Friday, December 28, 2007

I learned yesterday about the death of Benazir Bhutto, an eminent figure in modern politics and a very revolutionary woman. Benazir Bhutto was the first woman leader in any Muslim country, and noted for being very pro-democracy throughout her (short) life.

Benazir Bhutto's terms in office were riddled with corruption charges, eventually leading to her almost decade long self-exile away from her home in Pakistan.

Bhutto returned to her home in October greeted by her supporters--and a suicide bomber. This effort on her life was not successful, but only two months later, she would be shot as she rose from her heavily armored car, fatally.

The assassination came almost as a surprise to me. Really, that she would be killed seems almost inevitable; Benazir Bhutto was a controversial figure who angered many people. Yet she seemed to be an infallible icon of strength and perseverance, somebody who just couldn't die. All of us have to die sometime, as Benazir Bhutto knew, only she chose to die fighting for what she believed in.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pictures from Xi'an


Some of what's left of an ancient civilization I forgot the name of.


Souvenirs we didn't buy.


Unnamed terra cotta warrior, thought to be Adora Svitak.


The making of mini-terra cotta warriors for souvenirs.


These are not the real terra cotta warriors.


Garbage dump.


Soaring above Xi'an on a cable car. Little did we know a long climb was ahead of us. Speaking of which...


A tiny fraction of what we had to climb.


My mom.


Real terra cotta warriors.

More Pictures From Beijing


View from the apartment window. Chaoyang District, Beijing.


Hot yams. We bought this delectable thing from the man behind me. You can see his coal-fired heater as well. The yam was about a dollar or two dollars.


Sunset at the Summer Palace.


Long hall stretching down between the mountains and the river of the Summer Palace.


Roof of this hall.


No caption.


No caption.


Darkness leads on.

Pictures from Beijing


Amazing acrobats standing on each other hand-lessly pedaling a bike.


More Chaoyang Theatre.


Temple of Heaven, where the Emperor came to pray for better crops, etc.


Sorry, I forget what that is.


Sugar-coated candies. They taste fairly good, but my mom likes them more. Surprisingly, she despises ice cream. My Americanized dessert palate just can't consider these things real dessert!


Presentation at International School of Beijing.


Random rusty rickshaw.


I'm not going to tell how this happened, but where. The Beijing Science Museum provided this magical little unit.


A turkey being carved out of some sort of vegetable/fruit.


Restaurant performance.

Pictures from Viet Nam


Our hotel, the Hotel Majestic (which I would recommend). They left us a chocolate and a Vietnamese legend on the bed everyday.


Me and Miss Viet Nam (you know, the world beauty pageant competition)



Me with (what else) a bouquet of flowers.


Me eating buffet breakfast on the hotel's balcony restaurant in the muggy Vietnamese weather, portrayed against the busy (and no doubt polluted) river.


Me on the set of Talk Vietnam (talk show)


Boat children living in the impoverished area of Viet Nam. I took more than six pictures here. It is shocking to see the sharp contrast of the shacks on stilts here and the high-rises beyond them. Unfortunately, the lens was not big enough to capture this, so you'll have to come to Viet Nam yourself. 

Pictures from Hong Kong


Our hotel in Hong Kong, the Metropark



Posing for pictures on the lawn of Victoria Park (Hong Kong)


In my Standard Chartered Book Festival uniform on the main stage. (Hong Kong.)


With a little girl at the festival. (Hong Kong.)

View of Hong Kong from roof balcony of the Metropark Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

View from the swimming pool balcony of our hotel. (Hong Kong)


By a model of an old Hong Kong boat at the Hong Kong history museum.


Me by a bridal sedan chair.


Old style bus. New style driver.


Lanterns, Hong Kong museum of history


Looking my solemn-est at the HK museum of history

Sunday, December 02, 2007


This is our last day in Beijing. For the first part of the day, shopped at the Silk Street Market amidst a great crowd of people all trying to get a lower (or higher) price, depending on position. We bought in bulk--three paintings, eighteen postcards, countless parasols, infinite bedcovers, and other things my eyes can't take. It was stuffy and hot. Perhaps it was only my imagination that the heat in the room rose a degree as sellers from all over the floor chorused "Cheap!" "Best price!" or "Silk ______, come take a look!" These persistent people scowled and grimaced, tugged at sleeves, stamped their feet...It is always a comic sight to see some unfortunate person dragged by their cufflinks back into a shop to survey thousands of frivolous trivialities, but not so comic when that person is yourself. Such was our situation.

But when we left with our hands--and minds--full of the vivid fabrics and colors of the Silk Street Market, we were comforted in that at least we had overcome the obstacle of holiday shopping.