|Dec 28th - Yokohama, Japan
Well, Christmas (dinners, lights, presents, and crowds) is now behind us. We received the
keys to our new apartment, and all our household goods were delivered. Now, the work
It'll be a busy week, for sure.
In other news, I received an email from Russ Randall, my old buddy in Watertown, NY. Russ
was a co-founder of the almost-legendary cult bands 'Starfire', 'Mickey Torpedo', and
'Quik Fixx'. He also piloted the baddest Duster in Northern NY.
Once again, email struts its' stuff, making connections around the world. So, write
Happy New Year to all!
Dec 24th - Yokohama, Japan
Nature (in the guise of a beautiful, flaming red sunset behind Mt. Fuji) and Man (deciding
to turn on all the lights in Landmark Tower - the tallest building in Japan) conspire to
gift us with a stunning Christmas eve image.
Pictures were, of course, taken - and will grace this site after the holidays.
Dec 22nd - Yokohama, Japan
Sad news. Koichi Yamaguchi, a co-worker, was found dead in Shanghai yesterday.
Yamaguchi-san was a quiet, thoughtful, professional engineer who did all that was asked of
him, and seldom asked for anything in return.
I never heard a bad word said against him, and I never will. Sayonara, Yamaguchi-san.
Dec 21th - Yokohama, Japan
Christmas in a cold place warms my heart.
Christmas in a warm place leaves me cold.
I know Christmas originated in the desert, but still.....
To me it will always be red cheeks, snow angels, hot chocolate, wet boots, clear
star-filled nights, and sleigh bells (sleighs are decidedly a cold weather vehicle).
If you live in a warm weather city....
at least you have your tan!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Dec 18th - Yokohama, Japan
Last night was Angie's birthday. Her age is irrelevant, because beauty (whether spiritual,
physical, or other), is timeless.
She has the wonder of a child, and the wisdom of an elder. And cute, too!!
So, we went to see KODO, the best ancient drum group in Japan. A flurry of muscles, sweat,
sumo-diaper-clad buttocks, grunts, drumsticks, rumblings, and joy.
Reckless, glorious abandon in an apparent call to the Gods of Thunder.
'Culture' is seldom this cool.
Dec 11th - Yokohama, Japan
Last night, I had a vivid reminder of why I love Japan so much.
We had a welcome party for myself and four other new managers at a local restaurant.
We sat and ate and drank for three hours.
So many images:
-Pots of boiling nabe; overflowing with greens, chicken, salmon, tofu, mushrooms, and the
- A backdrop of tatami mats, shoji screens, miniature samurai armor, and a Japanese
-Too much beer and sake, and too many red faces.
-Introductions, bowing, speeches, and the obligatory bouquet of flowers. It's not a
Japanese party if someone doesn't end up with flowers. In this case, my newly married
-Unidentifiable foods. Unidentifiable by me, my friends, or even the servers. But still
good! (would you believe walnut tofu?)
-Stretching of legs. It's not just the white guys who get leg cramps when sitting on the
-Photos, laughing, jokes, more bowing, more red faces, more pouring, even more sake, and
Kampai to a great Japanese night....
Dec 8th - Yokohama, Japan
We're two weeks into a four week hotel stay (then we get our apartment).
This is my comment:
Whoever invented the 'International' style of hotel should be sentenced to a lifetime of
living in one.
There is no clue, anywhere in the room, of what country you are in.
Every piece of art, fabric, fitting, and furniture - everything in fact - is designed to
convince the guest that he is in a sanitized, climatized, and lobotimized environment.
There can be no disappointments, inconveniences, distractions, discoveries or surprises.
In Bali and Thailand, the hotels provide an excellent introduction to the grace, culture,
and color of the country.
Others should learn from this lesson.
Dec 4th - Yokohama, Japan
Winter arrived. One day it's sunny, and 60 degrees.
Next day, it's windy, 30, and rainy.
I left Singapore for this?
On the other hand, it actually feels like Christmas here!
It's really cool to reconnect with old friends.
Not only do I get to see my Japanese buddies, but many of my US friends also travel to
So the warmth of friendship will have to overcome the cold of winter. With a little help
from some hot sake!
Dec 2nd - Yokohama, Japan
Nov 27th - Yokohama, Japan
Hmmm. Could it be that they call Japan 'the land of the rising sun' not because the sun is
rising, but because the land is sinking?
Maybe. Anyway, we are getting used to the feeling of earthquakes again. The other night we
felt four in a five minute span. No harm done.
It was 11:30 at night, and we are in the Intercontinental Hotel, so we just did some 18th
floor bed surfing.
