Seeing through the gray


Blue skies were relatively normal my first year in Guangzhou- something that I can be very thankful for living in a big city in China. But the past few months have been nothing but dreary. The worst of winter gloom seems to be over though, as a recent heat wave sprinkled with random five-minute downpours has brought brilliant azure skies and big white puffy clouds- bluer and puffier than I’ve ever seen.

Take a look at some views from my train ride to Hong Kong yesterday:

If it weren’t for the crazy ugly buildings with tiny, barred windows and the looming skyscrapers being built in the background, you’d think we were somewhere other than China.

**This is probably one of those “you know you’ve been in China too long…” posts. As in, “You know you’ve been in China too long when your blog posts feature pictures of clouds and blue skies…..”


The streets of Georgetown, Penang truly struck a chord in me. We spent a morning plodding around with the sun shining VERY brightly on our heads, only to have our heat tolerance finally win over our desire for adventure. I don’t know how to describe my impressions of a city simultaneously abandoned but still lively, deteriorating and very much beautiful, with a seamless merging of an Old West to a New East (isn’t it typically the opposite??).

So, I will let a handful of pictures describe my thoughts:


The sheer size of Mexico City startled me- 15 million inhabitants inside the city along, and 10 million just outside. That makes 25 million (in case you were on the slow train there). The total population of the Country of Mexico is only 114 million, so that means practically a quarter of the country’s population lives in or around the capital!

Oddly enough, both the DiploMan and I commented that despite these numbers, Mexico City never seemed as crowded as Guangzhou. Particularly in the quaint area of Polanco, where we stayed for the week, I felt as if I were strolling in a suburban downtown, rather than a metropolitan hub.

Polanco is the West Village of the City. Cute, upscale, boutique-y and expensive to rent. Built around Lincoln Park, Polanco was not only home to posh hotel chains such as the W, Nikko, the Marriott and our Intercontinental, but also a small center with local stores and restaurants (and to my horror/delight, a Coffee Bean).

My favorite part of Polanco, as with Mexico City in general, were the facades of the small shops and buildings. I am not sure if the weather or the people dictate how open the restaurants and stores should be, but most storefronts greeted the public with huge open doors and windows the size of walls. Diners and products spilled out to the streets out of huge garage-like doorways. Signage and lettering was also something I couldn’t get enough of, and tossed in with the vibrant blues, yellows, pinks and greens of the rolling landscape of buildings, I was in photographic heaven.