Semester in Shanghai. My favorite places: S. America, the Baltics, the Balkans... +China? Soon to find out.

View Post

Ancient art in Shanghai made yesterday; Modern art made tomorrow

In The Art of Travel, 10. The Art of Place, Shanghai by Mark3 Comments

Art has an interesting role in China, which I am still exploring. The first book I read for this class, Riding the Iron Rooster, by Paul Theroux, and my current book, Oracle Bones, by Peter Hessler, both touch on the odd relationship this nation has with its antiques. The cultural revolution of the 1970’s sowed the destruction of many of …

View Post

How many lifetimes, in bureaucratic hours, does it take to get into China?

In The Art of Travel, 9. Troubles, Shanghai by Mark1 Comment

If there’s one thing I can hardly stand about travel, it’s the bureaucracy. Every country you go to has different regulations and procedures for immigration and it seems to me like every time I go someplace new, it gets a little harder. I recall with envy the easiness of South American bureaucracy. In many countries there is no process to …

View Post

The First Step Will Pull You In!

In The Art of Travel, 8. Bubble, Shanghai by Mark2 Comments

Moving to a country completely alone, a traveler is forced to enter the world they arrive in right away. You’ve got to find a lease, a cell phone plan, a local grocery. It’s during this time that travelers become accustomed to the local language, currency, and transportation networks. However, when a traveler moves to a new country with a group …

View Post

Theroux’s China

In The Art of Travel, 6. First Book, Shanghai by Mark1 Comment

In the past when I have returned home after a months-long trip, friends and family have always asked: “What’s the craziest thing that happened?” I’m always caught off guard by this. It forced me to consider whether nothing interesting had really happened, or perhaps I was just a bad storyteller. As I read Riding the Iron Rooster, by Paul Theroux, …

View Post

Non-communication is beautiful, will it remain?

In The Art of Travel, 3. Communicating, Shanghai by Mark1 Comment

During a two-week trip to the Northeast last February, I remember being particularly sensitive to the fact that I felt like a foreigner in my own country. As odd as it sounds, after many months in Bulgaria and Romania the most bizarre part was being able to understand what everyone was saying, all the time. The unnecessarily personal conversations unfolding …