I hung ten, and Angie
caught some air. Gnarly dude!
This morning I witnessed one of those 'only in Japan'
I saw a 20ish girl, decked out head-to-toe in camouflage military garb, with punky spiky
hair. She had a rough, 'alternative' look about her.
But when I saw her, she had just received directions from an older woman, and was bowing
deeply and subserviently, while sincerely thanking the woman many times.
I've seen it before, from motorcycle thugs, yakuza, and sex kittens. No matter what the
uniform - Japanese politeness seems to lie just below the surface.
Nov 25th - Yokohama, Japan
We ate dinner last night at the fabulous Garlic Jo's.
Great food - assuming you like garlic - great service, Pina Coladas that are second to
none, and no smoking! It's one of my favorite restaurants in the world.
We then went to the video arcade - not surprisingly, Japan has the best arcades in the
world - and shot a bunch of bad guys. Food and bullets - what a world!
Nov 24th - Yokohama, Japan
Yep, we're back in Japan and it feels like we never left.
Blue Skies. Crisp Air. Short skirts and tall boots.
Must be winter in Japan!
Well, we've got lots of moving and settling to do, but other than that, things are good.
Nov 21st - Hong Kong
The weather has been great. The dim sum has been delicious.
And I've been able to buy almost 100 Hong Kong films on DVD, VCD or Laser Disk.
I'll be in movie heaven all winter!
In addition, we made some new friends, Judy and Sean. I'll be adding a link to their
excellent site; Accommodating Asia.
Sean gave us a tour of the New Territories; a temple, a walled city, a clan house, and
some wandering through orchards and fields.
A great look at the 'other' side of Hong Kong.
Nov 13th - Singapore
Time to say Goodbye.
Goodbye to Pepper Crabs, Nasi Goreng, and Chicken Rice.
Goodbye to Boat Quay, Orchard Road, Doc Chengs, and East Coast Park.
Goodbye to Indonesian riots, the Anwar saga, and the summer of haze.
Goodbye to ECP, ERP, MRT, DBS, PAP, and CSM!!
Goodbye to Jodis' wardrobe and Lilians' birthdays.
Goodbye to 365 sultry nights a year, and lightning storms.
Goodbye to Kevins' gong fu battles with the security door, weekend calls on my cell phone
and Telepark fire alarm tests.
Goodbye to awesome Hong Kong movies, awful TCS 'comedies', and the smell of durian in the
Goodbye to Changi Airport, Sing Air, and a dozen great nearby destinations Goodbye to
Sarongs, Saris, Kebayas, and Cheongsams.
Goodbye to the 'Real' Night Safari, Borders Books, and to all the great food I've eaten.
Most of all, goodbye to all the great people I've met and friends I've made...
Now Hong Kong, Japan, and beyond.
Goodbye. And thanks...
Nov 4th - Singapore
Inching closer to 'M' day. The Big Move.
We'll head out of Singapore on the 18th, spend a few days in Hong Kong, then land in
Between now and then there're inventories to do, work to hand off, farewell dinners to
attend, and last minute things to buy.
Which leads us to say, We love travel - it's getting there that sucks!
I have to also take an opportunity to mention that Oliver Sacks is brilliant.
We've been watching 'The Mind Traveler' on BBC, and it's an incredible piece of work that
elevates the art of documentary film-making.
I can also highly recommend the books 'Awakenings' and 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a
Hat'. I've read a lot of his writings about neurology and genetics, but these shows
allowed me my first opportunity to see the man.
As I said, brilliant...
Oct 25th - Singapore
Well, we're back from a week of house hunting in Japan.
We found a nice place in Yokohama, near Chinatown.
I'm looking forward to the one-year assignment; great people, great food, and great
I wanted to update this site from Japan, but surprisingly I couldn't find any internet
cafes, and our hotel didn't have a business center. Quite strange for such a technology
Fortunately, Japan is also baseball-obsessed, so I got to watch all of the World Series.
The Yankees were incredible.
Are they the best ever?
Best 'Team'? Yes, I think so.
Best 'Collection of athletes and egos who just happen to be wearing the same color pajamas
and won a title' (see 97 Florida Marlins')? Nope.
Lots of teams have more stars. Most teams have more ego.
But this is the best team I've ever seen.
And a great team is a beautiful thing to watch...
Oct 15th - Singapore
Everything is coming together.
I'm going back to Japan on a one-year assignment, and the Yankees are going back to the
This week we're going to Yokohama to hunt for a house.
Should be fun!
But the hard part is leaving all the friends in Singapore.
