Tuesday, October 31, 2006


On the "Silk Road" Shanghai American School trip last week I was a chaperone and constantly warned kids about pick pockets in the local markets. A few times I'd stop one of the guys with the 'baggy pants' look and tell them that the wallet in open view in their baggy pocket was easy pickens. Did the same with a few of the girls who had open back pack pockets.

So did you ever lose something and keep looking in your pocket thinking: "That $50 bill HAS to be here somewhere"? You keep thinking on one hand it's still there while your logical side says "GONZO".

I'm sure two parts of my brain had something like the following conversation when I got jostled hard in the market place and instantly knew something wasn't right but couldn't put my finger on it. Well deft fingers opened the front of my fanny pack and helped themselves to my cell phone.

"What are you doing?"
"Looking in the fanny pack compartment for the cell phone."
"You know he got his pocket picked don't ya?"
"I'm not ready to admit that. Look here are some rubber bands and an empty Tic Tac box."
"So you think if you keep looking in there it's going to reappear?"
"After all he's been preaching I've got to help the guy. Let's ease him into reality."
"The cell phone is gone!!!"
"Let me look again for him. Yup...still rubber bands and a Tic Tac box."
"It's not there!!!"
"I'm going to take him back through the market. Maybe he dropped it."
"Oh....and why do you think that compartment is open right after he got jostled?"
"He left it open?"
"You're not ready to admit it yet are ya? HE GOT HIS POCKET PICKED!!!"
"He's reaching into each of his front pockets now."
"It's not there!!!"
"You're right. Time to fess up to the reality monster. But.....if I look for one last time maybe...........

Friday, October 20, 2006

Road Trip: Near Mongolia

An adventure comes out of nowhere.

The leader of Susan's Shanghai American School, "Silk Road" school trip tore his ACL. Doc says: "Nope..no trekking near Mongolia for you.". So Susan asked if her hub, that be me, could take his place. Voila. Road Trip!!

The school outing for tenth graders will take them on a cultural "immersion" trip to Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The city les west of Bogda Mountain, part of the Tianshan Range. The area has lush pastures populated with many minorities who herded sheep and cattle. In Mongolian, Urumchi actually means "beautiful pastures". The trip will take us to the far northwest of China, a mere six hour flight from Shanghai.

The road trip will also take us to Turpan, the lowest point in China (505 feet BELOW sea level).

The last town to visit is Dunhuant where a cluster of 492 caves, containing 45,000 square metres (45,000 square metres????) of frescoes is located. There are an additional 2,415 stucco statues. The caves were created during the 4th century.

Of course I immediately picture National Geographic images in my head of wide open plains, peasants wearing coolie hats toiling away under a deep blue sky, mountains in the background, pastures rolling into the horizon. Wake up Joe!! It's 2006. Urumqi is now a city!! You've got to drive to the pastures. If where we're going is anything like the image from Warrior.tours, no complaints here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Weekly Photos: Week1

Amazing how work can get in the way of whatcha wanna do. I flew to Miami to work with my client and 10 to 12 hour work days really mess with the funner parts of life:




A post urged me to get something done with my weekly photos, so here are my first two choices for my two photos a week goal. My plans (and hopefully not aft gang aglee, or words to that effect) are to post a months photos and a bit of why and what made me choose them. In the meantime, I'll add them to a link at the left for those who don't want to word wallow.

Photos from Week 1. Double left click on image to enlarge. Use back button on browser to return to Blog.

There are some leading lines I like such as the angle of the book in the background and the object in the front, leading to the image of Mao. I tried to make the depth of field shallow to have Mao fading into the background, because I feel that's what's happening in China. The lens I'm using is a multi purpose zoom (18mm to 200mm) which is great as a "carry around all in one" lens, but you lose bokeh because the widest aperature is only about 4.5 or so. Nope, haven't looked at the exif data as I type this. I'm also not very good at still life so I was hoping this might be a good one.

Don't think this one needs any explanation. If it does, I've failed miserably.