“Busy Work” – Fictional Short

Busy Work

The wall was a cold and grey backdrop behind the old woman in the rocking chair. Her face had been painted in a healthy honey and the rippled grooves of her denim overalls had been coated in the finest royal dust.

The pastel shades of her chair had worn like the edges of the canvas, which had begun to tear and wrinkle. She held a bright lump of yarn in her hands that glowed like the embers of a febrile furnace.

Outside the dusty frame, in the realm of the living and the dead, an old woman failing the beauty and grace of her canvas-bound counterpart sat before a printing box. Her pallid eyes stared blankly at the empty device, whose metallic frames and glass walls encased a poor being whose sole purpose was to draw from an infinite wisdom and copy whatever its master desired.

The old woman’s bony fingers reached into her pocket and unearthed a glass plate filled with digital images she had gathered from her morning walk. She scrolled past the somber mist that had gathered in the park, the smiles of children walking by, the skyscrapers soaring into the sunlight, and the right hand of a suited man.

Her lips grinned as she pressed on the photograph, which darted from the plate onto the printing box’s cubic screen. As the machine whirred to life, she began to cut from the thin slab of transparent film on the table.

The intricacy of her movement was a work of art, her fingers guided with the precision of a razor’s edge. The old woman had to be vigilant; she knew that one slip and the sheet would stick to her like glue, by design. Her vision narrowed as she traced the outline of her hand, the printing box clicking to the steady beat of her heart. One. Two. One. Two. One. T—

Suddenly, the door flung open. It crashed against the nearby countertop, shaking the floor. The old woman sighed.

Her grandson had returned from work, the burdensome bags of his errands still hanging from his arms. Like any other consumer, he had loaded up a cart with as many trivial necessities as he could find, swiped them across the reader, and scanned his palm for payment before taking his leave.

“What are you doing, Amma?” he asked as he planted a passing kiss her ragged hair.

“Oh, busy work.”

The old woman spoke without lifting her gaze, which stayed firmly tethered to the printing box. When the machine skid to a stop, she gently slipped the transparent cutout beneath the glass. In an instant, its roof slammed to the floor. The old woman remained unstirred, as she had become well acquainted with the sound.

The printing box’s arm rose from its violence with the softness of a dancer. The old woman scanned the marked film with the glass plate’s lens, and her eyes set alight. The face of a middle-aged man flashed onto the screen, along with his sex, height, weight, age, hair color, eye color, date of birth, address, identification number, signature, and balance.

“P. K. Seitz,” she whispered aloud with the whim of a mischievous child.

The old woman slowly pulled the transparent film from the printing box and held it up to the light above her. With one eye open, she examined the fine work of the machine, then slid the sticky sheet onto her right palm.

Resting her back against the wooden rungs of her chair, the old woman closed her eyes and dreamt of another life.

Hiroshima: Seventy-Three Years After the Bomb – Personal Blog

It was a gloomy Tuesday morning when we arrived at the train station in Hiroshima. After getting off the bullet train, we met our local guide and started our tour through the city. Our first location was Carp Castle, erected by Mori Terumoto, a powerful lord in feudal Japan. The carp is an important symbol in Japan and is especially popular in Hiroshima, whose baseball team is named after it. The fish stands for strength and determination, as it is famous for swimming against the current.

The drive to the castle brought us through a diverse and beautiful city. Hiroshima was built upon a river delta and has grown into a city with a heritage important not only to its prefecture but to all of Japan. After our tour of the castle, it became clear that many of the residents of Hiroshima are proud of their vibrant ancient history. However, as we passed by a collection of stone shrines and other historical relics, I couldn’t help but remember that they are not the original structures. Like the vast majority of the buildings in the city, they had to have been built or restored in the last 73 years. There was an elephant in the room that had to be addressed. It was the reason we were there, after all.


At 8:15 AM on August 6, 1945, a U.S. Army B-29 bomber known as the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It was the first time in human history that the weapon had ever been used outside of testing. It detonated around 600 meters above the hypocenter, striking the city with blast wind, radiation, and heat rays of approximately 5,000 to 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The city was decimated and an estimated 140,000 people lost their lives. The aftermath was devastating as people burned to death in the streets and black rain fell from the sky. A poem from survivor Akiko Takakura goes:

Black, black rain.

Huge drops.

People craned their neck

To the sky

With their mouth wide open.

Hot bodies, so very hot,

They wanted water.

