Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sunset at Echo Cafe

Echo Cafe, Dalian. An adorable little bookstore & coffee shop two blocks away from Olympic Square, perfect for small meetings and photo exhibits. It was located under a highway ramp, so the roof was domed and always reminded me of a hobbit's den. (I obviously know nothing about hobbits because that is probably all very incorrect.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Feeding Time at the (Student) Zoo

Taken at the middle/high school located beside my university (Dongcai). 

Every day, this couple would bring lunch to the students and pass it to them via the school gates. Because of the large amount of food and specificity of the orders, I believe the parties on both sides of the gates had an agreement in place for this daily routine. 

Admit it, with the iron bars and the frantic manner in which the students try to hand over money and get their food, you can't help but make the mental jump to "zoo".

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I know I posted a picture of  a wall covered in ads like this a couple months ago, but when I was combing through my pictures from December this one immediately jumped out at me for its starkness and simplicity. 

[by the way, for anyone with a Mac, this photo looks sweet in reverse colors (control+alt+command+8)]

Monday, April 27, 2009


Erqi Square in Dalian is known for the host of tailors that set up shop at the base of the hill. To have something custom made here (for example, my red peacoat) cost about the same as buying it off the shelf in the States (in my case, $50). Because of this, we expats frequently went to look at patterns and designs and had things made that we didn't need; it was like regular clothes shopping but without the instant gratification of taking your purchase home with you. 

Dalianers- When you enter the warehouse-type building, make a beeline for the back, where the stalls are. Pick a tailor that looks friendly (and competent) and then pick whichever fabric you desire. 

*For males this process generally takes a sixth of the time it takes the females.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Western Sichuan province over Chinese New Year, visiting relatives (not mine) who lived high in a remote mountain. Their humble abode had very simple living conditions- dirt floors, no electronics, a stove that required someone to continuously feed and stoke the fire when in use- so I was surprised to see this satellite dish nestled in the bricks.

This would have been no big deal, I mean mountain residents deserve HBO too, but what confused me was that I saw neither a television nor any outlets or signs of electricity.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


It looks like this little girl was eating noodles alone, but her grandparents were sitting next to her.

Taken over May Holiday in Chongqing, where we had disembarked from our ship after days on the Yangtze River. We were waiting in this area for someone to offer their services as our van driver; because it was the actual May Holiday (May 1st), free and willing drivers were scarce. So I took pictures of people while we waited.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Sorry folks for the recent programming pause. Photos will resume (posted from my new MacBook!) after Thursday, which is when I turn in the majority of my papers and presentations.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Photo of the Day: Steamy Street Food

A common type of street vendor is the hot pot man (or woman, or family). They have a cart with multiple comparments filled with hot water, then sticks of meats and vegetables to boil. Oftentimes half the comparments would be for spicy sticks, and you could also add spices to your food after the boiling was complete. It usually cost 1 rmb for two sticks (0.15 USD) and while not filling enough to qualify as an entire meal, it was definitely a delicious snack.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Photo of the Day: Children's Park

A relaxing park in Dalian close to Dawai. Not sure how or why, but it so happened that I only ever visited this park once every season. This meant I saw the transformations from winter, when I arrived, through spring and summer to fall, when this picture was taken.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Photo of the Day: The South Gate

The back walk-up to Dongcai, where I studied Chinese in the fall semester. I didn't live in the international student dorms so I had to commute every day; class ended daily at noon and I would usually walk through this gate to reach the 202 tram.

There were two other gates, Main and East, but this exit was lined with many cheap lunch-time food options. Not long after the semester began, I fell into a very predictable routine of going from class to the same noodle shop every day before heading back to my apartment.

The university and actual gate in this picture are past where the pink buildings are. For the record, this was probably the West Gate. I just labeled it South in my mind because it was on a downhill slope.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Photo of the Day: Crowded Quarters

Building in Shanghai that sits between Nanjing Road (the famous shopping street) and the Bund (the famous waterfront).

