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Archive for February, 2008

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Bangkok 2008

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Last Saturday (your Friday) I flew to Bangkok…carrying on a nice conversation with a Malaysian man sitting next to me. He says Thaksin did help the rural farmers…but the system takes time to change. And he says Thaksin began to feel like he owned the country…like Suharto in Indonesia. Thaksin’s web site says he plans to return to Thailand in two days. Will be interesting to see if there is a reaction from the Bangkok educated elites who hate him for his corrupt business dealings.

The weather is warm here but not uncomfortably so…yet.

I stayed the first night at the new Hi Sukhumvit hostel on Sukhumvit soi 38 where I had stayed before. But this time the single rooms were full. The mixed dorm I was put in was miserable…in…out…in…out…zippers unzipped…zippers zipped…light on…lights out…in…out…door slams…guys snoring…guy listening to music…lights on…door slams…and plastic bags should be outlawed after 10pm! Finally I hear slurp slurp and realize that the one other girl had crawled into bed with one of the guys. That did it. I went to the roof lounge to sleep. But woke up with little red spots all over my legs and arms…accosted by what I don’t know.

The next morning a Canadian guy took me around the corner to the Rex Hotel…an old Bangkok landmark. I get Fox and BBC on satellite TV. Today I explored the neighborhood and found the American Women’s Club, an expat group of women, down a sub soy off Suk 38.

Tonight I am in the Bourbon St. Bar and Restaurant owned by an American near Sukhumvit 22 using their free WiFi and listening to the NY Philharmonic playing in North Korea on the TV. A couple of older overweight French guys are spell-bound.

Tomorrow I go to Bumrungrad Hospital to make some appointments and my first dental appointment is tuesday. My body is beginning to feel like it is residing in Thailand and not China.

Last Days In Jinghong

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Joe, a gregarious Dai tour guide who hangs out at the tourist haunts looking for business invited me to join him and his family and friends, including a young French couple, at the new BBQ restaurants on the road along the river…the ones we couldn’t find before. His English was great and we shared many ideas. “My heart is breaking with the pollution in the environment,” he said. I told him about Amy’s International School and it’s mission to bring east and west together. Not against each other, he asked? No I said, entwining my fingers. Together. He liked that, as he entwined his own fingers. I told him he had one foot in each culture. He liked that too. Then he wrote a C on one shoe and a W on the other shoe as we laughed.

It is the Spring Festival here and fireworks are going off everywhere. Over 20-40 small dishes (river snails, cow’s skin, river moss and the like) we raised small glasses of beer too many times to shouted toasts…first among ourselves (we women toasted to our beauty…!) and then with a group of about 20 Anhi teachers sitting at the next table.

The next day a German woman and her son, who is getting an advanced degree in business in Hangzhou (SW of Shanghai), invited me to go with them to a small village on the other side of the Mekong River by ferry and then tuk tuk. She is here, like me, visiting her progeny. Her son has been here three years and is fluent in Mandarin…as are many of the Westerners I’ve met here. A group of American high school girls here in Jinghong on break from on a one year exchange program in Beijing to learn Mandarin amazed me with their ability to speak the language…their futures will be bright with opportunities.

I will be glad to leave the An Ya Jiu Dian Hotel, however. It is newer…clean and very nice with satellite TV and a hot and cold water cooler for about $7…and friendly owners. It’s just up the street from the western-oriented Mei Mei Restaurant on Man Lan Lu. But there is a restaurant down an ally behind the hotel…outside my window…that starts up about midnight…with many shouted toasts…and finally subsides about 3am. Ear plugs only take the edge off.

No lack of internet cafes on this street!

And I won’t miss the Asian toilet, if you know what I mean. The shower head is above the open-hole toilet in the floor so one must be very careful where one steps.

This And That In China

Thursday, February 21st, 2008
If there is anything a foreigner knows about China, it is that he or she knows that she knows nothing. Today an American woman went to the Blind Massage School for accupuncture...but they don't do accupuncture on foreigners. She doesn't ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chinese Logic

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Already, one-third of China's land mass is desert and it is losing 1500 square acres more a year to overgrazing, deforestation, urban sprawl and draught. Looking out the window of my plane from Beijing to Kunming, for the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Just Hanging Out

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Yesterday an older woman from Ireland and I tried to find the Night Market at the end of the bridge over the Mekong River where you used to be able to get great BBQ meat cooked over coal fires. ... [Continue reading this entry]

High Tech In China

Monday, February 18th, 2008
I have not been able to access Wikipedia or the external links to Blogspot and Bootsnall blogs since I have been in China. My daughter-in-law who lives in Beijing says that she often can access Wikipedia by going to ... [Continue reading this entry]

On To Jinghong

Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Too cold to do anything in Kunming so am flying out today to Jinghong in the south of China where it is reportedly warm. Was in Jinghong in the tropical Xishuangbanna Region in December 2004 when it was much warmer than this ... [Continue reading this entry]

Almost Didn’t Make The Plane To Kunming

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Hard to believe I was in Beijing for two weeks. But you know what they say about stinking guests if they stay too long. So today I flew to Kunming in Yunnan Province in the south ... [Continue reading this entry]

Almost Lost On The Subway

Sunday, February 10th, 2008
This week Josh and I went to the Beijing Exhibition which is a miniature replica of the city in a huge building. Josh says they have one of these in every major city. Very well done! Then we ... [Continue reading this entry]

2008 Olympic Venues

Sunday, February 10th, 2008
The two most impressive Olympic venues are the National Aquatics Center or simply the "Water Cube" and the "Bird's Nest." The "Water Cube," a palatial structure with an area of 80,000 sq meters that is white in the daytime and blue ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chinese New Year Of The Rat

Friday, February 8th, 2008
Chinese New Year's Eve Wednesday February 6 2008. Words cannot do justice to the fireworks we viewed across the city from the rooftop of the Hilton Hotel at midnight. It was so cold Josh had trouble holding a camera. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Amy’s International School

Thursday, February 7th, 2008
Last Friday I went to the Yew Chung International School of Beijing with Amy, my daughter-in-law. Seventy five years ago an optimistic young woman, Madame Tsang Chor-hang, barely graduated from a teacher's school, emerged from a calamitous time ... [Continue reading this entry]

Inspiring Obama Video Going Viral

Monday, February 4th, 2008
Amy, the historian, and I were watching election returns on CNN when we came upon this incredible video.


Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
In the airport, while waiting for my luggage to show up, I scanned the crowd of people in the waiting area and had no trouble spotting Josh...three heads above all others. Eye candy for me! This is the first time ... [Continue reading this entry]