All posts tagged: Travels with John

John Hardy and the cow phone

Things you have to see and do in India (2 of 2)

These are my favorite hotels and shops in India. These are secret so use them wisely. Place to stay Imperial Hotel is my favorite urban hotel in the world. It has 3,500 original prints, like this one of a Maharaja with the colonial Englishmen. At the Imperial Hotel in Delhi A post shared by John Hardy (@greenbyjohn) on Feb 15, 2017 at 8:57pm PST Most of the prints are of the most bucolic countryside. Except for this one- the Uber of India past. Biggest issue for me are the industrial hotel buffets- it’s just sugar for breakfast Sugar carb sugar carb. The industrial hotel breakfast buffet. A post shared by John Hardy (@greenbyjohn) on Feb 15, 2017 at 11:07pm PST   Places to shop Ahujasons have the most delightful selection of pashminas in the world. And the great thing is that it’s all fixed price. So you can look at the USD 3,500 one and understand why it costs that much, and then see the UD 500 and USD 300 ones and see what they’re worth. …

Suryagarh Heritage Hotel India

A heritage, sustainable hotel in Jaisalmer, India (1 of 2)

I didn’t have any expectations when I heard there was a heritage fort hotel in Jaisalmer. But I was blown away when I got to Suryagarh. I kept looking for something that was newly constructed on this property, something that would break my eye. But nothing did. My host in India was Manvendra Singh Shekhawat, a INKTalks Fellow and traditional architecture enthusiast. Photographed below with James, who traveled with me from Bali. Manvendra Singh Shekhawat’s love lies in hotels, heritage conservation, design, experiential real estate and social entrepreneurship. His hotels take the path less travelled and his NGO, I Love Jaisalmer, was responsible for launching the city’s  largest cleanliness and conservation drive. Manvendra is currently working on building experiential hotels, development of a renaissance township and the restoration of a 350 year old military fort.  Above my bed there was a roof made of cut stone, just stone on stone to make this incredible roof. It was an amazing experience. If you get to Jaisalmer, stay in this hotel. They dug a huge pond to …

John with bamboo umbrella

The bamboo craftsmen of China

When I went to China recently, I visited 4 craftsmen taking bamboo to new heights. The paper maker, the basket weaver, the flute maker and the umbrella artisan were so cool. The Bamboo Paper Makers The bamboo being soaked for a month until they can pulp it. Huge stone used to grind the bamboo into fine powder The paper maker goes to the water, picks up a thin layer of pulp on the screen. Then lays it down to dry as paper. Thin, thin paper. A video posted by John Hardy (@greenbyjohn) on Jan 2, 2017 at 3:16am PST     Brushes to smooth the pulp. The Bamboo Lamp Weaver The Bamboo Flute Carvers   A video posted by John Hardy (@greenbyjohn) on Jan 2, 2017 at 10:02pm PST The Bamboo Umbrella Makers The umbrella factory was a curious thing. It’s in the house of people who own a huge bamboo property and they’re getting paid a fortune for that bamboo. They also make these 3 meter bamboo umbrellas. So cool. Bamboo bones and paper. …

From Yuhang Rong Design Library

Incredible bamboo design in China at the Design Library

I went to China to speak in December. This conference I went to was in the middle of bamboo land in China. It was incredible to speak there. Many people in audience had never seen a real bamboo building. I also visited and spoke at the From Yuhang Rong Design Library. Incredible space and cool people. In their words: “FROM YUHANG RONG DESIGN LIBRARY” is built by PINWU Design Studio and Yuhang Government in Hangzhou China. It focuses on Chinese traditional handcraft research and each material deconstruction from the craft. The Library offers designers Chinese traditional materials such as bamboo, paper, clay, porcelain, copper, silver, silk, etc. Remains of ancient Chinese folk culture are still to be found, hidden in villages. Library is passionate collecting the knowledge from the old craftsman. They are doing wonderful things with bamboo and natural materials, like this lamp of bamboo paper. Clay top tables- completely organic. When you touch it, you’re in heaven. Curved tops. Reusable cups in the old enamelware style. Bamboo lamps made with bamboo paper. Award-winning paper pulp …