It started to rain lightly as we made our way past the Atomic Bomb Dome, which stands as a somber reminder of that horrific day. There was something so haunting about the remaining shell of the building, something surreal about the mangled metal and burned stone. We kept walking and soon found ourselves within the Peace Park, a place of beautiful symbolism. One such symbol is a fire said to stay burning until the world is rid of all its nuclear weapons. It is sadly called the "eternal flame.” Next came the museum, the part of the tour that struck me the most. We strolled through exhibit after exhibit, astounded and horrified by the images and voices around us. One room showed photographs of Hiroshima before and after the bombing. In this exhibit, there was a video display of the bombing being projected onto a circular miniature map of Hiroshima. As I began to watch, a group of young Japanese students walked in and filled the space opposite of me. The video showed a colorful, bustling city full of life and commerce. Then a bomb started to fall. It detonated above the city, turning everything in sight into a black and white heap of rubble. There I was, an American standing across from a group of young Japanese children, watching an American bomber turn a Japanese city to ruin. What I felt wasn’t exactly personal guilt, it was something much more complex. I felt out of place, like I shouldn’t have been there. But at the same time it felt absolutely crucial to be standing there, witnessing what happened and learning about the devastation from ground zero.

During the tour, I asked our guide what the perception of Americans was for the people of Hiroshima after this tragedy. She said that in the days that followed, the survivors had no time to think about the war. All they wanted to do was get back to their normal lives and find their loved ones. There was no time for hatred. As the weeks went by, more and more Western organizations and individuals, many from the United States in particular, went to Hiroshima and brought food, water, and things to help the kids. They helped rebuild the city. It was then that many survivors realized that the propaganda their government had been feeding them about Americans, the demons on earth, was false.

Strangely, that was the first moment the United States had been mentioned between us. The entirety of the tour had been based around the effects of the bomb and hope for a better future. The United States wasn’t even mentioned until near the end of the tour, where there stood a section about WWII history for those interested. The bombing of Hiroshima was spoken of as if it was a natural disaster: a bomb was dropped and an entire city was destroyed. At the museum, it isn’t recognized as an act of merciless violence from one country against the civilian population of another. The bombing is seen as a disaster of human nature. The city stands as an example of the dangers of nuclear weaponry and lives as a reminder that such a disaster should never happen again.


That was what I found to be the most powerful aspect of the museum. It wasn’t about the violence between the Americans and the Japanese. It wasn’t about governments hating each other, with one bombing the other’s territory. It was about people killing other people and how wrong that is, not just at the scale of an atomic bomb attack but on any scale. There is a unity that has been created here, at ground zero, in the hope for a denuclearized future. It’s a hope that transcends borders.

. . .


        I visited Hiroshima in the months before the meeting scheduled to take place in Singapore between President Donald Trump and DPRK Leader Kim Jong-un, when this issue of denuclearization was once again a massive talking point on the world stage. The issue remains prevalent today and there are many questions still to be answered. Is it possible for humans to ever live in a world without these weapons again? Is it possible for the governments of the world to trust each other enough to stop stockpiling enough firepower to wipe entire countries off the face of the earth? I’m not sure. What I do know is that the ruins of the Hiroshima bombing still stand as proud and solemn monuments of the direction humans can take the world if they aren’t careful.

Words and images by Luke Netzley

The Faces of Khao San | ถนนข้าวสาร – Published Essay

Isolation. There is a feeling of quiet isolation, a certain invulnerability, that I feel in this place. I’m hidden in a small bamboo village that sits perched atop the edge of a large valley buried in the jungle of Northern Thailand, making conversation with the children who call it their home.


Astonishingly, these children are not actually Thai citizens, and even if they sought citizenship it is unlikely they would be granted it. The children around me were born in Thailand, but belong to a hill tribe from the Tibetan Plateau. The Lahu people settled in Northern Thailand centuries ago, yet have been shunned by most of society. Without citizenship, they cannot attend government-funded schools or secure land rights. It is also much more difficult to get a stable job without proof of public education or ID. With little money and no rights, the people of the hill tribes are of the most marginalized in the country and fall victim to one of Southeast Asia’s most sinister industries: human trafficking.

