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Cultivation:
Bhavatu sabba mangalam.
"May all beings be happy."
Vipassana meditation.
www.dhamma.org
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• Who: Eric Case FOAF
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« November 2002 | Main | January 2003 »

December 31, 2002

In Bankok

Hello Asia, good-bye toilet paper. It's really hot here, hot and humid. Jarrod met me downtown after my plane arrived and we're staying at a guesthouse ($2/night) near Khao San road. The food is out of this world... You've probably had Thai food at restaurants, and it's usually amazing stuff, but the stuff straight from the street vendors is just divine. I'm munching on roasted banana right now, $0.25 for a whole bag of them.

There's a great vibe here as well, it's the first 3rd-world country I've visited where I haven't felt like I'm from another planet. The people are wonderful and happy-go-lucky, like the Hawaiians were. They don't stare at you when you walk down the streets and through markets like they've never seen white skin before. Perhaps it's because Bangkok is a fairly popular travel destination, I dunno, it could change when we go elsewhere. I'd like to believe it's because Thailand is a Buddhist nation and it's never been conquered by a foreign power, and its people are tolerant and compassionate in general.

We saw The Two Towers last night, my second time seeing it (awesome film). Interestingly, after the previews and before the movie started, the whole crowd stood up and a short (one minute or so) film about Thailand's king, Bhumipol Adulyadej, played on the screen. Afterward, everybody sat down and the movie started. Cultural idiosnycracies, yippee!

One final note, we're flying to Burma tomorrow and I'm not anticipating finding any Internet access. Unless I do, see you again in a month...

Posted at 12:23 | TrackBacks (0)

December 29, 2002

Hong Kong airport

Posting from Hong Kong airport, 14 hours later. It's like 4am in California or something. Woops, this free Internet shop is closing, d'oh!

Posted at 03:50 | TrackBacks (0)

December 28, 2002

Kipling - Mandalay

Rudyard Kipling: The Road to Mandalay

(We'll be there on Day 7)

Posted at 09:20 | TrackBacks (0)

December 27, 2002

Asia Itinerary

Here's the flight schedule for the trip:

United Airlines #805

Depart San Francisco - December 28, 2002, 12:15 Arrive Hong Kong - December 29, 2002, 19:05

Thai Airways #607

Depart Hong Kong - December 29, 2002, 20:45 Arrive Bangkok - December 29, 2002, 22:30

Thai Airways #305

Depart Bangkok - January 1, 2003, 18:00 Arrive Yangon - January 1, 2003, 18:45

Thai Airways #304

Depart Yangon - January 28, 2003, 10:05 Arrive Bangkok - January 28, 2003, 11:45

Thai Airways #600

Depart Bangkok - February 3, 2003, 08:00 Arrive Hong Kong - February 3, 2003, 11:45

United Airlines #806

Depart Hong Kong - February 3, 2003, 01:05 Arrive San Francisco - February 3, 2003, 08:40
Posted at 14:54 | TrackBacks (0)

December 26, 2002

CIA World FactBook- Burma

According to the CIA World FactBook, Burma is a bit smaller than Texas.

Posted at 21:47 | TrackBacks (0)

Bagan

According to the Yatra itinerary, this is where we'll be for Days 12-13.

Smithsonian Magazine: Sacred and Profaned

"On this vast lowland plateau at a sweeping bend in the Irrawaddy River 300 miles north of the capital city, Rangoon, temples, domed pagodas and gilt spires create a surreal landscape. At the height of the Pagan Empire in the 13th century, there were some 2,500 temples; now, due to earthquakes and neglect, there are 300 fewer. Still, the overall effect remains awe-inspiring."

...

"For a sense of Pagan, picture 2,000 cathedrals and churches of all shapes that vary in height from barely 12 feet to more than 200 feet, all squeezed into a parcel of land about three quarters the size of Manhattan. (At 200 feet, the Thatbinnyu Temple is about as high as Notre Dame in Paris and was built at roughly the same time.) Apart from the sheer number of temples in Pagan, the ancient city also has the greatest concentration of Buddhist wall paintings in Southeast Asia. As Scottish anthropologist James George Scott wrote in 1910 of Pagan: “Jerusalem, Rome, Kiev, Benares, none of them can boast the multitude of temples, and the lavishness of design and ornament."

