San Francisco, USA

with the head on the moon

Chinese-born singers liven up the Moon Festival with epic and popular Chinese themes.
dragon dance
Chinese-American youth perform a dragon dance in the streets of San Francisco's Chinatown.
Dragon head
Chinese-American youth perform a dragon dance in the streets of San Francisco's Chinatown.
Couple put stickers with the US flag on gingerbread packages.
maternal support
Mother encourages her daughters, about to perform in a traditional Chinese music exhibition.
string melodies
Young songs play traditional instruments for a moving audience.
China in San Francisco
Typical architecture of San Francisco's Chinatown, also decorated with Chinese and US flags
the visionary
Elder exhibits his long theory that explains the election of Barack Obama to passersby.
moon cakes
Chinese pastry vendors in the sweet heart of Frisco's Chinatown.
Bell Crowd
Crowds roam the streets of Chinatown during the San Francisco Moon Festival.
Political and Controversial Mural decorates a street in Chinatown.
former President Hu Jintao
Painting Seller has, in prominence, the portrait of the then Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Little Chinese Americans accompany an artist's performance during the San Francisco Moon Festival.
September comes and Chinese people around the world celebrate harvests, abundance and unity. San Francisco's enormous Sino-Community gives itself body and soul to California's biggest Moon Festival.

It's mid-afternoon and the streets of the big red neighborhood are bustling like never before. Men of short stature but great vigor unload endless crates into the hands of porcelain ladies who receive them without apparent harm and arrange in the depths of their stores and warehouses.

Everyday Chinese life is repeated there, driven by the already deeply genetic vocation of pursuing profit almost without rest.

We arrive in September and the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunisolar calendar is approaching, a harbinger of the autumnal equinox. The vast population in the diaspora responds to the millenary appeal of the celebration of prosperity that, at one time, contemplated almost only rural benefits, but today, due to the evolution of the economy, it also takes into account its numerous businesses - for some reason they became known - of the China.

Chinese, American or Sino-American?

We investigate the action in one of the central streets of the neighborhood when we see an entertaining couple placing stickers with the United States flag on plastic packaging, over large open barrels, full of ginger.

Store Owners, Chinatown-San Francisco, United States of AmericaCouple put stickers with the US flag on gingerbread packages.

We approach and follow the procedure that the head of the household's sunglasses make us look even more intriguing.

At this time, the Yankee nation remains in crisis and calls to consume American and reject Chinese products come from everywhere but mostly in shortwave and via satellite and cable by ultra-conservative activists, Tea Party and Fox Channel as the incorrigibles Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Levine, among others.

At first, Li Chin is flustered but soon realizes that we don't want to harm him and assumes the cheat. “They want to buy national, we give them our national. Believe me, most are not smart enough to tell the difference.

Some of this ginger is from here, another is from China, the stickers, those, are all patriots. If we offer packages with Chinese letters for sale, they boycott us. Here is the American product that they so much advocate.”

It doesn't hurt to realize that despite nearly 200 years of presence in San Francisco, the integration of its Chinatown remains to be completed. Chinese culture – especially of the predominant Han ethnic group – has always been supreme and does not give itself once and for all, not even in old California which, even in debt up to its neck, contemplates the rest of the United States and the world from the top of a pedestal.

We pass by a wall on which a huge Stars and Stripes with the expected inscription of God Bless America. But the author omitted the B from the sentence and, despite later correction, the message remains distorted, for the contemplation and reflection of residents and outsiders.

Flag mural, Chinatown-San Francisco, United States of AmericaPolitical and Controversial Mural decorates a street in Chinatown.

Moon Festival: a Moon Cake Festival

At the confectionery shop next door, there is no time to waste on philosophical analyses. It's festive season and neither the owners nor the employees have a rest with so many requests for moon cakes, sponge cupcakes and other delicacies.

Made from egg yolks, beans, sesame and jujube, the festival's official little pastries are dense and heavy, as massive as they are delicious.

Mooncakes, Chinatown-San Francisco, United States of AmericaChinese pastry vendors in the sweet heart of Frisco's Chinatown.

We devour two each effortlessly and we also unveil the derisory fate dictated by the papers hidden in the fortune cookies, satisfied, above all, by the palpable luck of the owners having offered us a small assorted box of Cantonese pastries.

