Category Archives: travel

Stately guardian statues near the Forbidden City

When I visited mainland China in 2012 with my cousin for a conference in Shanghai, we also made a quick trip to Beijing so that we could make an excursion to see the Great Wall. Even though it was a short trip, we also wanted to see some of Beijing, including the Forbidden City. Between a hole in the wall place where we had breakfast and the Forbidden City, we encountered this impressive building:

Stone guardian lions are quite a frequent sight in China, but nowhere else did I see a guardian duck. This little (well, actually, it was quite a large duck) welcomes visitors to the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. (I’d never have remembered that, but I can make out the English text on the very shiny golden revolving door.) The internets inform me that this is quite a famous restaurant, and possibly the home of the original Peking duck. We did not enter this colorful building, so I can’t speak for the interior, or comment on the quality of the food. I can only vouch for the memorability of the duck.

duck heads in a row

I’m on a roll with my ducks these days. Not that I have any actual ducks. I do, however, have plenty of photos of ducks.

This photo is one that strikes me as funny, probably because it’s not a sight likely to be seen in the US. I saw this display of duck heads on my trip to China in 2012, at a food stall. I believe it was in the city of Hangzhou, which is near Shanghai.

Most Americans prefer to dissociate the meat and poultry they eat from the animals they come from. Typically, these purchases are made in a supermarket, with cuts of meat and poultry wrapped in cellophane, denuded of as many signs of having once had feet and faces as possible. Clearly this is not the case in many parts of the world. I still remember being somewhat shocked as a kid when we moved to France, and encountered butcher shops and market stalls with whole animals hanging from hooks, and being disturbed that the chickens we purchased still had feet and head attached.

In any case, it seems that in China, duck heads are a fairly popular food dish.

6 unrelated photos

Here are 6 photos I took at different times and in different places in recent(ish) years.

Exeter, New Hampshire. 2008.

Sevilla, Spain. 2009.

MIT. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2009.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China, 2012.

New York City, NY. 2012.

UMass Amherst, MA. 2014.

3 unrelated photos

Here are 3 (largely) unrelated photos that I have taken at different times in recent years.

Botanical gardens in Paris, France in 2007.

Park on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL. 2010.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China. 2012.

down the stream, or up the creek (friday foto finder: stream)

Given that yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US, I find myself being nostalgic for the many Thanksgivings I had at my grandmother’s house growing up. Unpacking various pieces of china and serving ware to put away in our new house, assorted family heirlooms that I remember from my childhood, and using the buffet that was from my grandmother’s house has filled me with a steady stream of memories. It is no surprise, then, that seeing this week’s friday foto finder theme of “stream” brought to mind one body of water: the one in the town where my grandmother had lived.

These photos are from May of 2005, the last time I visited that town. The creek that runs through Beulah, Colorado ranges from a tiny trickle in times of drought (which Beulah sees quite often) to a rushing torrent in the spring, gushing with the runoff from the snowmelt up in the higher mountains. During that visit, the creek (pronounced “crick” by many locals) was quite high.

My mother and I walked down to see the place where the creek crosses Central Avenue. At this junction, the creek calmly flows under the road through some pipes for much of the year. But in the spring, the creek insists on crossing the road. Cars and trucks typically drive right through the creek, but happily there is a little bridge for pedestrians who aren’t wearing their waders.

To see what other streams are flowing, merrily row yourself over to the fff blog.

looking up

To follow up on yesterday’s post of spirally gates and grates in Boston, here are some spiral-adorned balconies in Sevilla, Spain. While walking through the streets one evening during my visit there in 2009, I looked up to admire the shadows of the balcony gates.

This particular building had lights shining in several directions, producing a pleasing tangle of spirally shadows.

I also enjoy the contrast of the bright orange walls and the dark metal.

Today was a much better day, by the way, and I did not have to fight the urge to stay curled up in a little ball. Things are definitely looking up when I have gotten a bit more sleep.

5 arched gates

Here are 5 photos of arched gates that I have come across over recent years.

Malahide, Ireland, 2014

Sevilla, Spain, 2009

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 2005

Portland, Oregon, USA, 2012

Shanghai, China, 2012

This is another unintentional series of photos. Had I had the series in mind, I likely would have framed gates more similarly. (Also, I do wish I could go back in time and replace the point-and-shoot camera I was using in 2005 on my trip to New Orleans. I suppose it would also be worthwhile just to go back to New Orleans…)