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Blog Housekeeping

26 Nov

You have asked, “where’s your blog about Bhutan? Weren’t you in Thailand? Have you posted anything about Vietnam?” I know. I know. It’s in the pipeline people. Let me give you a verbal vomit status update.

Bhutan blog is coming. I’m editing it in route to South Africa. I believe I have a 20+ hour transport agenda on December 4th and December 5th. Meaning, I have time to kill if the flight doesn’t kill me first. Expect Verbal Vomit of Bhutan posted the second week of December, while I’m in Johannesburg. I’ve scheduled a safari for 4 days. Then, I have 3 extra days in Johannesburg. Considering it is one of the more dangerous places in the world, I will be hunkered down editing and posting from the confines of a J-berg hotel room or lobby. Let’s just hope WiFi works..

After Bhutan, I traversed to Thailand – my place to take a nap. To re-energize. Try yoga. Eat healthy. And, work on amassing more freckles and age spots.

My friend Mary from London sent me an email saying, “You are the ONLY person I know who takes a holiday from a holiday?” She’s right. But, quite frankly, I was in need of some R&R after the Russian sighs, Mongolian sunshine, Chinese confusion and Bhutanese Buddhism. Thailand blogs will be short, even though I could have written a book about the place.

After tranquil, tame Thailand, I popped on over to Vietnam and Cambodia, where chaos befell and the “true” travel experiences were achieved.   So, expect many blog entries or, as I refer to them as, TallGirl Verbal Vomit to delight your day.    Off the races…

Saying Goodbye to China – Confused Communism & Controlled Capitalism.

2 Nov

Say goodbye to China. I wonder when I coming back? If, I’m coming back? Isn’t it strange to think like that. Thinking that you many never, ever return to a place. In other words, death will knock on my door before China will?

What would bring me back to China? Work? Vaction? I really just don’t know.

Do I see myself in China? Hmmm… Do I see myself in Russia? I believe Russia needs me more than China. They’ve got things cranking in China.

Russia, she just sighs. Has so much potential. I have a “fixer” soul. When I see a problem, obstacle or issue – I look for a solution. For me, China’s simple. She’s in need of an image makeover. Re-branding to describe this blending of free market and one-party government. Russia is lost. She needs to find herself.

After spending some time in China, I found day to day, communism is a non-issue. Like the rest of the world, the Chinese are more worried about holding on to their jobs, paying bills, feeding their kids, saving money for school… They are more concerned about making a better future for their children than what the Chinese government says about the currency, human rights, Tibet or climate change. For the most part, they’re a politically apathetic bunch of folks… Sounds familiar.

Unlike Sweden, UK, US or Canada….there’s scant evidence of any social safety net in China. This SHOCKED me for I assumed communist governments took care of their people to the point of putting a spoon to their mouths.

What about Social security programs? Medicaid or medicare? Welfare? Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Chinese are on their own. Because of this, they save and save and save and save.. To buy an apartment. To buy farm land.  To pay for having a baby at the hospital. To pay for their one kid’s high school education.  To pay to drive on a road…They pay out the nose, considering their average salaries per year hoovers around $4,000 US dollars –– depending on who you ask and who you include…

At a macro -level,  one-party rule is here to stay. There’s no tea party. No coffee party. No dumpling party. No nothing. People can’t kick out the inept. Can’t trash talk their leaders. Can’t call for change. Really, they can’t call anyone.

What you see – is what you get. Quite frankly, it’s in their culture NOT to question parents, elders or superiors.  They obey.  Did you see the opening ceremonies for the Olympics???

As a Westerner, I can NOT imagine keeping my mouth shut if I received a notice from the government instructing me to move from my home I was born and raised in to make way for a skyscraper, five star hotel or new toll road.  They do.  They comply.  For, government officials know what’s best for the collective whole.

Commercial break. So, when China Southern Airlines does their 411 on “what do do when you crash,” you have to giggle. Of course, I look around

Picture taken of TV of N. Korea Parade

seeing if anyone else finds this humorous. The plane is 98.4% Chinese. No one is smiling.

They are reading the newspaper. Front page news details yesterday’s little dictator gathering in N. Korea’s where Kim Jong-il showcased his large and in-charge son and his country’s military might on international TV.

OK. China Southern Airlines instructs us to do the following before you crash and burn. Four main rules of thumb…

  1. Take off your high heels
  2. Take out your denatures
  3. Take off your head phones
  4. Put on your flotation device.

Then, and ONLY then, can you slide down the raft. That is, if you are still alive. Never knew wearing heels and denatures were an issue during an airplane crash. Now, they are playing over the loud speaker some Latin dancing number to slow Chinese music. The woman is doing the samba to Chinese music.

Back to blog: Confused Communism and controlled capitalism. That’s how I labeled China.

Came here with little expectations. And, leaving confused.

Someone I met said China, reminded her of Europe after WWII. People had hope. People saw a promising future.  Innovation. Ideas…She said, that is how China is to her now where possibilities are limitless…  Even, a two party government? Freedom to express your differences?  Five thousands years of written history says…“not so fast lady.”

Face of China

I look out the plane window and question what is China’s tipping point?