San Francisco's Chinatown's Already Secular Past

The afternoon progresses and the cable cars that go up and down the surrounding San Francisco hills pour more people into the neighborhood. This Chinatown was formed like the city itself, when the 1849 Gold Rush it attracted people from all over the North American territory and from other countries.

It survived an outbreak of bubonic plague and the earthquake and mega-fire of 1906. Its ever-growing population also resisted prejudice and aggression from the criminal clans that between 1870 and 1900 ran brothels, opium salons, gaming houses and dens of slavery from the same sloping streets because they aspired millions of fellow countrymen to arrive.

Shortly after the big earthquake, authorities planned to evict residents and urbanize the area with valuable property. To avoid this, a core of Chinese businessmen led by Look Tin Ely has collected enough funds from their fellow countrymen to reinvent the neighborhood as the tourist attraction it is today.

Crowd, Chinatown, San Francisco-United States of America
Crowds roam the streets of Chinatown during the San Francisco Moon Festival.

They hired architects to create the Chinatown Deco lines it preserves, with pagoda-style roofs and dragon lanterns lined the shopping streets.

The end was reached, but it did not end with discrimination and with legislation that prohibited emigration, such as the Exclusion Act. The city's Chinese then reinforced their political and economic unity and circumvented the new obstacles.

The Delicate Reality Bell of San Francisco's Chinatown

Today, many survive on less than $10 a year in one of the most expensive cities in the US, but in their minds, once established in the corporate heart of the Golden State, better opportunities will arise. Above all, they have reasons to celebrate.

Dragon Dance, Moon Festival, Chinatown-San Francisco-United States of AmericaAmerican Chinese youth perform a dragon dance during the San Francisco Moon Festival.

We have reached a point where the crowd makes it difficult to move around. Groups of elders face mahjong and other challenges on card tables decorated with party program banners. Curious people watch the movements of the pieces over the shoulders of the protagonists and, from time to time, dare to suggest better solutions.

Young songs with mother, Chinatown-San Francisco, United States of AmericaMother encourages her daughters, about to perform in a traditional Chinese music exhibition.

At the same time, a procession of long, furry, gaudy dragons and lions animated by young people wind through the space regained by the security agents who serve the festival. This opens the way to the Grand Avenue where a music recital is about to begin.

Several groups play traditional themes and anthems with sounds of guzheng and other typical string and percussion instruments, supplanted by a couple of singers in a duet and typical costumes that make the audience shiver with the power of their contrasting voices.

Singers, Moon Festival-Chinatown-San Francisco, United States of AmericaChinese-born singers liven up the Moon Festival with epic and popular Chinese themes.

The day is about to last and surprises us with more and more oriental emotions. On a bucket, on a corner already in the shade, a toothless old man wearing a conical hat greets passersby and makes a point of promoting his own.

The Elder Prophet of Everything a Little

He remains apparently moved by Baraka Obama's election to the White House, and on a poster covered in printed text he enunciates a long, crazy theory that explains why God led him to the presidency.

His conjecture begins by introducing the Opium War and the British invasion of a Tibet which the advertiser considers, without any doubt, Chinese as Taiwan.

He argues that no one should accuse the Beijing government because each country must have a regime suitable for its population and moves on to various other assumptions involving Hitler, Bush, Sarah Palin, 666 the number of the beast and the Falun Gong spiritual discipline it claims to be, in reality, a terrorist group.

It also mentions a tiger from the San Francisco zoo, the accusation that Westerners wanted rain and other natural disasters to harm China and its Olympic Games, and so on. etc. etc.

He ends up blackmailing the nation that welcomed him: “Please forgive me for being chosen by God as his decoder. And please also pray for my longevity because if I die, the US will die. If I die early, the US die early.”

Messianic Message, Chinatown-San Francisco, United States of AmericaElder exhibits his long theory that explains the election of Barack Obama to passersby.

This party is about to last. We move to the square where the unavoidable closing firework will be launched and we wait for nightfall to bring us the great moon that mentors the Festival of the Moon and almost everything that we had seen happen.

