Layers of Culture

The bottom layer, 15-feet below, is there, but you can’t see it. The Southern Yue kingdom placed loose rock to make a street here 2200 years ago.

Working our way up, the Tang dynasty built-up the road with large cut stones 1400 years ago.

At street-level, present day Guangzhou-nites zip by with their shopping bags from Adiddas and Gioradano. Some of them pause long enough to look through the Plexiglas windows, sponsored by Coca-Cola, and consider the exposed ancient street.

I watch over it all. I’m sitting at the window on the second-floor McDonald’s, relishing my first hamburger in over two months. The fries are pretty nice too. The Coca-Cola isn’t bad either.

I think I’ll get an ice cream cone….

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Found in my hotel rooms medicine cabinet for only $1.50…


(Verbatim from the shiny packaging. Oh, and if you are in my aunt’s elementary class, STOP READING. Go draw a hippo.)

“It are according to the different characteristics, cent of the man wash and lady wash.Do you return the iso-WHAT? Take a shower on everyday or the sexual intercourse is in front and back, use it wash the private parts and is the hygiene’s the best choice of your health, at romantic tender feeling of personal status of time make you have peace of mide to have no to worry.”

This is definitely one of the more interesting, and by interesting I mean creepy, places I’ve ever stayed. But that view sure is nice….

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Wakeup China!

If you lived in Guangzhou, how would you start your day? The choices:

Running backwards in white, see-thru shorts that allow the early morning revelers to see that your black underwear are riding up.

Tai Chi in your pajamas.

Ballroom dancing on the river walk. Who needs a ballroom? Who needs music?

Body thumping – pounding your fists up and down your body. Good morning chest. Good morning bicep. Good morning butt cheeks.

Wiggling. You’re old. You don’t want to move much, but you want to put on a show as if you are active and will live longer than 3 weeks.

Group singing. You are good enough that a strange foreigner pulls out a microphone and records you. You don’t care about him….

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This hotel room has lots of stuff…


…2 fire extinguishers in it and 8 more waiting outside.

…2 fire masks so, in case you use all 10 fire extinguishers and there is still a fire, you can dawn a mask and, instead of passing out from smoke inhalation, you will be fully conscious as you burn to death.

Fire Masks

…2 nightstands with switches. I am truly the master of my domain. There is not an appliance or light that I can’t control simply by rolling over.

Night Table Control Center

…midnight phone calls: “You want girl for massage?” I guess it’s hard to find a hotel in these parts where “massages” aren’t offered at all hours of the night. And NO I didn’t get the midnight massage. …

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Made in Cambodia

A big thanks to Phalline, Chhuon, and all the other people who let me into their lives. This slideshow pretty much puts a wrap on my posts for Cambodia. I’m off to China.

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My All-American Cambodian Blue Jeans

Made in CambodiaIn the USA we didn’t invent the blue jean. We just made ‘em cool.

Jeans were first worn by the Italian Navy. But riveted jeans were first produced in San Francisco by Levi Strauss. He was a German immigrant. So, maybe blue jeans aren’t as All-American as I’d like to think, but I’ve got two words for you: James Dean.

Here’s one more: Fonzie

Levi’s has such a connection with the average American that they were one of the last companies to start sourcing internationally. The delay hurt them. It’s impossible to compete when your competition can make their product using labor that costs a fraction of what yours does.

So, now my Levi’s 501 Carpenter…

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28: It's the new 65!

Selling Smiles
(Note: That’s not me in the picture. I’m not letting myself go that much!)

Between me and you, the temple at Angkor killed my knees. They feel old. Going up is no problem, but going down…yikes! Elderly Japanese women were asking me if I needed help.

One of my favorite parts about Angkor was talking to the young girls who sell cold drinks, t-shirts, scarves, and about anything else you could possibly need and not need. They are pushy but fun and very clever. They got some money out of me and I didn’t want anything. Many of the girls speak multiple languages. One girl I met spoke 11!

Another girl, who I feature in the upcoming slideshow,…

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Scotty Lee's Spirit of Soccer

A little crazy goes a long way.

Take for instance professional soccer coach and former player Scotty Lee. Scotty met some Iranians at a bar and the next thing he knew he was working as a humanitarian in Bosnia during the war for the Iranian government. Scotty has stories with snipers, mortars, and tense check points. All crazy.

But he’s a good kind of crazy.

While on a return trip to Bosnia some kids were killed by a land mine during a game of soccer. Scotty had a crazy idea. Teach soccer and teach land mine awareness. It may not seem like the most logical correlation, but as Scotty puts it, “You can’t be a football player without legs. And you can’t be a goalie without arms.”


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WAIW? to hit the airwaves

I taped my second interview for the World Vision Report on Wednesday. The first covered the premise of my quest and my experiences in Honduras and Bangladesh. Wednesday’s just covered Cambodia.

When I look back at all of the interviews I’ve given over the years….wait, these were my first two. Anyhow, I think they went well, but I don’t have anything to compare them to. At the end of both interviews, I felt like I should have mentioned something that I didn’t get a chance to work in:

I should have told Peggy, the host, that the most surprising thing about Cambodia was getting a shoulder massage at the urinal. Or when she asked me what else I’ve been up to I should have told her…

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