Thursday, May 5, 2016

How Weird, hospice (the purpose), ports of call (Asia)

How Weird, 2016
How Weird is a street party in San Francisco – about 20,000 people, fragrant air, 10 stages, trance around every corner – BIG THUMP THUMP THUMP! 2016 was a good one! How Weird site
I found this from days gone past (in the 1995 book): “The underlying purpose or mission of hospice/ palliative/terminal care is to facilitate an internal and external physical, psychosocial, and spiritual environment in which the patient and his or her loved ones have the opportunity for reconciliation with God, others, and self… to realize the purpose of life.” 
We took on pain, suffering, despair, emptiness… with knowledge, skill, commitment, presence…
In the Still of the Night, Hong Kong 5am
Traveling in Asia… All those places…
(Links are to some - not all - posts from Asia travels)
Hong Kong – Home base, where we always spent at least a few days going to and coming from SE Asia. My first time there was in 1967; Leslie and I started going in 1978; our last time was in 2013. I love Hong Kong. “Urban compression!” 2012, 2005, 2008
(Ridicerous!), some photos, and 2013 (our last HK post)
Leslie's favorite banh cuon lady in Hanoi
Hanoi – Walking in the “medieval streets” of the Old Quarter, Leslie said, “I love Vietnam. It’s fun. It’s clean. The people are nice and seem to be honest. And the food is unbelievable.” Nobody in the history of the world ever said all that together about Vietnam. Vietnam! Leslie! 2010, with David and 2008 (first time)
Sapa – A town in the clouds, literally; in the cool northern Vietnam highlands; kind of like Nepal. Sapa, 2013 
A lake in the middle of an island in Halong Bay
Tam Coc – In a two-person boat on the river running through rice fields, along limestone cliffs, through caves… Hanoi and Tam Coc
Halong – Incredible islands of vertical limestone rising mysteriously from the mist and a placid sea on a boat with about 20 passengers. One of them said, “I have, what do you call it – the sickness of the ocean. I want to womit.” Halong - a ship of (some) fools 
Hue – Beautiful Hue, my favorite city in the world (along with San Francisco and Berkeley). My first time here was in 1967. It’s raining, misty, tropical, mysterious, this city of ghosts. Hue (it's raining) and Beautiful Hue
David and Leslie in the rain near Hue.
I love this photograph.
Hoi An – Narrow streets, few cars, old shop fronts, tailors, and tourists. Hoi An and Hill 55 (2005)
Danang – I spent 3-4 days/month there for six months in 1967. Leslie and I just passed through a few times. A place with a lot of memories, many of them good.
Near Battambang
Saigon – Oh hell, yes! Packed streets and markets (it’s a commercial rave scene), millions of motos, brilliant street food, countless narrow lanes, a place of many good memories since my first time there in 2005, 2012, 2006
Mekong Delta – The greenest place I’ve ever been, water, water everywhere, a beautiful place. 2006
Phnom Penh – The first time there it seemed ominous, but over time, opened up. David was there for a year working at the Hope Medical Center. Mony, Sophear, their family, Samnang – welcome! 2006 (includes Phnom Penh and Hope Hospital),  2005 (I never imagined visiting mass graves or torture rooms)
In Chiang Mai
Battambang – The heartland of Cambodia, slow-moving, deep into the countryside 5 minutes out of town. 2010, 2005
Siem Reap (Angkor) – Ancient temples, deserted for centuries, and we’re slow-walking into the empty forest around Angkor. 2005, 2006
Kampot – Sleepy riverside town where the river empties into the Gulf of Siam. Phnom Penh and Kampot
Poipet – (Cambodian border town) It used to be the dirtiest imaginable town with dusty, ghostly, ragged people trudging around; now, it’s full of casinos and brothels.
Curry - two with rice for a dollar or two
Aranyaprathet – Several times, actually. Once we were staying in a house way out in the countryside a mile or so from where artillery was hitting. We talked about where we would meet if the arty hit us and we were separated and Leslie was like, “Okay.” A very cool person. Khao-I-Dang – the refugee camp near Aran. Photos, words about K-I-D
Leslie in Burma, 2007 and Kathmandu, 1978
Bangkok – Southeast Asia’s main travel hub. To put it into context, the population is almost 3x bigger than Houston, but with waaay less urban planning. Leslie loved Bangkok and we had many good times there – The Miami, where as a gesture of solidarity with the prostitutes who weren’t allowed to use the elevator, Leslie always took the stairs. The Century Motel, Nansok’s, Boon’s, Drop Inn, Suk 11, Merry V Guesthouse, Stephan’s, Jean-Francoise’s, Harry’s... 2008, 2009 (rediscovering Bangkok) (also see You call it liver... below)
Kho Samui – In those days, just an overloaded ferry-ish boat. Little grass hut on the beach for about $1.50. Photo below.
Ayyutahya – Ancient ruins north of Bangkok.
Worship at Shwe Dagon in Rangoon
Chiang Mai – City of many temples, markets, festivals, good food, cheaper guesthouses and hotels, cooler temperatures, and happy memories. Our first time in Chiang Mai was 1978 and our last time was December 2013. "You call it liver; I call it karma" (2013), 2011, 2007 with David
From left: Paul, Charles, Leslie, Vera - in Mandalay
Luang Prabang – A UNESCO World Heritage city, which means that old buildings are preserved vs. new one built, small signs, many travelers (more travelers than tourists). Great times for Leslie, David, me – and a great connection to Ben and Magera. 2007 with David
Rangoon – We were here in the old days, when visas were for 7 days only, and in modern times when the city is (now) called Yangon and visas are for longer stays. There was one magical night in a government guesthouse. And magical days at Shewdagon – the great golden temple/paya. Photos from 1970s, Shwe Dagon 
A transgender trance dancer (pink top) in a nat
ceremony down a side street in Mandalay, 1980s
Moulmein! – “By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea, there’s a Burma girl a-setting, and I know she thinks o’ me...” And I sat right where Kipling's Burma girl sat, and I looked out to the sea and thought of her… Following written on the train from Moulmein to Rangoon:
Mountains above,
Padi below,
In mystic light.

