I *Heart* USA

The trip started in the city of San Francisco. There were so many things, some beautiful some not so beautiful but definately flavourful. Anyway here’s how it all started. My trip began at San Francisco airport, where just like the last time I was there Mayor Gavin Newsom Welcomed me to SF. Interesting. Anyway, by the time we got to the hotel and had dinner it was Tres late and so I slept.The jetlag woke me at 4ish and I started writing my letter to my foreign shall we said pen pals. They have been such a great crutch for my little, nay, socially crippling idiosyncrasies. But anyway, the next day was filled with much though.

In the morning I visited UC, Berkeley (Tkx Wayne). (Btw, I’ve decided to post up just one photo each for each location if not it’d be insane, the sheer amount of pictures I have.)

It was not at all like… I shalt not mention its name here for it will earn me Hisses. But it definately had great character. Beautiful doesn’t quite describe it, its sub-urban, hippie, bohemian, RENT-like, etc etc. So many things. I can totally see myself studying here. First… Getting IN!

Next we visited Stanford. Which was also really great, but in a totally different way. I mean there was like this row of Palm trees, almost Hollywood-esqe Avenue of PALM trees, and it opens up into this great looking Garden, which frames this brown… coloured… building, try to say THAT gracefully!

After my Lunch, I was whizzed off to Powell Street Station where I met the fantastic Victoria Lim! But of course the first thing we were to see, a dude standing on the box, SCREAMING at the top of his voice that Jesus was here to save us all and to put our faith in the Lord. Seeing as I’ve recently found spirituality, it was not only disconcerting but mildly scary. We hurried our way to the bus stop and grabbed a bus down to Vic’s school. And contrary to popular belief, there actually exists workable public transport in the US of A! It really just depends on the city I guess… Anyway, we hit her University first, (University of San Francisco). Where the drinks are expensive and the dorms nice and cozy. Which is just another way of saying that SF has the second highest standard of living in the USA, and the rooms are small. Sorry Vic!

This is the view from outside SFU’s Law library, the other pictures were also quite good but somehow, I thought this captures SF so well!

After hitting her Dorm, we left SFU’s hallowed and well trodden and mildly graffitied grounds, to go visit the Gay Mecca, A.K.A Castro. Definately a sight that has to be seen for one’s self to be believed. It sorta had a carnival atmosphere even though it was just another day really. The Starbucks there was like the place to cruise and be cruised. And I got novelty gifts for the girls back home, You know who you are;)
After some trolling, we hit Fisherman’s Wharf, yes, the touristy place, the place where if I had been in a right frame of mind wouldn’t have dreamed of hitting. Yes. Well! Dinner though was good and I had a great time with Wayne as well. 林家团圆!

Ok. Moving along to Atlanta, as we had only one night in the great city of SF, (I know, I know but I HAVE been to SF and by now its like… yeah I’ve seen much of it already, though of course not the underbelly, that I’ll leave to Vic and Wayne on my next trip;)

Atlanta was interesting, upon landing I was treated to a nice long ride through wide expanses of Highway, surrounded by trees. Definitely a much different sight from SF. We hit several places in Atlanta, Emory Uni, Georgia Aquarium, and of course, the CNN Headquarters. I’m just gonna skip the narrative, since I’ve already run to like … Pages Lol.
First, SFO Airport where I left my Dad, he went to Colorado. Don’t even know if I’m spelling this right. He looks … either constipated or annoyed at my taking a photo of him. Can’t be the latter coz I’m such a nice guy so he’s constipated, yeah. That’s what he is…
That’s the back of Candice and her sister Ying. See the Shark? Btw, Candice is my cousin. Debater. But not in the way the rest of the world does it. Silly Americans wanting to be different.

Centennial Olympic Park and Xiao Gu

Inside the CNN HQ

Julie’s Bakery, Had good CURRY PUFFs of all things. They’re Jamaican, had a fun accent. Had to take a photo.Cookie on my Lap. Why Delta, turns out to be the most special flight I’ve had in my life. That was the very day that Delta emerged from Chapter 11, and could start trading their stocks on Wall Street. So celebrations all round and all the passengers had champagne. What are the odds eh?
First glimpse of New York, a Tunnel. Why, coz we landed in Newark, New Jersey, thats why!

The New York Museum of Modern Art, first stop on our trip to New York. The MOMA for crying out loud! Had lunch at a classic New York Deli, I can’t remember the name, but I had a meatball sandwich. Boy oh BOY what a sandwich.

Sec-Gens of the UN
Couple of the most significant buildings in the history of Humanity.

What kinda expression is that, Hue?! Us, at Les Halles Park Avenue. Yes, Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles, THE Les Halles.

Yes, that’s THE Parsons New school for Design. Can’t quite tell from here, but that is where the fabulous Tim Gunn would offer advice to his disciples and remind them to Carry On.Times Square wouldn’t be Times Square without a semi-naked guy lounging on a billboard somewhere now would it?
Shubert Theatre, Home of Spamalot. Yes, We watched Spamalot, yes, it was everything I wished it was and MORE! Yes! I’ve arrived, I can finally say I’ve seen a show on BROADWAY! And NOT any old show! The 2005 Tony award Winner for best Musical!

Grand Central TERMINAL not Station as it is commonly called.

A sculpture at the site of the World Trade Center. Now a memorial, albeit slightly damaged.30 Rockefeller Center. The site of NBC’s studios in NYC and home to the Today show, and SNL!

The Definitive Apple Store!
R2D2 MailBOX!

And I shall now end with a picture of Atlas, supporting the globe on his back. Whoot!


