Tai Chi Helps Seniors Live Fuller Lives

Huang Tonxi says the stroke he suffered 22 years ago left half his body paralyzed. Today the 72-year-old moves almost like a ballet dancer as he practices tai chi ball, a variation of the ancient Chinese form of self-defense, tai chi. Huang moves in circles practicing the routines he claims helped him regain mobility after his illness. His eyes, as in a trance, follow the ball that dances on the racquet. He sustains the movements for more than 15 minutes, at times slowing down only to execute yet another swirling circle.

Scenes from a Xian Snack Street


Streets filled with fruit, vegetable and snack vendors are common scenes in China, which is rich with distinctive sights, smells and sounds. I discovered this particular street, a popular student hangout, across from Shanxi Tiyu University near Xian's city center.

The People's Streetball

Streetball at two of China’s major universities is a lot like how streetball in America was in the 1990s. Back then, the baddest move in the NBA was Tim Hardaway’s “Killer Crossover.” Playing pickup at two schools, one in Xian and the other in Hangzhou, the meanest moves I encountered were a well-played stutter step and a driving-hanging-jumper, both effective in their own right.

With A Little Help from Vacuum Tubes, Rural China Gets Back to Nature

The homes are impressive right away in the mountain village of Xiejiaqiao, with their ornate columns, shiny brass window fixtures and decorative lightning rods that look as if they might beam messages directly from some orbiting mother ship.

A Shot of Sincerity

I find myself in this alley near Houhai everyday. There is a coffee shop where I drink milky tea and a small dive where I drink cheap shots at night. Further along, past the tea and pipe shops, the path curves to the left, over a small bridge that leads you into the bar district lining the shores of the lake.

But if you go straight into a crumbly alleyway instead of following the path over the bridge, you might come across Mrs. Xing, 51, selling incense outside the gate of Guanghua Temple.