Through a village in a forest,
A beautiful, graceful girl,
With thanaka on her cheeks,
And a basket on her head,
Walks out of a dark path among the trees.

Then another one!
Down in a small valley between green, green hills women bathing by a stream, sarongs up over their breasts. Children playing. How I wish, how I wish you were here. 
Mountains close by the road, clouds touching to tops and sunlight touching the sides with golden stupas glittering in the sunlight - like a hallucination. Smell of growth and wood smoke. Child with short hair and thanaka on her cheeks and nose. Some houses, but mostly hooches, some nice, some poor. It's not too hot, but it is hot.
Somewhere along the way I lose almost all my commitments, except for Leslie and David and the mission. Moulmein and other places in Burma, 2007
At Shwe Dagon
Pegu – Home of the world’s most beautiful reclining Buddha and not much else – just an incredible small Burmese town. See photos and 2007 links above
Mandalay – More magic in this sprawling dusty village-like city. Leslie and Charles: they’d have fun anywhere! More photos from 1970s
Sagaing – a mystic town of temples and monasteries across the hills, in the mist. See photos and 2007 links above
Maymyo – A former British hill station, where there are miniature stagecoaches instead of taxis. See photos and 2007 links above
Outside of Kathmandu
Calcutta – Every block of every street had many, many people sleeping on the sidewalks, even in the street. There was a corpse right outside the gate to our hotel. Leslie’s dysentery got worse here.
Kathmandu – A hippie paradise framed by the Himalayas. On the plane out of Kathmandu, flying over the snowy mountains, Leslie said, “If this plane goes down (and that seemed like a possibility), what a place to die!"
Ko Samui - Leslie and our little hut

Food in Asia post

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