Key West, USA

The Tropical Wild West of the USA

We've come to the end of the Overseas Highway and the ultimate stronghold of propagandism Florida Keys. The continental United States here they surrender to a dazzling turquoise emerald marine vastness. And to a southern reverie fueled by a kind of Caribbean spell.
Cape Coast, Ghana

The Divine Purification Festival

The story goes that, once, a plague devastated the population of Cape Coast of today Ghana. Only the prayers of the survivors and the cleansing of evil carried out by the gods will have put an end to the scourge. Since then, the natives have returned the blessing of the 77 deities of the traditional Oguaa region with the frenzied Fetu Afahye festival.
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Bhaktapur, Nepal

The Nepalese Masks of Life

The Newar Indigenous People of the Kathmandu Valley attach great importance to the Hindu and Buddhist religiosity that unites them with each other and with the Earth. Accordingly, he blesses their rites of passage with newar dances of men masked as deities. Even if repeated long ago from birth to reincarnation, these ancestral dances do not elude modernity and begin to see an end.
Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
The Haight, San Francisco, USA

Orphans of the Summer of Love

Nonconformity and creativity are still present in the old Flower Power district. But almost 50 years later, the hippie generation has given way to a homeless, uncontrolled and even aggressive youth.
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Architecture & Design
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
good buddhist advice
Ceremonies and Festivities
Chiang Mai, Thailand

300 Wats of Spiritual and Cultural Energy

Thais call every Buddhist temple wat and their northern capital has them in obvious abundance. Delivered to successive events held between shrines, Chiang Mai is never quite disconnected.
Santo Domingo, Colonial City, Dominican Republic, Diego Colombo
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The Longest Colonial Elder in the Americas

Santo Domingo is the longest-inhabited colony in the New World. Founded in 1498 by Bartholomew Colombo, the capital of the Dominican Republic preserves intact a true treasure of historical resilience.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Nahuatl celebration

Mexico City, Mexico

mexican soul

With more than 20 million inhabitants in a vast metropolitan area, this megalopolis marks, from its heart of zócalo, the spiritual pulse of a nation that has always been vulnerable and dramatic.


Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
China's occupation of Tibet, Roof of the World, The occupying forces
Lhasa, Tibet

The Sino-Demolition of the Roof of the World

Any debate about sovereignty is incidental and a waste of time. Anyone who wants to be dazzled by the purity, affability and exoticism of Tibetan culture should visit the territory as soon as possible. The Han civilizational greed that moves China will soon bury millenary Tibet.
Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

Travel Sao Tome, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Principe, Pico Cão Grande
São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe

Journey to where São Tomé points the Equator

We go along the road that connects the homonymous capital to the sharp end of the island. When we arrived in Roça Porto Alegre, with the islet of Rolas and Ecuador in front of us, we had lost ourselves time and time again in the historical and tropical drama of São Tomé.
View from Pico Verde to Praia Grande, São Vicente, Cape Verde
São Vicente, Cape Verde

The Volcanic Arid Wonder of Soncente

A return to São Vicente reveals an aridity as dazzling as it is inhospitable. Those who visit it are surprised by the grandeur and geological eccentricity of the fourth smallest island in Cape Verde.
Correspondence verification
Winter White
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Peasant woman, Majuli, Assam, India
Majuli Island, India

An Island in Countdown

Majuli is the largest river island in India and would still be one of the largest on Earth were it not for the erosion of the river Bramaputra that has been making it diminish for centuries. If, as feared, it is submerged within twenty years, more than an island, a truly mystical cultural and landscape stronghold of the Subcontinent will disappear.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Argentinean flag on the Perito Moreno-Argentina lake-glacier
Natural Parks
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

The Resisting Glacier

Warming is supposedly global, but not everywhere. In Patagonia, some rivers of ice resist. From time to time, the advance of the Perito Moreno causes landslides that bring Argentina to a halt.
Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
UNESCO World Heritage
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Drums and Tattoos
Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Beyond the Cliché

Neighbors Bora Bora and Maupiti have superior scenery but Tahiti has long been known as paradise and there is more life on the largest and most populous island of French Polynesia, its ancient cultural heart.
Lhasa, Tibet

When Buddhism Tires of Meditation

It is not only with silence and spiritual retreat that one seeks Nirvana. At the Sera Monastery, the young monks perfect their Buddhist knowledge with lively dialectical confrontations and crackling clapping of hands.
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
On Rails
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.
Australia Day, Perth, Australian Flag
Perth, Australia

Australia Day: In Honor of the Foundation, Mourning for Invasion

26/1 is a controversial date in Australia. While British settlers celebrate it with barbecues and lots of beer, Aborigines celebrate the fact that they haven't been completely wiped out.
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.