Phuket- Life’s A Beach

Location: Patong; Kr’abi; Pranang Island; and Poda Island, Thailand

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As it is the first day of Autumn, I can think of no more perfect a time to reminisce about a place that I can only describe as a kind of perpetual summer paradise. Phuket, Thailand is a location for a specific type of vacation person. In my experience there are at least two different types: those who enjoy a lot of sightseeing and movement and those who just want a little R&R. K and I were skeptical before venturing to the Thai seacoast because we tend to be in the former group. If there aren’t a lot of things to “do” in a place, why go? We were even more skeptical when we heard a lot of people in hostel describe Phuket as the “Cancun of Thailand” (not to knock those who like Cancun). That is to say- Phuket has a bit of a reputation for being the non-authentic Thailand that caters strictly to tourists, has dirty overcrowded beaches, is filled with overpriced resorts, and swarming with scam-artists keen on taking your money.

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Hello, Toyko

As you know, V and I have been very busy these past weeks. We have left our post in China and moved to other points west, finally settling down in familiar Columbus, Ohio. And as I am sure you have assumed, dear readers, I’ve taken some time to put together a few videos from our time in Southeast Asia. I’m still solidifying the projects, but each of them provides a brief window into our experiences. We saw some crazy, amazing, beautiful things, and I’m really excited to share all of it with you.

However, we’re going to try this a little bit different. Instead of doing the video sequences in the order of our travels, I won’t. These ones are a little more poetic and a bit more varied than the previous ones. As a result, I’ll just release them as they’re done. Maybe they’re short, or long, or about a brick in the wall of a monastery, or an entire city in macrocosm.

I’m also working out a documentary. I’m not entirely sure if it will come to fruition, but I’m scripting it a little bit now. It’s going to focus exclusively on our China experience. Stay tuned.

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Shanghai- The Megalopolis

Location: Shanghai, Shanghai Municipality, China

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Shanghai is a new city by Chinese standards, which means that it’s about a hundred years old. It only started its outlandish growth in the past 30 years, and is now the largest city in the world, second to Lagos, Nigeria. Al Gore’s fantastic nonfiction tome (but possibly secretly a dystopian fiction story) The Future depicts those two cities sprawling to the point that they outclass most small European countries in GDP, pollution, and population density. It’s been rigorously planned by the Party, to the point that they have a scale model of the entire metropolitan area despite a good portion of it not being built yet. You can see this at the Architecture Museum, a fantastic place to see the history of the city, but also the party rhetoric and its inevitable glorious, harmonious future. Never mind the smog.

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Xi’an- The Ancient Place

Location: Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China
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The only location we visited that could tell you more about the history of China in one glance than Beijing is Xi’an. We only spent 3 days here, and they flew by. Though it is large, the city of 9 million seems almost quaint in comparison to the other megalopolises, and the people were kind as well as knowledgable about the immense amount of artifacts contained within the city’s walls.

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Harbin-City of Ice

Location: Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China

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Despite being the first city in our series of travels, we knew the least about Harbin. I added it to our itinerary after reading an article claiming the city as a can’t-miss spot for winter tourism in China and the host of the greatest winter festival in the entire world. Those are such bold words, it was just too tempting not to see it with my own eyes. After looking at photographs online, and discovering that this life-size frozen playground was only available from January 5-February 5 annually, I became obsessed. This would be our only chance. You can judge by our pictures below, but it’s safe to say, the city did not disappoint.

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