They’ve entered a time of government corruption, a widening income gap, a decomposed, non-existent social safety net and political disinterest in favor of profits. China’s been here before – just a different dynasty, different millennium, same issues…

And, I wonder if it possible to change the direction of 5,000+ years of a culture based on Confucianism, Buddhist & Taoism?

Where respect for elders and complete obedience of your superiors remains unquestionable.

Where people have differences in opinions, yet are required to live in harmony with each other.

Where seeking knowledge to become a better person means bringing wealth and honor to your family and, once again, serving your superiors.

Where trading for profits is seen as disrespectful and self-serving. Where attraction, not force, is used to obtain what one wants. And, where humanity is seen as kind and benevolent.

This philosophy fits perfectly in this government’s one-party rule. Doesn’t fit so nicely with free markets and modern political parties. China seems to be straddling both sides.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said of China, “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she’ll shake the world.”

From what I’ve seen, this giant has stirred. Watch out world..

Next stop. Bhutan.

Buddhist country of only 700,000.

Just put in roads in the 1960s… Some towns just got electricity. Monarchy introduced democracy two years ago. Only allows a select # of tourists in per year…My type of place…

Sorting it out in Chiang Mai, Thailand

28 Oct

The Chedi Hotel in Chiang Mai. My resting retreat.

I’ve decided.  If I every make a long term living in writing or doing something awe-inspiring, life changing and highly meaningful –  I will negotiate in my contract… must be around clean, pristine architecture to inspire creativity and brain cells.

I’ve decided I write and edit best in a places with clean lines, hard wood floors (no carpet),  over-sized tubs, 7-foot shower heads, ironed sheets, white comforters with snazzy red pillows, crisp robes, firm and mushy king-size pillows, balconies with reclining couches, near any body of water, proximity to a spa, full breakfast buffet, freshly brewed coffee with whole milk, plethora of tall trees, lotus flowers  and featured in some Architecture magazine… It’s the little things that inspire “us” creatives…

My room. View from bathroom.

Checked into The Hotel Chedi in Chiag Mai, Thailand to edit/write about China and Bhutan.  As you can see, LOVING it…  Went from bunk beds and zero stars to five star overnight.  The hotel is having a special due to the recent floods sweeping Bangkok and Northern Thailand.  But, guess what.  There’s no rain. No flood.  And, no one is here.  Five star hotel for $99 – free buffet and buy one get one free massage.  Sign me up.  I even have a butler who checks on me WAY too much.  He probably thinks I’m a sloth since all I wear is a robe and slippers.  Not complaining.  He comes to refill my Equal, water, coffee, tea and milk.  Yes, that’s right, FREE whole milk in the mini-bar.  Went tot he 7-11 yesterday and bought some coco-puffs to go with my rich, creamy milk.  Midnight snack…

Been editing my super blog.  Damn, I write too much.  Verbal vomit.  What to post.  What do you want to know about is the question.  Every single day there is an inspiring story to make you smile or cry.

So, I’m doing the “I hate talking and need to be in a cave” thing in order to process, reflect and write.  I’m half way through my journey.  SHIT.  It’s moving all to fast.  Freaking out.  Everyday is such a gift – even on those days where I’m lost, poor, dirty, inconvenienced, annoyed and…..

Cave dwelling by night.

I had a revelation the other day…I actually really, really like traveling with me.  Sounds sooooo strange…. Yea, there are days where my indecisiveness, impatience and leaving behind important items like my Gillette razor, Velcro rollers, bang cuttin’ scissors, underwear, zip-lock bags, SPF zinc-oxide, adapter, maps does escalate the annoyance factor.  Issue there is I have NO one to blame but me — which super sucks because a perk traveling with others is you are privy to playing the “blame” game.

But overall, I enjoy traveling with me.  Again, this sounds strange.  Talk about how strange it is to write it… But, I’ve met people who have asked “how can you be by yourself for so long… I couldn’t do what you are doing.. I would get bored.. I don’t like being by myself… how can you stand being alone…”

There is a difference between being alone and lonely.  I enjoy my alone time.  I like me.  But, when the black shadow of loneliness creeps in, well…that is a DIFFERENT story.  I learned the difference of the two while living in an orphanage in Honduras.  Never felt so lonely among so many people as I did while living in Honduras.  Loneliness can break your soul. It broke mine.

Enough of that deep crap.  I just wanted to write a quick blog about this beautiful place.  And, my fantasy of writing …aka…”what am I going to be when I grow up” matter at hand.  Tell you one thing — “I ain’t no editor.”  My sister keeps calling me out on grammar and spelling, and she is dyslexic and as all the acronym issues — ADD, ADAAYH, ADAH, AA..AAA… So, I do apologize.  I will one day read this and probably hurl with all the conjunction..conjunction… conjunction what’s your function mistakes..

Yea, I’m inspired here.  I guess, once you go clean, crisp and creative — you won’t go back to clutter and confusion.   Just say no to writing on bunk beds in rail cars traversing across Siberia.

Oh, if anyone has any ideas as to what I should “do” when I grow up.   We’re talking about March 2011.  I’m ears.  You can always email me at  I probably should put my email address on my blog someplace.  Need to figure that out.. Now, on to posting the blogs.  Have a wild ride…

Cave dwelling by night.

Cave dwelling by day.  Lobby of hotel.