construction.   Through much of the journey, we were shadowed by a major highway, marked by massive billboards, and carrying traffic that moved at a relative snail’s pace.

And, on the edges of Hangzhou, typical Chinese suburbia.  These buildings – some single dwellings – seem to be inspired by both Chinese and European architectural traditions.  We used to call this post-Modernism, right?

And in no time we arrive. And in no time, this will all change.  In a year or two, the same journey will be completely different.



One Response to Life at 350 kilometres per hour

  1. luKe says:

    It’s great to have the Doctor back in transmission.

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