Hong Kong in Motion I

I'm missing Hong Kong. It's been nearly a month since I was there and I sometimes think I can still hear it. Indeed it is a busy place. The pace is faster than New York, faster than London, and certainly faster than Taipei. People are always moving at top speed. Financial analysts overtake tourists; schoolchildren bypass workmen; shoppers circle around the elderly. In the two weeks I was there, I became quite familiar with the city's wonderfully logical MTR system, the streets heading up to the Mid-levels, the quaint shops and restaurants of Soho, and some of freshest food this set of teeth has sunk into.

What Clare and Di Did Today ...

Clare and I wandered over to Brugge today ... all of my guests are taken to Brugge. Clare was toting her Canon EOS 350D. She shared it with me ... I took some photos and have added Canon EOS 350D to the 'things I must have when I am working list. It is a stunning piece of machinery. I had hoped it would be too complicated but no, it was impossibly lovely. I used to adore my Canon EOS 300 but my ongoing incoming immigrant status has caused me re-evaluate film processing costs and unsurprisingly, I want to go digital.

Antwerp with the Australian

What do you do with a London-based Aussie who arrives here in Antwerp, laden down by bottles of New Zealand red wine? Invite her to stay, but of course. So it was that Clare, an old Istanbul friend, landed in Belgium Friday night. So we've test-driven the Kiwi reds and found them more than adequate ... (it has been SO LONG since I enjoyed good New Zealand wine). We spent Saturday wandering in Antwerpen ... and I realised again how much I love the way that each guest gives a new view of this city I live in. The photos will prove it. We photographed cockroaches as big as my hand and all kinds of other fascinating subjects .. via graffitti.

The Brutal Reality of High Altitude Climbing

The Telegraph published an interesting article by climber Stephen Venables, the first Briton to ascend Everest without oxygen. It is very hard to explain to non-climbers the paradox of high-altitude climbing. It involves great discomfort and danger but is also an intensely exhilarating, joyful experience. Knowing that things can go horribly wrong reinforces the sense that, morally, as well as physically, you are entering a different world - a world with different rules.

Kevin Sites

I'm never sure what impresses me more when I read Kevin Sites ... whether it's his endurance, his way of connecting with people, his courage ... I don't know but something he wrote struck home with me today. He's in Nepal being driven through rain heavy enough to dent a car ... the car is a 1971 pre-Nissan thing called a Gista. Here's an extract from his piece titled 'Nepal: I am a Dog' : When I was traveling in Africa or even the Middle East, the country changes weren't as abrupt to me as they have been in the last six weeks. Like a slow-dissolve connecting the disparate sequences of a continuous story that spans too much geographic territory, I see the roads before me blend from one to the other — riding the river beds of eastern Afghanistan in a humvee, through the lowlands of northern Colombia packed in a local taxi, winding through the hillsides of Haiti in my fixer's beat up Datsun and now to this moment in Nepal.

Catching Jen Leo: Nana Chen Interviews Prize-Winning Travel Editor, Writer and Starlet

Have you read the Jen Leo interview yet? It's not too late. Not yet. In it she talks about how she got started, the inevitable struggle, her book tours, and on the more personal side: managing a relationship with a career that keeps her away from home. Yet, Jen does it. Read how the prize-winning travel editor, writer and starlet got started in this very competitive travel writing industry.

Wandering ...

Sometimes I have to wander to find myself, and when I'm not free to wander I have to read ... searching I guess, for some thing to hold or interest me, to allow movement of another kind. I love a journey, be it real or imagined; mine or belonging to someone else. Dan Eldon made sense when he wrote 'The journey is the destination' and he lived his life accordingly. In 'The Great Arc', Carrithers wrote, 'The first moral is that human life is 'metamorphic'. 'Metamorphic' here is a term of art meant to capture the incessant mutability of human experience, the temporality woven into all human institutions and relationships.'

What Di Ate (as per previous post)

For those who dare, I ate this last night. Cecil said, There are two kinds of sweetbreads: stomach sweetbreads (also known as heart or belly sweetbreads), which are an animal's pancreas, and neck (AKA throat or gullet) sweetbreads, an animal's thymus gland. (The animal in question can be a hog or calf or just about any other large mammal, I gather.) They're called sweetbreads for the obvious reason that if you called them thymus glands or whatever you couldn't give the damn things away. The art of euphemism goes back a long way.

Local Food

There's nothing like trying the food in your country of residence ... nothing quite like it In Turkey, I attended a teachers conference in Edirne. I went with two of my Turkish friends and we met up with my future boss and colleagues while there. They decided I should try the local delicacy ... the one that another colleague had asked that we take back to her because she loved it so much. Sounds good I thought to myself. I admit it, I balked a little when they told me it was deep-fried lung, thinking 'Dear god, must I?' Off we wandered to the restaurant, with me psychologically dragging my heels.

Travel Digest

Sometimes I realize that I've flagged too many things to blog and that the list is getting longer and I'm not catching up, so... I have to decide either to dump all the leads I wanted to blog or offer them up in mini-form. Here's my decision:
  • Free Frequent Flyer Miles - "There are many, many ways to acquire free frequent flyer miles without actually flying on the airline giving you the miles.
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