I'm back from a little adventurin' in China, and tomorrow I'm hoppin' on a plane and heading to Vancouver. China was ... crazy. At least, the city we were in was pretty nuts. I'm having some issues accepting the notion that China is a communist country - everything I saw was privatized, and although there's undoubtedly a bit of subsidising from the government, it's essentially a basic capitalistic and entrepenurial economy with a weird quasi-republic semi-dictatorship government behind it. But enough political talk. China is far from any sort of western romantic notion of the Far East - everything I saw was f----- filthy, the people love staring and pointing at us white kids, and the security guards at our gracious hosts' place are racist sons of bitches who threatened to call the cops and put us in Chinese Lockdown almost every time we tried to get back to where we were living. The complete lack of any sort of organized traffic system added spice to every outing, and the lack of governors on the go-cart motors made it a heck of a lot more exciting than any wussy go-cart I've tried in the United States. That, and the fact that the best track is in a gutted and nearly abandon mall, the carts burst into flames, throw chains, and otherwise misbehave in dangerous ways. We played a lot of pool, drank a lot of tea, gorged ourselves on REALLY GOOD chinese food (I'm not sure I'll be able to stomach the sorry excuses we have state-side), and consumed entirely too much PBR and Kingway beer.
I like China, and I'd like to see more of it, but I don't think I could handle living there. There's tons more to write about, but I gotta get some shut-eye tonight before my terrifying journey back over the Pacific.
For those of you who are interested in making the road trip to the Vancouver BC International Airport to meet Poncho and I, we will be arriving around 9:30-ish AM on the 18th. Because our flights are a little whacky, we'll either be arriving together or separately on either Cathay Pacific flight CX888, or Air Canada flight 12.
If you're unable to make it to Vancouver by 9:30-ish in the morning, we're going to head to the Lion's Pub in downtown Vancouver, a couple blocks from the "Canada Place" convention center (also known as "The Sails," near Gastown) - we're both sick and tired of guzzling PBR and cheap Chinese brews, so a few pints of good beer and a basket of onion rings will probably keep us occupied for a while. If we're no where to be found, we're either in transit between the airport and the pub, or out and about because there's only so much beer and onion rings a travel weary man can consume. Check with the bar tenders to see if we've left a message.
I beleive Tom is the man to talk to if you want to head north and meet us - his pager number is [deleted]. I recommend you leave lengthy, rambling voice mails. He really likes that. Heh.
Anyhow, I hope this e-mail finds you all in good health and high spirits - I've had a great time here, and it would suck to come home to a bunch of depressed sick people. ;)