Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beijing photo update

Practicing my Chinese style photo posing technique

 I've added a Beijing photo album. The link is in the bar at the top of the page. So far there's only a few but more to come.

Lion at Lama Temple

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Forbidden City

Went to the Forbidden City today. It used to cost the uninvited their lives. Lucky for us, these days it's only few yen.

Some friendly guys at the Forbidden City.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Sunday is maid's day off in Hong Kong. It's the law. Mostly they hang out all day in the street as they have no where else to go. It's sad. But yesterday was special. Big international festival in Kowloon. Last night I posted some photos here but no time for words.

Star above the mid-levels.
Hong Kong
Okay. It's 5 AM. We're leaving for Beijing in a few minutes. M. Lee is giving me that look. Gotta go.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tung Ping Chau

Yesterday, we went to the island of Tung Ping Chau. I'll post photos when I get a chance. We found old graves in the undergrowth in the middle of the island, guarded by biting ants. Naturally, I did the dance to get the photos. The island also has a new graveyard down by ferry landing but they weren't cool at all. More to come. As usual, gotta go.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hong Kong photo link

Hong Kong photos here.  Yesterday we went to Macau so the ones I uploaded this morning are from there. You won't find much of the regular Macau. As usual, I am attracted by obscure corners. We started at a very popular temple, but I
didn't get one photo of the main alter. Instead I photographed the dieties I found tucked away in a closet in a courtyard were the workers store their tools, buckets and brooms.

Ok. Gotta go. Must meet M. Lee and his mom downtown.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Three dragons

Doggie business box

Lama Island

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jackhammer morning

It's not as bad as it sounds. The jackhammers are not in my head. They are part of Hong Kong's eternal ambiance along with bamboo scaffolding and the sharp echos bouncing between the virus like residential spires rising up from the island rock of the South China Sea.

As usual, M. Lee has us on the run like rats so gotta go but here are a few photos for now. Have a great day.

View from the "courtyard"

Saddest street sign I ever saw

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hong Kong, day two

Sunny the dog

Hong Kong. We're here for 11 days, renting an AirBnB apartment located in the mid-levels which we're sharing with Sunny the dog and Yu Lee the maid. She lives and works here and takes care of Sunny when the owners are gone. All that's fine except that when we're around she stays in her windowless, closet-size room off the kitchen. This morning I mentioned that she doesn't have to do that. I don't know if that will make a difference. Maybe she's just shy.

Morning from the mid-levels

Some 100 years ago, when the British gained control of this island, they considered it a useless, hilly desert but, as is their style, they got busy conquering it and somewhere along the line, someone or other built the world's longest system of consecutive escalators. Good thing. Our apartment is located at the mid-levels but, even with the escalators, it's quite a trek down and back so crafting plans for the full day is all the more important. Yesterday's main event was visiting the Hong Kong History Museum. I give it a C+. It was nicely curated but there were no outstanding works and a lot of replicas. However, the various groups of school kids visiting definitely get an A+. They were quiet, attentive and well dressed , diametric opposites of the screaming, out of control, iPhone waving hoards of American school kids unleashed upon the Smithsonian.

Morning descent

As for the flight over, it was...doable. I want to say dreadful but I reserve that category for United's so-called "food". That was dreadful. Bring.Your.Own. Other than that, I just pretended I was a larva for 14 hours. Once we landed I focused on being calm as a lizard until we got to the apartment and I could finally sleep. Lucky for us, we got there about 7 pm so it was easy to pretend that it was night instead of 7 am. All in all, travel time was about 28 hours.

Hong Kong waterfront from the ferry.

I feel surprisingly normal abut I know I'm not entirely over jet lag yet. I popped up this morning at 5:30 so we shall see how the day goes. We're headed out pretty soon and down the escalator. The day's big adventure will be to check out a couple of markets and then lunch at a convent. Also, today is Yu Lee's day off, so we get to walk Sunny. There are bottles of water in the dogie bag to wash the pee off the street and newspaper to catch the poo. Apparently people can sue dog owners if they don't wash up after their dog.

Street scene from the tram

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The night before

in a mud puddle
My alarm is set for 3:30. The cab picks us up an hour later and our plane to SF leaves at 6 am. Then we will have a five hour layover in San Francisco before our fourteen plus hour flight to Hong Kong. All in all, it will be about 24 hours of travel. I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

The last few days have been all about chasing the details. They seemed endless. And, I know not everyone has this problem, but I have also had to deal with my demons and their irrational, irritating, seemingly endless stream of "what ifs". Yes, yes... there is (fill in the blank) in China and (whatever-whatever) if you forget something. Crazy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Movin' slow

Keyboard Cat readies
for our departure.
We're a day behind. We didn't leave for Oregon today as planned but we will leave in the morning. No big deal. We don't leave for China until Wednesday. But my bag is packed. It's so full, it looks like it's going to explode. The main thing  is having all the cables, batteries, charger, mic, camera etc. I think I have everything. The bulky part is packing for two seasons. Beijing will be cold. Hong Kong will be warm. And Thailand? Hot. Really hot.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The crazies

We're getting down  to it, deadlines closing in like walls. So what do I do? As usual. Blog about it. But not for long. I'm currently having my morning coffee so this is permissible. But must finish packing which, at this point, will require either magic or giving something up. I'll be living out of this backpack for the next 2 1/2 months.

Backpack for China & Thailand 2013
Next stop China then Thailand

Plus there's so much still to do here, including hose the spider webs off the house and call the animal shelter. When Dwayne and his wife were unceremoniously whisked off to assisted living, his cat Snooky had to stay behind. The son bought the house, moved in and Snooky was banished to the front porch. She's half crazy without Dwayne looking after her and now Nevada's bitterly cold winter is coming. The neighbor ladies are counting on me to get her into the no-kill shelter which, at the risk of coming off as one of those horrible, buttinski neighbors, I will attempt. The crazy's in the details but we leave in the morning no matter what. Ok. High class problems for sure, except for Snooky. Keep your fingers crossed. So gotta get busy.

PS. Standard packing list (via M. Lee) By comparison, my only pack is the size of her day pack. Crazy huh?

PPS. Henry the Frog is still alive. He sounds really old now but he's croaking outside my window at this moment. The guy must be a wizard.

Monday, October 7, 2013

One picture is worth

Ok. Time to roll this page forward.

I'm very distracted at the moment. We leave for China in just over a week and everyday I'm running around doing errands so tonight I have little tolerance for words although I have spent an absurd amount of time fussing over these few. It must end. Here are some photos instead. 

Mr. Leo discovers Florida
and an egret in the Century Plant
Summer 2013

Those are Frankie's feet in the lower right hand corner.

Bird on the Century Plant

Leo in the fronds

Meeting the mammoth of long ago

Father, son and the sea

Friday, October 4, 2013

This is how we do it

Winds of Change....

CORRECTION: It has been called to my attention that, according to Snopes, Warren Buffet did not write this Act though he did inspire it. Sorry. I should have checked myself. You know what they say about something being "too good to be true". Anyway, it's still a good idea. Of course, getting Congress to pass it would know, impossible.

*Congressional Reform Act of 2013*

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/31/13. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work. 
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time?

But what the hell? Pass it on.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A journey of 3000 miles ends here.


At least for a few days. We got back on Sunday but I've been running ever since getting ready to leave again in two weeks for China. But yes. The Seven O'clock Magpie did show up Monday morning, 7 am. We've been gone since spring but that bird never gave up. She keeps coming back. She knows the minute I get home there will be peanuts.