Other news: I've added new China, Hawaii, and San Francisco pages, along with a new
Wonderings and the October cool list.
Use the drop down menu below to see all the new stuff.
Sept 22nd - Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Just came from four days in Ubud, the artistic heart of Bali.
OD'd on beautiful young girls flitting about in shimmering costumes, to the music of the
Ate lots of nasi goreng, and drank a lot of the local rice wine, known as arak. When in
Rome, drink like a Roman!!
Finally broke down and bought a Balinese painting (of my alter-ego, Hanuman, the white
monkey king from the Ramayana).
I also bought a killer looking Balinese knife, known through S.E. Asia as a kris. Let's
see how the airlines like my collectible....
We also attended a cremation ceremony, and wandered through some rice fields. And there's
still half a trip to go!!
Sept 18th - Singapore
I've got two tickets to paradise....
Bali, actually. We leave this evening for 9 days of glittering dances, tropical sunshine,
and exotic culture.
Meanwhile, things are pretty quiet here. Still not sure where my next home will be. Or
But there's no better place to worry about your future than Bali - Island of the Gods!
Sept 12th - Singapore
Well, I put together a couple of new pages on my recent trip to
Shanghai and Hangzhou, but my PC won't hook to the Internet, and I don't have time to
troubleshoot it right now.
So, I'll doing this from a friends PC, but there's no ZIP drive here, so the upload will
have to wait.
Anyway, I've been preparing for a big presentation, while still trying to negotiate my
I think my hair might be turning gray, but who could tell??
Last night we went to a kimono show, which was (surprise, surprise) about as exciting as
you would expect.
Still, it was interesting. Wilfred says that rather than kimono dressing, it would be
better to watch kimono undressing.
And he's right!
Sept 4th - Singapore
Wow, basically a month since my last update!!
A trip to Shanghai, an excursion to Hangzhou, an MC stint for a company seminar, good
business days, bad business days, disastrous business days, another incredible dinner at
Doc Chengs with the amazing Micro Man (Mike Romani - if you don't know him, you should),
job interviews, severe job uncertainty, and a cool night (last night) at Raffles Hotel
Long Bar dancing and drinking with the local crew.
I promise more soon.
Aug 10th - Singapore
National Day meant a long weekend for all of us, plus a good
fireworks show on Sunday night.
Had a great roller-blading session this morning with Shin, followed by swimming on a
perfect sunny day.
I also did some research on Shanghai for my trip there next week.
Best news is that Angie returns from the US tomorrow!
Aug 6th - Singapore
I'm back home?
What the hell is 'home' anyway?
Singapore, where I've lived for 2 years?
Japan, where I lived for 4 years?
San Jose, where I owned a house, and lived for 5 years?
Pittsburgh, where my parents live?
Watertown, where I grew up?
If home is where the heart is, I'd have to include:
Monterey, San Francisco, Bali, Thailand, Hawaii, the pockets of a couple hundred friends,
the window seat of about a hundred restaurants, and every moonlit beach on the planet.
In the end, I guess I'm lucky. Some people wander for years, never finding 'home'.
I've wandered for years, and never left home.
July 30 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Hangin with my parents and family...
Great time to be here. Blue skies, warm weather. Pool Time!
This week we've seen rabbits, deer, and snakes in the neighborhood, along with fireflies
in the backyard.
I spent an hour watching the fireflies a couple nights ago. I realized that, if I weren't
used to seeing them, fireflies are something that I would probably go out of my way to
But I don't have to....
Also spent the last few days getting aggravated at my dads' IBM Aptiva PC. Trying to get
internet hooked up and it took awhile.
July 20th - San Francisco, California
What a great time and place in which to be hungry!
We had a bunch of great food this weekend, including Cambodian at Angkor Wat, and a great
burger at Little City Cafe, but the top prize goes to our meal at Betelnut, a SE Asian
eatery on Union Street.
Great food, great atmosphere; reminiscent of Singapore. I highly recommend it.
We also found time to hike Angel Island and enjoy the great views of the city on this
amazing weekend (85 degrees in SF?).
Gotta like it.
July 15th - San Jose, California
Back in another home. Strange to see the changes that come over this
company where I have spent more than 10 years. We're in one of those 'revolving door'
Lots of motion, no real change.
People coming, people leaving, changing jobs, re-orgs, new goals, and so on. No one has a
clear take on this action.
Still, we do what we do. What else is there?
July 13th - Waikiki, Hawaii
Bruddah Iz has a new, posthumous CD out. It's a live collection that
you MUST own. I'll get details later....
Sooo many Japanese here. I don't mind, in fact I love being around Japanese people. It
just surprises me, given the economic situation. As I sit here, Hashimoto is resigning.
