Snapshots from Xi’ an

May 14, 2010 § 2 Comments

I had a week off for Qing Ming festival, and spent it in Xi’ an, otherwise known as the home of the Terra-cotta warriors. Because I can have anti-social tendencies, I did not go with anyone that I know. The intention being that I could use some quiet alone time to do some writing and soul searching. Instead, on the train, I just so luckily happened to bunk with three very rowdy girls who liked to talk about boys and shopping. And lets be real, I am so not above talking about boys and shopping. So much for the writing and soul searching. I spent the week exploring Xi’ an, and getting to know three very dynamic individuals. Here are some photos from the trip. Hope you enjoy!

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What the Stark Expo and China’s World Expo Have in Common

May 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Stark Expo

China's World Expo, opening ceremony

There is a scene in Iron Man 2 that only my friend (and fellow American) Leila and I seemed to chuckle at. “Pepper” Potts was scolding Tony Stark for wasting time and money on the Starks Expo, a year-long event showcasing Stark’s technological innovations—or as Pepper calls it, an extension of Iron Man’s ego. Watching the movie from here in Shanghai, the domain of the World Expo, the irony is hard to miss.

Here are some news and perspectives on the World Expo selected by yours truly:

  • Adam Minter, author of the blog Shanghai Scrap, describes the Expo as, “a sprawling 5 square kilometer metaphor for China’s soft power initiative and ambitions.” [Sinica]
  • For people unfamiliar with the Expo, a short Q+A about what it is, and why it’s taking place in Shanghai [Reuters]
  • The Expo in photos [The Big Picture]
  • NPR reporter accuses Shanghai World Expo mascot of being a plagiarized version of Gumby [China Hush
  • Shady financial dealings shadow the US Pavilion [Shanghai Scrap]

Snapshots from Xi Tang

March 24, 2010 § 3 Comments

I took a day trip to Xi Tang, a water town south of the Yangtze River. Nine river converges in Xi Tang, dividing the town into eight sections.The town is connected by over one hundred bridges built during the Ming and Qing Dynasty. Xi Tang is a historic cultural preserve. According to UNESCO,”The road and water system, ally and lane layout, architectural style, building materials and techniques…all appear exactly the same as their original state…thus possessing great historical authenticity.”

Travel blogs and websites boasts of the town’s tranquility. Tranquil is how I would describe the architecture and landscape, but I went on a Saturday, and the place was bustling with tourists from different parts of China. (The shooting of Mission Impossible 3 in Xi Tang probably played a role in popularizing the town.)  But no matter, I was not going in search for a peace of mind anyway.

There are many small eateries and food stands in Xi Tang. You can find all sorts of zong zis in different shapes and sizes. I can’t give you an assessment of the food there. I was hoping to eat and sample more, but after discovering a dead bug in one my lunch dishes, my appetite waned. I did try the local bai si fish, pork zong zi, and cabbage hearts. I also ate stinky tofu for the first time there, though you can find stinky tofu all over China. You know, I always thought it would be stinkier…

Anyway, I wanted to share some of my photos with you. I hope you enjoy!

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Gamers Strike Back

March 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

Screenshot from The War of Internet Addiction

Fed up with Internet censorship in China, World of Warcraft players are fighting back online.

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