Mar 25 2011

Wanzhu Yuan

The Ten-Thousand Bamboo Garden 万竹园 is located in Baotuquan park, consists of 186 houses and 13 courtyards of three big sections. It boasts four pavilions, five bridges, one flower garden and three of Jinan’s 72 famous fountains. By pools and streams stand halls, pavilions and kiosks. Courtyards are linked together by sheltered corridors. In the Flower Garden there are many stone carvings, woodcuts and brick carvings. Predicting such tales as Two Dragons Playing with a Pearl; Elephant, Lion, Tiger and Leopards; Pine, Bamboo, Plum Blossom and Orchid. Eight Immortals Crossing The Sea; Magpie Greeting Plum Blossom, as well as Sword, Sabre Spear and Halberd. They were elaborately executed and well preserved. Dotted with pools, rocks, bamboo groves lawn flowers and plants and hemmed by unique shaped rocks the Flower Garden presents many scenic spots.

The Ten-Thousand Bamboo Garden was built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368). It was so named because of its large groves of bamboo and graceful environment. The garden once served as the residence of Wang Ping (王苹; 1661-1720) a famous poet of the Qing Dynasty. In 1912, one year after the Qing court was replaced by the Republic of China, Zhang Huaizhi, commander of the Fifth Military Region of the North Standing Army (later an army inspector and governor of Shandong Province) bought the garden. He hired skillful craftsmen and spent fifteen years from 1912 to 1927 enlarging the garden to the present size.

Structurally compact and artistically valuable, the Ten Thousand Bamboo Garden 万竹园 (Zhang’s Garden 张家花园) presents an ancient compound combining the architectural style of southern China courtyard with the flavor of quadrangular courtyard in northern China.

On August 4, 1985, the Jinan City Hall decided to have the 李苦禅 Li Kuchan Memorial Hall built in the Ten Thousand Bamboo Garden. Since it was officially opened to the public on June , 11, 1986 many domestic and foreign calligraphy and painting exhibitions have been held in the hall.

Mar 24 2011

A tree

This is the tree by my window as I’m writing this blog up .. in different seasons

April 23, 2011

April 8, 2011

March 25, 2011

March 19, 2011

Jan 7, 2011

Jan 7, 2011

Mar 14 2011

The first year

Mar 8 2011

Europe 2010

June 23 – July 25

Oh well, Europe is Europe – pix on FB. It doesn’t change or changes a lot? Frankfurt added a subway, not just China .. wink .. Poor me. We took trains between cities there instead of driving, which was great. London

  1. Fri, 6/25 @ London: acer Isner
  2. Sat, 6/26: London, Les Miserables with Nick Jonas
  3. Sun, 6/27: Cambridge, dumplings
  4. Mon, 6/28: Day 7 at Wimbledon; Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi
  5. Tue, 6/29: Day 8 at Wimbledon, the qualifying rounds for W; Centre Court
  6. Wed 6/30: Day 9 at Wimbledon;
  7. Thu, 7/1: National Archives; Canary Wharf, Greenwich, Wimbledon Court 2
  8. Fri, 7/2: Kew Gardens, makeshift music, Twilight in London
  9. Sat 7/3: Earls Court; Tate Modern; bad commentating; Grace Kelly at V&A; Buckingham Palace Shakespeare: Henry IV part 2; Swan at the Globe restaurant
  10. Sun, 7/4: Kew Gardens in the AM; lunch at Brick Lane; the British Museum, n Arthur Probsthain; Xiao Yin; last night out
  11. Mon, 7/5 @ Paris: EuroStar to Paris; Ladurée; shoes at Notre Dame; Bourse du Commerce; Centre Georges Pompidou; couple of street performers at the Louvre; an evening stroll on Seine
  12. Tue, 7/6: St. Montmartre; Louis Vuitton
  13. Wed, 7/7: Louvre
  14. Thu, 7/8: Library BnF
  15. Fri, 7/9: Louvre
  16. Sat, 7/10 @ Paris: Luxembourg Garden;
  17. Sun, 7/11 @ Strasbourg: bridge; bikers
  18. Mon, 7/12 @ Strasbourg:
  19. Tue, 7/13 @ Frankfurt: Heidelberg;
  20. Wed, 7/14 @ Ffm:
  21. Thu, 7/15: money museum
  22. Fri, 7/16 @ Kassel: Euro Bank €;
  23. Sat, 7/17 @ Kassel: Water night;
  24. Sun, 7/18 @ Ffm: Gilserberg
  25. Mon, 7/19: The Maliks; Elizabeth
  26. Tue, 7/20: Insider Tour; John Fogerty; Steinernes Haus; Haus Wertheym; Kameha Suite; The Römer; Kiesow
  27. Wed, 7/21: Botanic Garden; Korean GardenWirtshaus
  28. Thu, 7/22: Seligenstadt
  29. Fri, 7/23: train rides; Schokoladenmuseum – Chocolate Museum Cologne; Claudius Therme
  30. Sat, 7/24: Falkstraße 45; Botanic Garden; lunch at Wagner, the Sachsenhausen; Gustav Berg n Heide Berg; Restaurant Zenobia
  31. Sun 7/25: missed our flight; Swords; The Blarney Stone

