Saturday, August 30, 2008

last weeks

Just got back from Hong Kong and will be making my way to Beijing tomorrow. I'll be travelling for the next couple of weeks and then I'll be home!! YAY! I won't have internet in most of the places I'm going to, so this will be the last post for a long time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Farewell CAUPD

Today is my last day of work at CAUPD. It's pouring out and the sound of the rain is washing out the Buena Vista Social Club I've got playing on my dinky laptop speakers. The windows are all fogged up b/c even though it's raining, it's hot as hell, muggy and sticky, but there's something charming about it all, and I'm definitely having a China moment. Remember the Simpson's episode where Sideshow Bob turns over a new leave and finds a new love for Bart? And he sings, “I’ve become accustomed to his face..”? Well, we all know that love affair didn’t last, but that’s how I feel about China and the wacky Chinese. I’ve become accustomed to this place, even though at times I wanted to strangle the lady who would knock me over with her sweaty body in the Metro, or the dude that would push me out of line after I’ve been waiting F..O…R..E..V..E..R for a Lillian cake. I don’t’ even bat an eye anymore when I see some guy walking out in his under-roos drying off with a tiny dish rag. These are all everyday China encounters that make this place oh-so-special. The duckie wading in plastic bins (maybe more like duckie for dinner) and babies walking around in ass-less chaps are the highlights. I’ll miss it here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gush

I told my sister-in-law that I had a very, “happy china” day yesterday. I left work early and made my way down to see the Andy Warhol Solo Exhibit in shanghai. I had to ask my colleague to write the cross streets of the gallery in Chinese (cab drivers don’t read-a-dee engrish), and he asked me what was there. I told him the Warhol exhibit, and he didn’t know who he was! I said: Campbell’s soup? Monroe? MAO? Nothing. And I realized that Warhol is quintessentially an American artist, and wondered how good can the show be in China where most Chinese don’t seem to even recognize his name? In any case, I went, and it was spectacular. Hands down, one of my favorite Shanghai moments for two reasons: it satiated the designer as well as the dorky planner in me.

Graphic designers are like punk rock fans, they like to take first dibbs on the occult following for any artist, Lissitzky, Laslo. And with Warhol they like to tout that they’ve appreciated his work as a designer and illustrator far before he became regarded as the king of pop art. And when I say graphic designers, I mean me. Warhol isn’t one of my favorites, but I’ve always liked his simple illustrations and sensuous still lifeS. He had a way of making a vase of flowers look like it was dripping with emotion, so it was a real treat to see some of his early work. Secondly, the space was breathtaking and was not only a perfect venue to represent Warhol’s raw, industrial side, but was in itself a perfect example of adaptive re-use.

The building was an old shanghai steel company that was built in the 50’s and the original textures were all retained. The 3,000 square meter structure is split into two exhibit spaces and also holds commercial space housing lots of trendy design companies. The building sits on a 50,000 square meter open area with a dedicated sculpture park. Of course a lot of American companies are building satellite offices, taking advantage of the rent that’s cheap now, but will change and eventually push out the cool bookstores and cafes~sigh. nothing is perfect. (I’m feeling a client project coming on here!) Update on my travels: I’m working my Last few days here at the CAUPD and then I’m off to Hong Kong and Beijing!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why can't you see my video posting of the soccer game? Well, because NBC Universal Sports claimed it as copyrighted material and took it down. Let's all thank Dick Ebersol (Chairman, who by the way didn't even make the NBCOlympic coverage-stream available internationally, derr.) for censoring my creative expression. THANKS DICK!
Pictures of me are still allowed, here's one with one of the Olympic mascots: Yingying, the tibetan antelope.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two Hips and One Hooray

Korea v. Honduras was my third and favorite soccer game I've gone to thus far. Obviously, b/c i was invested in the game given the fact that my motherland was playing, but it was the crowd that made it extra enjoyable. Koreans are wacky fans, and every 3 minutes a "cheer leader" would start a dorky, yet, oh so endearing, hoot for the Korean team. Video clip for your viewing pleasure.
video

Monday, August 11, 2008

Moment of silence please for the pathetic 3:0 loss, Italy v. Korea. I know it was expected, but still.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kobe vs Australia

I've had some surreal moments here but I think hanging out all night with the U.S. Basketball team is at the top of my list. Ok, i know "hanging out" connotes actual conversation and interaction with the players, but i'm gonna throw it out there b/c i did get invited to their table, drank the same champagne they were having, and introduced myself to the infamous Kobe Bryant. I usually don't cap people's names when i type (b/c I am lazy) but his name seems cap worthy. In any case, i shook his hand, and my hand felt like the size of a gumball as his monster-sized hands wrapped around mine. Embarassingly i needed a tutorial on who was who. Huge, intimidating guy? Labron James. Guy in the ridiculous, RED, track outfit? Dwyane Wade. I thought to myself, who is this guy with his uber flashy outfit? yes, i judged, but quickly shut up when i saw him on the courts the next day. I went to the exhibition game: U.S. vs Australia and thought he was the most impressive guy playing that night. I'm no expert, and i'm also the last person to understand the caliber of talent i was surrounded by that night, but even i was tickled by the whole situation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nanjing and Olympic Fever


I know it’s been a while since I last blogged, and a lot has happened so I’ll give a quick wrap up of the weekend. I got back from Nanjing on Sunday and every time I go to the train station I’m amazed at how many people are traveling. There are always a sea of black heads running and shoving their way to the station’s platform. The Nanjing train station had a little more character than the rest of the stations I’ve been to. It had this old world quality to it, and the way the trains were separated made the class distinctions here in China all the more apparent. The old trains were stationed to the left, with the even older, dingier carts stationed behind them and the newer trains, seen in this picture, to your right. I wish I could’ve taken a shot of each person in the different “classes” of trains, it looked like a still taken from The Darjeeling Limited, each traveler’s expression had a distinct and colorful character.
When I got back to Shanghai, I could feel that there was a different level of excitement and energy in the air. The Olympic games are two days away, and a lot of athletes have trickled into the city for a brief visit before making their way to Beijing. When I was at the Ritz the other day, what was before an easy entrance turned into an airport-esque screening scene. The guard made me drink my water ( I guess it looked like acid) and watched me swallow. I didn’t realize what was going on til I saw a mob and the Australian soccer team roll in. More stories to tell, but I think I’d better get some work done first.