Despite prostitution being illegal, Thailand is known as the sex tourism capital of the world, and the Thai legal system can be described as faulty at best as little to no arrests for sex trafficking are ever made. This is due to both corruption and gaps in the system. For example, there are certain bars where a customer will be seated at a table and then immediately greeted by a girl. While at the table, the customer is allowed to do whatever they wish to the girl, and the girl’s job is to flirt with them. Eventually, the customer approaches the bar owner and pays a bar fee to take the girl away with them for the night. Since the customer is paying the bar owner and not the girl, and the payment is not explicitly for sex, it is not legally defined as prostitution.


There are countless stories of hill tribe girls being taken from their homes and forced into the sex trafficking industry. When they arrive in Bangkok, they work in bars where they sell themselves to strangers and become trapped in psychological slavery due to filial piety and personal threats. It becomes a painful cycle of guilt and suffering.

“We are coming up on Khao San Road. It’s a crazy street. There are a lot of tourists there. It’s very busy.”

Raindrops started to form on the window as the taxi rolled slowly through traffic in Bangkok. When we finally pulled up to the curb, we were met by what looked like a Thai version of the Las Vegas strip, except condensed and filled to the brim with wandering bodies. The rain continued to pour, but that did not stop the crowd of locals and tourists from flooding the bustling road. I was glued to the pavement, awestruck by what I was witnessing.


The clouds had rolled through and the storm had ceased for a moment, leaving puddles and debris throughout the city. The aftermath was beautiful. The traffic lights spiraled down into the pavement like colorful veins stretching into the depths of a dark world.

As I made my way down Khao San Road, I was greeted with smiles and laughter. There were vendors selling tropical fruits and fried meats, the steam of their grills dancing through the wind. Everywhere I looked there were nooks to explore, shopkeepers to bargain with, dance floors to enter, and travelers to meet. It all felt so poetic to me. I had to go further.

The rain returned, as it always does in the summertime, and I was caught without an umbrella. A daunting orange sign loomed above and provided a temporary shelter. It seemed as though every building was a nightclub and that the pavement itself was bouncing to the songs of the loudspeakers. The neon colors and bright lights were intoxicating, the noise relentless. I somehow felt both repulsed and drawn into the fray.


Behind the front row of buildings on Khao San Road lies a complex network of alleys and markets. The corridors were full of apparitions; ghostly figures floating into dimly lit rooms. I wasn’t sure where to go or what time it was, and I became tangled in it all. The winding wires and puffs of smoke unearthed a sullen nostalgia for a caring face. The seraphic mountain paradise of Chiang Rai felt out of reach both physically and mentally. That sunlit spectacle became just as lost as I in the dizziness of the world around me. Bars and clubs formed in the space where golden spires and palm trees once stood. A discount disco ball replaced the sun. Shady men sold produce, pottery, and people.

But I was not in danger. I was, in fact, the intended customer, the one who indulged, the one who robbed, the one who ruined. I was the young white male who was meant to arrive from a far away place and spend my money, fueling the human trafficking industry. I felt disgusted by this game and the role I was expected to play in it. The night became more menacing as the situation became clearer. The Thai girls around the club were not brought there by their own free will. The warmth of the bar owner was a façade reserved for the customer. The police van parked down the road was not there to protect, but simply parked as an ornament. The stories were real, except no longer just stories to me. They became images and facts engraved in my mind, never to leave.


I left Khao San road late that night accompanied by friendly faces, yet the road still stays with me. The twisted harmony between the beauty and madness of it all never ceases to astound me, and I can still see the speechless mouths and longing eyes of those who watched the frenzied madness reign over their home.

Recipient of Soroptimist International's Young Journalist Award 2019-2020,  published in The Culture-ist.

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Organizations and resources to help fight human trafficking around the world:

The Freedom Project: https://www.thefreedomproject.org/

Destiny Rescue: https://www.destinyrescue.org/

Polaris: https://polarisproject.org/

The Freedom Story: https://thefreedomstory.org/

International Sanctuary: https://www.internationalsanctuary.com/

US Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888

SAṂSĀRA: Remnants of Disaster on the Andaman Coast – Personal Blog

Our old silver Toyota bounced back and forth down the muddy path. It was the height of the monsoon season and its wheels struggled to find a stretch of solid ground as the rain thundered down on the metal roof. To the right lay a labyrinth of mangrove trees that stretched for miles before reaching the mountains, and to the left a small collection of misty islands rising out of the dark grey sea. Small muddied waves broke quietly onto the sand. The gloomy water was peaceful, easy to forget its deadly potential. But there was history here.

