Archives for posts with tag: China

IMAG0689Shanghai has a very unique set of architectural styles that define its history and cultural heritage. The Huangpu river splits the city into two sections. On one side sits a newly revitalized financial district and on the other, imperialist era European style buildings. During my visit in Shanghai I stayed on the bund which is surrounded by fantastic neoclassical and art deco architecture from the 20th century.IMAG0703IMAG0744IMAG0692Crossing over from one side to the other requires a ferry ride or you can take an exhilarating ride through a light tunnel. IMAG0739 IMAG0761IMAG0756

 

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Chicken, string mushroom, bacon, potato, lotus root, tofu skin, cilantro with a sichuan style sauce.

plastic wrapped utensils

It is standard to plastic wrap freshly cleaned utensils and plate in restaurants.

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So spicy, so good

 

Nanluoguxiang (Nlgx), Beijing- The hutong style represents the architectural heritage of old Beijing. These neighborhoods are formed by siheyuan (house clusters) along narrow streets and alleys. As new Beijing overtakes the old, these style neighborhoods have been in decline from zoning demolition.

photo from google

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A destroyed hutong neighborhood.

The Gulou district is home to the Nanluoguxiang Hutong, built in the Yuan dynasty (~1750). This street has brought a revitalizing urban twist to the hutong style. These old Beijing homes are rehabilitated and used as trendy clothing stores, bars, art galleries and micro-restaurants. IMAG0658

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storefronts at NLGX

The Nlgx design co. has iconized the characters used to mark areas of demolition by embracing a converse message. The DO NOT DESTROY markings has become a famed logo of opposition.

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“Destroy”

Most of the goods sold at the Nanlauguxiang street were original clothing apparel but I also found some fun counterfeit TOMS shoes. IMAG0654

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Here are some original carvings for this temple from ~1400a.d.

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So I have arrived, gone through customs, and exited the terminal to the main pickup area.IMAG04854:00pm: I’ve been here for about 30 min and I have noticed something. There are several other American white dudes who are aimlessly walking around with the same helpless expression on their face. I am not sure if Jake knows where I am or if I have arrived so I need to figure out how to contact him. I have a phone but no Chinese SIM card to make calls with. There are pay-phones here that say ‘free local calls’ but they totally did not work when I tried them.  I am too stubborn to be like all the other Americans here and ask random people for help. My plan for now is to sit down for a while and relax.

4:20pm: A lanky young white guy approached me and in a polite New Zealand accent asked me if I could do him a big favor. I was initially confused and was prepared to instinctively decline helping any random person, but then I remembered I was not in Chicago and he was not a pan-handler. As I stood up to speak with him I realized he was in a t-shirt and shivering. He told me that his luggage was lost in Shanghai and he ”had no jumper”… and he wondered if he could buy a sweatshirt off of me! I briefly thought about it, took off the sweatshirt I was wearing and handed it to him. He handed me 100 Yuan. I took the friendly opportunity to ask him for assistance in making a call. He handed me a SIM card and explained a few things about making local calls. After my call I thanked him, wished him luck, and we went separate ways.

4:40pm: MY CHINESE CONNECTION GREETS ME WITH THIS SIGNIMAG0486

Departure from ohare

So I’ve been on the plane for roughly 12 hours now and the plane is on its decent to arrival. Beijing from an aerial view looks nothing like any US city i’ve ever seen. All of the rooftops are mostly blue and red, and it lacks the square tiled look that is typical of most midwest plane views. Also, I would like to note that flying to Asia in economy class is no problem because you don’t have to worry getting stuck next to some fat white guy who smells like body odor.

So here is the plan: My friend Jake lives in Beijing and is planning on picking my up from the international terminal so I don’t get lost. When I land it will be 3:30pm on the day of the Spring Festival… for those of you who may not know, it is the biggest holiday in China.

 

Tomorrow morning I begin my epic adventure to China. I’ll be enjoying the Spring Festival as soon as I arrive and hopefully I won’t be completely overwhelmed with the mass amounts of people.

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I will keep you all posted with pictures and whatnot (if i can get past the great firewall of china).