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nihow

hey hey.. first off.. the typekey authentication thing is all screwed up.. Hopefully in the next few weeks i'm going to migrate the whole shebang to wordpress and we'll be off and running all fresh. I've been super busy at work and don't have internet at home so i haven't been able to get to it. Thanks for your patience and i apologize for the delay.

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Cadaver sent me this missive:

Jane writes:

Hey, I was attacked by a seal at Bolinas last weekend. Seriously. Me
and a couple other surfers. No blood was let, though someone did end up
with seal tooth marks on his board. We couldn't figure out if the seal
was sick or horny, but he kept swimming around close (and we were close
to shore) and lunging at us. He ended up on my board a couple times.
Very strange. It was too weird to actually be frightening, and it was a
seal, for godsakes, they're so cute, how could I be afraid? I'm hoping
he was just young and confused, rather than sick and about to die.

I did call the Marine Mammal Center, expecting that they would dispatch
a helicopter rescue unit immediately upon receiving my report of a
strangely behaving seal (eventually the seal beached himself, which
seemed like a bad sign), but the woman I spoke to seemed quite
well-versed in de-escalating the crazy lady on the phone, and ended the
call by telling me they "might send someone by to check it out", but
that sometimes seals behaved aggressively towards surfers.

Anyhoo, careful of them horny seals when you head out in the waves.

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Check this letter from my friend in China:

nihow!!!

we read that if youre in china for one day, you want to write a book
about it; one week, you want to write an essay; and one year, you cant write anything bec you dont know where to begin. already i dont know where to begin! what an interesting city this is. it is very hot and humid (my FAVORITE weather) and there are many bad smells. that aside, it is amazing. the food has been outstanding, whether in restaurants ($3 for us both to have dinner, which was a bowl of wonton soup and a plate of crispy sauteed bok choy) or cooked up right
in the street (i took a video of 4 ladies whipping up peking raviolis
from scratch, cooking them in the biggest frying pan you ever saw) or from a mobbed shop window, again a massive bamboo steamer (at least 3-ft across) filled with steamed buns, so delicious, so SO delicious, a bargain at about 9 cents each. yes! filled with meat, or red bean paste, or (my choice) chopped greens with tiny mushrooms. oddly, we have eaten no rice yet. vegetarian eating is really easy, but frankly, i couldnt turn down a few delicious ginger-flavored pork
dumplings if my life depended on it (:

also the taxis are super cheap, like 2 dollars for a 20 min ride. how
is that possible -- isnt gas expensive everywhere? and they are always A/C blasting! anyway this has meant that we can just wander without fear of getting lost, since its cheap to get back to the hotel. but today we took our first bus, the 911 (!) the bus costs 12 cents but its double that if its A/C. my mind is boggling. since x has felt a bit ill, we are staying in a nice hotel ($50/night)
but our other expenses so far are utterly negligible.

this morning we explored the old city, narrow twisty alleyways which
were my first glimpse of real third world conditions. (x has seen it before, in india, peru, etc). everyone does everything right in the street -- cook, wash clothes, brush teeth, etc. many people were walking around in their pajamas, but no wonder, its too hot to get dressed. some men in only boxers. everyone is selling noodles, or watermelons, or very rusty old bicycle forks. every minute was
super-interesting (and thus im exhausted now). people were quite friendly, and my bald head is a great conversation piece, er, gesticulation piece. i am surely the only bald white lady in china, tho the buddhist nun we met in a temple had a shorter cut than me! she spoke great engl, and when x asked her "how do you speak engl so well" she said "why not?" good answer! we also witnessed a brutal incident with a mouse, a lady had caught it in a little wire cage, and to kill it, she doused it with a whole kettle of boiling water. not fun for the mouse. then she smashed its head with a scissor. but hey, who wants mice running around the house? no, she did not eat it afterwards, and no she did not put it in the dumpling to sell it either. silly/ignorant american...

we have seen many pet dogs being walked on leashes. all small, mostly
pekingese i guess.

chinese tv is a real trip too. we have it in the hotel room, and as xaq was running a fever on the airplane, we have been resting in the hotel a fair bit so far. (also me and the heat, you know the deal). i would say its 70% chinese epic movies about warriors/kungfu/monks. but there is a fascinating show on early in the morning called Touch Beijing, about life in the city, by french chinese-speakers, with english subtitles. most of the tv offerings have no english component whatsoever, but still anthropologically interesting at times.

on the whole people are really nice and helpful almost all the time.

oh and the BICYCLES, some of course are three=wheeled with a
wheelbarrow behind, and some of the wheelbarrows are loaded up at least 6 ft tall with stuff, so the whole contraption is more like an elephant than a bike. the bikes always have marked lanes in both directions even when the cars are one-way, and the bikes pretty much go wherever they want. actually, so do the cars, and amazingly we
have seen no accidents yet. its pretty increduble how aware every
traveler seems to be of ever other traveler. everyone (cars, bikes, motorbikes) beeps their horn CONSTANTLY, and motorbikes fly by even in the tiniest alleyways. children stand between their parents' legs on the motorbikes. i saw a man on the side of a big busy road, teaching his small child how to ride a bike. at first i thought
he was mad, but frankly it makes perfect sense, since those are the
riding conditions the tot will face. no helmets and no lights! these people are mad. no wonder foreigners are forbidden from driving cars here -- we lack the reflexes.
though boston biking seems not unlike shanghai biking in certain ways
(:

(and yes, we brought our helmets, so we will be the only two bald
helmeted bikers in kunming, where we are heade next and will stay for a month)

shanghai is (acc to the guidebook) the richest part of china, and we
havent even faced a real chinese toilet yet. but soon i think we will be longing for our immaculate hotel room with western bathroom situation. sorry, did i say "hotel room"? it is actually a "lie fallow chamber" according to the guestbook. (:


pondering of the day (besides the cheap taxis): the Be For Time Tea House.

miss and love you all

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Cool turn

look how glassy!

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