LIJIANG, CHINA: “NAXI LIFE”

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Rooftops of Lijiang

Beautiful early morning view from my hostel’s 3rd floor.

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Small Square, Early Morning.

I love to get up early and explore places with the feeling of being virtually alone. Fortunately, I got that feeling this morning. This is a small square that by the afternoon, was overrun by tour groups with flag-waving guides.

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Water Wheels

‘Water Wheels,’ divide the ‘Old Town’ from the ‘New Town.’

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Early morning shot of a canal on the ‘New Town’ side.

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Chairman Mao. In a square near the business district. Taller than a mountain.

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‘Old Town’ Scenery

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My hangout for coffee and Tibetan beef momo dumplings. LAMU’S HOUSE OF TIBET. Tibetan Beef Momo Dumplings. Delicious!

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Smells Like Dead Spirits

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Bridge connecting two important trade streets back in the day. When they used to travel via horse carts…‘New Town’ Waterway

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Samurai Doggy & Girl

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Naxi woman

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Boy Praying

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The Naxi created a written language over 1000 years ago using an amazing system of pictographs. The ONLY hieroglyphic language still in use.

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Three wells that people still use for drinking and washing clothes.

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Three Friends in a Cafe

Lijiang has been the base of the Naxi minority for the last 1400 years. Naxi women wear blue blouses and trousers covered by a blue or black apron. The traditional cape apparently symbolizes the heavens.

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“I was lost for about two and a half hours in the windy, maze-like streets of Old Town…and came upon one of the coolest places ever — providing me with one of the coolest moments in my life...I happened upon this little door…it said ‘bar,’ but…it was just one room, dark room, with a voice that said (i couldn’t see anyone) ‘come in.’ I said ‘no, thanks’ and walked away…but ended up returning due to the intrigue…one room with a couch and pillows….”

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So, this is it. My dream dwelling. He just lies on the couch and listens to music…So, from the doorway, you can see the whole room. There’s no bar, really. He just hangs out here to relax during the day then has jam/drinking sessions with his friends every night…

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This is my favorite aspect of the room. A small stage with a chair and amplifier…a solitary black and white photo on the brick wall of hands strumming a guitar…a mini-horse’s saddle (?), half-drunk liquor bottles….just love it!

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Sorry for the blur — it was so dark in there, but I hate using a flash, distorts the color too much…so, this is him. We didn’t exchange names, he didn’t speak much English…see his guitar and the Bob Marley pic. We’d try to speak a little, then he would just recline and listen to his Chinese rock music…

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As I walked in, the beer shelf was to my right. There were only two kinds of beer, 1 Chinese and 1 Budweiser. I opted for the Chinese and then asked how much. He said ‘no money. free.’ And that’s how my afternoon with this cool guy began…

Lijiang, China. June 2009

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA STREET ART & GRAFFITI: PEZ & RANDOM FRIENDS

I’m in the process of streamlining my blog and it’s forcing me to revisit my past – the many places I’ve been…whilst sitting here in lockdown. A flurry of emotions…Gratitude & Wanderlust…

This is a classic smiling Pez – his character has evolved over the years, but this is one I snapped early on in Bogotá back in 2012.

Bogotá, Colombia. October 2012.

PINGYAO, CHINA: “WALLED IN”


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Yamen Hostel, Pingyao. 30 rmb/ nt. around 5 usd.

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Yamen Hostel courtyard

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One of a million archaic archways leading to homes and courtyards…

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Sakura Cafe. The place to hang when you’re in Pingyao.

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Sakura Cafe Apple Pie

The Apple Pie at Sakura Cafe. It’s a whole pie. Naturally, I expected just a piece. I was even getting impatient, asking them how long it takes to get a piece of pie out here. Then, this came. I was like, a whole pie? How much? It was what it said in the menu…24rmb…in general, the Chinese eat big portions of everything. In KFC or McDonald’s, couples will get two sandwiches, chicken on the side, and ice cream for dessert….I love to watch the Chinese eat unabashedly. Whereas, in Vietnam, they sit in KFC for hours to see and be seen with a small fries and small Pepsi…not the Chinese!!!

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Men on Bike Carts in a Narrow Alleyway

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Bike Cart

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Looks like a house built into the wall

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The best-preserved ancient walled city in China – Pingyao.

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Pingyao residents

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Through another winding gateway

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Ancient walls built in 1370

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Its residences and shops, and even the government office are all STILL in the style of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties

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The most sedate cats and dogs in the world. Maybe they’re opium-heads? I dunno. It’s a bit disconcerting. I watched an owner play ‘chase’ with her dog today and the dog didn’t make a sound…just ran all around the room…I kept watching and thinking ‘Bark, dammit! Bark!’

April 2009. Pingyao, China.

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA STREET ART: ‘LOVE TATTOO” by TOXICOMANO, DjLU, & LESIVO

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The mural above is on the side of the building facing Septima.

7OCT12. The Chapinero, Bogotá, Colombia. 

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA STREET ART: WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD

This wall combining the efforts of all three amazing street artists, is opposite the Plaza de Toros de Santamaria (Bogota’s Bullfighting stadium.)

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Monkey & A Peace Sign by Lesivo

It seems to me like these guys think a lot about evolution and that humanity hasn’t really evolved effectively. Hence, the peace sign with the monkey. There are usually more violent symbols associated with the humans in their works.

