Josh's Photo Blog

November 30, 2009

London Town

Filed under: Uncategorized — joshuaps @ 11:00 pm

The moment I got off the train in London, I knew that I was going to love it – and I did!

Coming in on the Eurostar high speed rail from Paris was amazing – it really is the fastest way to get between the two cities, faster than flying. It crosses the strait at its narrowest point, in Calais, through an underground tunnel, and drops you right in the middle of London. No nasty airline check-ins, baggage claims or shuttle buses, you’re right where you need to be. It’s a lot roomier than any plane, too.

London has all the historical stuff that most European cities do – it’s been around since 1066 – but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most modern, most hyperactive cities in the world.

London’s office district is much quieter than it was even a few years ago – it was hit even harder by the financial crisis than the United States was.

There is a great love of tradition here. Above, the changing of the guard at the Tower of London

Mind the gap, indeed – London’s tube (metro) is not the best, possibly because it’s so old (it was the first metro system in the world)

The London Eye (above) is the city’s newest landmark. The thing itself is gorgeous, the views from it somewhat less so.

Chinese food – possibly the best in Europe given Britain’s colonial legacy in Asia

Nightlife in London is quite good, and one of the main reasons to go. It’s one of those things that’s great for visitors, but even better for those who live there.

More than any other European city I’ve been to, London struck me as a place I could see myself living in. Some of this I can attribute to it being the least culturally distant from the places I enjoy – Hong Kong, LA and NY – but much of it comes from this lived-in quality it has. Between British English, the sights and sounds of London’s various boroughs and the huge amount of diversity, I felt that this wasn’t just a “checklist” city of tourist sights, but so much more.

Advertisements

November 27, 2009

The Hotline

Filed under: news, Stories — Tags: , , — joshuaps @ 12:16 pm

My host university’s student council elections are pretty much the craziest thing ever. For one week, the two competing parties do anything and everything in their power to win your vote, with the process culminating in the Hotline, a night where everyone on campus can call their favorite party and ask for food or “fun” to be delivered to their dorm-step.  Manic partying ensues, enough to put an American frat house to shame

Since these are business students we’re dealing with, the delivery process is relatively well planned-out, at least at the start. Above, deliveries are sorted by building (C,D,E, etc)

At 10 PM the rush is on to deliver the goods to the voters, who will be taking to the polls the next day. Success at delivering a good time to the student body tonight is the best indicator of which candidates are right to run the BDE (student council), which handles administration-student relations and, more importantly, operates the largest on- and off-campus parties.

Mobs of candidates run through the halls, organizing everything from shopping-cart races to sumo-wrestling and food fights.

One of the crowd favorites is an order for one party’s mascot, complete with free salad, the better to start food fights with

Needless to say, studying does NOT take place this night.

Coming up: Photos from my trip to London, my new favorite European city

November 24, 2009

Paris Life

Filed under: travel, updates — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 12:22 am

Things are getting hectic out here as far as schoolwork/job searching/Christmas planning goes, which is why I’ve not been 100% current with my blogging. I’ve yet to begin editing from a trip I went on this weekend, but here are some shots from Paris to tide y’all over in the meantime.

November 12, 2009

Italy

Filed under: travel — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 12:18 am

One nice thing about being in France is that you get to take breaks when the French do… which is quite often! Barely a month and a half into the semester, I got a week off from school and went to Italy with a big bunch of friends. It was quite the adventure – we did 4 cities in 7 days (down from 10), half of us got sick and I broke a lens somewhere between Florence and Venice (above) – a $500 repair!

We were in airports a lot, thanks to airport strikes and weird connections screwing us over.

This is the Sistine Chapel. You aren’t supposed to take pictures in it. Good luck stopping people, though..

The Vatican City (above 3 photos) had some amazing collections of Catholic-inspired art and architecture. As the world shifts towards secularism, the lowest common denominator and what is most profitable, we might never again see an era where people would be motivated to build such monuments to a higher power

Not much to see in Pisa beyond the tower that bears its name, though it is quite funny to see people trying to get their picture with it.

Florence (above) is quite nice. It’s one of those large cities that succeeds in having a rustic, small-town feel. Like many of the other places we went to, it was quite easy to get around on foot as most of the major sights are clustered together in the city center

There’s a LOT of art in this city, particularly Christian art. It’s quite overwhelming, but I actually found some of the art to be surprisingly inspiring.

Many of the churches we went to charged admission, with the result being that most of the people in them show their adoration and veneration with a camera rather than with prayer

Gondolas abound in Venice (there are about 400 licensed gondoliers), and they reminded me of my time spent on USC’s Dragonboat team.

Venice away from the canals is a maze of pathways and alleys, amazingly easy to get lost in. Wandering through these alleys alone and away from the rampant tourism in Italy was probably the most peaceful I felt the whole trip.

The parts of Italy I saw were beautiful, but I wish I had more time to get to know the place on a deeper level. My overall impression of it was a country rich in culture and tradition, but with a hugely commercial, touristy side that got in the way of its beauty.

Blog at WordPress.com.