For me, it was like looking through the portal to a hidden world. Much like my photo of the woman washing her hair, I felt a little as though I was intruding, but in this shot the cyclist can obviously see me.
I didn’t get to explore these alleys (in Suzhou, China) and I figure I might well have got lost had I stepped through the portal myself. I’m thinking of a more recent adventure from 2008 when I had 30 minutes to explore the old town of Bari in Italy before a meeting and found myself in a labyrinth of passageways.
I’m guessing from the man’s attire that he’s probably an office worker and not a laborer. Perhaps he’s commuting or running an errand.
Looking at the photo now, I realize I never knew how much a bicycle cost and what that was as a multiple of the typical wage. Back in 1991 when this photo was taken, cars were still few and far between and the bicycle was by far the most common form of private transport – and likely still is, even with the dramatic rise in car ownership in the intervening years.
Since I’ve not been able to post for a few days there are two today, first a black & white and then a color version.