Stockholm Sweetheart

Even in the winter, or maybe especially in the winter (unclear on this distinction, frankly), Stockholm is a beautiful city.

It’s a wonderful walking city, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the snow.  Everything’s actually pretty close, and worse case, you’re thirty minutes from the next thing.  And there’s all this water and open sky.  Reflections on ‘flections on ‘flections.

View of Djurgarden from the Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm Sweden View of Djurgarden from Fotografiska, Stockholm Sweden Stockholm, Sweden Look at this badass motherfucker.  Courtesy of a gallery of old school portraits at the Fotografiska.Fat chef, Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden Orchid in Kungsholmen, Stockholm SwedenDjurgarden, Stockholm, SwedenDropped by the Vasa Museum, where they have a reconstruction of an actual ship from a bunch of centuries ago when they made ships out of wood.  Also, whoever made this particular ship fucked up real good because it sank after a few miles.  By a few miles, I mean less than five miles.  That’s about as good as those origami boats I used to make in third grade and put it in some sink water.  But it does look like a pretty badass warship.

If it could only float.Vasa Museum, Stockholm, SwedenShipbuilding tools at Vasa Museum, Stockholm, SwedenAnd of course, Stockholm has some cool shops.  Check out this dope poster.  City of champions indeed.Poster in Sodermalm, Stockholm, Sweden

Palais de Tokyo, Paris

The Palais de Tokyo is my favorite museum in Paris (thanks, Russ).  I visit every time I’m back in the city. There’s this indelible image I have from the museum’s Superdome exhibit in 2008, of Daniel Furman’s elephant Würsa (I’ll leave the Google image search to you).

This time, it was Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s enormous revolving bookshelf, La Bibliothèque Clandestine.  Check it out:House of Haos Palais de Tokyo Paris Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster La Bibliotheque clandestine 1 House of Haos Palais de Tokyo Paris Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster La Bibliotheque clandestine 2 House of Haos Palais de Tokyo Paris Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster La Bibliotheque clandestine 3 House of Haos Palais de Tokyo Paris Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster La Bibliotheque clandestine 4The double-sided door opened up into a secret exhibit room.

There was also Brazilian sculptor Henrique Oliveira’s Baitogogo, a stunning Gordian knot of gnarled roots, a hydra of stories out of some plantation backwoods.  The really cool part was that it was in the children’s area of the museum – it gave the area an unmistakable aura of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and ‘Bridge to Terabithia’, if you grew up with those books like I did.House of Haos Palais de Tokyo Paris Henrique Oliveira BaitogogoAnd of course, the photobooth.House of Haos Palais de Tokyo Paris Foto-AutomatPalais de Tokyo
13 Avenue du Président Wilson
75116 Paris, France

Tokyo Wanderings – Meiji Shrine and (a Glimpse of) the Imperial Palace

The first weekend in Tokyo, I did a bit of walking around the Palace Hotel, where Wharton was holding its Tokyo alumni forum, and looked in from afar at the Imperial Palace grounds.

DSC_0116 DSC_0122Then, Lucas and I tagged along with the Palms, a nice white family (Cuban-Swedish?  Are they still white?  They speak like eight languages.  That’s not very white.) on a tour through Roppongi, Omotesando, and most importantly the Meiji Shrine. Continue reading

L’Usine – Saigon

Another recommendation courtesy of our Shanghai friend Winston, L’Usine is a hip shop and restaurant/coffeeshop in District 1, tucked away in the second-floor of an otherwise unmemorable collection of galleries, boutiques, and scooter parking.  Up a narrow turn of stairs is L’Usine’s corridor, its tiling, color scheme, and signage very reminiscent of a nostalgic French bistro.

DSC_0349 DSC_0352Inside, the space opens up, complementing the murmur and voices and laughter from the late morning flock of coffee-drinkers, brunch-gatherers, and the welcoming expat vibe.  Behind the restaurant sits the retail portion of the space, sporting aged wood and industrial chic, tinged with elements of curious and quirky, like stuffed elephants and billowing ceiling drapery: Continue reading

Cu Chi Tunnels

You may notice that I don’t have much in the way of the actual tunnels.  One way of looking at it is that it is difficult to take photos while crawling on your hands and knees through a claustrophobically small space that simultaneously feels like an oven.  Another, more enlightened viewpoint is that the other things we saw on our hour-long walking tour were more interesting.  The bombs, for example.  And especially the booby traps.

Needless to say, war is such a crazy, crazy thing, twisting humanity like a wet rag, wringing out all forms of odd and cruel genius.

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Masdar City – Abu Dhabi

On our day-trip in Abu Dhabi, before heading back to Dubai, we stopped by Masdar City, a self-described “cleanteach cluster” a short drive away from downtown Abu Dhabi.  Our friend Russell had given us a cursory introduction, in which he’d mentioned that the city, still being built, had self-driving cars.  We couldn’t help but be intrigued.

Perhaps it was the time of day (early evening), but walking into Masdar City, sparkling clean and practically empty of people, with various touchscreen panels dotted with videos of talking scientists and other serious-looking people – it was hard not to shake the unsettling futurism, that Masdar City could be the backdrop to some robots-gone-berserk or human-cloning mad science.

DSC_0995 Continue reading