Friday, October 13, 2006

Charming City

Dear Reader, I have a request for you. Could you please comment on this entry and tell me a few favourite things about any large city you like to visit? For instance the park where you had pretzels, the department store where you helped a drag queen zip up a dress in the back, the cellar where you learned ninjutsu, the tower on a hill where you had tea and watched the sun go down over the sea. I'm going to bake something out of this material for a talk on Saturday 14 October, and then there will be a blog entry.

Update 14 October: Thanks, everyone! I've got lots of great material now. A few hours from now, I'll see what the audience at the ImagiCon sf convention thinks about it. All applied to the Swedish city of Gothenburg...


Anonymous Henrik said...

Tomelilla is not a large city, is it?

Well, Sheffield (UK) then.

I went there in may (first, but not last, time). Lots of pubs, ranging from the old-school gay bierstube over posh cafés to traditional ale houses.
Furthermore, the total clash of architecture - something old, something new, something ugly, something beautiful.

I searched most of the city for an internet café. I found 1 (one) place. So it has to be the largest city i have ever been to with (virtually) no internet cafés.

And they have tramways (spårvagnar) which appears so right-in-place for the old steel city.

13 October, 2006 18:40  
Blogger Martin said...

Excellent, that's exactly what I want! Can't wait until you guys start mentioning things that would contradict each other if you were all talking about the same place.

13 October, 2006 18:44  
Blogger Karen said...

Ok, I haven't travelled much except within Canada. And most of our cities would be considered small compared to most in the world. However I'll do my best.

Saint John, New Brunswick - home of my paternal grandparents. They lived near the outskirts of the city with a huge amount of undeveloped land behind their house. My favourite memories are spending time with my grampie in his greenhouse, the smell of wet soil stayed in your clothes. The second memory is climbing the hill behind their house - years before (sometime in the 70s) someone had built a makeshit wooden tipi on top of the hill. I would wander around on top of the ridge looking out over the old city in one direction and wilderness in the other. It was beautiful.

Not sure if that's what you're talking about but too bad if it isn't.

13 October, 2006 19:30  
Blogger Martin said...

Perfect, particularly the mentions of a tipi and wilderness. Do tell me more good things about cities you've visited!

13 October, 2006 19:42  
Blogger Katie said...

I lived in Munich for two years, and naturally, it's one of my favorite cities. The English Garden, in the middle of town, is the largest metropolitan park in all of Europe. A perfect day can be spent moments away from the busy main street, but never hearing, seeing, or smelling it. Lounge by the Eisbach, jump in on a hot day, read or nap. When you can't lounge horizontally any longer, hop on your bike for a five minute ride to the Seehaus biergarten. There are exponentially fewer tourists than at the Chinese Tower! The food and drink are totally Deutsch and very delicious, and even though it says not to, most people feed the birds -- the tables sit right on the water, so you could even stick your toes in if you felt like it.

13 October, 2006 19:47  
Blogger Martin said...

Solid greatness. I knew I could count on you guys to give me what I'm looking for!

13 October, 2006 20:01  
Anonymous Juniper said...

... X-Cacel, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico...
... the place where I spend ther most intense years of my childhood. Iknow it's not a big city but it was so hard to choose...
The place has changed over the years, due to Hurricanes and mass tourism but to me it was (kitschy as it may sound) Paradise...

The first thing our family did in the morning, was to take a long swim in the ocean, after that my sis' and me collected seashells, built sandcastles or went into the jungle to discover Cenotes...

The beach was our living room, our dining room and our playground (I learned to ride bike in the sand).

My sister and me had palm tree climbing contests... and sice then i have a (sort of) permanent craving for coconuts and coconut milk...

We left this beautiful place when I was nine years old and the memory is as fresh as if it was yesterday...

... shit, and now I'm crying...

13 October, 2006 20:45  
Blogger Molle said...

I don't really like travelling alone, but my first time in Amsterdam I went by myself due to an unexpected split-up from my then boyfriend. Contrary to my expectations, I loved that journey. I found Amsterdam a really friendly place and instantly felt at home there.

One of several magic moments will stay with me forever: strolling along one or other of the city's canals one evening, just as the blue of the sky was deepening to fit my own blues, I heard the pensive but proud notes from a solitary trumpet ring out from -- nowhere at all, it seemed. The stillness of the evening, the late afternoon sun slanting down between the high, narrow houses, the lonely tune -- it all fit my frame of mind so perfectly as if it were made solely for me.

I also brought a bonsai tree named Arnold back home.

13 October, 2006 20:47  
Anonymous Roger said...

Wuhan in China. I had been travelling down the Yangtze for a couple of days on a Chinese-touristy (meaning that most of the people were tourists and Chinese at the same time) river boat with a raging case of pink eye (acute conjunctivitis for you Latin lovers out there). At least I _think_ it was the Yangtze; I didn't see much of it.

In Wuhan, I pointed as many fingers as I had available - quite a few, considering that I had a backpack and no hand luggage - at my rosy eyes, and finally the mei yous subsided and somebody shoved me in in the small of my back towards the hospital designated for language illiterate foreigners. There, in the lobby, I practised the stance that most out-of-towners soon find to be the most effective: a look of total bewilderment. It always works.

Soon enough, I enjoyed the company of two female physicians who knew next to nothing of other languages but obviously were well versed in their medical craft. Pointing to a line in a medical dictionary, I learnt of my illness, although I had to go all the way back to Stockholm to actually find out what it all meant.

I was a bit wary of pouring liquid antibiotics into my eyes out of broken glass ampules, but as it turned out, I was able to enjoy the visual splendor of the city with my usual 20-20 vision in no time.

Language barriers or no, it's always nice to meet knowledgable and friendly people.

13 October, 2006 21:02  
Blogger Alun said...

I've struggled with this because I tend to dislike big cities. The best I can come up with in the UK would be Newcastle upon Tyne / Gateshead. The Angel of the North is surprisingly beautiful, given that it's rusty iron. Whether you arrive by car or train it's prominent overlooking from a nearby hill. It gives a real sense that you're arriving or departing from the city.

The view across the Tyne as you arrive into the station by train is also impressive. The cranes of the shipyards stand out along the banks and you can see several bridges between Newcastle on the north bank and Gateshead on the south.

It's a bit of cheat though because the real attraction is the people in the city. Newcastle is the only large city which feels friendly. Physically it's attractive enough, but it's the personality the matters.

13 October, 2006 22:55  
Blogger Karen said...

Tijuana Mexico. Easily the dirtiest, poorest city I've ever been too. My best friend and I took a trip to California (woo hoo Disney Land!). Trapped with a tour group of shoppers looking for bargains (most Americans) my friend and I wandered around a tiny section of the city completely overwhelmed. We sat down for a break and to get away from the rude people we had come with and trying to absorb how completely different this city was from our small hometown. A little girl, maybe 6 years old, with the biggest, most beautiful eyes you've ever seen, tried to sell us the barrettes in her hair. I don't remember much else about the city other than it was dusty, dirty and the tourists were ignorant...and I bought a whip.

13 October, 2006 22:57  
Blogger kai said...

Bit of a short notice, eh, but would this do? You can never go back

14 October, 2006 15:06  

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