1. August 2017. It’s amazing to think we weren’t even going to bother with Zhongshan Square. After all, we only had a day to take in Ningbo’s delights and I hadn’t read anything to suggest it was a must see. But then somehow our walk down the atmospheric Gongyuan Lu shopping street led us right into the square and suddenly we were among maybe a hundred local pensioners hanging out in their natural habitat. And many of them were enjoying live music performances like this one scattered around the large gazebo.
2. August 2017. There were so many interesting people around I felt like a kid in a candy store with my camera. And pretty much everyone was looking at us, some with broad smiles on their faces, some with a penetrating curiosity, narrow-eyed suspicion and even downright confusion. A few, like this woman, were so into the music they didn’t even notice us.
3. August 2017. People weren’t shy in coming right up to us for a good look. This old man didn’t seem to care that my camera was just inches away from his nose, while another grizzled middle-aged man dressed in black kept following us around and chattering away in Chinese with an amused smile on his face.
4. August 2017. There’s a short stone staircase leading up from one of the gazebos with choice views over the square. This old man had gotten himself the perfect spot to listen to the music and watch the various card games. And like the others, he didn’t even flinch as I stood there blatantly photographing him.
5. August 2017. There was a great sense of community on Zhongshan Square that morning. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming; Ningbo’s music-loving seniors lazing about with not a care in the world. “This feels like the heart of Ningbo” said my travel buddy, which felt right on the button. This last shot is my unequivocal favorite. He’d parked himself away from the crowd, watching proceedings from afar with an almost menacing snarl. “He’s so ****ing cool!” I exclaimed as we stared each other out. “I want to BE him!”
For more on my time in the city, check out my other articles on Ningbo.
For more on the region, have a look at My 5s from around Zhejiang Province.
Like these? Then why not leaf through my many other 5s from across China.
I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.