Still there are loads of my nihonjin friends playing 'yen giveaway'. Odd.
July 11th - Kona, Hawaii
HRC - Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, is now officially my favorite food.
Fresh Hawaiian ingredients, awesome fish, and asian spices. It rocks.
Try Merrimans, The Coast Grill, or Cafe Pesto.
Besides food; there was snorkeling with a sea turtle for 45 minutes, hanging out at luaus,
cruising the Volcanoes in search of Pele, and just groovin on the Hawaiian vibe...
July 4th - Yokohama, Japan
Yokohama is hotter than Singapore. Really!
Other than that, it's great to be back 'home'.
Got some oishii food, saw old friends, and marveled at the continuing development of
Yokohama. They've got a good Cali-vibe going here now. It's worth checking out.
In Japan fashion news, the word is 'Aloha'. Hey, any trend that puts salarymen in
flip-flops and has Japanese women walking down the street in bikini tops and mumus is a
winner with me!!
Japan never ceases to amaze me...
July 1st - Singapore
Tomorrow we're off again.
Four days of business in Yokohama, Japan.
Seven days of pleasure in Hawaii (Kona and Honolulu).
Six days of business in San Jose.
Six days of home leave with my family in Pittsburgh.(and time with Indiana, the worlds
greatest dog). FOURTY-SEVEN hours in airplanes!!!!!!!!
Old friends, new friends, favorite sites, new discoveries;
The unknown and the unexpected.
Wanderings in the East/West World.
This is what I live for!!
June 26th - Shanghai, China
I'm sitting in the Ritz-Carlton hotel, where Bill and Hillary will be sleeping in a couple
of nights. I'm leaving tomorrow, so they won't need to throw me out. Oh well.
Shanghai is pretty vibrant (vibrant being a nice way of saying that people are maniacs on
the roads). Chicken isn't a game here, it's a a common road skill; for cars, bikes, and
The food is excellent. For example, we had amazing 'burst in your mouth' dim sum at the
Mei Long Zhen restaurant.
We also found a day to visit the intricate gardens of Suzhou. It's a city that deserves an
extended visit. (and will get one, later).
Other than that - the weather is rainy, the people are friendly, and my business goals
June 17th - Singapore
Well, Range of Vision has won another 'Best of Tripod' award. This time it's for
"Japan - A Wanderers' Guide".
If you've never seen it, maybe it's time to take a look!
You'll find a shortcut in the handy dropdown menu....
Thanks again to everyone who has given advice and encouragement.
In other news, I leave for Shanghai on Saturday morning. We'll be there for a week of
Of course, I expect to find time to see the acrobats, and to visit some Chinese gardens in
Suzhou. Oh yeah, and find some food...
Reports will follow.
June 13th - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Visiting Angkor Wat is like a virtual reality trip through
'Indiana Jones', 'Platoon', and 'Oliver Twist'.
'Oliver Twist' because of all the witty urchins who follow you about. 'Platoon' because
you keep thinking about the pile of skulls at the local temple, and how recently
tourist-hunting was considered a sport. And 'Indiana Jones' because of the incredible
As Kevin, Angie, and I stood in Ta Prohm, a temple from the 12th century that is
overwhelmed by giant strangler fig trees, we heard thunder, and the skies opened to rain.
I expected our guide to say, "We have angered the Gods. I will go no further,"
then run away.
It's that kind of place.
It would be worth coming here just for the temples, but there are also great people and
More details later this week.
June 9th - Singapore
Finally got a chance to visit my newly renovated local library.
I can't tell the difference! Oh well...picked up a handful of books and did my homework
over the weekend.
I was reading up on Hawaii, Shanghai, and Cambodia. Why?
Well, Kevin, Angie and I are heading into Cambodia for the weekend. We're visiting Angkor
Wat, probably the single greatest man-made construct in South East Asia.
I've been wanting to get there for years, but the Khmer Rouge kept the adventure stakes
too high for my taste by killing a few tourists each year.
Now, with Pol Pot dead, things look fairly stable, so.....
Wish us Luck!!!
June 4th - Singapore
As part of the Festival of the Arts, there was a dance group from the Cook Islands
performing at the local train station. They shimmyed and shaked to the pounding of
primitive drums and passive viewers.
One of the dancers told me, shaking her head, that this comatose audience was the most
energetic they had seen in Singapore.
Sad, very sad.
But, not surprising. You have to give credit to the gov't for trying to expose the
citizens to culture; but you also have to wonder if it does any good....