The small seaside village of Ban Talae Nok sits along the shore of southern Thailand’s Andaman coast and is home to a largely Muslim population, a rarity in a country that is almost entirely Buddhist. Sadly, discrimination against Muslim groups within Thailand has not been uncommon, and the country’s religious tensions have occurred primarily in the south due to the proximity to Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country.

The town is a small, yet lively, place. The community is situated around a single paved road that runs through its center, with gravel back-streets shooting off from the asphalt into the adjacent neighborhoods. During the afternoon it became clear that the paved road was rarely used by motor vehicles, occupied instead by cows, carts, and children at play.

For two nights we stayed with a family of six on the southern edge of the village.
For two nights we stayed with a family of six on the southern edge of the village.

At night, the residents returned to their homes. A dense mist pushed inland from the shore and snaked though the jungle valley, smoke poured out of candle-lit windows as religious hymns echoed across the street, and the evening sky turned a Prussian blue as a blanket of twinkling stars coated the night sky. 

I counted the constellations from the second story balcony of a small white-walled home on the southern edge of the village before being summoned downstairs for a late-night dinner of spiced chicken, pumpkin, and rice. It was Ramadan, and the family with whom I stayed had fasted until sunrise. 

After dinner, the owner of the house joined my travel partners and I outside on the patio. She was an older woman, yet spoke with youth in her voice, and we were able to communicate through basic translations. 

I showed her images on my phone of family, friends, and adventures from back home. She pointed, smiled, and laughed, showing genuine interest in who I was and what my life had been like back in California. I found it amazing that I could so easily connect with someone who spoke a different language, followed a different faith, and lived in a different country, though perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised after all. 

My friends and I told her that if she had any questions for us, we would be happy to answer. The first and only question she asked, relayed through loose translations, was this:

“Why would you choose to live in these conditions when you have a comfortable life back home?”

Looking back, she had a point. Why would anyone travel from a place where they are happy and stable to a place they have never been before? It is true that change can be uncomfortable, however change can also bring immense growth. This is especially true in regard villages like Ban Talae Nok.

As the night became darker, the wind grew stronger, carrying with it the patchy rains we had grown accustomed to during our stay in the village. From I lied awake in my bed that night, I could still hear the faint sound of the waves breaking onto the beach. No matter where you are in Ban Talae Nok, the shore is never far. However, the village’s relationship with the sea is as complex as the maze-like swamp between them. It has brought the people life by providing sources of food, pathways for transportation, and a gateway for trade, but it has also brought immeasurable hardships.

On the morning of December 26th, 2004, the village was decimated by the historic Boxing Day tsunami. According to a survivor who witnessed the impact of the first wave, the water came higher than the trees, roughly 7 meters, or 23 feet, in height. As if the devastating of the first wave wasn’t enough, the brunt of the damage actually came from the second, for its water carried the debris from the first. Out of the 200 residents of Ban Talae Nok, 153 survived. The most severe physical damage was done to the thirteen beachfront houses that were used as stay-over destinations for the fishermen during the jellyfish migrations. Ruins still dotted the sand bar as we floated past. 

In the summer, the men of the village are drawn out to sea on their long tail boats to catch jellyfish for harvest. Wielding their massive nets, these fishermen can bring in hundreds of jellies per boat with each excursion. The catch is then taken to a large wooden mechanism on the shoreline to be harvested and prepared for export. This had historically been Ban Talae Nok’s largest industry, until the tsunami hit.

Ruins on the sandbank where fishermen used to live during the jellyfish migrations.
Ruins on the sandbank where fishermen used to live during the jellyfish migrations.

Tourism-based activities, such as mangrove swamp cruises and bamboo weaving, have become important sources of income for the community. The people have had to adapt to the spotlight put on them by both charity and travel organizations, as community-based tourism slowly became the new central industry of Ban Talae Nok.

Through non-profit organizations and tour companies, foreigners have been welcomed into the homes of local residents, worked in the workshops of local residents, and learnt from the experiences of local residents.

“I am happy you are here, but the only problem is we can’t speak.” 

She was right. Even with the aid of our translator, we were only able to ask relatively simple questions. Our translations would not be exact, for our translator and our host spoke different in dialects, though we were able to grasp the essentials of each conversation and grew more and more enlightened as the night went on. We asked her about the presence of tourism in her village and how that has impacted her life. So far, she remarked, the industry has proven to have many benefits. Outsiders who come to Ban Talae Nok and meet the people who were personally affected by the tsunami can gain a new respect through understanding and bring the stories from the Village by the Outer Sea back home.

