Above the city, a falcon faces the landscape below, her ghostly feathers shifting among the clouds. Her eyes – glittering, diamond-like, judge. What is in her mind? What does she see? A thousand souls shadowing the hot pavement, rubber against cement, pacing, smiling, crying, yelling, staring into the clouds, searching for falcons. The sweat of this land lies in the canals, wiping the dust off the deserted soil, flowing ever eastward into the morass of the white sky. A shouldering heat rises from the caverns below, those haunted dens of black and light, where dreams are born but never pass away. In the steel homes above, children sleep in the mist, fighting battles against foes of ink, transforming into winged[…]

I spent most of the day reading up on Albert Einstein and his relationship with Mileva Maric and Elsa Lowenthal. Some pretty interesting observations, although by no means do these explain anything. Albert and his girlfriend Mileva got pregnant shortly after Albert graduated from university, but this baby disappeared when Albert was 23 years old and his girlfriend Mileva was 27. They didn’t get married (in January of 1903) for at least a year after the disappearance of their daughter, who is said to either have been given up for adoption or died in infancy, although neither spoke of the situation. Mileva ended up having the baby by herself at her parent’s house in Novi Sad, Serbia (where she was[…]

doing some research on the Paektu Volcano in China/North Korea —   Known as Changbaishan 长白山, a famous tourist location in Jilin province – very famous in both Chinese and Korean history, literature, and the mythology 150 kilometers from the volcano to my wife’s hometown (Qidaogou 七道沟) Known as the birthplace of the dude who founded the Korean Empire, Dangun, as well as the birthplace of the progenitor of the clan which eventually conquered China and created the Qing dynasty, Bukuri Yongson (of the Aisin Gioro people) In the caldera of the explosion created in 945 A.D. is a lake called “Heaven’s Lake” Interestingly, the first major Korean kingdom known as the Goguryeo (from where we get the name Korea)[…]

First, a true story. Before my trip in 2003, I perused the local library for any information on China, and all I could find were pictures of men and women dressed in blue uniforms, riding bikes from a book published in the mid 1980s. China wasn’t in the news, wasn’t a rising power, but most importantly to me was different, a literal Wild West for a native Californian who had grown up in the Silicon Valley during the 80s. In many ways, my experience mirrored Anna Leonowen’s experience in Thailand during the 1860s (she also thought her employment in Siam would be a romantic excursion), and continues to mirror the experiences of expatriates working in China even today. I would[…]