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2010 (old posts, page 8)

798 Art District

Clear blue skies made for a great opportunity to do some exploring. An easy ride on the 909 bus (which seemed to sport more technology than any I've previously ridden on)

The 798 Art Zone was built as a joint factory complex between the PRC and the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Its buildings and layout were designed by East German engineers and have a distinctive appeal. After the electronics and military manufacturing came to a close the area saw a rebirth as a community for artists and studios.

798 Originality Square

The building designs incorporate specific considerations for maximizing the amount of natural light inside. The lofting ceilings give a sense of expanse inside.

Former munitions storage building

A maze of interconnected pipes still remains with random steam discharges throughout the area.

Pipes at 798 Art District

Steam discharge vent

I only ventured into one or two of the galleries themselves and while I'm no expert I did enjoy what I saw.

Red Mao

798 Art District slideshow

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Moving mountains and stopping waterfalls

There's a book titled 'How Would You Move Mount Fuji?' which, while several years old now, looks into some of the types of interview questions used at Microsoft to find the creative thinkers and problem solvers as part of the interview process.

That class of questions are generally hypothetical and rarely reflect things that have precedent in the real world. Imagine then, my delight, at finding actual evidence of 'pausing' a river flowing at 4 million cubic feet of water/minute.

Cool pictures too.

From Mammoth:

For six months in the winter and fall of 1969, Niagara’s American Falls were “de-watered”, as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the falls’ rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion.  During the interim study period, the dried riverbed and shale was drip-irrigated, like some mineral garden in a tender establishment period, by long pipes stretched across the gap, to maintain a sufficient and stabilizing level of moisture.  For a portion of that period, while workers cleaned the former river-bottom of unwanted mosses and drilled test-cores in search of instabilities, a temporary walkway was installed a mere twenty feet from the edge of the dry falls, and tourists were able to explore this otherwise inaccessible and hostile landscape.
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Trip to Yunnan

The week-long Spring Festival holiday provided an excellent opportunity for some longer travel within China. The successful trip to Harbin the weekend had given us confidence that the already-spent investment on this organized tour with the China Culture Center would be good. We were not disappointed.

Briefly speaking our itinerary took us from Beijing into Kunming, onto Jianshui, a full day at Yuanyang, back to Kunming for a flight to Xishuangbanna and then back into Kunming for a day before flying home. Amy is doing a much more thorough job of telling the story in detail over here: Yunnan AdventuresRice Terraces, Xishuangbanna.

Kunming-Jianshui

We stayed in a courtyard hotel which felt like an overnight stay at the Summer Palace. During the day we spent time in the city as well as smaller villages and saw a side of Chinese life that seems entirely absent in the huge bustling capital.

Waiting for the day to begin

Row of birdcages

Hani rice terraces at Yuanyang

With a full day from before dawn to well after dusk there was plenty of time to take photos. Although the morning fog stayed well into the day it did lift in the middle of the afternoon to reveal some incredible feats of manual labor and engineering.

Man in the mist

Sun reflecting in water

Hani rice terraces

Fog brushing the village

Xishuangbanna

In Xishuangbanna we explored local markets, visited a much smaller traditional village and took a trip to a tea plantation by tractor.

Amy having her hair tied

Market scene

Local children

Tea plantation

Kunming

A bonus final day in Kunming gave us the opportunity to reconnect with the same local guide we'd had earlier in the week and visit the nearby 'Stone Forest'.

Amy and Andy at the Stone Forest

Viewing platform

Overall it was an excellent trip. I would happily recommend the CCC tour for its organization and efficiency, and particularly the efforts of our guide, Edwin, who made a deliberate and consistent effort to ensure a good time was had by all.

Yunnan trip slideshow

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Daily photo: Last day of fireworks

Last of this year's fireworks When the entire kitchen staff of the hotel next door take a mid-afternoon break to set of 10+ yards of firecrackers and a load of fireworks, it's a clear sign that the New Year festivities are coming to a close.

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