Mar 8 2011

The national flags

Steppingstone, New York, April 20, 2011

Kassel, July 2010

Managua, May 2009

Mar 6 2011

A hairy night

It was autumn in 1991, Golfer and I travelled to Europe. Our itinerary was landing in Munich, spent a few nights there, then head over to Salzburg for the Mozart Festival; spending a week in Vienna, taking overnight train to Berlin for the Rembrandt exhibit, then drive down slowly to Frankfurt visiting the Hardings, making few overnight stops on the The Castle Road. Everything was nicely planned out and seemed very routine. After a gorgeous week in Wien, between Opera, chess tourney (held in the City Hall, right behind our hotel and the Polgar sisters were playing), café, dinners, bars, more Mozart concerts (it was an overdoes!) .. we left for Berlin.

Actually after dinner that night we had a few drinks at the hot bar Keller that located in a basement. A group of youth shared better part of the long table with the three of us. My German wasn’t functioning and only said hello with the young Germans. After a little while, my friend said quietly that they were from where we were going, because the atmosphere was bit less than friendly. Germans are very racists, especially right after their reunification.

Anyway, that was the least problem we had that night.

The train conductor was a chubby old man, very jolly. After he learned Golfer is an American, he told us to wait, he’d get us an empty sleeping booth for the night, so we didn’t have to share with others. The train wasn’t crowded at all. Golfer thanked him and tip him generously. What amusing was there were few non English speaking female travellers, either out of boredom or just glad to see a cute guy, they giggled and came over, surprised to find an Asian.
“You amerlica?” They asked him repeatedly.
I guess the face of the USA is still very Waspy even the underlying says otherwise. The girls surrounded him, asking if he’s married or I was his girl friend. ..

The train left Vienna around 11pm. By 2am, we were awaken for the passport check, the first stop in Czeckslovakia, a former communist state. I suddenly realized I forgot to apply for a visa. Initially we were thinking to fly up to Berlin, which no visa was needed. But when we changed to train, I forgot all about it. I dammed myself, because I used to travel a great deal with my Hong Kong ‘passport’, had to deal with visa wherever I went. That time I was using a Chinese passport that I just obtained here in New York. It was a novelty to me because I never had a Chinese passport before.

The border patrol came up and he pointedly knocked on our door loudly and demanded our passports. Then told us to get off the train because I didn’t have visa for that dumpy communist country.

My feeling was that he was so glad to have found something to pick/do and especially at the expenses of an American. Once I was in Vienna in the 80s, went to Hungarian embassy applying for a visa to Budapest. There were three young Americans and the clerk was very rude to them, even ordered them to wait off line, till the rest of us – the non Americans – were processed first.

So at 2am on a chilly night, we got kicked off the warm train to a deserted train station in a communist country in Europe, was told to wait there for the next train back to Vienna.

I wasn’t easily frightened, but that night fear was looming large. I felt sorry for Golfer, because of my oversight, he had to experience this. .. anything could happen to us in that nowhere station and no one would know.

The station master came out of his sleep, rubbing his eyes, pointed to the bench and then clock, said, “wait .. 5 ..” So the next train was three hours away. Before he vanished to sleep, I asked for a set of chess. As we were playing, mostly waiting, I joked to Golfer, “See, I’m not the meanest commie you’ve met.”

That three hours was like three years. Neither of us had much of interest to actually play the chess. We discussed to change our travel route to the Romantic Road instead, driving thou the Romantische Straße up to Frankfurt.

AND I was debating if I should tell him more bad news .. that I only got a single entry visa to Austria. Meaning, legally, I could be refused at border.. ..

When the train rambling into the station, I was over joyed because nothing terribly happened to us. I didn’t mention the single entry visa, since Americans have no concept of visa. .. Luckily, no one picked bone with me on the way back to Vienna. Perhaps the conductor/police took pity on me – who else would board a train in 2am in that little town? He just waved us though.

Mar 1 2011

The phone booths

DC, April 20, 2011

Feb 17, 2011 @ Supreme Court, Mineola NY

Shanghai: near 中山东一路 9 号; 9/18/2010

Shanghai: near 中山东一路 9 号, Sept 18, 2010

June 26, 2010 @ Cambridge, UK