Anyway, I liked it. Sweaty flesh, bright colors, sweet harmonies, and THOSE DRUMS.
June 2nd - Singapore
The Singapore Festival of the Arts started this week. We attended the WOMAD music
festival, which was outstanding.
Justin Vali, from Madagasgar, gave a virtuoso exhibition on the strange looking native
instruments of his country.
Shooglenifty, a Celtic rock'n'reel band, got the crowd bouncing to their stunning aural
Thang Long Song, from Vietnam, featured their 'dan bau' player on a reading of 'Theme from
The Godfather' that was equal parts Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee, and Liberace;
And there was more.
All in all, it was a Range of Vision day.
May 28nd - Singapore
I thought that Bill Clinton would become celibate before I ever saw the Indonesian
government cancel a contract with the Suharto family; but it has happened.
The new government seems to recognize the seriousness of it's challenge. I'm too cynical
to expect this good behavior to last, but the mind truly boggles at the potential that a
well-run Indonesia would present.
These are smart, creative people in a land full of natural resources.
We can always hope......
May 22nd - Singapore
Suharto is gone (sort of).
The past two days have been an endless show of blue skies, dramatic clouds and painterly
The Yankees kicked the Baltimore Orioles all over Yankee Stadium twice in a row.
To say it has been a good week would be a major understatement.
May 21st - Singapore
The power of music (on me anyway...)
I was in Kentucky Fried Chicken, munching on a Zinger burger, and, while talking to
Desmond and Eric, my attention was drawn to some music from the overhead speakers.
A seductive, sparse piano line with a faint mid-eastern rhythm behind it. My ears perked
immediately. A haunting voice wavers over the melody. I strained to hear it over the
ambient noise in the room. It's 'Uninvited', the new Alanis Morissette track from
the movie 'City of Angels'.
Like seeing just a hint of a pretty woman, the tease of not being able to clearly
hear the song only sharpened my senses, and helped to pull me 'out of the moment'.
Eric and Desmond faded away. The sound of schoolgirl Singlish melted into a blur. I was
sucked out of the restaurant, and into the song.
And then it was over. Till next time.
The five senses never cease to amaze me.
May 19th - Singapore
My jokes of the 14th don't seem so funny with around 500 dead in Indonesia.
Of course, the saddest point is that it isn't the military killing people. It's
brother killing brother. Which is how corrupt goverments stay in power.
It only reinforces the saying, "We don't get the government we want. We get the
government we deserve".
Do you want brighter news?
Try this: My new friend in China, Qu Hong - Beijing tour guide - has email access, and
we've been writing each other.
Who would have imagined everyday citizens in China having access to the world? It's
exciting to read the joy in her first words outside of China.
Technology CAN be good....
May 14th - Singapore
Back in the real world.
Is there anything better than a three day work week? Yeah, I know, a two day work
On the other hand - Nuclear Tests in India (what the hell are they THINKING???).
And open season on students in Indonesia. This world never stops surprising me. My
early nomination for most incongruous image of 1998: Smiling holy Muslim schoolgirls
in Indonesia chanting "Kill Suharto, Kill Suharto". Better have a
bullet-proof vest under that kebaya.
You go, girl!!
May 12th - Phuket, Thailand
A little swimming with the sharks today. They were leopard sharks, I guess. About
five or six feet long. I saw three of them, snorkeling over some coral reefs near Phuket. Great scenery.
Submerged, with only the sound of my breathing, and the snap/crackle/pop of parrotfish
munching on coral, I enjoyed the zen of floating among the fish.
This trip has been a real return to nature for us. Birds sing non-stop, a baby bat learned
to fly in front of our eyes, we played with a tree frog for awhile, and geckoes were
Gotta like it...
May 9th - Phuket, Thailand
Living in a Thai house would be pretty cool.
I decide this after a couple days in a Thai-style villa at the Banyan Tree
Resort. Of course, air conditioning is a nice addition, along with an outdoor bathtub in a
The Banyan Tree also has the coolest swimming pool we've ever seen (or swam in) and
the best massage I can remember having (though, admittedly, a good massage can
short-circuit my brain cells).
Very Sanuk (Thai for fun)!
May 6th - Singapore
I've spent the past 3 evenings expanding the 'Bali Wanderings' section. Seven new
pages, and more than thirty new pictures of my favorite place on earth. Check it
For the next six days, Angie and I will be spending time with my favorite people in
the world, the Thai. We're headed to Phuket for sun, water, and chili. You may have
wondered whether it would be possible to grow tired of seeing all these glorious
white sand beaches. The answer is no.