Bamboo load

The future of bamboo is happening in China

I’ve had to create three blog posts just to chronicle all the amazing bamboo innovation and design I saw in China.  They really are using this grass to its full potential there.  A few of the other things I saw while I was there, including a visit to a bamboo lumber factory, live bamboo fountaining wine and a visit to the Craft Museum of China. Bamboo Lumber Factory We visited a gigantic bamboo lumber factory- all the photos below are products made out of pressed bamboo. Huge amounts of bamboo being carbonized to get rid of the sugar (and the pests). They turn in into miles of lumber and planks. Raw bamboo I found them burning the offcuts for power and suggested they make them into shingles. They even decorated their gigantic factory with a very small bamboo grove. Living Bamboo Wine Fountain We went to a bamboo grove which had graffiti. All different paintings. Even more crazy was when these guys showed up. They drilled holes in living bamboo and started serving bamboo wine! The …

John Hardy with The King of Bhutan

Travel notes from Bhutan

I recently went on a trip to Bhutan on the invitation of the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay. I met him when he spoke at TED and he expressed interest in Green School. I went with two friends, George and Craig. Craig has written a  guest post below about our experience in the kingdom. —JH   Words by Craig Tindale, a Green Entrepreneur, Hacker and Inventor based in Vaucluse, Sydney with 35 years experience in executive leadership roles in the technology industry across Asia. Background in green health projects across Asia including dengue (Philippines) and tick (Sydney) eradication. Father of 4 students starting at Green School in April 2017.  “Flying in from Calcutta I first started catching glimpses of the Himalayas about 40 minutes away from landing in Pero. As we drew closer the mountains began to rise up to meet the plane and then almost without noticing it the mountains were higher than us. I filmed the arrival but the video doesn’t catch how close those mountains were to the plane and how high they were above …

Sand dunes in Mongolia

Travel notes from Mongolia

Mongolia is a place everyone should visit, maybe even more than once. It’s a crazy little country with 2.8 million people. More goats than people. We are going through a climate event right now which has caused huge rains in the Gobi Desert. The flocks keep growing and the goats become cashmere. The sheep become dinner. But the people there live an amazing horse culture like many places in the world; I think there are more horses than sheep. The horses are beautiful. They race them and have all sorts of Mongolian rodeo tricks, like jumping from horse to horse 16 times in 20 seconds. They live for their horses. They live in ger (yurts) which can go up and down in 45 minutes. They move with their flocks. But things are sadly changing. The Soviets decimated the culture, destroyed the Buddhist libraries and culture. They tried to make communal farms out of the desert. Their tentacles are still there; it’s really a ‘carry your own bag’ culture. The people are really lovely. Sleeping in …

Trash walking in Tulum

Trash walking in Tulum

Tulum beach survived the seaweed die-off plague, where the ecosystem changed and Tulum beach was unwalkable for many months. Coming back and seeing it in pristine condition was so nice, but when you start walking down the beach, further away from the hotels, you start to see bottles and other things. I had meant to take a trash stick and bag with me, but didn’t get organized in time. Walking on the beach, I just couldn’t contain myself. I found a plastic bucket and then some rope; so I fixed the rope to the bottom of the bucket and started picking up trash. I noticed a lot of trash had handles. And then there was more rope, so before I knew it I had 200 pounds of trash which I was towing down the beach. People would actually come out of the jungle and help me pull it for a while. It was so heavy, I finally dumped it right in front of the Tulum hotel. Sebastian Sas (founder of the amazing Nomade property in …

John Hardy in Japan

Back to Ishizaka for the opening of a new community center

The reason I went to Japan was to speak at an event held by Ishizaka, a recycling facility that takes buildings and recycles them up to 95% in Saitama, Japan. They are now making a land trust around the plant and are regrowing the forest. They are also sponsoring the agriculture industry around them, supporting organic farming. They have just built a traditional Japanese community center with beautiful gardens and the Satoyama Expo event was an official opening ceremony. If you haven’t read my blog post on the facility, find it here. Hope to be back here very soon to work on an all bamboo building for them.  -JH   Mural at the Expo Bamboo shoots in Japan In the recycling facility