Just only 13 years old, Zev (Fiddle Oak) creates a fantasy dreamland through his photographs. His camera is named Betsy. Zev’s sister and assistant Nellie is 17. They enjoy working and creating together. The magic of Fiddle Oak cannot be described in words; no word that already exists can accurately sum up the extreme talent and wonder of Zev and Nellie.
At this moment, I am in the vibrant city of Shanghai, sitting on a couch near the hostel’s bar listening to music and relaxing away with friends. During these past few weeks I rarely had time to just sit down and reflect; something so integral to a person’s travel experience. So here I am, casually typing away as I await for dinner time.
Seoul is a city pulsing with energy, youth, extravagance and…caffeine. The culture that is fastidiously crafted around 김치, 노래방, and skin-care is endearing. The culture alone is enticing and attractive, yet leaves one exhausted from trying to keep up with such overreaching beauty standards.
There, we stayed in Hongdae, a college district where everyone is young and beautiful (just like the rest of Seoul, except on steroids). Streets were aligned with an astronomical amount of cafes, restaurants, bars, and stores. This made it easy for us to get hooked on caffeine and wifi. When my friends and I weren’t perusing the streets like curious travelers, we were spending quality time with other friends who were nice enough to show us around Seoul and do what the locals do. Seeing their college campuses and eating at authentic restaurants made our trip even more rich as we weren’t just wandering around without an agenda. We saw the famous Gangnam district, clubbed at Coccoon, bought face products from the many brands, and screamed for our lives at Lotte World.
After Seoul, we headed to Suzhou, a small and quaint city famous for it’s breathtaking gardens and canals. There, we stayed at a beautiful hostel situated in a quiet area, which was a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of Seoul. At Suzhou, we visited the Humble Administrator’s Garden. After refreshing our eyes with all the greenery, we went to the Suzhou Museum to see the creation of famous architect I.M Pei, a Suzhou native. The short trip served as a time to relax and recharge our energies for our next big destinations. We even suffered from bouts of nostalgia as we watched movies from our youth, generously provided by the hostel.
Now, we are in Shanghai, “Paris of the Orient”, as it is rightly named so. The Bund is more gorgeous in person, the skyscrapers make New York’s look like dwarves, and the food is as delicious as what the guidebooks say. Our aim here is to be acquainted with the city as much as possible. Whether it is scarfing down xiao long baos, or riding double-decker buses, or singing karaoke until the wee hours of the night after a day of shopping, our Shanghai trip will be very 丰富. Fortunately we got to celebrate Sabrina’s birthday today. What a great way to celebrate one’s twentieth birthday; travelling everywhere without any real obligations and boundaries.
I am more than satisfied with the experiences I’ve had from the past few weeks. Every moment will be cherished, and I only hope that the fun and excitement will continue on.
Though [interractial] relationships don’t bother me, I am often dismayed by how little non-black women with black partners care to know about the realities of life as a Black person in the world. Their Black significant others never seem to get around to that, particular, discussion, and it emboldens them in their claims to post-racialism.
Far too often non-black women with a Black significant other proudly claim “they don’t see race” or “race doesn’t matter.” Worse yet they’ll claim expertise on the Black experience because they birthed a child of color much the way Ellen Pompeo of “Grey’s Anatomy” did on The View a couple of years back. Pompeo went on to rail against “segregated” black instituions like the NAACP and HBCUs. Ironically, these comments only reveal the combined ignorance and privilege of the woman saying them.
Black people didn’t build institutions centered around our blackness for fun. We don’t press racial conversations for attention. We do it because they’re imperative to addressing systemic discrimination. I’ve found that those who profess the greatest “color-blindness” are often the first to take advantage of the spoils of whiteness.”
6.18= back to Beijing