Fascinated by Fabrics

Romanced. I have been seduced by the look and feel of the fabrics and notions I find in the souq in Muscat. And now I have become curious about these fabrics. How did Omanis come to love the colors? Where did the fabrics come from? Did Oman ever produce materials for clothing? I’ve seen these fabric maps of continents – the patterns or designs typical … Continue reading Fascinated by Fabrics

Bright and Bold Women of Oman

Women of Oman have a gorgeous tradition of bold and bright color combinations. In fact, Omani women can be more bold and creative than most! Like beautiful birds, women have always like to show off their multi-color dresses and accessories. From an early age, there is an appreciation of color and jewelry. They may wear a burqa, but it is not always a simple face … Continue reading Bright and Bold Women of Oman

Not Without a Ghutra

The signature of #kcbDesigns is a ghutra. Nothing is complete without a ghutra somehow, somewhere. A ghutra is a square cotton scarf men in Oman wear on their heads, wrapped and folded in styles that differ from place to place. In some places, it is more common to see men and boys wearing a kumma – the round, embroidered cap. It is part of the … Continue reading Not Without a Ghutra

Al Bustan – Garden by the Sea

I can live anywhere in the world and I choose Al Bustan – a fishing village on the edge of Muscat in Oman. This is where and how I spend my time when I am not travelling. It is exquisite by day. And even more exquisite by night. We share the beach in front with the Al Bustan Palace Ritz Carlton Hotel and the deep … Continue reading Al Bustan – Garden by the Sea

The Dragon and Phoenix China Tour 2019

Dragon and Phoenix, in China, are symbols of the forces of nature, the gods and fate. Typically they are depicted together in ying-yang fashion – opposites that together create a unified whole. This 2019 trip to China was a series of opposites for me – old and new cities, fast and slow trains, simple and luxurious accommodations, familiar and strange dishes, treasured old and special … Continue reading The Dragon and Phoenix China Tour 2019

Dragon City – Chengdu in Spicy Sichuan

Why Chengdu? It holds mighty strategic status in the Middle Kingdom era, but now? People seem to go to see the pandas, but what else? I really didn’t know it would be such a vibrant dragon city – mythical, powerful, monstrously alive while seeming to sleep. I spent 4 days in Chengdu in November and, as always, I had a guided day tour to see … Continue reading Dragon City – Chengdu in Spicy Sichuan

Phoenix City – Timeless Fenghuang

My first view of Fenghuang, and I was entranced. Fenghuang means Phoenix – that mythical bird that is eternal – arising from the ashes if destroyed by fire, coupling with the dragon to become a complete ying and yang. The phoenix is forever, and Fenghuang seems aptly named. Fenghuang is a famous ancient watertown that has called to me for years.  Pictures of this ancient … Continue reading Phoenix City – Timeless Fenghuang

Me and Mao in Hefei 2019

I always like to be back in Hefei on the USTC campus in the fall – my home in China.Without really planning, I found Chairman Mao came along with me – in the Mao biography I was reading, in the Mao leadership case study for my students, in the images still common around town, in some ways the locals keep his memory alive.It is so … Continue reading Me and Mao in Hefei 2019

Timeout in Tongli

Time stands still in Tongli Water Town – an ancient village carefully preserved amidst the modern urban sprawl that connects Shanghai and Suzhou. Once inside this living museum, there is little to do but enjoy the feeling of time travel back to a life of cobble streets, canal boats, elegant gardens and food vendors. I spent four days and it took all four to walk … Continue reading Timeout in Tongli