Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Great blog (Monday, Sept. 29) on Iraqi Family Ties from the "Virtual Sheikh." Very informative (if the blog doesn't come up the first time click on it again or reload).

Monday, September 29, 2003

The Twin Pagodas

Although its residents never tire of pointing out that Taiyuan is 2500 years old very little of the old city remains. Taiyuan is now a gritty industrial hub centered around coal mining and other heavy industry. One oasis of tranquility amidst the skyscrapers, immense blocks of apartment buildings, and huge billboards touting not socialist slogans but women’s undergarments is the Shuangta Si, or Twin Pagodas Temple Complex. This consists of two 160 foot high, 13 story pagodas, several temples, and nicely manicured gardens. The complex was built in the years 1699-1716 by a monk named Fu Deng.
For news from Baghdad see Girl Blog from Iraq . . . Let's Talk War, Politics and Occupation.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Young Chinese woman (she liked to be called "Michelle") who happened to be on the bus from Taiyuan to Wu-Tai Shan. Although she had been born and raised in Taiyuan she had never been to Wu-Tai Shan, one of the area's most famous attractions. The night before I arrived in town she had a dream that she was going to meet a foreigner. The next day she quite by accident happened to bump into the bus driver who said that a foreigner had signed up for the trip next day to Wu-Tai Shan. She decided to take three days off work (she teaches English to kindergarten students) and also go to Wu-Tai Shan. We ended up spending three days in Wu-Tai Shan together. A more delightful and charming person could hardly be imagined.

Wu-Tai Shan in Shanxi Province, one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in China

Friday, September 26, 2003

Thursday, September 25, 2003

More Beijing Street Action: Why are the two young women smiling?

She's Everywhere, She's Everywhere!

Hillary Clinton's new book is for sale in every book store in Beijing. And on the plane to Taiyuan I noticed two Chinese women reading it. And it was even for sale in the little book stall in my hotel in Taiyuan. But the Chinese version appeared to have been edited: for the story see Hillary Gets Chopped; for the censored portions see Hillary Longer and Uncut.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Six Beijing Residents After Reading Hillary's Book
Just got back to Mongolia this afternoon after a short sojourn in China.

Ground Zero in China: the entrance to the Forbidden City on the north side of Tiananmen Square

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Just returned from Wu Tai Shan, one of the four sacred mountains of China, in Shanxi province. Photos to follow. Spend two days in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi. Now in Beijing. More to come. . .

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Friday, September 12, 2003

Madame Blavatsky superimposed on a Shambhala thangka in the City Museum in Graz, Austria, the Dharma Wear capital of the World
Just reread Madame Blavatsky: The Woman Behind the Myth. Great "Truth is Stranger than Fiction" book. No one could have ever dreamed up Madame Blavatsky but Madame Blavatsky herself.

Madame Blavatsky

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Riders of the Purple Sage (Khangai Mountains, Mongolia. August 18, 2003)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

That's it. I have had it. My patience is completely exhausted. Smithers, release the Hounds.
Whatever turns you on: Giant Dino Feces Excites Researchers.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Zanabazar's Sitasamvara in the Choijin Lama Museum

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Wandered up to the Gandan Monastery this morning and ended up in the Kalachakra Temple. Much to my surprise the Kalachakra Thangkas Which Were Once At Shankh Monastery are now here in the Gandan Kalachakra Temple. These seven thangkas, which depict the 722 Kalachakra deities and much else, are to my knowledge unique. I have not even seen such thangkas in Tibet, although the 722 Kalachakra deities and associated images are depicted in wall paintings at the Kalachakra Temple in Dharamsala, India, where I saw them a few years ago.

Chenresig Temple at Gandan

Statue of Amitabha, by Zanabazar, the First Bogd Gegen of Mongolia

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Just got an email from Rahila, who I met while in Urumchi, Xinjiang, a few years ago. We spent a weekend at Heavenly Lake, in the Tian Shan Mountains outside of Urumchi. It was truly heavenly.

Gorgeous Rahila (right). Honey, Nefertiti can't hold a candle to you!
Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside: Asteroid Heading for Earth, May Hit in 2014. (But see When To Cancel Armageddon for an update on the downgrade.)

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

"Look at me! I'm a Burkhan!

Bavsai taking cover under a space blanket on my recent Khangai Mountains trip. Ms. Thanh gave me this space blanket during our Tibetan sojourn last winter. Both Bavsai and I thank you, Ms. Thanh! See more photos see Khangai Mountains.
For the latest on the Iraq's missing WMDs see Weapons of Mass Destruction. See sure to read the message carefully. Buy Weapon of Mass Destruction Boxer Shorts.
Was Nefertiti a Drag Queen?: see Mummy Thought To Be Nefertiti May Be A Man. Nefertiti, all of you Egyptologists will recall, was the wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten.

My photo of Nefertiti from the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, Germany