Finally, wanted to say Happy Mothers Day to my mom. This has been a tough year for her,
successfully battling cancer, undergoing chemotherapy, and now breaking her arm in a car
I'm sure she'll be cooking and cleaning in no time, cause that's the way she is!
My parents were better teachers than any school could ever hope to be, and they continue
to teach me lessons about how to live, even today. All I can do in return is say 'thanks'
and 'love ya'.
May 3rd - Singapore
A local magazine, '8 Days', which is sort of a blend of TV Guide and People Magazine, did
a feature this week on the popularity of 'Pan-Asians'.
'Pan-Asians' is their inaccurate term for what we've been calling 'Weasterners' here at
Range of Vision.
Seeing as almost all have some Western blood, 'Pan-Asian' is a limiting term that
perhaps is more palatable to the locals.
Still, it's interesting to see the local press notice that there are a (growing) group of
people who don't fit neatly into East or West, but are comfortable (and
popular) in both.
The strange thing is that 'Weasterners' should be no big deal in Singapore.
Singapore should be full of them (in fact, should be breeding them!).
As we move into the East/West world, Singapore could be leading the way, a center of the
East/West galaxy, but instead is standing on the sidelines, like a star-struck teenager.
May 1st - Singapore
We got out of our apartment early this morning and took a bumboat to Pulau Ubin, an island
off the east coast of Singpore. About 200 people live there, in Malay-style kampungs.
Today's a holiday, so Singaporeans 'get away from it all' by coming here in packs of 5-12
people. Bike riding is the thing to do on Ubin, so we rent two bikes and explore the
island. Not much exitement, but it's a good look at what Singapore must have looked
like before the slicing, dicing, paving, and building.
Pulau Ubin is quiet, densely green, and dotted with stilt houses and orchards.
April 29th - Singapore
This'll sound like a really weird complaint, but I just found out that each of the
next two weekends is a 'three day weekend'.
Had I known, we would have made plans. Now we're scrambling to put something together.
Looks like a weekend in Singapore, followed by one in Phuket, Thailand. Truly, life's a
April 27th - Singapore
Another excellent weekend. Angie's back from America.
We enjoy the weather at the pool, and at the beach.
I read Arthur Waley's translation of "Monkey", also known in Chinese as
"Journey to the West". It's a 400 year old epic folk tale from China. Many
plays, stories, and Hong Kong movies come from the events in this book. It's a funny
story, and gives a good look at Buddhism as well.
April 24th - Singapore
It's a beautiful Friday, so I go to my favorite spot by the MRT station to eat
lunch and watch people.
I'm in luck today, as a Chinese man is there, playing the erhu (a chinese violin), and
singing Hokkien opera. He's receiving a lot of donations, but curiously few people
actually stop and listen. I stay for 45 minutes, drop some money, say thanks, and return
April 22th - Singapore
Walking to the food court for dinner last night (Indian curry), I get the
overwhelming urge to be in Bali; eating nasi goreng while watching sarong-clad, barefoot
people place offerings along the street. The smell of incense and the sound of gamelan
music are like a drug in my veins, calling me back.
I go home and play a gamelan cd, while looking at my Hofker (a painter of Bali) book. Not
quite the same, but better than nothing!
April 21th - Singapore
Hey, it's secretaries week, so I'll take a moment to say that Jodi Chia, my
administrator and zen gardener par-excellance, is a daily blessing in my life. Whatever is
the basis for it, she has a calm about her that is (especially in the service industry!) a
gift I hugely appreciate. Xie xie!
April 20th - Singapore
A great weekend in Sin City. Hey, that's not my name for Singapore, it's the
airport designation - SIN. Honest!
Anyway, Saturday was spent on Orchard Road. Seeing as I'm sitting in the crossroads of
Asia, at a crossroads in my 'career' (choice time again...), I decided to spend the
evening at the Crossroads Cafe in the Marriot.
There I met an entertaining retired gentleman from Switzerland. He lived in SE Asia for 26
years, and had some interesting opinions. There's not enough room here to elaborate, but
he gave me food for thought, as I was served excellent Sate for eating.
I also had a nice conversation with 'Annie', an elderly ummmm, pimp is I guess the best
word. 'Annie' was trying to sell me on the abilities of some of her girls that work on
Orchard Road. Angie is in the US this week, visiting her parents, so 'Annie' wanted to
help fill the void in my life. I assured her that the help was not necessary, and spent my
evening at Borders' Books, instead.
Sunday, I spent the day at the beach, reading and people watching.