Part of why I love Shanghai is the history in its architecture. When I walk down streets like this, I like to imagine what the buildings (and its residents) must have seen in over a hundred years of Western occupation, growing populations, and changing technologies.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Photo of the Day: Bamboo and Bananas

Erqi Square is known for its abundance of tailors, and lining the streets to those tailors are various food vendors. Some are focused on one product (apples, fried chicken, sweet potatoes) while others, like this man, have more to offer. This set-up provides for varying degrees of hunger, from snacks for the peckish to cheap meals on the go for the busy bee.

Of course, it was best to eat after you had visited the tailors and had your measurements taken.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Photo of the Day: The Squat

It's an oft-seen, well-known sight in China: The Squat. Yes, it doesn't matter where you go, someone will be squatting. I have heard a theory that while us Americans squat leaning on our front toes, this squat distributes weight evenly over the entire foot, thus effectively making the person sturdy and near-impervious to being pushed over. Of course, upon hearing this, we foreigners all had to test out this theory. (Admit it, you will too.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Photo of the Day: Ball Skills

Some Aston English teachers got together for a friendly expats vs. locals football (soccer) game. This was taken at halftime. I forget who won, but the expats all walked over to Noah's bar aftewards for mid-day drinks; was a good day. Taken at Olympic Square, which is also the pitch we used for Gaelic football practices.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Photo of the Day: More for Sale

In Kaifaqu, which is the Development Zone about half an hour's lightrail away from the city center of Dalian. Where this picture was taken, there were two giant shopping malls, and of course an endless number of vendors setting up shop in between the two.

For about six straight weekends in the fall I taught English out here: Eight hours on Saturdays and six on Sundays. In the mornings I would go to that McDonald's for (horribly burnt) coffee then one of the side vendors for some fried dough strips filled with strawberry or red bean paste.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Photo of the Day: Monastery in the Mountains (two for one!)

Thought I'd make today a double hitter since I missed posting yesterday.

These candles were kept inside a desk-like container (as seen below) at the Tibetan monastery we visited in Inner Mongolia. Getting this picture involved multiple tries because the camera had to be in such close proximity to the flames; I kept wimping out and pulling my hand away.

The view from the steps of the monastery onto the mountains. The view of the monastery itself was POTD on Jan 29. I loved it there because of the slightly higher elevation; the air felt crisp and clean and the overall atmosphere of the monastery was very relaxing. I started feeling very pensive and waxing philosophic. Cheesy but true.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Photo of the Day: Wangfujing (王府井)

Wangfujing is a famous shopping street in Beijing. We happened to be here on the last day of our BCA trip, October 1st, which was National Day. It was packed. In fact, "packed" doesn't even do this crowd justice. I would stop to take a couple pictures, lose my friends, and frantically search the crowd for four Caucasians. Then repeat.

Thankfully for them, my camera ran out of battery right about this time and I could keep up with the group. Unfortunately for me, this is the best shot I could snap before the sad death of all three of my camera batteries.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Photo of the Day: Camel Train

Riding on camels through the Tengger Desert. We rode for 15-20 minutes because we only paid about three dollars, but there were packages that let you ride for two days and camp out in the middle of the desert at night. For the record, these camels gave off quite an unpleasant odor.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Photo of the Day: Exit Here

The exit at the Beijing Railway Station, with quarter-past-six-in-the-morning sunlight. One of the many upsides to overnight trains are seeing some beautiful sunrises, and being able to watch an entire city wake up. Especially a city like Beijing, where it doesn't take long at all for the hustling and bustling to begin.

(Note the sunrise and train rails in the reflection of the glass panes)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Photo of the Day: Street Harvest

In the fall, suddenly there were piles of green vegetables covering the streets. Mostly cabbage, but as you can see here, sometimes onions were collected too. Copious heads of cabbage were still lying about town, drying I assume, when I left in January.
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