Letters from Thailand

Gui’s friend Sarah is currently working in Thailand as a volunteer in the Thai
Government’s pollution control department. She applied for the position through CUSO(a Canadian NGO). She has been sending us some very interesting stories since April. I’m trying to get her to start a weblog of her own. 🙂 Before she does, I’m going to temporarily show a few segments from her recent letters. I enjoyed them tremendously, I hope you do, too!

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My first roundtrip with jetBlue airline. Is United absolutely the worst airline out there? Why I’m falling in love with every new airline I’ve ever tried? Last year’s flight to Ecuador was with AA, and I loved it. Now it is jetBlue. People working for this airline, from the check-in counter to the onboard staff are absolutely superb. I haven’t seen such friendly smiles from complete strangers since my Tokyo trip in 1998.
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Garden Party (cont’d)

Our CTO grew up in the South (his home state is either North Carolina or South Carolina, I forgot which). He still carries that air of a southern gentleman despite his years spent with northern folks in Berkeley, Cornell, Bell Lab, and the silicon valley. He talks slowly and his voice is on the quiet side. He always carries this hint of an amuzed smile. There is always this spark dancing in his eyes whenever he is talking. It makes his enthusiastic seems childlike and pure. He likes to wear turtlenecks, especially black ones. Sometimes you’d easily mistaken him for one of the artists wandered out of SoMa. He looked a bit out of place among us geeks. Even though we all know that he is the biggest geek of us all. 🙂
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Opera 7.0

Finally downloaded Opera 7.0 for Windows yesterday. It was absolutely love at first sight!

I like how it organizes all the open browsers within one Opera window, and list them as tabs. Now my task bar is all clean. The auto-blocking of pop-up windows is also a HUGE plus. Now i can view Gui and Matthew’s site without being annoyed by the gazillion pop-up ads. 🙂 I haven’t figured out all the interesting features yet. Today I accidently saw the auto-listing of all the links from each page. That was neat.

However, Opera’s M2 mail system doesn’t display Chinese encoding correctly. 🙁 and it doesn’t handle certain aspect of javascript correctly. I can’t use it to check outlook mails, nor can i write this weblog using moveable types (it won’t show the B, i, URL buttons on top of this editor window). it also doesn’t seem to handle a javascripted tree correctly. Not sure if it is inherited from Netscape though.

Despite all these, I still like it and have changed all my file associations from IE to Opera. Even start to love that little red “O” icon now. 🙂

Interesting sites:
Excellent Panorama(360degree) thanks to luanKan– you need a good connection, lots of data needs to get through. Lovely colors!
My favorites include the following (shift to zoom in):
Week 45 Tulambe Wreck at Bali (Scuba Diving!)
Week 46 Basilica Santa Maria, Rome Italy (Lovely ceiling)
Week 51 Crater Lake in Snow, Oregon
Week 29-30 Olympic Rain Forest, Queets River, Olympic National Park, Washington
Week 43 Shanghai People’s Square
Week 49 Grutas de Cristal, Karst Cave in Arag¨®n Spain
Week 12 Cyprus Church
Week 18 At the foot of Mount Whitney-Sierra Nevada
Week 25 Peterman Island Antarctis

East 100th Street by Bruce Davidson – thanks to cvc: speechless…

Chinese Provinces

I was reading a Chinese woman’s travel log, encountered a shortcut name that i didn’t recognize. As a result, I did a search on Google and made a list of all the Chinese provinces and their corresponding shortcuts. Each province is usually a two syllables word, and the shortcut is always one single syllable.

Each syllable has a strong sense of history associated with it. During certain time of the long history of China, each province was literarily a country in its own right. And the shortcut, its country name. Chinese History & Geography

These shortcuts usually originated from some geographical feature of the area, often it is a name of a major river. The sound and script for each sylabol always sounds and looks beautiful to me. Because of its condensed nature? or is it because any unknown character often carries with it certain mystic and beauty?
I can’t tell.

ÔÆÄÏ ¡°µá¡±»ò¡°ÔÆ”
¹óÖÝ ¡°Ç­¡±»ò¡°¹ó¡±
ËÄ´¨ Êñ
ºþ±± ¶õ
ºþÄÏ Ïæ
½­Î÷ ¸Ó
°²»Õ Íî
ɽ¶« ³
¸£½¨ Ãö
ÉÂÎ÷ ¡°ÇØ¡±»ò ¡°ÉÂ
ɽÎ÷ ½ú
ºÓ±± ¼½
¹ãÎ÷ ¹ð
º£ÄÏÊ¡ Çí

A drop of ink

Stayed up late because of a drop of ink.
More specificaly I was mesmorized by her web log (2000/4-2001/12). During that time she just moved to Shanghai from ShenZhen, to live alone in a big city, without any friends or relatives. The only people she knew were a few co-workers who were relocated at the same time by the company. I was able to see Shanghai through her eyes, first as a stranger, and slowly as an adopted daughter of Shanghai, the Paris of the east. I often wondered what i would be like if i didn’t immigrate to California 13 years ago. When i read her entries, i suddenly knew, i would be very much like her. I enjoyed her writing, her curiosity, her love for books and the internet. I admire her adventure spirit. I couldn’t pull myself away from my laptop, 11pm, midnight, 1am, now it is almost 2am. I continued on.

Then, no weblog for the entire year of 2002. She resumed in December of 2002, and she seemed content and optimistic enough.

I did think of writing to her several times when i was reading her earlier entries.

Maybe tomorrow.

Sex and the City (Season IV)

Oh, last night I watched the first six episodes of Sex and The City (season 4). What can I say? The drama of the four girls living in drama. But I have to admit that the characters do grow on me. I’m liking them more and more. Life seems so simple to them. Every problem has a solution, and…eventually, every gal has a guy (or a gal! 😉 ). Good for them!


I’m living in a world of alternations. It is like traveling through that curtain made of shadow and light, in the redwood forest of Andersen Valley, back in last Xmas. The night before i was drawn in the darkness of my despair. Today i am jumping for joy. Feeling like hugging everyone. What’s wrong with me?

What I read today:
Atwood wrote a new book Oryx and Crake
Matrix Reload is due to open tomorrow at midnight, here is the review from The New Yorker. And here is the transcript from the original Matrix.


Found a excellent blogger from Tokyo via Where is Raed . It is called Hunkabutta. A Canadian guy Mike who has lived in Tokyo for the past five years. Beautiful pictures, interesting observations, and funny stories from his daily life in the midst of Japanese capital city. The pictures have a strong sense of Tokyo, the place.

Where is Raed is back!

Where is Raed is back! Finished reading it as fast as I could manage. He is such a good writer. From people’s daily mood to the cost of bottled water. He kept track of what has been hit and how it sounded as the bomb/plane/missle went over Bagdad sky. Intelligent and funny. It sounds like he would be able to keep a weekly entry soon. So relieved. Ever since he went silent after March. 24th, I have been worried that he might have fallen as one of the victims of many “incidents” there.

All is well! Well, as well as it could be. I love his argument with the taxi driver, too.


It is a windy night and I’m getting over a nasty cold. Tip-toeing on the borderline between being perfect healthy and being fatigue, i feel rather small and quiet. The windcham above our drive way is happily singing away. The cats were sleeping. Midnight