This past month has been pretty crazy as far as travel goes. Hell, the past 6 months have been crazy travel-wise. The posts on this blog are certainly a testament to that fact. I’m going to have a bit of time to slow down and reflect now though. My last trip in particular requires some post-jetlag contemplation. Condensed story: my editor at Runway Passport (check out our tumblr!) got invited to Tel Aviv to cover Tel Aviv Fashion Week, but she couldn’t go and offered the trip to me instead. I agreed, very enthusiastically, and jetted off to Tel Aviv. It was a wonderful experience. Wonderfully surreal as well.
I think the most incredible part was getting to meet people who work at all levels of the industry (bloggers to editors) and to see how a bunch of fairly young people are completely revolutionizing fashion in Israel. They’re literally transforming the entire business there. I fully expect to see big things from them in the future. It’s very exciting to be at the start of something. There’s an unparalleled energy and Tel Aviv really embodies that feeling of “up and coming”. The venue for the event was in the very fashionable Neve Tzedek area of Tel Aviv.
Photo of the press center at the venue. Trekking around the old train tracks everyday in heels was definitely a challenge. Kind of like being in a video game. Damn do I miss that sun though.
There were a number of shows that I really loved. The craziest one was definitely the Cavalli show, which was packed. I heard he showed a mixture of his S/S 2012 collection and some pieces from previous collections. I’ve never been a huge fan of all the Cavalli animal prints, but this collection had some really cool pieces. I’ve always found it difficult to take decent runway shots with a standard point and shoot, but I finally finally figured out a setting that works decently well.
I’m starting to believe that no matter where you are, fashion weeks are exhausting affairs. They’re moments of fun surrounded by lots of running around, working, and waiting. Also photographer style shots. I really appreciate the photographers who sent me the photos they took of me!
Photo by Gili Korman Golander. Day 3 outfit where exhaustion had really set in.
Photo by Ilan Porat. This photo was taken while I was interviewing a designer. I didn’t know it was being taken, but I’m glad my hand happens to be where it is! I think I finally have to acknowledge that this outfit is an upskirt photo waiting to happen, sigh.
On the last day I was in Israel, I got to go on a mini-tour of Jerusalem, which wasn’t anywhere near long enough to explore the city. Jerusalem is a city that deserves slow meandering walks with lots of detours and lots of time to just sit around taking everything in, preferably from a high vantage point. I honestly never thought I’d ever get to visit Israel, but now I can’t wait to go back. Someday I’m going to have the time to really explore Jerusalem. Maybe I’ll put another note/wish into the Wailing wall. Maybe I’ll try to find the great restaurant with this amazing view again.
In a lot of ways, I absolutely love what I do, despite not being paid. I can’t even begin to recount the number of new places and people I’ve gotten access to because of Runway Passport. I love working at a startup. I get to do and try my hand at things I would never otherwise be allowed to. That’s the beauty of working at a startup; you have to grow in order for the company to. Of course, the uncertainty can be maddening and the money issue makes me want to hide under my blankets with nothing save for my laptop, but then I think about all these designers that I’ve gotten to talk to, even ones from places like Mozambique, and I get that it’s worth it. They deserve to have their stories told and their hard work seen. Aren’t we all trying to find success despite the odds stacked against us?
I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I do know that I’ve been afforded some amazing experiences (freakin’ Israel!). Maybe I’ll stay and maybe I’ll have to go make money elsewhere, but I’ll always think Runway Passport is a great idea and worth supporting.
Ugh I think I have angry asian bird flu. Either that or some invisible being is trying to rip my throat out. Or maybe I have a case of I-feel-shitty-and-nothing-will-make-me-feel-better-save-whining-about-the-shittiness. <————— I wrote this bit last week when I’d just gotten back from China and came down with the cold both of my parents had been battling for the entirety of our trip.
Here goes the story of how I ended up visiting China.
