View Post


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 …

View Post

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 …

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


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 …

View Post


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 …

View Post


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 …

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 …

View Post


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 …