Mar 30, 2009

Published Photographs: Taipei 101 Edition

Access to a view not available to the general public and clear blue skies are part of the key ingredients when photographing a city’s major icons. This was the case with Taipei 101 Tower when I was in Taipei a few years ago.

I never made it to the top of the skyscraper. The finishing touches were still being put on what was at the time was the world’s tallest building. These photographs have appeared in magazines, newspapers, advertisements, brochures and books.

Mar 25, 2009

Mexico Bound

On Friday morning I'm catching an early morning flight to Mexico City to travel off the beaten path.

Shortly after landing and meeting up with a friend at the airport we’ll take a bus to Tequisquiapan a city in the state of QuerĂ©taro. The next stop will be Jalpan to take in the Franciscan Missions in the vicinity. Next we are heading to Xilitla a remote mountain village where the eccentric Englishman Edward James lived and built Las Pozas (The Pools), a collection of surrealist architecture and sculptures.

I'll have posts lined up while I'm away and will be back to my regular pace of posting when I return.

Photograph: Real de Catorce

Mar 22, 2009

Street Scenes: Old Town Shanghai

Pockets of what Shanghai looked like before space age skyscrapers began to sprout still exist throughout the city.

The city’s Old Town, pictured here, is like wandering through a village tucked inside a sprawling metropolis. If you find yourself in Shanghai don’t miss out on taking a stroll though one of its remaining Longtang neighborhoods.

Mar 15, 2009

Strange Souvenirs: Earthquake Detectors Mexico

Only in Mexico could an earthquake detector come in the form of folk art. Made out of wood the heads of the brightly painted animals, reptiles and insects wobble when seismic activity begins. Turtles appear to be the most popular.

Eco-friendly they require no electricity or batteries. And the pocket-sized critters are easy to take home or bring with you the next time you travel to an earthquake zone.

Previous Posts in this Series:
Ojamas
Lucha Libre Masks
Autopsy Cell Phone Straps

Mar 8, 2009

Iconic Squares From Around The World

Most travelers typically make their way to the major square of a big city when exploring. Here are a few of the world’s most iconic squares.

It is impossible to just walk through Marrakesh’s Djemma el-Fna. You’ll be sidetracked by performers of all sorts, colorful water sellers and at night endless rows of outdoor food stalls.

Museums, government buildings and the entrance to the Forbidden City flank Beijing’s massive Tiananmen Square.

Mexico City’s Zocalo sits on the site of the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, which was conquered by Spain centuries ago. You can still see Aztec dancers and shaman perform their ancient rituals.

St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City is where many come to see the Pope give his blessing and to take in the beauty of the Basilica of the same name.

What iconic squares of the world have you explored or would like to?

Previous Posts in this Series:
Alleys
Markets
Hats

Mar 2, 2009

World’s Highest Post Office Jin Mao Tower Shanghai China

The Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai may no longer be the tallest building in mainland China but it can still boast having the highest post office in the world. It lost its vertical status to the 101-storey Shanghai World Financial Center which was completed last year.

Jin Mao, completed in 1998 and 1,381 feet tall, is an integral part of the ever changing Shanghai skyline. It is located in Pudong across the Huangpu River from the Bund and next door to the World Financial Center.

The building houses offices and the swanky Shanghai Grand Hyatt Hotel on floors 53-87, which lays claim to the world’s longest laundry chute. An indoor observation deck is located on the 88th floor. It’s no coincidence that eight is an auspicious number in China.

It’s well worth a visit to the observation deck which has sweeping, panoramic views of Shanghai. A good time to go is early morning before smog shrouds the city or at dusk, when you can stay until dark, write and mail those postcards you’ve been meaning to send and watch the city light up.

It’s open 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and costs RMB 50, about $6. To get there take the metro to the Lujiazui stop.

Fan’s of Taiwan's Taipei 101 Tower, which is no longer the world’s tallest structure, can take solace that it is still taller than Shanghai’s World Financial Center. The Burj Dubai has surpassed Taipei 101 as the word’s tallest structure and will dethrone Taipei 101 as the world’s tallest building when completed and open.