The Great Wall
Sometime in September my parents found out about this super cheap 8-day tour of Shanghai and its surrounding cities (Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Nanjing). It was basically a tour of cultural sites where you could buy some pretty expensive stuff. A sort of “come see our, technically yours as well, culture and support our economy by spending thousands of dollars!” thing.
I’m not someone who particularly enjoys these organized tours, especially when the bus rides devolve into really long, intense sales pitches, but my understanding is that these are like rites of passage for first generation asian kids. Being that this was most likely my last one and I wasn’t, ahem, actually paying for it, I thought I’d refrain from being a whiny shit and just keep my opinion to myself. Except I don’t have to now. If I were to give my real opinion it would be: capitalist as fuck and kind of disturbing, but thoroughly educational in more ways than one.
I got to visit a World Heritage Site for instance.
Visiting what appeared to be a tourist temple.
I really love these stone lanterns. Also it’s worth noting that this was the bluest sky I saw while I was in China.
Some of the places we got to visit included a jade factory, a tea farm, a pearl factory, and a Chinese medicine school. There were also other places with stuff you could purchase. Some were most interesting than others (tea kettle production center?). We also got to see this guy:
Does he look a bit disapproving here or is it just me?
It always fascinates me to see spiritual/cultural sites in a sea of skyscrapers. Major Chinese cities have been developing so quickly that the old is regularly razed to make room for the new. It’s both sad and impressive.
Luckily there are some areas that they’re going to preserve.
I think they were doing construction here, but they’re going to maintain the general feel it currently has. I really appreciate whoever first designed bridges like this. The full circle that’s created from the bridge’s reflection is lovely.
A crabbing boat. The residents have to always have someone on the boat because if not poachers will apparently come and try to steal their place in the water. A lot of the boats also had dogs. I wonder if it’s weird for the dogs to get back onto solid land.
We happened to be there during crab season, which resulted in this:
I’ve never taken apart my own crab before and the entire process felt very ritualistic to me. I think the prolonged eating process makes the crab taste better though. Shanghai hairy crab is Shanghai’s response to Peking duck. Both deserve the praise they receive and I have the feeling both have a uniqueness that can’t be replicated once you move them away from the source.
Hmm, this post is getting absurdly long so I’ll end it here. Hopefully I’ll have time to throw up a post that’s more Beijing-centric soon, but I’m heading to Tel Aviv for a week of business so we’ll see. Too many places to cover, too little time!!!
Um yeah….see above. This is going to be a long one. I’ve held off on writing this post for about a week because I honestly didn’t know what to say about it and had to sort through my own thoughts. I guess there’s some background I should go through. Last Sunday I went to Occupy Wall Street with 150 chocolate chip cookies and a big “Free Cookies” sign. There. That’s what happened. Between the pepper spray, the nightsticks, and the arrests, I figured some of the protesters really deserve a damn cookie. I went thinking that people were maybe hungry and this would be a cool way for me to start conversations with people (see: bribing people to talk to me because I’m self-aware enough to know that I am majorly awkward). I’m a good baker and I’m not above exploiting that fact! I handed out some and let a group take the rest to raise donations with.
I really do believe in what is happening at Zuccotti Park. When I think about what is occurring politically in this country, all I feel is anger and disappointment. How the fuck is anything supposed to get done this way if we don’t all personally demand it? The government managed to mobilize tons of taxpayer money to bail out the banks in record time. By now, they’ve had years to do something, anything, for the rest of the population, but nothing has happened. How can you not be angry when you read about something like this? It is becoming increasingly apparent that any good things to come out of this time period, the things that will be remembered in history, are going to come from the people, and not the politicians. This movement is something different. Something that will change history. In some ways, it already has. This DIY activist approach is nothing new, but the fact that this movement is so technologically connected is genuinely something exciting.
Despite the appearance of general disarray in the park, this is a seriously well organized protest. There are generators providing power. Their live stream is well documented. They’re connected and working for a purpose.
They’ve set up a greywater system. The water they use to wash dishes gets run through the system and then used to water the plants in the park.
