Monday, February 25, 2008

Potala Palace Twin

Tibetan look-a-like palace in Chengde, Hebei

Tourism in Tibet

The Guardian, Monday, January 14th, 2008, has an article on the dramatic rise in tourism to Tibet, China. Now four million tourists reach this remote part of the world annually. Most are Han Chinese. That is a sixty percent increase from one year to the next. The provincial population is only 2.8 million year round residents. So is this part of a plot to ethnically drown out the local Tibetans? The Dalai Lama, considered a separatist by Beijing, speaks of cultural genocide. Meanwhile iconic tibetan symbols such as the Potala Palace are being choked by people and pollution generated by the likes of 800 buses which come to Lhasa from other parts of the country. The worlds highest airport is being built at Nagari! Bombardier of snowmobile manufacturing fame completed the missing rail link in 2006, which explains in part the influx. Travellers now rise to 11,000 feet in pressurized trains as they journey from neighbouring Qinghai province.

Dark Side of the Moon

To-morrow I face the prospect of getting up early. I will need an alarm since it will be dark still and the normal early morning rays won't waken me in time. The radio this morning (not an alarm clock) spoke of the following choices of innovative alarms on the market 1) an alarm which drops a screaming model race car on the floor beside your bed which must be retrieved for the squealing tires to stop 2) an alarm that every 30 seconds it is ignored electronically submits a credit card payment pre-signed by you to an organization that is anathema to you eg the Amy Winehouse Cloning Society 3) an orb suspended above your bed which gradually recedes towards the ceiling emitting bright lights and penetrating sounds until you reach up and neutralize it. I think I would prefer to have Pink Floyd in my bedroom ready to perform their classic alarm clock concoction. Anyone see the total eclipse of the moon the other night? I was in Nova Scotia in 1972 to see the one Carly Simon immortalizes in You're So Vain. Thought you might need to know that.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Horse and Buggy

The Amish

Coot Fight

I serendipitously came across the memorial fountain to Diana Princess of Wales while wending my way round the Serpentine. Even in winter the central London park is alive with ducks, geese, cormorants etc. Later that day after further bipedal effort I ended up at Regents Park. The whitewashed terraced housing round about it is remarkable and evocative of the good old days of empire. There happened to be a major ruckus in the pond out front though that challenged directly the decorum of this fine London neighbourhood. Whatever possessed the coots to attack each other I know not but it was amusing to see them lean back in the water on their wings (water wings) and kick at each other with their feet.