Design studio focused on book design, illustration, and environment design



Hard seats

There are several categories of train tickets in China. There are Soft Beds, Hard Beds, Soft Seats, Hard Seats and Standing. For our 14-hour train ride from Chengdu to Bekah’s adoptive city of Liupanshui, we aimed for Hard Beds but landed in Hard Seats. We boarded the train at 3 in the afternoon, and when I first sat down the term Hard Seat seemed like an unfair misnomer. “This isn’t so hard,” I thought. Now, after 12 hours in the aforementioned Very Hard Seat I can see the sense.

People sleep as they can, as you can see here. And they eat a lot. There is a hot water tap near the bathroom, and people open half-gallon sized paper bowls with noodles and spices and pour the water in. Then they seal the foil top back up with a clever method and let it steep.





The few things I can read

have given me a quiet chuckle. My Transit Boarding Pass was probably full of important information to get me through the airport and onto the second leg of my flight, but all I could read was, “Taste Underwear,” which didn’t seem like the direction I wanted to go.


And after landing in Chengdu, a fuzzy bear over a urinal gave me this friendly advice:



Food on a stick

Food on a skewer of all sorts is available at all hours and all places. And it’s good. Pictured here is spiced lamb roasted on an open fire, with náng–a flat bread basted with onion, butter and sesame, a staple food of the Uighur people. Uighurs (WEE-gers) are an ethnic people group in northwest China, near Kazakhstan, who are predominantly Muslims. And great cooks, judging by this sample.




For EMM, Photography, Travel

Dinner with Bekah

Bekah picked me up at the airport in Chengdu. She was waiting for me (playing Solitaire on her phone) and greeted me with a sulky, Where have you been, and with a smile.

Our plane sat at the gate for an hour and a half in Hefei for reasons that are still unclear to me, giving Bekah time to catch up on her Solitaire playing and sulking.

A taxi ride later (Emmeline, the taxis here are green like the inside of an avocado, instead of yellow) and we were at the university where Peace Corps in China has its administrative offices. The university is a massive city-within-a-city, and we walked from one end, from the dorm Bekah and two other volunteers are staying in, to the other, where they were just finishing a midnight second dinner.


Midway through dinner it started to pour down rain. It turns out this is the rainy season. The word “monsoon” has been mentioned several times.



Emmeline, the wings of these planes are made of thin metal, kind of like our cars. In these pictures you can see the wings up close.


You can also see footprints in the dirt on the wing where people have walked on it, probably when they working on the plane. Tom, what would they be doing out there?