Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I'll be in the air, bound for Guangzhou, Guangdong - People's Republic of China in less than eight hours so I wanted to post a final goodbye before my next post and a new chapter in my life has begun.

My emotions are running the gamut right now so I'll be short and sweet and just thank everyone who has supported Jim's Quiet Musings this last year and more....

My new postings will certainly take a new form, from quite a different perspective. So until we meet again....


Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Hi everyone!

Six days remaining until I leave for China. My nerves are on end lately and I sort of feel like I'm walking around in a surreal world, bits and pieces of shocking reality hitting me suddenly, here and there.

Last night I surrendered my truck for voluntary repossession. I just can't seem to get away from debt, but looking back over the last couple of years, I'm closer now than I ever have been, if you don't count my school loans. I've heard a rumor that if you die, Stafford Loans will send a representative into oblivion, looking for repayment.

My schedule is tight the next few remaining days. Today is wood chopping and packing, tomorrow I'll have the car and will go get my hair cut and air myself out a bit, Friday is a day of last minute phone business and re-checks, Saturday is my last class in Boston, Sunday is packing day and some last minute work around the house, Monday I'll finish my packing, confirm my flight and chill with Wanda.

Tuesday is D-day.

I know I'll be a wreck Tuesday, I usually am before a trip like this and this one is just a tad more serious than most. Last minute checklists, arranging bags and waiting for Wanda to get out of work early so she can drive me to Logan airport.

I hate goodbyes.

I've always tried to avoid them and I never do weddings or funerals either. I guess you could say if it involves expression of emotion - you can count me out. But, this one I can't avoid, so I'm dreading it.

I've tried to put my feelings down on paper and tried to blog some of my thoughts about this move but I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not ready to do that yet. Too many mixed emotions. I've had my doubts about this move and I've been excited about it, sometimes both in the same hour.

Before I forget, I want to thank Chris Allen and Meg for volunteering to help keep my blog alive and whom I have made partners to my site, doing some posting for me while I am living behind the Great Firewall of China.

The research I've done on Guangzhou alone, is staggering. I've joined Guangzhou discussion groups, subscribed to an online magazine, "That's Guangzhou," and spent hours and hours reading my Lonely Planet guide and doing Google Searches.

First on my agenda once off the plane, settled and rested, is to find Beijing Nan Lu in the local dai pai dong scene and sit down to a steaming plate of one dozen freshly shucked and roasted oysters on the half shell with freshly chopped garlic and chili sauce, for a mere 30 RMB, the equivalent of about four U.S. dollars. YAHOO!

I've been dreaming of that for weeks now. Let's face it, as far as food goes you can't get much better (and cheaper) than the eateries in Guangzhou, with that Hong Kong influence, under the bright neon lights of Xia Du Road, Shan Xia Jiu, and of course Bar Street in Fang Cun.

I've been keeping up with other events in Guangzhou and plan to partake in the arts a bit too, something I've been lacking in most of my life, more out of something to do rather than a piqued interest.

I've also been monitoring the weather in Guangzhou, which can only be described as Hot, Hot, Hot, Humid, Hot, Humid and thunderstorms. All this brings back memories of the Philippines, getting off the plane, walking through an air conditioned international airport and walking into a wall of heat that you could slice through with a butter knife.

It took me at least two weeks in that tropical weather before I got really used to it, so I know the misery won't last too awful long. I'll have about four days to adjust to my surroundings before walking into a classroom of seven through ten year olds wondering what I'm going to do next.

So, will keep all of you posted and I thank all of you (Wanda-Susan-Meg-Sis-Larry-Bruce-Jenni-Deb-Dick-Tim&Judy-Lois-Terry and others in the U.S., Annie in Spain, Vangie in Joburg, Chris in Belfast, Peter in Scotland, Benjamin in Ghana, Ella in Israel, Rampyari in Oman, Esther in Kenya, Angie in England, Youngtack in Seoul, Wang Yu in Beijing, Sasha in Taiwan, Pim in Bangkok, as well as others who I'm probably forgetting) for all your help and well wishes for this bizarre journey I am getting ready to take.

I'll be in touch!


Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Well, that sucks. So much for e-mailing HTML. Any suggestions out there? That looks sort of dumb.

Well, at least e-mailing text works okay.

I've opened my blog to a couple of people I know and trust to be partners on the site and help out, from time to time with posting some of my blogging so I can stay in touch. Hopefully things will work out!



color="white">If you see this, it

I'm trying out the new feature using e-mail to post to
my blog and I think it's gonna work. Just trying out
to see if the HTML coding works.


Monday, August 18, 2003

A Beautiful Mind

I wish I could have posted a picture here but with some of my cancelations (bank account, internet service, et cetera) I don't seem to have that ability any longer. No problem as even if I did, once I cancel earthlink I'll lose most of the photo's on this blog anyway.

I've intended to do up a blog article on Chris Allen for a while, but the way life is sometimes, things seem to always get in the way.

Chris Allen, a.k.a. Zebulon Mysterioso, is the subject of my blog today, quite possibly one of the last blog entries that I will be able to put together before I leave for China, eight days from now.

As many of you know by now, without me getting into one of my yada, yada sessions life has been tough on many dimensions, most of them created by me in the first place. But, in all my travels and my run-in's with others through my life, I am one who does not easily trust and certainly approaches friendships and relationships in a cautionary way.

One of my biggest beefs in life has been the issue of machismo or macho behavior, which except for the purer Latino version which carries a bit of pride and culture with it, is just a bunch of bullshit to me. In this world, at times, being a man I have sought out friendships with other men, only to find the majority of them living in a dream world made up of macho bullshit, unable to connect on a deeper, more philosophical level with me.

There have been few exceptions in my life regarding this topic and much of my life, at some point after I became sober at age 38, I began heading in a direction away from that macho attitude (I call it avoidance) searching for a deeper connection in life. I've occasionally run across other men who are beyond the fake bullshit and who know how to connect on a deeper level, but either I wasn't at that stage of my life yet or they disappeared or moved, severing my connection.

Chris is one of the few exceptions. A younger gentleman than my elderly self, and living in a violence ridden city in Northern Ireland, one we've all seen plastered across headlines through our years growing up, no matter where on earth - Belfast.

Go figure.

It is here, online, that I met Chris. Some have said that online relationships/friendships are not true or real, but they are to me. Safe? Perhaps, but all the same very real and very important to me.

Our conversations over the past year(s) have always left me thinking and often have changed my course of values and morals in life, based on his reasoning. That is why I have titled this blog, "A Beautiful Mind," because Chris has one. He is a brilliant gentleman in my book and my life is richer for having met him. It has been nothing but pleasure talking with Chris and seeing life through his eyes via his well chosen words.

I've always desired to have a male friend that was beyond that macho attitude and narrow-mindedness that I have seen so often and I found that in my friendship with Chris. I've discovered that age really doesn't matter and I have quite honestly learned a lot from Chris through our written conversations. He's a traveler like myself, with wanderlust in his blood and he understands my pursuits, which is so purely evident in his words.

So, without going on too long here, I tip my hat to you Chris, my friend on the other side of the Atlantic ocean and I thank you for your friendship, no matter that we've never met. Connections can come in many forms on this earth and I'll take what I can get......thank you.

No doubt we'll meet one day my friend, as previously mentioned, perhaps in a tea house in China, sipping Longjing or Emperors tea, or in a small cafe in Venice, getting chatty as the caffeine laden expresso begins to flow in our veins and catching up in person for all the years at a distance.

Thank you my friend, for being there.

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