a transplanted life in China 

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Goodbye Chicago

 Chicago Theater   It’s over. Three weeks of indulging in food fantasies, hanging out with my dear brother, exploring Chicago, went by very quickly. Oh, the clothes and shoes I bought. In China it’s virtually impossible to find “western” sizes, so I had a good excuse to go slightly mad in Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Old Navy, and an incredible shoe store called Altman’s, where they won’t let you leave the store unless the shoes fit perfectly. It was old-fashioned service, actually measuring both feet, bringing stacks of shoe boxes for inspection, and fitting my hard-to-fit feet.      Wabash Avenue, El steps, pigeons   I even took a stab at riding a bike along the lake front. In my college days, I could easily make the 25-mile round trip from Evanston south to McCormick Place, but this time I was winded after just 45 minutes or so. 8 years of China smog, lack of exercise, and laziness have caught up with me (OK, age has something to do with it too). My brother and I visited the Art Institute on a (free) Thursday evening, to catch the Magritte exhibition. We explored Chicago neighborhoods I’d never visited before, and I experienced the reverse culture shock of returning to my home country only the second time in 8 years. Most surprising, I guess, was the friendliness of the people. I’m a native midwesterner, and lived in Chicago in my youth, but I simply didn’t remember this kind of friendliness. It was a

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Chicago buildings

Trump Tower, viewed from Wabash Avenue; the Chicago El (elevated train) is on the left   Chicago is an architecture-lover’s dream. After the 1871 Chicago Fire, and later the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the city attracted many of thecountry’s greatest architects. Chicago was the birthplace of the skyscraper, and home to architects such as Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. I spent part of my 3 weeks in the city exploring buildings I had never seen before. The mild weather made for perfect opportunities to walk and take photographs.       The Driehaus Museum (originally the Nickerson Mansion), features perhaps the finest 19th-century interiors created in Chicago, reflecting the sensibilities of the Aesthetic Movement. I took a guided tour of the mansion on my 2nd day in Chicago.      Driehaus Museum: main hall and staircase      Driehaus Museum: smoking room      Driehaus Museum: dining room View more photos of the interior in my Flickr Album here.      Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park      Frank Lloyd Wright studio, exterior detail      Frank Lloyd Wright, Heurtley House, Oak Park. The suburb of Oak Park, where Wright lived from about 1889 to 1909, has a large concentration of the architect’s early work.      Frank Lloyd Wright, Robie House, Hyde Park, 1910. This is Wright’s Prairie Style masterpiece.      Robie House, interior and leaded-glass windows More Frank Lloyd Wight photos are in my Flickr Album here.       One of my

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night bus stop

Published on January 16, 2014, by in Chengdu.

Second Ring Road, Chengdu

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Chongqing Art Museum

Chongqing Art Museum The new Chongqing Art Museum is housed in the upper two floors of the Guotai Arts Center, in the central Jiefangbei area, and opened to the public on October 29. Chongqing Art Museum opens:  http://english.cqnews.net/html/2013-10/31/content_28453538.htm

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New Century Global Center, Chengdu

Published on October 3, 2013, by in Architecture, Chengdu.

New Century Global Center 新世纪环球中心 in Chengdu   What is billed as the world’s largest building was recently completed in the south of Chengdu.  Out of sheer curiosity, a desire to explore anything described in superlatives, I paid it a visit. It was a steamy afternoon, and as I emerged from the metro station, I spotted the New Century Global Center in the distance. You don’t see the entire building at once; it reveals itself gradually as vast expanses of glass or sections of its prominent roof line.   View from the entrance, looking up into the atrium   The New Century Global Center in Chengdu, in Sichuan in western China, is so big that it’s got its own artificial sun. Indeed, at 500 meters (1,640 feet) long, 400 meters (1,310 feet) wide and 100 meters (325 feet) high, it’s massive enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses or three Pentagons, according to local authorities. http://www.ibtimes.com/worlds-largest-building-new-century-global-center-opens-chengdu-china-1330585      A water park with artificial beach is a centerpiece of the complex; it wasn’t open yet when I visited.   On entering the building one is confronted with a vast, multi-level arrangement of balconies and walkways under a huge atrium. Acres of highly-polished imported marble floors stretch in every direction, and escalators lead the eye upward toward the vast canopy of glass ceiling. It’s a huge space that offers many directions to go, but few clues to what actually lies in any single direction. After a while you realize that there’s a

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