58 Hours in Singapore

I wanted to do something special for my birthday earlier this month, so I decided to spend the weekend in Singapore—my first trip to the city-state. Have you read the New York Times features on “36 Hours in …,” where they outline a (usually extravagant) jam-packed weekend of activities? My excursion to Singapore wasn’t quiteContinue reading “58 Hours in Singapore”

Why I’m Leaving China

Sorry, that title is probably the ultimate China expat in-joke. The backstory: almost exactly two years ago—right as I arrived in China, in fact—there was a sudden little flurry (“flurry” meaning three, by my count) of longtime expatriates returning home and penning public declarations of their reasons for doing so. The press quickly turned thisContinue reading “Why I’m Leaving China”

Dongtai Road Antique Market Update

As I wrote the other day, Shanghai’s antique market on Dongtai Road is slated for closure and demolition in the coming months, with the street’s shops scheduled to shut their doors today, October 15 (the freestanding stalls are supposed to close by the end of the year). When I visited the market on Sunday afternoon,Continue reading “Dongtai Road Antique Market Update”

Disappearing Soonish: Shanghai’s Dongtai Road Antique Market

I don’t venture over to the antique market on Dongtai Road all that often. I have plenty of Mao pins and propaganda posters, porcelain and jade really aren’t my style, and the stuff that I like the most—Art Deco furniture and light fixtures—is both out of my price range and a hassle to get backContinue reading “Disappearing Soonish: Shanghai’s Dongtai Road Antique Market”

Books, Books, and More Books: Taking the #HistoriannChallenge

Earlier this month, the New York Times interviewed retired Princeton historian of the Civil War James McPherson for the newspaper’s “By the Book” feature. The Times asked McPherson to name the best historians writing today, the books that have most influenced him, the best treatments of particular subjects, and so forth. When I and aContinue reading “Books, Books, and More Books: Taking the #HistoriannChallenge”

All Aboard the Yangon Circle Line

The Yangon Circle Line train is the exact opposite of Chinese high-speed rail. Over the course of three hours, the Circle Line traces a route only 28.5 miles long; there are points when the train moves so slowly that it seems like it would be faster to get out and walk. During the short stretchesContinue reading “All Aboard the Yangon Circle Line”

Myanmar So Far, In Five Pictures

Pretty much the whole Yangon airport appears sponsored by Samsung. Quick Wednesday morning stop at one of the many tea shops lining Yangon’s streets. The tea is thick, milky, and super-sweet; it’s never going to replace black coffee in my daily routine. Spire of the Sule Pagoda, a stupa that occupies a traffic circle notContinue reading “Myanmar So Far, In Five Pictures”

One Night in Kunming and Scattered Thoughts on Travel

Greetings from Yangon, Myanmar (or Rangoon, Burma, depending on your politics), where I’m spending the Chinese National Day break. To get to Yangon, I first had to fly to Kunming, a city in southwest China that serves as a sort of gateway to Southeast Asia. Due to a combination of flight schedules and my ownContinue reading “One Night in Kunming and Scattered Thoughts on Travel”