April 12th - San Francisco
We had a good weekend in San Francisco. A little cold. Three excellent dinners
('Splendidos' in Embarcadero Center, 'Chows' in the Mission District, and 'McCormick and
Kuletos' in Ghiradelli Square), music all over the place (I love listening to street
musicians in SF), an the eclectic vibrancy that can only be The City.
And you gotta love the new 'no smoking in bars' law. Unless, of course, you smoke. Though
most smokers just step outside for their cigarette.
April 9th - San Jose, California
In the time that I have spent in Asia, my company has grown from 1500 people to
4500 people. Most people are strangers to me.
So, it's particularly nice to see old friends, like Cynthia, Dan, Jesse, and John.
And it's nice to make a new friend, like Carrie. Unfortunately, 4 days are not enough to
catch up with everyone.
April 5th - Honolulu
Rain, Rain, Rain. Good for Hawaii, bad for Glenn and Angie.
So, we spent time at the excellent Bishop Museum, supplemented my slack key guitar cd
collection (Borders Books has a great selection), and spent nights watching hula. Who needs sun?
If you have one romantic bone in your body, you must go to the Halekulani on Waikiki Beach
to watch former Miss Hawaii, Kanoe Miller, dance the hula in front of the setting sun.
Kanoe's picture should be in the dictionary, to illustrate the word 'lovely'.
April 1st - Singapore
I was in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, this past weekend.
If KL were a web site, it would have a big 'UNDER CONSTRUCTION' sign on it.
Everything is being built or rebuilt. It's hard to think of many positive things to say
about the city. The people are nice. There are some good restaurants (check out Citrus,if
you're there). Prices are good. That's about it.
In fact, the highlight of my trip occured in the airport. I saw the new Vanessa Mae video
on a 4 x 5 video monitor bank. A Wall of Vanessa. Excellent song,and a good video. It
stopped about 5 other travelers in their tracks.
Anyway, I'm off for Waikiki tomorrow morning. Sunsets, Mai Tais, and hula...
March 23rd - Singapore
The local newspapers are full of doom and gloom for the
"Revenge of the Killer Haze" could cost Singapore 1 Billion Dollars, (more than
Titanic!) To most of us that would be a good reason to find a solution, but things
work differently in this part of the world.
I hear from many friends that Koreans are responding to their part of the economic crisis
by being warmer to tourists (and their money). That's always a good thing, and with the
devaluation of the won, makes Korea a pretty attractive destination. No haze, great food,
and an interesting history.
March 9th - Singapore
Like a bad 'B'-movie,"Revenge of the Killer Haze",
the noxious yellow smog of Indonesia is rising from the dead.
We've got all the elements of a classic bad film: Natures' power gone awry, evil
governments, the passive masses, a few lone voices of reason, coverups, death and
destruction, and a sense of impending dread. All we lack is a hero to save the day.
Sadly, this is not a movie.
March 6th, Singapore
I'm back from Beijing!
I just found out that my new comments forms were not forwarding properly. If you sent any
messages to me, I apologize. I didn't get them. It's fixed now.
Secondly: Everything You Know Is Wrong!
More information to come, but I LIKED Beijing. People were great, sites are interesting,
and it's relatively easy for an American. Yeah, it's pretty (make that really) dirty.
Pollution, not trash. But what I found is NOTHING like what we see and read.
Feb 28th - Singapore
I continue to get thoughtful emails from people around the world. This week, from
Greece and Washington DC. The feedback is encouraging. Thanks for writing, and keep them
Feb 27th - Beijing bound
My first trip to Mainland China happens this Monday to Friday. Paisan, from
Thailand, and I are headed to Beijing to visit our customer. It's certain to be an
interesting experience. I won't have time to do any 'sightseeing', but I suspect that
everything will be a 'sight'. If I can eat Peking Duck, the trip will be worthwhile.
Feb 24th - Singapore
Spent the weekend on Bintan Island, 45 minutes
from Singapore. Pure, powder-white beaches. Crystal clear, bathtub-warm water. Tough to
complain. If you travel to Singapore and have a free weekend, go to Bintan.
Feb 23rd - Singapore
The Western press is relishing the collapse of the Asian tigers. A little too much
so, I think.
Reporters keep trying to get Lee Kwan Yew to admit that 'Asian Values' are to blame for
the economic problems.
I can understand a little bit of this, as payback for all the 'The Japan Who Can Say No'
type propaganda that took place when Asia was strong, but let's get serious. It's not like
Asia is the only place that has corruption and cronyism.
The southern states of America are just as bad. Hell, New York and Chicago had similar
problems, not that many years ago. I'd like to see the conversations kept productive. As
the saying goes, "You're either part of the solution, or you're part of the
That's true for the press, as well.