Volunteers sort through the piles of clothing donations they’ve received.
They also have people who sweep and clean around the park. A lot of articles have talked about how it’s completely unsanitary there, which seemed plausible to me prior to actually having seen the place. Now that I’ve been there though, I really don’t agree with that. It’s a park. How clean can they really expect it to be? I was at Tompkins Square Park recently and it wasn’t pristine either.
Occupy Wall Street is full of people of all ages who are really willing to talk to others about why they’re there and how the system needs to change.
They’ll talk to you as they make you a t-shirt.
They’ll talk to you via music.
This guy will give you a massage (sleeping on cement probably isn’t great for your back….) and I’m sure he’s got opinions to share.
Patrick volunteering in Comfort will talk to you. And this awesome dog will let you pet him!
There are also tons of artists and there’s a really creative vibe throughout the park.
A sense of humor
Now some random photos I took.
This photo because I like it. His shirt says “Occupy Everywhere”, which is increasingly becoming the case.
This one because it needs to be said.
This photo because it’s probably how Occupy Wall Street looks to a lot of people. “Well, I don’t really know what they’re doing, but they seem to be doing it altogether.”
My impression of Occupy Wall Street was that it’s a bunch of people who have their own personal views, but agree that something needs to change. They want something better for this country. And really, isn’t that how we all feel? You see the growing income gap and recognize that something is wrong. The fact that more than 49.9 million people in this country don’t have health insurance is awful. 46.2 million people are living in poverty for christ’s sake. To think that absolutely nothing is wrong with our country and that these protesters should just shut up is actually flat out irresponsible at this point.
This is a revolution. One that states “we, the American citizens, deserve better.” When all the illogical/self-righteous/unintelligent behavior seen at the Republican Primaries breaks my heart, I can still be proud to be a citizen of this country because there are compassionate people out there. Ones who recognize the need for an inclusive, peaceful, movement. A lot of peoples’ hopes are hinged on the success of Occupy Wall Street and frankly, our country could really use something to have faith in right now. The way things are is not how they’ve always been and it’s not how they need to be in the future. We can demand change for the better.
Some stuff to read:
What the Wall Street Protesters are angry about in helpful chart form
Definitely, definitely read this speech by Naomi Klein
The Occupy Wall Street website
I realized something kind of strange recently, despite the amount of time I’ve spent in New York City, I’ve never spent much time on the Lower East Side. I went into the city for a meeting on Monday and I ended up wandering around the Lower East Side. It was awesome! I can’t believe I’ve never spent more time there before. Apparently there are tons of gardens in the area, which I sort of vaguely knew, but it’s still really cool to see some of them in person. Definitely need to do that more.
The meeting was at this old squatter building that kind of blew my mind. And then I felt totally lame for having my mind blown by it. I don’t know when exactly I developed this aversion to feeling excited about stuff. Maybe in my shitty early teenage years. It’s sad this behavior has become ingrained as I genuinely love being excited about stuff now. This building deserves excitement though! It has it’s own zine library and darkroom and it’s where Food Not Bombs started (so I’ve heard from a seemingly reputable source)!
This image is one of my favorites. It looks like someone spent a lot of time on it. Sadly, they are tearing this building down, BUT! They are putting an awesome new arts and culture center in it’s place.
Another wall. Sea horses in the sky seemed to appear throughout this room.
Here they are with a blimp and some hot air balloon-esque thing.
Mirror man in the hall.
The part of me that wishes I could have seen New York in the 70s is really glad that buildings like this still exist and that people who care about these spaces still exist too. This building…..it reminds me of when you’re going into a club bathroom fully prepared to be grossed out, but the walls are so ridiculous and schizophrenically covered that you forget to be grossed out for a second. A reprieve of some sort. I’ve seen the design of the new building they’re putting in this one’s place and it looks gorgeous. I hope I’m around when they finish it. In the meantime I’ll dream about the walls.
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