Long Ride

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Almost time to say goodbye to China, now that I’m back in Beijing. Also time to say goodbye to:

  • My Canon 50mm f/1.4, which spontaneously has decided it doesn’t want to focus on anything closer than 5 feet, even in manual (at least until I can send it off to Canon)
  • My Panasonic LX1, which was pick-pocketed in Xi’an (along with most of my pix of the Xi’an city walls and street musicians)
  • My HTC Excalibur smartphone, with all my notes and action items from the entire trip (pick-pocketed just tonight inside the Hyatt)
  • My faith in Cisco VPN (pretty-well worthless on this trip)

So that’s maybe $1000 in theft losses and a major dose of work frustration. Net balance for the trip then? Love it. Hassles and troubles like those just transform a vacation into an adventure, and the experiences I’ve had will last a lifetime, unlike any sort of electronic gizmo (and I have paper backups of my notes).

If I can just keep my laptop and 5D working for two more days….

(Follow-up: I remind myself, a bit, of my old second (third) cousin who raced motorcycles and cars and kept soldiering on through the many hospitalizations as just part of the passion….)


Which doesn’t begin to compare to what happened to Michael :(

Hot Pot

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Chongqing: grand scale, tiny side streets, cultures in rapid transition, spicy goat tendon, “Happy Birthday” trucks, 33 million people and growing by over 1300 per day. What’s not to love?

Beijing 2007

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Pretty busy, and generally some pretty poor net connections. Surprised I could manage to get this posted…. I’ll be back in mid-January.

Back to China

Shanghai (C)2004/2007 K Bjorke

After my first visit to China I knew I would have to return. I love it.

And so I will be returning – touring from mid-December until mid-January, entering and exiting via Beijing & wandering the country by rail or whatever with planned stops in HK and Shenzen, Chongqing, Xian, and hopefully Jiangxi & Guangxi.

A challenge this time will be to maintain my “one bag that you can easily carry for long distances” rule, this time for a trip more than three times as long as the last one (but that length makes the rule all the more important!). Fortunately I can carry less than Louie Palu (I think I’ll skip the second hard drive and the Kevlar helmet), though a bit more than Tim Ferriss (mostly because I have a larger laptop and camera).

Free and Easy

Kyoto, (C) 2007 K Bjorke

They say you can’t create in a vacuum. It’s probably true. But as with most aphorisms, its opposite is as valid: you can’t create when pummeled with unending high-pressure noise.

With that in mind I’ve moved myself away from internet inputs in a formal way, announcing and enforcing strict limits on when I allow myself to worry about incoming emails, or blogs, or the hundreds of other information-rich but meaning-spare electronic minutae that had been dominating my time.

I still leave Outlook turned on all day. I still compose e-mails at any hour. But except during narrow windows of the morning and afternoon, I leave Outlook in the Task-list or Calendar views. As the Quebecers say, je me souviens.