I have an awful headache. Neither the large cup of coffee, nor a good lunch, nor the seventeen and a half glasses of water I've had as of yet have done diddly squat, so I took something.

I love Chinese. I went with gameyy to the Chinese meeting on Sunday and it was so awesome. Loved it. I had convinced myself it was going to be impossible to read Chinese because enough squigglies in a very small shape all look similar after a while, right? WRONG. That made me happy, and I started to notice more characters throughout the rest of the meeting. I spent a few hours last night and a few nights previous making flashchards. Instead of having a 3x5 with one word written horizontally and it's translated equivalent on the opposite side, flipped horizontally to view, I have a diferent method. I USUALLY divide the 3x5 into five sections vertically, so I can write five words. Then, flipping ~end over end~ (vertically) the translated equivalents go on the opposite side, so the word at the top in English is still at the top in Chinese. However, these flashcards are not a one-to-one translation. I have the English, Chinese, and pinyin, all of which I need to learn, but don't want to be dependent on the pinyin, so I had to make them work in all directions. So here's what I did. Instead of having five sections on the front and back, I divided the front five vertically so that there were ten boxes: the five on the left are for English, the five on the right are for the pinyin. The backside still has only five boxes, with the Chinese characters listed. So what I can do is fold the card vertically so that it's English-to-pinyin (or vice versa) or can leave it opened so that it's English/pinyin-Chinese (or vice versa). I think it's smart.


...when pianos try to be guitars

It's been two years now, and she's at it again. May 1 is just around the corner, and I preordered my copy today. I love a good concept album.


I left my heart in Hong Kong

...too bad Hong Kong doesn't have as many syllables as San Fran/cis/co. Oh well
I'm looking over the pictures I still have yet to upload, and I'm deciding which to put up, etc., and it's (depressing is too strong a word)(so is disheartening)(and sad) strange, to see a place like Guilin in pictures, where you see so far beyond what is actually there, since you remeber not only the sights, but the smells, sounds, etc., and miss it so much. I know some people on our tour weren't terribly pleased with Guilin, but I loved it. I'm working on backfilling stories from Guilin into the pictures I've uploaded, and it'll take a little while, so even if there isn't any new content, please peruse them occasionally, as I think linking to them here is too redundant unless they're outstandingly interesting.
That having been said, I posted the pictures from Guangzhou, some of which I was very happy with, and I don't even remember taking a lot of them. Cool city; it didn't make a huge impression on me, though, as we saw two places and had lunch. I hear a lot about it, and it was too bad we couldn't have explored. Oh well. Next is Hong Kong, and even being there was bittersweet, because I had expected it to be the crown jewel of the trip even before I left, but getting closer to arriving there, it was also my cue that the trip was coming to a quick end. It's been a week since our last full day in Hong Kong, and depressing is not too strong a word to use here to describe my feelings for having left Hong Kong (not that I had any choice to stay), and realizing that a week ago (local time) we were doing this thing, or that thing, and what an excellent time I had. So, this leads us to two things:
1. I'm not going to post the pictures of Hong Kong all willy-nilly like I did of the other cities. This is not only because I want them to be good, but also because it's going to take some preparation to look at them and reminisce on what's at least a week old and look back on it all (as corny as it sounds), and
2. I am suddenly moved to write nostalgic emails to some of the people on the trip that I grew close to, just to commemorate the trip, and finish up some stuff that was too corny or cliche to do face to face. Also, this is an effort to ensure that everyone understands we ARE NOT simply going our separate ways and never speaking to one another again.
I did not mean for this post to be some sob story about coming home; it was more 'hey I put up more pictures,' ostensibly. It's been a long day.


So, How 'bout this weather we're having...

Wow... The sky just got dark and started rumbling, and for some reason I am so looking forward to this thunderstorm. It hasn't started yet, but I hope it pulls through.
The weather in Guilin was very similar to Hawaii (from what I remember and from what my TC says), and also to what I imagine any more southeast Asian country would be like: lush, warm, a little humid, wet, but lush is the keyword. I'm so sick of 'vegetation,' like pine trees and pollen and grass, although the dogwoods are awesome, and look like some of the blossoms we saw in Asia. Very cool, but as much as I despise, abhor, resent and loathe hot summer weather, the Guilin, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong (the 'lush' was lost after Guilin) climates were not that bad. Guilin was somewhat muggy, yes, but I loved it. The Li river ran through it, and I don't know if that made it better or worse, but I could've gotten used to it. Guangzhou was more citified and a little too muggy (with nothing to show for it) for my taste (albeit a cool city), and Hong Kong is on the coast, which makes it totally awesome. Guilin reminded me a little (and it's NOT just because I enjoy it way too much) Goa, India, in the Bourne Supremacy, where people were laid back, and it had a cool lively yet rural feel, with the markets and huts and booths, etc. Excellent. I don't know how all of this came about because of some thunder. Sorry.
Looking through the Xi'an pictures, and I hope H'n'B has some incredible ones with her zoom lense, because mine are blurry or grainy or far away or generic, and I'm trying to find some 'artistic' ones to post. They'll be up by Thursday, hopefully. That's all.



