William Denning

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In The Art of Travel, 11. Second book, Shanghai by William Denning2 Comments

Coming from Atlanta, I am no stranger to a city and it’s history with war. Roaming the streets of the city, you see historical artifacts everywhere, primarily from the civil war. The war devastated Atlanta, and thus, in it’s rebuilding, has lead to a lot of what makes Atlanta, Atlanta. The weird zoning, the highway structures, even the way the …

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Qiandao Hu (千岛湖)

In The Art of Travel, 9. Troubles, Shanghai by William DenningLeave a Comment

The difficulties of traveling in China aren’t speaking the language, following the roadsigns, or even finding the most exciting spots. The biggest difficulty is the procurement of information. The most and best information lies mostly on travel blogs and expat forums. This, though, adds a sense of adventure to traveling in China. Each trip has a number of game elements …

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Bordertown

In The Art of Travel, 8. Bubble, Shanghai by William Denning1 Comment

This weekend, I was eating dinner at Bordertown, one of two good Mexican restaurants in Shanghai. What we love most is the guacamole which we describe as ‘good for China’. The phrase has become commonplace when describing Western food in the city. Sometimes, it’s excellent, even for the states. You’ve never had a burger unless you’ve gone to Beef and …

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The Dog

In The Art of Travel, 6. First Book, Shanghai by William Denning1 Comment

Every once in a while, you’ll come across a piece of work—a book, a painting, maybe even a map or a piece of music—that will suddenly make sense of a cacophony around you that you didn’t even know was there. It brings into focus an unknown static, files away and categorizes thoughts of an environment undecipherable. Jack Livings’ short story …

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Homecoming

In The Art of Travel, 5. The Spirit of Place, Shanghai by William Denning1 Comment

On Chinese New Years Eve, families gather together and eat 年夜饭. In China, the new year is Thanksgiving and Christmas combined into one. It’s holiday where, even in a country so busy and fast-paced, everything shuts down. Streets are desolate with dark windows and clear walkways. The cities funnel out into the country side. A mass homecoming. An exodus. I …

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Surveillance

In The Art of Travel, 4. Politics, Shanghai by William Denning1 Comment

With the technology in Shanghai everything is simply easier. Leaving the house becomes irrelevant with the popularization of super apps, such as WeChat. WeChat has everything you could possibly need in terms of life in China. It streamlines all of the processes which can be streamlined. Payment, food delivery, even dating. Using it makes me weary of returning to the …

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Fear

In The Art of Travel, 3. Communicating, Shanghai by William DenningLeave a Comment

Haunted by ideas alongside bell hooks’ ‘imperialist nostalgia’, my time in Shanghai has been categorized by a deliberate out-of-the-way-ness. As an alien to the space, I feel that my participation and disruption in Shanghai is the American travelers largest sin. Interfering feels as if my own impeding culture, even my own white-ness is somehow sinful. As a student of post-colonial …

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Inside

In The Art of Travel, 2. Getting oriented, Shanghai by William DenningLeave a Comment

My friend Lynn and I found ourselves, especially the first week, spending our evenings exploring the Jinqiao mall near our apartment building. The mall is broken up into 6 ‘blocks’ each housing uncountable shops, booths and restaurants. For dinner on the first few nights, we let the mall be our guide, wandering around until we found something to eat. A …