So you were all totally right and Berlin is the promised land

Written by Travel

Berlin, Germany

Trains and I have been romantically involved since before I could hold a pen. In the game of “do you love me more than…?” my nanny usually won out against all comers, but I couldn’t in good conscience say I loved her more than trains. She laughed about that story for years. Hey, everyone has priorities. (more…)

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Come into my Castle: a wedding in the Czech Republic

Written by Travel

Decin, Northern Czech Republic

A year ago, the unthinkable happened. Marta the Czech seductress, wickedly smart jet-setting party girl, courted by oil sheikhs and private pilots, the same Marta who once took a quick break from being drooled on by a circle of admirers to come over and glass a guy in the face for me, got engaged. Last summer, shortly after getting the call, I went down to see her in Shanghai, partly to verify that an alien cockroach wasn’t wearing her body as a human suit, and also partly to explain the concept of bridesmaids, because I guess in Czech they don’t have any. (more…)

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Prague Old Town: basically Final Fantasy III

Written by Travel

Prague, Czech Republic

I don’t know what else to call it: everything here is so Eastern European.  A brief and ecstatic stopover at the grocery store revealed that the five Czech food groups are bread, meat, cream cheese, cake and pickles. I sat next to some kid on the 119 that looked like an even-more-albino-trance version of Yo-landi and my landlady answered the door in her underwear and sandals all like, “jah? what’s wrong with the internet?” There’s nothing wrong with the internet, per se, other than that it’s purple with red polka dots and it’s hard not to stare at.  (more…)

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You Fancy, Huh? 5th Anniversary in Pingyao Old City: Selling Out Like a Boss

Written by Travel

Pingyao Old City, Shanxi Province
I got married at 25. Speaking globally, I guess that’s an acceptable average, but for a commitment-phobic white girl who spent as much time as I did listening to Kathleen Hannah, being the early adopter felt, on some distant level, like selling out. You lose your ‘men are all turds’ card because you have to end those sentences with ‘except my husband’. Surprise: none of your single girlfriends appreciate the prologue. On the other hand I was, and still am, kinda too busy being obnoxiously blissful to care so, satisfied sellouts unite. (more…)

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Slot machines and DPRK dreams: a vacation in North Korea or, where the hell is everybody?

Written by Travel

North Korea / DPRK

8:30 a.m., April 5, the Mansudae Grand Monument. North Koreans get the day off to celebrate QingMing Tomb Sweeping festival, a national holiday of ancestral worship all over Asia. Myself and four other travelers approach the towering bronze statues of Great Leader Kim Il Sung and his son, Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, Shining Star of Paektu Mountain. We lay flowers at their feet before returning to the rest of the group. “One, two, three, and now we bow,” announces our guide. We do. Somewhere in the bushes, tinny speakers pipe out rousing revolutionary choruses to a vast public square, empty but for us.

Good morning, Pyongyang. (more…)

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Blasted by Dawn: or, Free Sunrise, Courtesy of Hotel East

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

Sunday morning, just barely 6:30. Kyle and I sat bolt upright in bed as the room was invaded by ultraviolets. All the hotel rooms at East are fronted with a floor-to-ceiling window looking out over the suburbs of Hebei and are positioned to catch the sunrise. And what a sunrise. I don’t need to be an astronaut anymore: I’ve already seen the intensity of the turning earth reveal the sun ray by ray as it pours over the edge of the planet. Which is good, since between you and I, I wasn’t looking forward to peeing in my space suit. (more…)

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Turning 30 at Mercante and Plans for Sweeping Tombs in North Korea

Written by Life

Beijing, China

People keep asking me what it feels like to be 30. It feels like 29, except that no one asks you what it feels like to be 29. Birthdays, shmirthdays. I only hope that as time goes on, I’m able to muster the grace necessary to embrace the aging process without breaking down and boo-hooing into a botox clinic. Let the Me of then remember what the Myself of now already knows: buy a giant pair of sunglasses and a huge turquoise brooch, and leave the defeat of physics to physicists. (more…)

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Winning Gold at the Midlands Addys

Written by Tech

Sure is nice to wake up in the morning and find out your work won a snazzy first-place award in a contest you never entered, like we did here at the Pixellary this morning. So many thanks and congratulations to U.S.-based Pixellary collaborators Riggs Partners for sending in the ADDYs application and then – lo and behold – winning the darn thing. (more…)

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Chinese New Year in Chengdu: Ruckus in The Big Empty

Written by Travel

Posted from: Chengdu, China

The Year of the Snake kicked off this February 10th, sparking widespread depression amongst product designers tasked with making grotesque cold-blooded reptiles look like warmly adorable harbingers of prosperity. (more…)

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One Pearly Snow Day: Kendra’s Vegetarian & Vegan Survival Guide to Beijing

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

Before we get around to the veggie walking tour, a breaking news update: Rumor has it there are weasels in the hutongs. Kyle says he saw one, and the thought of furtive hutong weasels hiding in the drain pipes and making legends of themselves pleases me. I spent at least four seconds brainstorming how to feed them whole coffee berries then harvest the digested beans from their poop like they do in Vietnam. SARS, SHMARS, that coffee is ah-may-zing. (more…)

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