Monuments to the Supreme Pontiff during the “Festa della Chinea” in the 18th Century, Part I

These prints, which were on loan from the extraordinary private collection of Vincent Buonanno, document the Chinea, a famous festival hosted in Renaissance and Baroque Rome annually by members from the Papal fiefdoms of Naples and Sicily to pay tribute to their Vassallord, the Pope. In the eighteenth century, these prints were distributed in advance to entice invited guests of the Chinea, and detailed depictions of the festival decorations were eagerly studied and enjoyed by an extensive audience in Rome and throughout Europe.

At the center of the festival stood the various macchine, elaborate ephemeral architectural constructions, some over one hundred feet high, created especially for the Chinea and then blown up in spectacular fireworks displays. Most of the Chinea macchine were constructed of polychromed papier-mâché and stucco mounted to a wood frame, and often included elaborate painted canvas backgrounds. Elaborate wine fountains at the base of these macchine no doubt contributed to the public enjoyment of the festival as a whole. 

Ancient culture, network of canals and old bridges are some of the things that make a good water town. A visit to Qiabo will give you a glimpse of what a traditional Chinese Water Town looks like. The name “Qibao” is a direct translation for “seven treasures” in Chinese.

Old Buildings on the Canal

Beautiful rainy day in Qiabo

I chose to visit Qiabo as it is the closest water town to Shanghai and it is easily accessible by the subway (direction are given below). I would suggest visiting Qiabo only if you don’t have enough time to visit Zhujiajiao, which is a far bigger and more interesting water town.

Getting there
Take Subway Line 9 and get off at Qibao Station. Leave from Exit 2 to the old town, walk towards the road junction and take a left turn.The entrance to Qibao city is a huge gate,hard to miss.

Things to Do

  • Take photos of the cobble stone streets , bridges and old houses
  • Stroll around the Qiabo garden temple and pagoda. Entrance to the pagoda is 5 yuan
  • Take a boat ride around the canal
  • Tianxiang Restaurant which serves authentic local cuisine

Things to Try out

  • Qibao is known for its speciality cuisine, hong shao rou(“red braised pork”), cooked using a combination of ginger, garlic, aromatic spices, chilli peppers, sugar, light and dark soy and sometimes rice wine
  • Another speciality is Beggars chicken, whole chicken wrapped in mud shell then baked .Just crack open and enjoy the deliciously slow cooked chicken .
  • Soupy dumplings , the dumplings are filled with crab, chicken or pork and also frozen stock .When the dumplings are steamed in bamboo steamers the stock melts and its a burst of flavour biting into these juicy dumplings
  • Banana rice cooked in bamboo tubes

Quail eggs boiled in a unique way

Pork Trotters and Frog legs

More braised pork

Soupy dumplings

Qiabo is a nice place to go try real local cuisine, but as a water town its not great .Most of the old buildings have been built over and there is hardly any of the old architecture left. What makes Qiabo a popular destination is that its easy to get to. I would suggest going there late evening , once the bridges and buildings are lit up, its beautiful !

Stir fry beef , flat pan roasted pork dumplings and suntory beer

Qiabo Water Town – Travel Guide Ancient culture, network of canals and old bridges are some of the things that make a good water town.
China’s Kunming Adds Fake Ikea Store to Apple Clones

Posted by Abe Sauer on August 1, 2011 10:00 AM

In China, fake Apple stores in Kunming are so yesterday. Now, it’s all about the fake Ikea.

Copying the Swedish furniture-maker’s characteristic blue and yellow branding, “十一家具” or “Eleventh Furniture” is a huge, multi-level store that sells mod furniture and even has an in-store cafe, just like Ikea. Take a closer look below and tell us if you think Ikea should be concerned.

Much like with the fake Apple store examples, those working there do not seem to care much about working for a carbon copy.

Asked about the similarities,an employee shrugged her shoulders and told reporters "If two people are wearing the same clothes, you are bound to say that one copied the other. Customers have told me we look like Ikea. But for me that’s not my problem. I just look after customers’ welfare. Things like copyrights, that is for the big bosses to manage."

It’s not just the bricks and mortar branding that’s been lifted; Eleventh Furniture’s advertising and “catalog” even copies Ikea’s, even if its website, 11jiaju.com does not.

Ikea is likely aware of its Kunming clone, as Chinese bloggers noted Eleventh Furniture’s Ikea likeness last year.

It’s also noteworthy that this knock-off Ikea store is in Kunming, in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, the same city in which the fake Apple store was found. Apparently, copycat retail branding is something of a cottage industry there these days.

In fact, city officials may be missing a branding opportunity: “Visit Kunming, Knock-off Capital of the World!” Or the copycat slogan: “What’s copied in Kunming, stays in Kunming… until you buy it and bring it home!”

[Ikea images via]


Monuments to the Supreme Pontiff during the “Festa della Chinea” in the 18th Century

I find it to be unfortunate that the Pope never commissioned a permanent monument based directly off a Chinea monument for Rome. It would have been beautiful. 

Mi novio creo que es un alien, el mae cada dia se esfuerza por hacerme feliz y demostrarme que me ama mas que a nadie, mas que a su vida misma.. Hace mi trabajo los dias que no puedo, y con ganas, me cocina, me invita a comer rico cada vez que puede y si no puede tambien, escucha con cuidado cada palabra que sale de mi, me cuida, me chinea, me hace piojito para dormir y si no puedo dormir me hace un te o algo de comer sin tener que pedirselo, hace sacrificios cada dia por mi comodidad y bienestar. Me respeta, me ama, me hace reir, rie conmigo, llora conmigo y apoya mis desiciones…. Y este post es para gritarle al mundo lo feliz que me hace y lo afortunada que soy..

Hace una revolución silenciosa

Hace una revolución silenciosa quien en la mañana

despierta y sale de la casa sobre sus pies,

esperando pacientemente el bus,

o cortando el aire libremente sobre dos ruedas

visualizando cada detalle de quien no conoce,

pausadamente, con encanto.

Hace una revolución silenciosa el que cada dos días,

con amor saca su levadura de un tarro de vidrio,

le sonríe, le da de comer, la chinea,

mientras va saboreando en su mente el perfume

seco del horno, el chirrido de la corteza del pan

recién salido.

Hace una revolución silenciosa el que borra de su

vocabulario la palabra “empleo” coste lo que coste

para abrazar una mucho más sentimental: oficio,

que le hace dedicar tiempo

de sueño y vigilia

a una pasión,

firme creyente en la colaboración, la hermandad

en el cambio.

Hace una revolución silenciosa

el que se sienta en el piso,

el que sigue inventando un cuento diferente cada noche

para sus niños,

el que no puede dormir con un libro en la mano,

el que se cuestiona lo incomodo, hasta sí mismo,

el que arma sus propria cosas y,

las sabe desarmar, arreglar, transformar.

Hace una revolución silenciosa

el que conserva una semilla

para sembrarla, mirándola

crecer día a día.
El qué dedica el tiempo de su vida a algo

para los de más, sin pedir nada a cambio.

Hace una revolución silenciosa el

que a diario tiene preguntas y por ello investiga

con la emoción de un niño.

El que se sienta a hablar bajo las estrellas

sólo o en compañía, con la misma felicidad.

[Reloaded: Pablo Neruda - Muere lentamente]