Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Making Travel Plans

We have been home for 3 months now. Travel planning has started. Our latest thinking is to get a 6-month return ticket, Raleigh to Shanghai, since we still have some stuff (e.g. clothes, books) to drag back. We'd leave at the end of Oct/beginning of Nov.

Tentative Itinerary

Nov: China: In the south, most likely.

Dec: Burma: We have to return before the masses begin to descend. John wants to go to Myitkyina.

Jan-Feb: India: Can we last 2 months? India is still the most appalling and fascinating country for us.

Mar: Nepal: I don't think I am capable of trekking because of altitude and general fitness. Don't know how long we'll want to spend in Nepal.

Apr: China: Lijiang and Dali in Yunnan, finally?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tibet Photo

A photo I took in Tibet in 2006 appears for about 3 seconds in this video: Look for it about 2/3rds of the way through.

The video is a "trailer" for a yet-to-be-produced documentary film.

Here's the photo:
Drepung Monastery  - Lhasa, Tibet

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics: Good and Bad

Back when we lived Shanghai, people asked whether we were going to the Olympics. We were never warm to the idea. In fact starting with the Torch Relay I began to hate the Olympics. However, now that the Olympics has started, I am getting into the swing of things.

  • Flaunting the flame around the world and attracting Tibetan protester was rather unfortunate. During our travels in China, the multiple-channel around-the- hour coverage of the Torch Relay within China disgusted me so much, I cringed every time I turned on the TV.
  • The Organizers did not seem to understand the priority of controlling smog and traffic, balancing security vs. letting people have a good time.
  • We are blocked from online coverage in the US (we don't have Vista). Since we do not a TV, we went our friends' house to watch the opening ceremony and we are spending this week at John's parents' cottage at the Outer Banks where there is a TV. I want to forgive NBC, because they are doing a fairly good job covering the games.

  • The much hyped Opening Ceremony did not disappoint. Putting politics aside and Zhang Yimou's most recent flop (IMHO), it was dazzling and flawlessly executed.

  • I stayed up past midnight the last two nights until the end of the coverage, Men's 4x100 Freestyle Relay and Men's Team Gymnastics. More than the athleticism, the humanity that came through truly moved me.

  • The Chinese audience has been very gracious about cheering for everyone, showing true Chinese hospitability. I wonder how much brain washing has gone into that. I noticed it watching on TV, even before the commentators pointed out.
  • My favorite moments are still those when someone from a small country, a non-favorite, scores a medal.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

From Aguascalientes, there is a very convenient direct flight to Cancun.  Since the wedding is at a private beach south of Playa del Carmen,...