Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Mile-High City - Denver

The 2011 AEA/AFA was held in Denver at the first weekend of January. I always try to create fun in my business trip and explore the local culture, food, natural and social adventure. So thinking of Colorado, the very idea hit my mind is to go skiing! Wonderful Rocky Mountain skiing resort, why not?

Yet upon arriving there, an intensive schedule including interviews, presentation, seminars and social events eroded my plan. Facing the music, I barely had time for a one-hour river walk, a two-hour museum tour, and attended a show on Sunday afternoon. However few, these moments highlight the whole trip! And life is measured by such moments. For those of you seeing merely people in the conference, let me show you some other colors that you may not have seen in Denver.

My first impression when getting out of the Denver airport is vast openness. With sparsely-dotted buildings, the city at the foot of Rocky Mountains looks attractive, especially for people like me from Manhattan. The sky is bluer and the air is thinner!


Why such a blue sky? As its nickname suggests, Denver is a city 5,280 feet (one mile) above the sea level. In such rarified air, it's said that golf balls go ten percent farther… and so do cocktails. The sun feels warmer, because you're closer to it, but your coffee is cooler, because water boils at 202 degrees.


(a step on the State Capitol Building that is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level. Source: web photo)

With 10-year work experience at various museums, especially the Metropolitan Museum, I really do not have any expectation for the Denver Art Museum. Still I went there --- 'DAM', 5-minute walk from the hotel, why not?

What a good decision! The modern-designed building immediately recalled of the peaks of Rocky Mountains. I later on searched the internet and found what the architect said, "I was inspired by the light and the geology of the Rockies, but most of all by the wide-open faces of the people of Denver."


My favorite work is Fox Games by Sandy Skoglund. It's a fantastic world, depicting an invasion of gray foxes sculpted in clay and cast in polyester resin, within a restaurant. The foxes prowl on and around red tables in an entirely red room. Every element of the installation—forks, knives, plates, dinner rolls, and even a squirrel in the mouth of one of the foxes—is painted red.



Other interesting works include:




My first three days in Denver is full of beautiful sunshine! Just when I was praising the gorgeous weather sitting at a window table in a fine restaurant, the waiter joked on me, "Nice? You will soon tell its temper!" He was right. It started to snow on Sunday. The temperature dropped dramatically from 50F to -9F. Super luck for those economists who are going skiing, yet it is far less fun for me to walk in the snow with high-heel shoes.


White high-heel shoes,
Arctic fox headband,
Dark blue cashmere coat,

Elegant walking set opposite to my eager feeling!

Two more blocks from Marriot to Sheraton,
Three more interviews,
I am DONE!

Immediately after all interviews at 2pm on Sunday, I got off business suite, put on jeans and boots, jumped into taxi, for National Western Stock Show! Come on, Rodeo time!

On the road from Denver airport to hotels, the taxi driver told us that the traffic may be bad in downtown since there was a stock parade show. What? The word 'stock' sounds so familiar yet I cannot shortly figure out its meaning at such context! We asked at least twice and finally realized that 'yes, it's a stock show.' Livestock!~

I have to confess that I am a city girl. Even though I internally feel closer to nature, I indeed spent most of my life in big cities such as Shanghai, Chicago, New York, etc. For me, 'Angus' is nothing but a word printed on the grocery store's meat counter, 'Alpaca' looks even strange and some mark on the clothes. I cannot imagine that I have a chance to look directly into their eyes and touch them!

How innocent the little alpaca looks~!


Another one!


A candidate was showing her Llama at the National Western Stock Show.


A boy with his alpaca was waiting for their turn to the junior livestock show competition. He seemed a little shy and nervous.


Not just these meek beings above, there are hundreds of angus, bulls, limousin, gelbvieh, and horses in big big stadium halls. Such a REAL world! There you constantly see newly-generated 'bullshits'! While they are accumulated and soon to be converted to energy in an adjacent plant!

I enjoyed my trip! Hope you are feeling the same. Every journey is a good process of self-exploration. I get to know myself better partly through observing and understanding other people's life. It's not always smooth and pleasant, but it's still treasure of the life.

May you have a peaceful and prosperous 2011!

(Denver at Sunset)

Photographed by Jennie Bai.

Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.


star said...

沙发. The gray fox installation is disturbingly inspiring. i like the sunset pic of Denver. BTW, you may already know, alpaca had gained unexpected popularity among Chinese netizens.

wolf said...

don't be too obsessed with the journeys far away from your home.
There are ways in your routine life can also lead you to the top of mountains and the heart of oceans...