Every single thing in Yangshuo weeps. Water drips steadily from every ornate lamppost, each rooftop, each windowsill and tree branch, spreading lazily through the glistening streets on a slow, liquescent quest to join forces with the puddles, the streams and the creeks and the canals. The sky is so completely saturated with water that laundry takes half a week to dry. The temperature always seems to hover somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees fahrenheit, and the air is somehow
Landing in Guilin was like descending through an aeronautic obstacle course of karst mountain and cloud, storm-filtered sunlight painting the rice paddies a thousand shades of silver. The tear ducts began mustering armies. When my bus crossed into the countryside on the edge of town, the vanguard commenced the march into battle, and as we wound into an undulating landscape of towering limestone spires, the Third Brigade of Tears overtook the floodgates; all was lost to beauty
Sometime between the fourth and fifth day, I finally fell in love with Shanghai — the ruckus and the uproar; the staring, spitting locals; the bizarre and piquant smells. Now it's time to leave. In the morning I will begin a lengthy and bewildering journey to Yangshuo. There will be air travel, harrowing highways, and thunderstorms. There will be hawkers, racketeers, and conspiring bus drivers. And at the end of it all, a small town in the Li River Valley, where the internati
Until today, Nanjing Road has been my least favorite district in the city. It's a broad pedestrian shopping avenue teeming with hustlers and touts: "Hi lady! You want bag? You want watch?" There is never a moment's peace on Nanjing Road.
This morning I decide to brave the mayhem in search of a new coffee shop for my daily flat white, and I am pleasantly surprised to find the entire neighborhood basking in the easy mood of a Sunday morning respite. People are strolling, as
I have thus far managed to locate only one cafe on my street with an English menu. There, one might order the following dishes, among other unappetizing curiosities: "A whole thing" (10 yuan) "80s mashed potatoes" "Sauce pepper steamed stinking meat" A "Yuanyang bachelor" "Shi Guo crack chicken" "Apricot bao mushroom chicken gristle" "Ten incense exploded frighten" "Spicy jumping shrimp" "Steamed spicy fish jowl" "Heaving shutter" "Pungent bullfrog" Yeah, I went straight to M
I. A pedestrian never has the right of way. Nevermind the crosswalks and do not trust the little green man on the traffic light. The appropriate procedure is to wait until no one is coming and then run for your life, whether the little man is red or green.
II. Mopeds are exempt from any normal standard of driving etiquette. They do not obey traffic signals or capacity limits and may come roaring down the wrong side of the road, through alleyways, or out of shopfronts at an
Shanghai sprawls like a sleepy lounge singer under silky robes of motionless fog, making the city look like an antique Chinese watercolor painted two thousand years late. Pudong Airport was an hour’s drive from the city center, but the endless march of skyscrapers began within 15 minutes of the arrivals gate, their towering linear contours hulking skyward in the mist like digitized limestone spires.
I’m staying in the inner city just off Nanjing Road, and I must confess so
I grew up in a suburb of Dallas, Texas called Grand Prairie, the only child of two teachers, and I was a solitary but exuberant creature from the beginning. In grade school, I developed a habit of telling tall tales in the cafeteria (I was secretly a world class figure skater; I had a long lost twin; I could communicate with trees) and I told them until middle school, when I learned to write them down. Creative writing has always been my most fluent and effortless outlet for