Wednesday, January 6, 2010
NYC, Between food shopping and dinner, Christmas Eve
Between shopping for dinner, paying last minute bills and tying up lose ends from school and grading I squeezed in a longish phone call to Dalia’s former band mate, Alan Wong. A Chinese photojournalist, who like many seems to have hunkered back into his cultural roots. Alan has made many trips back and forth to China in the last few years. It sounds like he has successfully married mining his history with some freelance work. Standing in the village near Seventh Avenue So. I was given a quick drill on the geography of Beijing, the merits of the different spots to view the Great Wall, the vibe of the Forbidden City, the Lama Temple and certain key neighborhoods to explore over the Summer Palace, 798-the art district and working class life in the capital. Alan was able to synthesize and define a Beijing that reflected a view of the cultural monuments, advances in government housing and urban development, streetlife and hip locales to check into. Our chat finished with a promise to share some local contacts for drivers to show us at least some ideal spots to view the Wall. I feel like had I had more time and sense of it all, I could have created a crash for us. The official literature had seemed so foreboding in terms of the government’s desire to know your whereabouts, that couch surfing wasn’t in my consciousness. In the end, Alan’s contacts would prove quite useful. Recounting our exploits will be fun upon our return home.