But tourism can also have its drawbacks, she explained...


“Everything is so much more expensive in Thailand now, but the income is still the same.” 

Our translator knew the numbers: “15,000 baht, divide that by 30, that’s a good 500.” What he meant was that 15,000 baht a month is a salary of roughly 500 baht a week, equivalent to fifteen U.S. dollars. “That’s the local income of a Thai,” he said, before quickly adding, “if you have a degree, that is.”

Well, what if you don’t have a degree?

“The construction workers get approximately 500 baht a day, but the work is not steady. You don’t get a contract. Pickup trucks… In the morning you see them everywhere. They just pick up people who can work for the day. If you’re lucky, you receive a project for a couple of days.”

Prices in Thailand, especially in southern areas like the resort-filled Phuket, are heavily catered to tourists. What about the local people? What about those who cannot even work? 

“For villagers who don’t work,” our host explained, “the government will pay for a Medicare-like program…when you go to the doctor you can pay 30 baht as a deductible. So you pay and the government forces the hospitals to accept you.”

As we were talking, two young twins, no older than 3 years, ran out to the table and climbed atop their mother. She smiled, then shooed them away. The two giggled and stared in fascination at us, the foreigners, before disappearing back into the house.

“The kids on Saturday and Sunday go to study Arabic,” our host said, looking off into the night. It was getting late and nearly time to head back inside, but not before we were taught an Arabic saying:


“It’s an Arabic blessing. May God be with you. 

The saying can hold many meanings and is used within many Thai-Muslim communities. After our brief lesson, we bid farewell and retired to our mosquito nets.

Boys running back home in the rain.
Boys running back home in the rain.

The people of Ban Talae Nok are resilient and strong. Although they have had to adapt to the new and rising industry of community-based tourism, they are making the most of the resources at hand and are steadily rebuilding their lives. It is a truly remarkable sight to see children dance down a village road that had been demolished by a tsunami just over a decade before. The future looks bright for this vibrant seaside community.

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To learn more about tsunami relief, visit UNICEF USA.

China 2015: Paradise Found in Guangxi – Personal Blog

        After a short flight from Shanghai, I was on the bus to Guilin, a city in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi. Guilin is one of the most captivating cities in the entire country. At night, the buildings explode with bright lights and dazzling monuments dot the streets. One such attraction is a glowing golden orb built on the banks of Shanhu Lake, whose waters hold the stunning Sun and Moon Pagodas. During the night I stayed in Guilin, I was fascinated by my surroundings. The city was unlike any place I had ever seen. Guilin is a truly special place.


        The famed karst peaks of the Guangxi province take their unique forms from their composition. The mountains are made of limestone and have been eroded throughout history to become what we see today. The hills are also known for the underground caves they naturally produce. Tourists from around the world are attracted by the colorful light displays strung up throughout the caves. They leaves fascinated by the show and relaxed after a dip in the underground hot springs and mud pools.

        After exploring the landscape around Guilin, my group and I boarded a bus to Yangshuo, a town of just under 300,000 people. Compared to Guilin, a city sixteen-times its size, Yangshuo felt like a small village. Compared to Shanghai, it felt like another world.

        The town of Yangshuo is home to winding rivers, quiet countryside, a bustling night market, and, strangely enough, a McDonald’s. Yangshuo county offers spectacular sights, such as Moon Hill, Yulong Bridge, and Fuli ancient town.


        Similarly to Shanghai, Yangshuo’s downtown transforms after dusk. From where I sat on the patio of a small Chinese restaurant, I observed a noticeable calm before the storm. For a moment, all was quiet under the neon blue lights of the alley. A warm wind swept past, carrying the distant sounds of a growing storm. In an instant, the two main pedestrian streets are set alight with lanterns and LEDs as vendors populate the curb. We walked through the masses of wandering shoppers, busy exploring the various foods and trinkets on display. Wood and bone carvings, rice cakes and noodles, bright clothes and jewelry, gold and jade ornaments…it was a spectacle, to say the least, and one of the most enjoyable nights of my life thus far.

        The following dialogues are not exact quotations, but they closely mirror the content of conversations a friend of mine and I had with two shopkeepers:

“Why the high price?”

“These are one of a kind!”

“You made these yourself”

“Yes, they’re my carvings.”

