Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pickshures: Year of the Pig

I was lucky enough to catch some of the tail end of Chinese New Year. Enjoy this savory photographic morsel: a pig and a pagoda, two of my favorite things about China thus far. Expect short photo posts like this regularly. My digital camera is about to burst with joy.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

On Planes


One would think that the mammoth sized of a Boeing 747 would afford its passengers plenty of legroom. About 20 minutes into my 13.5 hour long flight, I realized that the limbs of my 5’5” frame were never going to unfurl and that these tiny seats, void of personal TV screens (!) and elbow space, were going to be home for the next few hours. To make matters worse, someone had the nerve to do the Sudoko AND crossword puzzle in the airline magazine. I wasn't even in China yet, and I can smell hints of fascism.
I also had the pleasure of being seated next to the flight attendants station, which remained brightly lit and full of clamor whilst my fetal-positioned self tried to sleep. My eyes grew redder and the reality of my 4 a.m. departure from Eugene and airport flurry began to set in. While admiring the array of Chinese fast food joints in the San Francisco airport, I caught the world slipping into a bilingual vortex. Even before
My flight to Shanghai combined with my JetBlue issues earlier this week has just confirmed what most already knew: American air carriers suck. We pay more, we get less. And the pretzels just get staler.
Two flights. Three hours of sleep in 24 hours. Twelve times zones. I’ve never done crack, but I imagine that it feels something like this.

P.S.: This feeling of cracked-outness was only exacerbated when I ran into a friend from high school (!) in the epic customs line at Pudong Airport. I guess all that “small world” stuff applies to foreign cities of 23 million people.

P.P.S.: No Wikipedia or BBC News here! More to follow...

Friday, February 23, 2007

In the bag


Tomorrow (4 a.m. PST Sat morn) my 4 month journey in China begins. Of course, this means I'm packing my bags like a madwoman and in spite of my research, I still have NO IDEA what to expect. Here's what I'm bringing. Make fun of me via comments as necessary.

Carry-on:
-toothbrush
-toothpaste
-chewing gum
-Advil (which will hopefully knock me out for 13 hours)
-iPod
-digital camera
-external hard drive
-"East of Eden" by John Steinbeck
-passport/ID/docs, etc.
-3 granola bars
-empty water bottle
-MacBook
-MacBook charger
-anti-bacterial hand gel (eeeww...sketchy airport bathroom germs)
-wallet/U.S. dollars
-awesome black chinese journal
-assortment of pens and highlighters
-Lonely Planet's China guidebook
-calendar

Checked bag:
-20 pairs of underwear
-running shoes
-flip flops (in the event of a sketchy shower encounter)
-chuck taylahs
-about 15 pairs of socks
-toiletries up the wazoo
-2 pairs of shorts/capris
-3 pairs of pants
-2 skirts
-necessary computer cables
-3 extra novels
-7 tee shirts
-plastic rat (LONG story there)
-2 long-sleeved/ 3/4-length shirts
-an extra sweater
-4 tank tops
-a dozen Cliff bars
-My soon-to-be-dead cell phone and charger
-I'm still packing...

All of that, and I still get the looming feeling that I'm forgeting something...

Friday, February 16, 2007

JetBlue and Rabies, too


So I'm in New York City, saying my farewells to all of my NYC friends out here before heading off to Oregon, then China, my bags are packed, my laundry is dirty and as an afterthought, I check my flight online.

That noise (JFK---> PDX at 7 p.m.) was CANCELED. But what's weirder is that a friend who had a flight to San Fran the same day was on schedule. I promptly called the Mormon behemoth airline where a nice stay-at-home mom in Salt Lake put me on stand-by till MONDAY. I'm missing a road trip to Ashland and karaoke with the family (seriously), but I had a hell of a time spooking out my friends here last night. They just can't seem to get rid of me.

Unrelated to travel or Mormons (I think), the film "I Drink Your Blood" might just change your life. It's about a hippie, LSD cult that gets rabies when a young boy poisons meat pies with the blood of a foamy dog corpse. According to IMDB, it's the first movie to be rated X for violence alone...watch the trailer here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

You're so Outrageous


I'd like to take a break from my travel-politics-randomly-centered blog and mourn the loss of Anna Nicole Smith, a woman who managed to rock Playboy and the Supreme Court, a feat only completed by her and Justice Scalia...my bad... I just leaked about his upcoming centerfold. Maybe it's because I identify with her white trash roots, but at any rate, I think her death (and the crazy amount of media coverage) are worth mentioning. Just make sure that for every Anna Nicole story you read, you chase it with at least 5 stories from the BBC to alleviate your gossip guilt. Kick off your online newswhoredom by watching this stellar music video and if you can't get enough, defamer has a great tribute to ANS. Platinum hair and fried chicken will never be the same.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Chicago: Through the Lens








All of the above photos were taken a couple of weeks ago during my one-week stint in Chicago. Prizes will be awarded if anyone can identify where every one of the photos was taken. And by prizes, I mean you'll end up looking like this.

What was I doing in Chicago? Well, other than fleeing Oregon, I was visiting the fam and helping Alex apartment hunt. I also did it all for the pizza. The pizza tour continues, as I flew to New York, and am continuing my last-minute research of China.