Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gitane, Little Doggie

Or little alligator. Not sure why he is nailed to the wall go Cafe Gitane, a French-Morocan cafe in the base of the Jane Hotel in NYC. There was no alligator offered on the menu.

The Jane is an affordable choice in Chelsea on the Hudson, with rooms for two going at $125. But you get bunk beds in a room that measures 5'6" wide by 7' long and shared bathrooms. A little like a train, without all the stops and starts.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wei Wei All the Way Home

Unexpectedly came upon an exhibition of Ai Wei Wei, the Chinese artist, in the Grand Army Plaza in front of the Plaza Hotel in NYC.  Surrounding the Pulitzer Fountain, this circle of Chinese Zodiac Heads is based on the 12 animal heads that functioned as a water clock-fountain in the European-style gardens of  Emperor Qianlong at the summer palace of Yuanming Yuan outside of Beijing.

In 1860, French and British troops ransacked the summer palace and the heads were pillaged.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chinggis Khan

This a view of a new stainless steel sculpture of Chinggis Khan and his horse that is 120 feet tall in the middle of a valley. The small black bits above the horses mane are people!

Chinggis is the proper way to say Genghis, which can mean 'ocean' - in this case an ocean of grass that stretched from China to the Danube River and into Persia. He united the warring Mongol tribes and created the largest empire ever. Ruthless, yes, but also responsible for advances in civilization such as trade, diplomacy, meritocracy, and a tolerance for different religions. For a good overview, read 'Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World'.

BTW, John Wayne played Genghis Khan is a movie called 'The Conqueror' with Susan Hayward as his wife.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ulanbaatar Wood

Not the same as Norwegian Wood, but very colorful. This is some sort of platform/guard station/religious contraption on the grounds of the Ganantegchenling Monastery. The greens and ochres snap in the endless blue sky supported by the golden brown dust of the hills.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Monastery, of course, located in Ulaanbatar, Mongolia. Created in 1838 as a center of Mongolian Buddhism, it was damaged and closed in 1938 by Stalinists.

In 1990, with the Mongolians in charge of their own future, they set about restoring this important site, including rebuilding the 88 foot tall copper with gold plating Buddha. Many of the buildings are Tibetan style. Well loved part of Ulaanbatar.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Strada Nova for New Year

The Strada Nova (New Street) in Venice was completed in 1871 and created a generous 10 x 400 meter new pedestrian thoroughfare.  We were on our way to nowhere in particular in the light cold rain on a weeknight of Carnevale, when out of the mist came the apparition of local Venetians on their way to the opera.

They do exist (I think).