Posted pictures all the way thru to Beijing, which I just finished. Very few are titled or commented about as to where taken, and when, etc., but I'm going to backfill all of that before starting the upload of the Xi'an pictures. Enjoy what's up there now, and comment, because a few of you were there and don't need to be informed. Anyway, I'm working on it, and it'll come along in the next few days, along with the Xi'an and Guilin pictures... see you soon.


En Route to Asia

So, I realized in uploading some of my photos to My Flickr that it may be a bit redundant when I upload them here, so what I’m going to do is link to the photos, and then elaborate on some of the stuff that I said more briefly (or not at all) on Flickr. Sound good? Okay. (Also, please let this be your warning that there are tangents aplenty related to these photos, so you’ll get all the scoop on those HERE, not on Flickr.)
We’ll start with THIS ONE and THAT ONE. The one of the cards is a game of rummy about to begin. On the plane on the way out there, since it was supposed to be night time (in the time zone we were coming FROM, as I recall, but not in the air at the moment) they closed all the shades and cut the lights, making it all dark and sleepy. It was also ‘movie time’ as one of the flight attendants said, and was it ever… boring. So we played cards for a long time. Rummy, it was, and it was pretty even I think. We had a running game going, and had all intentions of keeping up with it at later times on other planes and in other terminals, but somewhere along the way the tally was lost, so we kept a mental note. As I said on Flickr, that was before LF caught the death and was completely and entirely miserable. He looked to me to be sleeping, but later said he didn’t for even a second, which made me feel even horrible-r for him… Anyway, the flight out there was miserably long (I speak of it only mildly since I wasn’t dying), but I DID spill water all over myself and was thankful for a change of clothes. It seemed so much longer going out than coming back, but I didn’t know that on the way there, so it was surprisingly less dreadful on the return, which was nice, because I was in no mood for anything else to be unhappy.
The second photo is one of a foreign exchange student sitting at the window a seat over from me. The girl between us was the one I got to talking to that explained that she and 21 others were foreign exchange students coming back from some college in Illinois. It was super cool because she wrote down her name in Japanese, and we talked about where she lived and what it was like to be in Japan, what they did for fun, where they went on vacation, etc. They (all of them) were so timid and peaceful, and it was really enjoyable to talk with them about things. I felt like the world’s biggest goofball for not speaking any Japanese, because they struggled with English, but did the best they could and we communicated fine. At one point, when I said we were visiting China as well, she asked me if we were going to see “in China, they… they have a big… a big… um, a long castle….” And I guessed the Great Wall. She was so thrilled to get that across, and it made me laugh, not at her, but because it was awesome. More to come later.

Back Home

Hello from the same place I always post. There was very little online contact in Asia, so I didn't post. I am however, currently conquering the mass of media I brought home with me, and am trying to find a reasonable way to share a moderate amount of it without getting out of control. For those of you that want out of control, LF and I will catch up with you in person and relate everthing down to the finest detail (as is my nature). That having been said, I cannot currently relate to you (especially in this environment [my dreary office looking over my dreary street where everything is the same], one so different from mine the past three weeks of kind, gentle, compassionate, helpful people and beautiful scenery) the absolute elation, joy, and deep sense of internal change and paradigm shift the past three weeks has brought me. There is no worthy attempt to begin any semblance of telling stories about every little five minutes of awesomeness that I spent with specific people here or there (and to you people I owe deep gratitude for sharing all of this experience and to continue to be willing to do so, Thank You), so I have decided on something. It's going to take efforts on more than one front to accomplish this, so I'll be using this blog (considering devoting an entirely brand new one to the trip, but since it's all post-travel, i don't know) as well as my Flickr to relate it piece by piece. Each (probably not) day (but more like semi-weekly) I hope to share (on the blog) a single photo (or maybe two) of something in particular and the story that goes with it. These will be in chronological order, and will begin in Atlanta, thru Detroit, etc... I will also be uploading pictures onto Flickr, and these will be only the neat looking ones, with cool stuff or scenery, or whatever. For those of you that want the whole gamut, email me, because i'm not posting all 2,000 pictures, especially of people, and group photos, etc. There is some sense of anonymity that i still cherish. I will also NOT be sharing the most intimate, deeply felt changes that Asia has effected in me and all that I am. I know it sounds corny, but it's more than true. For those details, drag me to Starbucks and buy me a coffee. That should get you a few hours of deep, heartwarming, soul-searching conversation that may, in fact, change your life as well. I'm signing off now to finish organizing pictures, and you may get the first installment of these by Monday. We'll see. Thank you all for reading.