Two little trips before the big trip

Starting music: Various Artists - The Rough Guide to the Music of China

It's been a while since my last post. I'm very sorry to all those who've been holding their breath. You may exhale now.

Last week was a week of travel. Small travel compared to what's ahead, but it did involve jet planes. I had three days of meetings in Phoenix, both getting up to speed on the plans for Beijing and wrapping up my current work projects. I won't discuss details, of course, since I signed a contract that involves not divulging the company's confidential information. Still, I got to meet some of the people I've been working with for years, as well as some who will be involved in my future work. It was warm there (for what little time I was outdoors), and the hotel's noisy air conditioner made sleep a challenge. Oddly enough, there was very little of the "play hard" that goes with the "work hard" I'm used to. What has happened to my employer?

I got home from Phoenix late Thursday night, and Saturday, D & I took off for a couple days in San Francisco. This was our last chance to do something together before I leave, since D is taking a class this fall and will likely be busy for the next few weeks. We stayed at a hotel in San Jose (it was actually cheaper to stay there and get a rental car than it was to stay in SF without a car). The car we ended up with was a 2006 Subaru Outback, so we got to compare the new model to our good old 2001 edition. Executive summary: it's a very good car, with lots of little improvements over ours.

On Sunday we drove to Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay and spent some time at the annual Dragon Boat Festival. They have dozens of teams from all over the world racing traditional Chinese boats. OK, they're made of fiberglass these days, but mimic traditional designs. We were confused by the fact that there were quite a few teams from Portland, Oregon, but none from Seattle. In addition to the boat races, there were acrobats, dancers, food booths, and recruiters for the US Marines. D found a great place to have breakfast, Stacks in Menlo Park, and we ate there on both Sunday and Monday. For such a busy place they do an amazing job at getting food out to you quickly. And it's great food too. We also ate at a San Jose hangout, the Falafel Drive-In, with tasty Middle Eastern food.

For reading on the plane, I plowed through The Great Wall of China, a good, if somewhat dated, book by one of my favorite authors, Robert Silverberg. I've written a bit about it here. Coincidence that I'd read about Chinese history? Not really. It was one of the Silverberg books I hadn't read before, and I wanted to read it while I had the chance, since I don't own a copy of it. After I finished that, a little browsing at the airport bookstore resulted in the purchase of part one of the Flights collection, which features another Silverberg work, this one a story called The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Just don't call me obsessive.

As far as preparations go, I've checked off a couple items: doctor, immunizations, dentist, optometrist, and so on. As further preparation, the Seattle Public Library conveniently came up with The Rough Guide to the Music of China, subtitled "ancient traditions to Beijing punk", which sums it up pretty nicely. There are some interesting sounds there, and I'm looking forward to hearing more of it closer to the source. I am nothing if not a musical omnivore, and my appetite has yet to find its limit.

Ending music: Various Artists - Princess Nicotine: Folk and Pop Sounds of Myanmar (Burma) Vol. 1

1 comment:

  1. I finished "Sailing to Byzantium", the Silverberg novella collection. Some real gems in there. Hope to see you soon!