Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stranger in a strange building

I could tell I landed in a foreign country the moment I got off the plane. It wasn't just the piano bar, or the fact that stick figures on signs were wearing native garb.

A big tipoff was the architecture.

And that sounds strange to say, because it IS a modern city, with glass, steel, concrete--all the elements of a proper urban existence. But things just look kind of funny. You can tell there is a different culture at work. Lines that were straight are broken; windows exist where there should be walls; things that should be dull are shiny.

Let me try to explain with pictures. Bear with me. I'm a words guy. We start out normally enough (except for my feet--hey, I was going to the beach, OK?):

Big buildings, big toes.

You might think, hey, those are newer buildings. Of course they look more "normal." But then look at this:

So many rectangles, so little time.

That's a new building. And, full disclosure, I work on the bottom floor. It's nice. There's a coffee shop. But it has an air of alien-ness about it, no? Like something you might find on a Star Wars planet where the only construction materials were cement and tinted glass.

Speaking of tinted glass....

It glitters!

Funny-hued windows, oddly placed arches, a lack of ornamentation--it's got it all. Plus laundry for bonus points.

Line up a whole bunch of them on a street, and you get....

... this.

So see? Things do look different here. Except, maybe, me. I still haven't gotten sunburned.

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