Sunday, January 07, 2007


I've come back to Hong Kong and I leave for the United States in three days. I traveled Asia for 24 days.

What have I learned? The world is much bigger than anyone can imagine. It's also very delicate, and not all of us live in the prosperity of Western countries. Nature is beautiful. Poverty is hideous.

This child came up to me and asked for 5 Nepali Rupees - that's about 1 penny. The bag he carried was twice the size of him. He had no shoes. I gave him 10 Rupees and asked to take his picture. I remember crying a little, because I gave this child US$ 0.02 - and that was generous.

I return to the United States - my box - now. Hopefully I can escape it again. And hopefully, I can make a difference. For this child's sake.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Singapore is Hong Kong... except they kill you here

Singapore is a "Fine City." -- and they do warn you about bringing drugs in. Recommendation: Don't do it.

Hello from Singapore. I made it out of Delhi, in one piece. I have about three hours and then I am on a plane back to Hong Kong. Woo! I am almost quasi home.

Home is Hong Kong. Then Home is Arizona. Then Home is Columbia, Missouri -- on the 14th of January.


Now that I will be back in Hong Kong and general civilization. You'll be getting all my pictures from my trip pretty soon. Just got to make it home. Almost there. (prays).


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year from ... Nepal?!

Please mind the gap.

I've typed that about 53 times on this blog since I started it. However, I now have a new gap to mind.

The gap between the mountains in the snow-capped Himalayas.

Hello from Kathmandu in Nepal, and happy new year to you. I have arrived safely in Nepal after a wonderful 5-day off-road adventure through Tibet. I have made it safely courtesy of a Tibetan man named Gelak and a 1980's Toyota Landcruiser with no headrests. I miss that SUV....

I have stood in the face of beautiful monestaries. I have stood in the face of great plateaus of Tibet. And I have stood in the face of Mt. Everest.

Yea, she's pretty fucking spectacular.

I had a wonderful new years party. I partied until 4 a.m. with Nepali locals dancing to Indian and Nepali dance music and drinking Danish beer.

I am here in Nepal for 4 days, and then I move onto India. I am actually now slowing down my trip a bit. I return to Hong Kong in 6 days -- at that point, you'll all get 40983428 bazillion pictures and much more detail about what I have seen.

My audience. I must say -- I have seen some wonderful and tragic things in my trip, and it has truly opened my eyes. I have seen things that has given me some purpose in life and has provided me a wondeful opportunity to see cultures I have only read about.

The people of the world are truly amazing. I am having a wondeful time getting to know them, however for so briefly.

Bless you all... and I miss you all very deeply. You'll see me very soon.

Love you Jenna and Ian!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I'm Alive and In Tibet

This whole blog thing hasn't worked out how I imagined it would, mainly because it's hard to post pictures.

However, I would like to state, very quickly that I am in Tibet -- Lhasa specifically. We just booked a Landcruiser tour from Lhasa to the Nepal Border today. That will take 5 days. I leave tomorrow morning.

If you wish to track me, I will be going from Lhasa to Xigaste (Shigaste), to Mt. Everest Base Camp, to a tiny tiny city that starts with a Z on the nepal border. Hot.

But, I am healthy, seeing things that have opened my eyes to truly amazing things, and in good old fashion Ken style, purchased enough items to be a signficant part of the Tibetan economy.

I promise everyone who reads regularly, I will post pictures when I get back to Hong Kong - home of the non-dialup reilable internet connection that isn't blocked by the gov't.

Miss you all.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Train Ride to Xian

After spending one more day in Beijing, it was time to move on. My next stop on my across Asia Super Tourist tour is Xian (where my camera was stolen).

I've always wanted to take an overnight train somewhere. I took Amtrak as a child to Disneyworld in Orlando. I don't remember that trip. I do remember winning a car though (wtf?). Yea, I won a car, but that's not the point of this blog entry is it?

So, yes: Train. So, I decided to go in style to Xian. We took the Chinese Z92 Overnight to Xian - the newest train on the Chinese railways, something they were very proud of. Johannes and I traveled by first-class to Xi'an, leaving at 8:30 p.m. and getting in at 8 a.m. We got our own cabin with our own toilet and table.

It was very Chic. Even more Chic: we had dinner and a beer in the dining car. The fried prawns were great.

Okay, here's pictures:

Beijing West Railway Station. Why wasn't I robbed here? Seemed like a good place to do so. Oh, I know... because it's Beijing and as first-class customers, we got our own lobby. I want to in the Party...

Yay our Train!

Please Mind the Gap - And Join the Party.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I want to make a Southpark reference right now really badly. But, I'll keep the joke to myself and probably Ian.

Stupid Mongolians.

According to Chinese tradition, I am now a man - because I have now climbed the Great Wall of China. And I think the Chinese saying about being a man is probably true. Because if I see another set of stairs, all I think about is the stairs of the Great Wall.

So many stairs. ... so many stairs.

We decided to visit the Simatai part of the wall. There are several named parts of the wall, because it was built over a large period of time. The most touristy part is named Badaling - and it's completely restored. Simatai is a more mountainous part, less touristy, and probably the most amazing thing I have seen.

Simatai was built during the Ming Dinasty. You gotta learn your Dinasties to follow this blog. I recommend checking wikipedia. Anyways, to keep it simple, this wall is about 500 years old. There's a few other parts around here that were built much eariler and later than the Simatai Wall.

