Pit Stop

Today’s pit stop is Julu Lu, corner of Xiangyang Bei Lu. Because streets are quite long here, giving directions involves mentioning the nearest two streets that intersect. “So let’s say 10:30 at the coffee shop ___? It’s at Julu Lu, corner Xiangyang Bei Lu,” you’d say if you were giving directions to someone unfamiliar with…

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Grannies

Ah, the Chinese grannies. The trio come out every morning, rain or shine, pulling up plastic stools against the doorway. They sit and talk and gesticulate. Usually there are props: cigarettes on some days, cups of tea on others, but most of the time they’re brandishing knitting paraphernalia. One granny’s latest project (you’re damn right…

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Terracotta Warriors, and Meat on Sticks

The January air is thick and heavy with pollution in Xi’an. A pale orange mushroom hovers over the city, lights from nearby buildings diffused by the haze. Each breath feels so… unhealthy, dirty. We walk around the Ancient City, visiting the pagoda, the bell tower. It’s too cold and too polluted to stay out long. …

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From A Great Height

The Shanghai World Financial Center is the second tallest building in the world. I can see it from my balcony, this huge bottle-opener-shaped monstrosity, just a block away. I can’t help imagining natural disasters toppling it over each time I look up at it – it’s so big, we all seem so helpless and tiny…

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