The Boy

The Boy who is in love,
He stands above all,
with his voice raised high,
his banner adrift,
With the reds and blues and whites, blending
joy to the world, I am fulfilled,
Even when running to the high,
The voice never wavers,
never falters,
always dripping with the red passion
with or without his other,
Because they are

There is a lightness in his tenor,
An added lustre to his bass,
his mind filled with songs of summer breezes,
winter strolls along the Neva.
iPods could be written and sung about this love,
but no, there is no need,
for it is already written,
the soundtrack of their Love, Actually.

The Boy who is not in love,
He stands tall,
with his righteous spirit,
I don’t need anyone else,
I can stand on my own.
Who needs a crutch?

He is dedicated to the proliferation of the melancholies,
those bittersweet symphonies,
those everlasting arias,
Who says he’s alone!
The songs that are sung not by the choirs,
for their masses only serve to make him.

No, these are sung
With the soprano, solo.
She stands there, calling to him,
Her eternal voice,
reaching ever higher,
to me! To Me! Decants she!
He savours every note,
Like a Lafite,
Every bubble of her,
A Clicquot.

The Boy who is in love,
is a friend of the Boy without.
They share their trials.
Without offering his great emptyness,
to be filled with.
Their tribulations are solved,
with an overwhelming efficiency,
the one in love willing to see,
to lend his love-broadened eyes,
We need not wish them luck,
for they are lucky to have each other,
their brotherhood complete in its duality.

The Boy who is madly in love,
Hears and sees neither.

A Day In Suzhou

Yes, Suzhou, Venice of the Orient. Where rampant construction has not yet touched this pristine and beautiful country, tourism has arrived, and in the best way possible. I shall begin, with the picture of the street outside the Humble Administrator’s Garden.

Ah yes, The Humble Administrator’s Garden, 拙政园, a beautiful garden, full of life, beauty and more that cannot even be stated in words alone. The entrance fee of 70RMB aside, it is truly a sight to behold one of THE reasons to even visit Suzhou. What is so special about this garden, is probably its size, its variety of flora, and the way which all this beauty comes together in glorious harmony. We in Suzhou are blessed, truly blessed to hold one of the world’s treasures, treasure it we must.

The above picture of a tea house, is typical of such Chinese gardens and can be found almost always filled with smoking Chinese men and women, a performer, in this case a person playing a Chinese instrument and singing in the local dialect.

A feature of the Chinese garden which often surprises people is the common appearance of buildings, this can be a little disconcerting for the average non-local. However we must remember that these gardens were meant for private use in the past and often was integrated into the houses of the Elite in Chinese society.

Something which I found extremely beautiful which is rather unique to 拙政园 is the number of lotus plants there, in the ponds. I thought it provided so much green and was incredibly pleasing to the eye, no wonder Monet loved painting his Lotus plants! Bamboo, Bamboo lined up all against a wall, totally reminiscent of the scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, in the Bamboos dancing rather than fighting in those leaves. You can almost hear the HIYA-ing and the rustling of leaves.
We leave the garden with this picture of what to me truly is the Humble Administrator’s Garden, Tourists, Lotus plants, Nice old Buildings and a serenity that seems to be a snapshot in time.

We move on to Tiger Hill, arguably Suzhou’s No. 1 tourist spot, though oddly enough, and all the better for me, dear readers, a much better place to go to. 虎丘, has been over the years known by different names, in the past because of its proximity to the ocean, because of an Emperor’s desire. We know it as 虎丘, simply because of a story, that as an Emperor was being buried in a tomb on Tiger Hill, a White Tiger was sighted passing by, the locals believed that this Tiger was the reincarnation of the Emporer, and renamed this Hill, Tiger Hill. A story much more interesting on the hill itself, with a bubbly 20-something tourguide telling it to you. Here is a picture of me and my 6th Uncle at the base of this Hill of 36 metres in height at its summit.

Directly behind us is the actual entrance of the hill, and behind that some metres up is this beautiful rock, named the 1000 Persons rock. This rock, as with most famous rocks that housed tombs in history is named thus because it required 1000 people to carve into such a beautiful shape and condition. The Emperor as is most Chinese Emperors in history was afraid that these people would tell others about the location of his tomb and his 宝剑, *Why should he care about his treasured swords! He’s DEAD!* Either way, he had them slain, and that is why, we have the name 1000 Persons rock.

In this beautiful picture… of the scenery, we see a beautiful rock formation, shaped in a sword. This formation, is there simply because of the treasure it hides. The aforementioned Emperor’s 宝剑. He hid them underneath the water, the fishies, in a sword shaped formation… Hm, why no one caught on is beyond me. Darn, or they did and didn’t tell me bout’ it!

This next picture is really unique. It is essentially the Leaning Tower of Pisa in China! Yes another Italian reference, wonder if its something in the water, first Venice then their tower, next thing, you know they’ll be taking their noodles as well!

This picture shows the tilt more obviously and also throws in some of that beautiful greenery that we rarely see anywhere anymore.

Next we come across the 定园,strangly AKAed as the Calm Garden, nevertheless it is something special. Within the wall of this garder are these nice little boats where all the propelling power is provided by women, slim slender Chinese women, who sing as the row along, with 7 people in their boats, HA! See, we, Chinese people whup the asses of those smancy pants Venetian Gondoliers!

This garden is truly quite beautiful. The difference is it has this nice river within it, so there is slightly less flora here than at the Humble Administrator’s. However there is a charm similar to 周庄, right here in the middle of Suzhou. 周庄 for those of you in the know, i.e. living outside of China, is that little town where they shot the whole Tom Cruise screaming ZHOU KAI scene in MI:3, in what must be the most Lao Wai accent you can think of at the hapless Chinese people whose only sin was smoking copious amounts of ciggies and spitting. This little garden was where I ended my tour of Suzhou, in a little garden not well known to tourists, but extremely beautiful and definately with its beauty, its flaws hidden by its stunning colours, tastes, smells and textures.