When I was a kid my sister and I had one of those old 45rpm records of a British comedy team called "The Goons." As British comedy is wont to be, it was totally off the wall, sort of a pre-curser to Monty Python, which I am still a fan of. This record had 4 […]
I have a confession: I’m terrified of electricity. It’s not an entirely irrational fear given the fact that I was electrocuted when I was in college. It’s a long story, but I was in a lake that became the conduit for 200 volts of electricity. Working as a lifeguard, I jumped into the water to […]
I recently had the chance to spend a few days in Kashgar, China’s westernmost city. It’s about 2000 miles west of Beijing, in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Flying time is about 6 hours, with a mandatory change of planes in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi (which has the distinction of being the city in the world that […]
On Sunday I was flying back to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The flight path across China was due north to Beijing, after we entered Chinese airspace over Hong Kong. I’ve flown that routing numerous times, and am always struck by one thing: the southern part of China, up to just north of the Yangtze […]
Not so very long ago, I was sitting in a Chinese railway station awaiting my train, which like the first snowfall, the Second Coming and Godot, was taking its sweet old time. Worse still, I was experiencing a throbbing headache. Then suddenly an announcement came over the loudspeaker system: “Miffle babble gribble, mao mao mao, glizzzbo hemmat.” I strained, along with my fellow travelers, to understand what the announcer was saying. I asked a local man sitting next to me if he understood it, but — like me — he found it near incomprehensible. Nevertheless, he was able to catch something about the train to “Miffle” being slightly “glizzzbo.” Meanwhile the buzz and screech of the station’s public address system seemed to me like the opening ceremonies of the Migraine Olympics getting underway in my skull.
I love to eat hot (spicy) food, food that’s so hot it’s guaranteed to knock everything out of my sinuses. A few years back I stumbled onto a brand of salsa called "Pain is Good." That just about says it all. Much to my delight, there are many hot dishes in Chinese cuisine. Sichuan cuisine […]