Posted at 21:41 | TrackBacks (0)

Southeast Asian History

I'm brushing up on Southeast Asian history at the moment... wow, frightening. No comments yet, in case the Burmese "The Man" is watching, but there could be plenty when I get home in February. For those interested, here are some Burma links:

The Irrawaddy

BurmaNet News

Soros.Org: Burma Project

Posted at 19:59 | TrackBacks (0)

December 24, 2002

A Tiny Update

Me & KamalaMy apologies for the extreme lack of updates, I've been a bit busy lately. On December 11th I bought a car (2001 VW Golf, 4-door, 5-speed, indigo blue, hello DEBT!). Her name is Kamala; read Hesse's Siddhartha for context. Jack and I left Marietta on the 16th to drive out to California, aiming at arrival on the 20th, in time for my cousin Sarah's wedding on the 21st. All went as planned, pictures from the drive are here and wedding pictures are here. I'm staying with my Aunt for the time being, until I find employment and get a place of my own.

Burma visaBefore that, however, I'm making a tiny detour to Thailand and Burma for about 5 weeks. I'm rendezvousing with some NZ mates in Bangkok on December 29th, then we're flying to Burma on January 1st for the two-week Vipassana Yatra. Burmese visas allow for 4-week stays (it's a military dictatorship), so we're planning on using the second half of our visas to see more of the country. Then it's back to Bangkok on January 28th, and I'm flying back to San Francisco on February 3rd to start the job hunt.

Some of you may be wondering, "Where the @#$% does this @#$%ing @#$% get the @#$%ing cash to do all this @#$%ing traveling?" Understand that I've tapped into the last of my financial reserves to make this trip happen, as it's a once-in-a-lifetime (or beyond) opportunity. Spiritual seekers among you will understand; Goenkaji is leading the pilgrimage. When I get home I'll be broker than a joke, and desperately in need of employment. Ok?

t68i phoneOn another note, I have new digits, courtesy of T-Mobile: 650-861-xxxx. The T68i is a wicked little phone- call it (international callers add a +1 in front), text it, or email it (xxxxxxxxxx@tmomail.net, where the x's are my ten-digit number minus the hyphens). There's no coverage here at my Aunt's place (we're in a Redwood forest in the mountains south of San Francisco), so I've gotta drive a couple minutes for reception. My plan has free nation-wide long distance, as well as free nights (>9pm Pacific time) and weekends.

Merry Christmas to you all, but don't expect too many updates while I'm gone. Read this and you'll understand why. Oh, and there's a heap of new pictures (listed at the right) if you're interested.

Posted at 22:49 | TrackBacks (1)

December 12, 2002

Women and beards?

Hmm... Comments, ladies?

[via Ev]

Posted at 14:03 | TrackBacks (0)

December 11, 2002

DubyaDubyaDubya

YES!!!

[via Dave]

Posted at 14:47 | TrackBacks (0)

December 6, 2002

Earth satellite photos

In email today, Chuck asked for links to these two images, which I've been meaning to blog for ages. I first heard of the night shot in an email forward from Aunt Jacky a while back, and learned of its daytime counterpart from a Dutch backpacker at TripInn back in July. I have them alternating as desktop backgrounds on my laptop. So here ya go: beautiful, full-color, cloudless satellite photos of the entire Earth, in both day and nighttime.

earth @ day

earth @ night

In the night shot, note how bright the US, Europe and Japan are. Then look at Africa and Australia. See the Trans-Siberian Railway winding its way through eastern Russia? India is pretty well-lit too, but Afghanistan is almost entirely dark. Fascinating stuff.

Posted at 13:58 | TrackBacks (0)

December 5, 2002

Back home...

snowSo I'm like, home and stuff. The weather hasn't been too bad until 6 inches of snow dumped on us last night. Chicago was fun as well, I got to see a bunch of friends and family; here's a photo I forgot I'd snapped on the flight into O'Hare. Wicked, eh?

Posted at 16:09 | TrackBacks (0)