Feb 16th - Singapore
One inescapable lesson learned in SE Asia. Angie and monkeys do not mix.
On Saturday, we hiked through Bukit Timah, an alleged
rainforest near downtown Singapore. At the top of the hill, a band of monkeys stole
Angies' snacks out of her daypack. This follows the monkey that tried to take her shorts
off in Bali, another that tried to grab her breast and bite her. And one in Belize that
shit on her.
I think they are trying to tell her something.
Feb 9th - Singapore
Kevin and I attended the Hindu festival of Thaipusam,
this morning, before sunrise. The Indian community turns out in droves to do acts of
penitence. These acts include walking on shoes of nails, skewering their tongues, and
carrying heavy objects. There is a lot of intensity in the air, as people go into trances,
sing songs, and experience great pain. Quite a spectacle.
Feb 8th - Singapore
Spent the day in Chinatown. Watched a couple of Lion Dances in front of the local
shops. These dances bring prosperity to the shops and homes. More importantly, they're
fun. Youngsters and oldsters alike stop and watch the ritual. The lion dances, eats
oranges and lettuce (good luck symbols), then leaves a message for good fortune.
We then bought Angie a cheongsam, the traditional silk Chinese dress. It's a black,
sleeveless number, with a high slit up the leg. Most excellent.
Dinner at Blue Ginger (great beef rendang) and drinks on Boat Quay (just an excuse to get
a ringside seat for some of the best people watching in Singapore) completed our day.
Feb 3rd - Singapore
Thoughts on Malaysia:
Make sure immigrations stamps your passport! We noticed that they failed to stamp ours, so
we went to immigration in Malacca. After an interrogation, a lecture, and a lot of
waiting, they granted us our entry visa. We could then leave the country. <>
Other than that, it was an excellent visit. More than anyplace I've seen, Malaysia <>is
holding onto its' roots, while moving forward. Traditional clothing, culture, food,
religion, and architecture exist with cars, computers, and shopping malls.
Feb 2nd - Singapore
Well, I returned from Malaysia today to discover some
great news. 'Range of Vision' has won a Tripod Best of Pod award! Thanks to everyone who
has offered me suggestions in the past. If you're a first time visitor, welcome to you and
Jan. 23rd - Singapore
The Indonesian rupiah has hit 16,500. There was an isolated riot in Bangkok. Yes,
the financial crisis is getting out of hand. Will it get better soon? Well, on one hand it
can't get much worse (can it?). On the other hand, confidence (or a lack thereof) is a key
factor, and it's hard to generate confidence in an economy that has blantant corruption,
greed, and graft driving it. So, we'll see....
Jan. 21st - Singapore
In the car yesterday, I discovered that the CD 'Semantic Spaces', by Delerium, is
amazing music for driving. I highly recommend it.
Jan. 13th - Singapore
Coming out of my apartment this morning, I see all the Filipina maids washing cars.
Anyone in Singapore who can afford private housing can also afford a BMW or Merc. And
anyone who can afford a BMW or Merc can afford a maid to wash it everyday.
That's right - everyday. In a country where it rains everyday, the maids wash the cars
Anyway, the Filipina maids are all nice.
Imelda, from upstairs, smiles all the time. There's another one in our building who, I
hate to say, looks exactly like a witch. Wild hair, warty pointed nose, cackling laugh.
Bizarre, but nice.
And then there's the one I met in the elevator last week. "How are you", I
asked. "Fresh", she answered, then dove into a three minute reverie on the
merits of a morning bath. She ended with, "sometimes it hurts my back, but I do it
anyway." "How nice", I responded, as I watched her wander off to give a BMW
its' morning bath, as well.
Jan. 11th - Bangkok, Thailand
We spent the New Year holiday in Bangkok.
The Thai Baht is still plunging, which means that the great food is even cheaper now.
People seem unaffected by the poor economy. Still smiling and looking for 'sanuk' (fun).
We attended a festival full of traditional singing, dancing, and handicrafts. Some women
shared their food and drink with us. It happens everytime we go there.
Our friend Paisan, and his wife, took us shopping at the weekend market, where Angie
bought some Thai silk. We also went on a canal cruise and had massages. Just another
typical weekend in Thailand!
Chinese New Year is coming up fast. We're getting ready for our Road Trip to Malaysia.
It's our first Road Trip in about 6 years. Should be interesting. We plan to drive around
the entire penninsula in 8 days, starting on the East Coast. The Malaysian Ringget is at
almost 5 to the dollar.
All the local currencies are going crazy, which is good for me as a traveller, but not
good for the local economies. We'd all like to see the currencies stabilize soon.