“Then why does a man two stalls down the road have an identical collection for half the price?”

“Would you like half price?”



“Thank you.”

“Where are these from?”


“So they are real iPhones?”


“Why are they so cheap?”

“There was an explosion in a factory and I took them.”

“Oh…that’s nice. Do they still work?”


“Can you show me that they work?”

“You ask too many questions. Buy one and it will work.”


        The next morning, a friend and I drifted down the Yulong River on a bamboo raft. It was a soothing rest after our dance with the swindlers of the night. The breeze from the previous evening’s storm came back again, this time carrying with it the melodic sounds of the countryside. European tourists dressed in white rode bicycles by the riverside, a water buffalo splashed playfully under the bright midday sun, and the man steering our boat punted our small vessel forward with a bamboo pole as he whistled into the humid air. The blissful experience was a perfect way to say goodbye to Yangshuo.

The Dong Villages: A rural dreamland.
The Dong Villages: A rural dreamland.

The early summer rains pattered on the wooden shingles and the smell of smoke drifted in through an open window. The storm had finally started to cease after drenching the ancient town of Chengyang, one of the several Dong villages. These indigenous communities rest in the hills and valleys of Southern China and their people still follow traditional ways of life.

On the side of the river stood a collection of dark wooden houses, drum and bell towers, a theatre decorated with paper lanterns, and a small school. Amidst the din of the noisy schoolchildren, wind and string musicians practiced their pieces, farmers tended to their paddies, and elders weaved indigo cloths in front of their homes. All was calm in this hidden paradise.


The Guangxi province is a difficult place to express in words. It’s natural beauty captivated like nowhere else I’d ever seen. The people showed immense respect to the landscape around them and kindness towards us. The way the cities shined at night was breathtaking. No matter where you live, Guangxi is a must-see if you want to get a sense of how incredible the world can be. I will never forget it.

. . .

China 2015: Shanghai, The Moving City – Personal Blog

        It could have just been the jet lag, but after landing in Shanghai everything seemed bright and blurred. Choking smog and flashing lights, words and symbols that made no sense to me. The world was spinning and I felt the full impact of culture shock. There was an astonishing beauty to it all, a harmony that I did not yet feel acquainted with. The vehicles and pedestrians worked together like clockwork, moving rapidly beneath a grey sky. However, wait just a few hours after sundown and bursts of color take over the night. The side of the Huangpu River bustles with life as people make their way down the Bund.

        The Yuyuan garden changes with the time of day. When the large your groups flood through, the narrow corridors and bazaars become alarmingly crowded. The winding streets become threatening for those who suffer from claustrophobia. When the fray begins to calm, however, the garden becomes a serene place where one can enjoy a cup of tea in peace. Empty or full, the architecture of the garden is stunning. Red and white buildings adorned in gold flank the bustling market and open courtyards. This is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history of Shanghai and classical Chinese culture.


        The Longhua Temple is the oldest in Shanghai, preserving Buddhist traditions and Song dynasty architecture. A towering pagoda greets visitors entering the large red gates. First constructed in 242 AD, this Buddhist sanctuary sprawls over several acres of land, making it Shanghai's largest temple space, and serves as a perfect place to take a break from the pace of the city.

One element of Shanghai that I did not particularly enjoy was the weather. When I visited in early summer, the air was hot, humid, and smoggy. During the day, the buildings looked dull, dreary, and monotonous. Through the viewfinder of my camera, it appeared as though I was drowning in a grey ocean. As night approached, however, the character of the city transforms. Like a butterfly out of a cocoon, Shanghai bursts into new life in a frenzied explosion of color. Neon lights decorated the skyline and spotlights cut through the cloudy night sky.


        Whether it’s a peaceful stroll through a misty park or a trek through one of the busiest cities in the world, Shanghai does it all. The city is both fast-paced and relaxed, noisy and quiet, hardworking and creative…a harmony of the past and the present, history and modernity, skyscrapers and teahouses.

        Shanghai is an incredible city. Sometimes I feel as though it is a living creature with a mind of its own. The concrete jungle can be an intimidating and sometimes lonely place. The tall buildings, noisy intersections, unfamiliar faces, and afternoon smog are certainly parts of the city’s character, but there is so much more to it. The boats drifting on the river, the steam pouring out of restaurant windows, the temple bells ringing in the wind, and the brilliant light displays that dominate the night sky are all too a part of the moving city.


. . .