It hurts to pay $5.44 for a soy latte… and even more to inhale outdoors. It’s nerve-wracking to take the subway through Brooklyn to Manhattan then stand confused in the middle of Chinatown alone at night…and even scarier to wake up in the morning and realize that no one’s there. Yet it’s exhilarating to walk through Times Square for the first time and watch the sunset from the top of the Rockerfeller, powerwalk through all of Central Park then grace the steps of Apple‘s glass spiral staircase, even hop on a megabus at 1:30 in the morning (with a Halal food cart gyro in hand) for a spontaneous trip down to Boston, then wander around the MoMA for the last few hours before saying goodbye. view more →
- Public transportation is efficient and very affordable. Buses cost 2 yuan (RMB) each trip (~28¢) and run frequently, while the metro costs 2-9 yuan each way (28¢ – $1.28), depending on the distance. The D train from Hangzhou to Shanghai was 54 yuan (<$8), and another (slower) train from Shanghai back to Xiaoshan was 26 yuan (<$4). A 30min taxi ride from the airport to hotel was 85 yuan (~$12).
- Construction is happening everywhere! Infrastructure is improving and high rises are popping up all over the place. (If fact, there is extremely loud construction happening right outside of our hotel room window…) Architecture firms with projects in Asia should be thriving.
- The West Lake in Hangzhou is beautiful, as with a lot of the new architecture in Shanghai. If I were a real painter or photographer, I’d move to Hangzhou and paint the four seasons repeatedly (pictures to come at the end of this post).
This isn’t exactly my first time in China, but I would hardly consider Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang (in Yunnan Province) “cities” when Shanghai has a population of 20 million. This is definitely my first time in a Chinese city without cobblestone-paved roads, horse-drawn carriages, and yaks. In fact, I see exactly what I expected to see: grey skyscrapers, construction cranes, and more skyscrapers in the making. view more →
8am Monday morning, I left the sunny pseudo-countryside for Kaohsiung, murky-grey industrial galore. Once again, I dragged my luggage through the front doors of my grandpa’s dilapidated high-rise and took the sketch elevator up. 6th floor is the office, 9th floor is the old condo in a sun-bleached shade of mustard yellow.The 6th floor has upgraded from cable modem to wifi, but my great-aunt still uses a typewriter for God knows what and wears glasses with a pearl chain draped behind her ears. view more →
The movie pokes loving fun at various Southern stereotypes: men driving scooters without helmets while chewing beetlenut, politicians having petty arguments with each other then bonded by their love for the town, people gathering at the local church and singing praise songs in Taiwanese.
The one full day that I spent in Taipei hardly consisted of anything truly Taiwanese—I stayed at the Sheraton, ate lunch at the Agora Garden, visited my mom’s friend’s interior design firm, walked around the Mega House next to the Living 3.0 office—but then painstakingly tried lamb hotpot (heart, liver, feet and all) with a few of my ex-colleagues. (They were out of brains when we arrived—thank God.)
But the weekend that I stayed with my grandma in a small town in Tainan county was…”很台” and hilariously Taiwanese. view more →
In much the same way, I questioned Hong Kong’s densely packed and oddly shaped skyscrapers. “Are you forreal?” It was almost as if I had to take in everything in small bites, dim-sum style, or take the peaktram all the way to the top of absorb it all in. view more →