Tag Archives: Roumeli

Portrait of the Artist (with credit cards)

This face caught my eye.  It’s a detail from the painting below. And the artist was larking around nearby so I was treated to both the faces he made and the one he wears.

There may well be meaning in the painting, but it just struck me as clever and imaginative. Which could also go towards summing up the area of London where it was hanging. I saw it inside Time for Tea on Shoreditch High Street.

Nearby was a big painted message urging passersby to – Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other. Yes. Let’s.

And there was a shop selling paramilitary teapots and facial decorations for your light switches. In other words, all the essentials.

Which got me thinking: Which rules – east or west?

East London (where I’ve been wandering of late) is clearly cooler, younger, livelier, edgier, more creative and more interesting than the leafier, more sedate west end of this world city. True – you can buy wine with Stalin’s picture on the bottle. But if you were an ineffably cool jazz singer, where would you choose to live? It’s obvious. In the EAST. Probably on a boat. (With or without a bookshop attached.)

But hang on. There’s more to the world than just London. Jim Morrison sang The West is the best. Was he right? Continue reading

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Congratulations – Marriage in China

Marriage Book - China

This is how you get married in China. Thanks to our newly married (Congratulations!) guest contributor who’s currently expat in Beijing. I’ll let M take up the story:

Last week I caught a sleeper train to Changchun on Monday night. I was in a room with 5 big fat Chinese men, one of whom snored like crazy. He was in the bunk above me, and I really thought it would collapse, he was so fat.

I got to Changchun, and remembered how cold it was. Warmer than January, but still around minus 12. Met LN and we went to the registry office, expecting to complete everything that day. China is drowning in official paperwork and red stamps. Turns out the red stamp on LN’s “Hukou” (family book that lists your parents, siblings, and crucially what province you ‘belong’ to) was not clear enough. Continue reading

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