It’s such a cliché to say a city is “sprawling”, but sometimes, it’s the only word. And when it comes to Wuhan, China, home of 10 million people and a whole lot of smog, sprawling seems appropriate, says Alexandra Patrikios.
It’s such a cliché to say a city is “sprawling”, but sometimes, it’s the only word. They’re the cities that reach into the horizon like a concrete Serengeti, with tangled freeways ducking and weaving through the landscape. They’re the cities that, come nightfall, look like an earthbound nebula pulsing below. They’re cities that, every time you think you’re about to break free, toss up another turnpike or roundabout, encircling you in its urban hedge maze.
Wuhan is that kind of city. It just sprawls.
Catch up on part 1 (which includes an explanation of Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian tourists getting arrested for taking photos of tanks and eager tour guide Ashot’s #1 less for taking foreigners around Nagorno-Karabakh) here.
By 10am next morning I was crammed in the back seat of Ashot’s Lada with the two Japonski, as Ashot referred to them and Alessio. Marty managed to score the front seat.
“Three people OK!” Ashot said turning around to us from watching the road and veering towards oncoming traffic. “Four people, politzia!”. He took his hands off the wheel and motioned writing a ticket. Continue reading “Red Ink Run: Tanks for the memory — part 2”
Nov 22, 2012
K Johnson went traipsing through Nagorno-Karabakh, a de-facto state closely allied with Armenia, and a mighty thorn in the side of Azerbaijan who will refuse any traveller entry to their country if they show evidence of having been there.
Fanaticism thrives on peripheries. I was thinking about this when the mashutka (minibus) pulled up at the exit to the bus station and flung its doors open. In poked the head of a man holding a religious hologramatic picture of the Virgin Mary morphing into Jesus on the crucifix in one hand and a meat cleaver in the other. Fortunately this was no zealot; rather a travelling salesman that diversified a little too much. The pictures were a flop but two people bought the meat cleavers, one of them sitting right behind me.
The bus closed its doors and continued on. I was in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Continue reading “Red Ink Run: Tanks for the memory — part 1”
Stepping my way past smiling custom officials I was somewhat apprehensive as what to expect from Myanmar. I hadn’t read much about Myanmar, but from what I’d seen posted on the internet over the past few years I was, well, a little timid. Yet, as the airport doors slid open, I was welcomed by a familiar face — Lionel Messi. Brightly illuminated, the giant billboard was one of many surprising western influences welcoming me to Myanmar.
William Jackson writes: The smell is the worst part. It was described to me as “excrement — diarrhoea to be exact”. With a recommendation like that, how could I resist?
Stinky tofu (chòu dòufu) is Taiwan’s most notorious dish. A form of fermented tofu, it’s similar to blue cheese in that those who like it love it and those who don’t tend to gag on it. Continue reading “Taiwan’s most notorious dish: stinky tofu”