There’s an abandoned house tired with cracks that reveal its age. It is wearing thin of its drywall, and the structure seems to degrade and crumble right before the eyes of onlookers. It’s abandoned—but full. The white walls filled to the brim with large black letters, characters and shapes that have been strung together into a novel. The Chongqing Novel House in China draws hundreds of wanderers to the house that has itself become a story.
Scrawled on the walls by an anonymous hand is a tale of adventure and heroism. As you move within the house, you see diagrams and images which correlate along with the themes and the messages within the story, and by the house’s end, you’re left wondering, why? (more…)
The look of shock and horror had crept up on her face. I sensed jolts of confusion from her as I spoke the words. “I would like the number four without meat.”
Her eyes went blank in expression before she refocused them again on me as I stood patiently at the cash register. “Did you want another type of meat?” she asked hoping quietly to herself that I had just misspoken.
“No, just the sandwich without any meat.”
She turned around for a second to look for help and asked another cook behind her, “Do we have sprouts?” She turned to face me again. “Did you want sprouts? We can put sprouts in it.”
I smiled. “Sure, that sounds great.” I realized that the encounter that I had just gone through wouldn’t be the last in the beef state of Texas. (more…)
Chilling gusts of air blew in from Lake Michigan into the “Windy City” of Chicago as my good friend from college, my sister, and I made our way from the architecture tour boat to the shops along Navy Pier. It was then that I had heard, for the tenth time, that I had picked a terrible weekend to visit Chicago, Illinois—and I definitely realized that.
Temperatures dropped into the low 40’s, and at one point, when we were waiting on a platform to take the “L” across the city, it even began to snow. I quickly learned that the best time to visit the third largest city in the United States are not April through May due to the unpredictability of the weather, but actually in May or June and between September and October.
What I also learned was that Chicago is a beautiful and a fantastic city full of wonderful people, delicious food, gorgeous architecture, and several old and brand new friends that I hold dear to my heart. (more…)
A billowing pile of smoke was rising from the fire we had lit inside the antique wood-burning fireplace that was housed inside the authentic, hand-made old-fashioned log cabin we rented in South Lake Tahoe through Airbnb. I could feel my eyes begin to water as the white indoor clouds reached the vaulted, lodge-pole daring ceilings upstairs.
“Maybe we should open up a window?” My friend was attempting to stifle the smoke in the fireplace after trying to circulate the heat from the flames around the living room.
“Yeah, maybe that’s best,” I coughed. I took a quick look upstairs to possibly open up another window. I couldn’t tell at first if we had killed our other friend, who has asthma and was lying in a bed upstairs until I heard the sounds of snoring from underneath the comforter return to their normal steady rhythm. (more…)
“So, why on earth are you in Canada if you’re from California?” The young man was standing just outside the Toronto Eaton Centre passing out flyers for something or other when he struck up a conversation between my sister and myself. We were heading toward the crosswalk and on our way to grab a couple of Canadian beers and pizza.
My sister turned to the guy with the flyers again. “We just wanted to visit for fun.”
The real reason falls somewhere between my sister’s weird obsessions with the Great White North and my desire to travel the entire globe. Canada was not my first choice, but I was curious to see how America’s hat actually lived. (more…)