Here's an example. This picture is from the Simatai wall looking at another part (and another name). when I got to the top of the wall, you could see this section into the horizon. It was absolutely stunning. It's completely uninterrupted for miles.

We left Beijing about 9:30 a.m. and got to the Wall about noon. It's outside of Beijing by a considerable amount. It's very interesting to see the Chinese people in Beijing compared to the people in the more rural parts of China. It's like black and white.

This picture is from about the middle of Simatai. in one the guard towers. Some of the towers are in perfect condition, some are ruined. however, they all have a 3x3 grid pattern inside. Guards lived in the tower.

Inside the wall, was ancient and modern Chinese (and English) graffiti. A set of Chinese students walking with us said it was very common for the guards to carve their names into the walls (and also the tourists). While I couldn't tell who was the modern or ancient graffiti, it was still interesting.


At the wall, there was a group of peasents and farmers trying to sell goods. Every white person who seemed to go up the wall was basically followed by someone all the way up the wall. While annoying, our lady in very broken English told her a little about her background and where she worked (she pointed to a collective farm in the horizon). I found her interesting - a middle aged woman who literally climbed the wall several times a day to sell a book or postcards to tourists. I bought overpriced postcards from here (paid 25 yuan ($3), when they were worth probably around 10 yuan). I felt ripped off, but these people literally live off of the difference between 50 US cents and 1 US Dollar. It's not going to kill my budget if I overpay in some place. Plus, she climbed a wall that wore me out. That's worth 10 yuan in itsself.

If something I am learning about China, and basically Asia in general - everyone has a purpose. This is even more so in the PRC, where state owned enterprises make you wonder why there's someone being paid for this job. But, no matter, they do a job.

At the very top of Simatai is a whole part of the wall that literally is built on a razor sharp mountain. This part of the wall was very broken and obviously it's not the best thing to climb. There was a sign saying that if you crossed it, you had to pay a fine of 200 yuan. Johannes, Me and a few other tourists climbing with us joked about how this sign seemed out of place and there was no way that it would ever be enforced.

And then a man came out from behind a section of the wall. He was very friendly... but yea... he's got the worst commute in the world. But probably one of the best office views of anyone.

Please Mind the Gap - And Climb the Wall, it's worth it.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Backdated Entry... cuz I stopped caring.

First off, apologies because I wrote this blog entry pre-robbery. This entry is mainly about my first day in Beijing.

After our Hot Pot experience, we got up to explore parts of Beijing (which we were quickly learning that a) much bigger than any city I have ever been in and b) has too many relics. It’s like Paris meets LA, during rush hour. It doesn’t help that the taxi drivers are not the most helpful in the world.
We spent the day at Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Tiananmen is a big massive open area, and when I saw massive, it’s pretty massive. There were many tourists and locals on the square, flying kites, talking, taking pictures, and so on. The square was also full of scam artists and hawkers.
Oh, hawkers, how I want to punch thee in the face. But, you probably know Kung Fu so I’ll just say “No” 47 ½ times.
The scam artists are very interesting. A young, good looking Chinese girl will come up to you speaking perfect English. She usually asks you where you are from, how long you have been in Bejiing.

Bitch: Hello sir.
Ken: Hello (rolls eyes)
Bitch: I Chinese student learning English. I practice English on you, yes?
Ken: No.
Bitch: What brings you to Beijing.
Ken: I live here in Dengchung District (south of Tiananmen, near the diplomatic apartments).
Bitch: I would like to show you to some museums.
Ken: No, leave me alone, thanks. (end of scene, return to top and repeat in three minutes)

The Museums they offer are actually rooms with paintings usually mass produced. If you go in (which I didn’t, I was highly warned against this), they will basically force you to purchase way overpriced bad art, or take you a tea room where you’ll pay 1,200-1,400 RMB ($200) to sample tea.
The hawkers are usually selling cheap goods you can bargain for. I wanted a Little Red Book, but I assume I’ll find them somewhere else. They also had Mao Hats. No, Larry, you’re not getting a Mao hat.

I literally joked as we were walking to the Forbidden City, “I wonder of the Forbidden City is really a City?”
Yea, it is.
The Forbidden City is massive. Literally, we kept walking and the buildings and gardens just went everywhere. In order even to get to the Emperor’s house, you have to walk through nine gates. Yea, nine.
Pictures are better than words. Check it out.

We spent about 5 hours wandering the Forbidden City, and I was so impressed by the detailing and the craftsmanship of the whole area. For being almost 500 years old, the vast majority of it is in good condition. However, there were several parts that were off limits because Beijing is getting ready for the Olympics.
Actually, the Olympics is all Beijing residents like to talk about. They always say to me “Come back to Olympic.”

Please Mind the Gap – And screw you scam artists.


Fun Times?

I was robbed in Xi'an today. My camera was taken in a market. I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings and paid the price. Money too.

I am going to have to figure out how to take pictures of the next, oh 15 days of trip? ... shitty.


I found internet... Beijing Day One

I'm literally uploading pictures as fast as I can. These first are from my first day in Beijing. This is Tianimiman Square and the Forbidden City. Enjoy. I will write more later.

I'm literally uploading pictures as fast as I can. These first are from my first day in Beijing. This is Tianimiman Square and the Forbidden City. Enjoy. I will write more later.