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Man in a Chemical Suit by DjLu

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Monkey in a Hat by Lesivo

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Disillusioned Girl, Probably a Drug Addict, by Toxicomano

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Indigenous Woman with Child by DjLu, Evil Birdman by Lesivo

The woman is holding a sign that says “Nobody Wins.” This section of the mural depicts the two opposing sides in the class war that is so prevalent in Colombia: the poor desperately needing representation, and the powerful wealthy elite that rule the country on their own terms.

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Corruption and Beauty by Lesivo

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Fox and Four-Headed Cheetah by DjLu

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Four-Headed Cheetah and Boy by Toxicomano

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Cheetah and Boy by Toxicomano, Tattooed Punk Jester by DjLu

DjLu’s character looks almost like a court jester with his make-up on and his pointed boots. He appears to be balancing the globe on his knee (notice that it is dangerously close to the edge) while doing a Tai-Chi pose and his left hand is poised in the yogi-namaste gesture. We need peace and balance to save the world.

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Good Girl Gone Tramp by Lesivo

Notice the good little girl with the good intent of getting educated and following the dream of her parents (in the lightbulb,) but her eyes portray a fear, almost an inevitability of what she will be made to do and made to become, to get ahead in this world.

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Two Women by Lesivo

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Woman by Lesivo, Homeless Man by DjLu

With clenched fist, the man says he knows it’s all about guns (power) and money (wealth) so he’ll live in this perpetual state, for how can he emerge?

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Scream by Toxicomano

Notice the outline of the yellow dog that is on the attack of the man.

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Black Man Screaming for Justice While White Man Remains Silent, Toxicomano.

The title I gave it says it all.

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Man Covers his Mouth in the Face of Injustice by Lesivo

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Angry Monkeys by Lesivo

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A Brighter Future by DjLu

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Free Expression by DjLu

The Story this wall tells: The world began with peace and a simpler species ruled the planet. In the interim, the species evolved into humans, which were supposed to be more intelligent and were supposed to do the right thing for mankind. Instead, the world is worse off than its ever been, it’s at its breaking point, and humans are responsible for this condition. You see Lesivo’s angry monkeys attacking the scenes before them, demolishing them, letting the humans know that they did not make a better world, they’ve destroyed it. The next panel depicts two smiling boys by DjLu, which indicates that there is a brighter tomorrow, that we can change the world and make it right again.

All Pictures: 7OCT12. Bogotá, Colombia. 

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA STREET ART: CAPITALISM IS THE ENEMY by CRiSP

I found some more work from Australian artist, Crisp. This is located around Septima y Calle 52 or so…I don’t think it’s Obama necessarily that Crisp is raging against. Rather, I think it would be any U.S. President or Western leader. They all seem to represent the problems with the world: debt, war, hate, greed, pollution, and fraud. The indigenous people pictured next to the evil capitalist, are the people who essentially started this world. They’re the ones who respect the earth and approach the world with purity. The powers that be have ruined the simplicity and destroyed the opposing forces of monetary balance, peace, love, generosity, clean air, and truth. Notice two things: First, Crisp has his name with the proper ideals on the clothing of the indigenous people, while obviously Obama is cloaked in the opposite. Secondly, someone has tagged an “L,” I’m assuming for “Loser,” on Obama’s head and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Crisp. But, I could be wrong. I’m awaiting verification.

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7OCT12. Septima y Calle 50s. Bogotá, Colombia. 

ZIPAQUIRA, COLOMBIA: SALT CATHEDRAL

We caught the TransMilenio from Las Aguas station and took an easy ride for about an hour to Portal del Norte and then caught a local bus to Zipaquira, which took about 45 minutes. A short walk later, we made it to the Salt Cathedral.

Main Plaza with City Hall and Church
Main Plaza with City Hall and Church

Zipaquira is one of the oldest cities in Colombia, possibly originating in the 1500’s. The church pictured above right, Holy Trinity and San Antonio de Padua Parish, was created in 1779.

A Salt Cross in the Cathedral
A Salt Cross in the Cathedral
A Hollowed-Out Salt Cross in the Cathedral
A Hollowed-Out Salt Cross in the Cathedral
The Main Worship Hall
The Main Worship Hall

The Salt Cathedral (Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira) is an underground Roman Catholic Church built inside the tunnels of a salt mine about 200 meters underground. It’s a very popular tourist destination, but it also serves as a place of pilgrimage and about 3000 parishioners attend services every Sunday. Because it has no Bishop, it isn’t officially recognized as a Cathedral.

Angel and Cross
Angel and Cross
Central Barrel Vault
Central Barrel Vault

Stationed on the floor in front of the cross is “La Creacion del Hombre,” a sculpture by Carlos Enrique Rodriguez.

Worship Hall Bathed in Purple and Torquoise
Worship Hall Bathed in Purple and Torquoise

All Pictures: 6OCT12. Zipaquira. Bogota, Colombia.

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA STREET ART & GRAFFITI: TATTOOS

This is really cool. I can’t remember who the woman is painted by, but I can see a CRISP tribal mask tattoo on her arm.

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I ‘think’ this is Rodez because one of his tendencies is to paint multiple eyes.

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I haven’t seen any other ones by ‘Sluto,’ but this is on the side of a building in La Candelaria.

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29SEP12. Bogotá, Colombia.