August 2010 Archives

Uncommon Experiences

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So my stay in Bangkok is short-lived, like every other stop on this trip. I've got work to do, so it's not really about seeing the sights.

But you know me. I'm doing my best to get a little taste of every place--making my best guess at where to go and what to do.

Here in Bangkok--which is an overwhelmingly huge city, with no discernible city center--I just rode the skytrain to a gargantuan mall (very very Bangkok) and wandered around the indoor canal, staring unabashedly at the incredible burgeoning Thai middle class.

And then I rode the train back to the hotel (short trip, remember) and jumped in the huge pool. It's dark out and there are plenty of bugs (we may be in a huge city, but we're still in Thailand) so there are bats out there, and there were several--maybe four or five--who were flying around just above the waterline, buzzing around my head and hopefully catching the majority of the bugs who were probably hunting me.


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love.jpgSingapore surprised me a bit. I was expecting a very nice, clean place, but what I wasn't expecting was the vibrant (if a bit tame) art scene there. Whatever the reason, S'pore is really deeply in love with art, and that is celebrated pretty much everywhere you look.

Taxis take credit cards and use a strict metering system, and the public transportation there rivals what I saw in Hong Kong: it's cheap and efficient and easy to use.

The only thing they're missing there is some kind of equivalent to the Octopus Card, which is one of the best things about HK.

singapore.jpgS'pore also has some of the craziest architecture I've ever seen, including this building. That boat-like thing on the top of those three towers is the "park" and pool connected to the "resort" (read: casino) in that complex. Those little stubbly things at the very top are palm trees. People are wandering around up there. It makes me a little sick to my stomach just thinking about it, but I also find it fascinating. If I'd been in S'pore for any longer, I'd have tried to get up there.


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Hong KongI was really nervous about travel this time around--which isn't normal for me. But it's been a while since I've been on the road alone, and while the parts of Asia I'm visiting have pretty sizable English-speaking populations, I have this fear of being alone in an airport, completely unable to get myself to a hotel or on a plane or anything at all.

That fear isn't totally unfounded. It almost happened to me earlier this year in Villavicencio, Colombia, where the plane I was supposed to catch to Bogotá was canceled, and no one in the entire airport (if you could even call it that) spoke English. I got myself a juice at a little cafe and patiently (and hopefully) called the team I had been traveling with. Fortunately, they were still around and I just joined up with them and headed home. But the thought of negotiating a new plane flight in Spanish (which I speak, but not very well . . . certainly not well enough to arrange that transaction) was more than just daunting--it was terrifying.

I haven't felt that alone in a long time, and it was the worst kind of alone--alone, surrounded by people.

There's this girl named Carly who was recently in a serious accident and who is recovering amazingly (miraculously, even) but who cannot communicate yet with her family. She is an old, dear friend of some of the finest people I know.

I don't know her, but I think that moment in Villavicencio--when I was surrounded by people who wanted to help me, but we couldn't seem to get the words to mean anything to each other--that moment is probably something like what she is experiencing now. It's the experience I don't want to have in Singapore, or Chiang Mai, or Shanghai.

Traveling is an adventure. It's a privilege that I get to do it at all, even though I miss my family fiercely while I'm away. But it's also a challenge, and there are moments that are utterly terrifying. I wouldn't trade the adventure to avoid the fear, though. I guess that's just how it is.

Fina is walking

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Sarafina spent the whole day wandering around the house, clutching a Curious George stuffed doll. She pushed up against walls and hung onto the edges of tables when she could, but she spent a lot of time right out in the open, shuffling along and grinning at us.

It's amazing how fast that happens. She's been standing for some weeks now, but a few first real steps happened just a couple of days ago and now it's not even worth counting, she's on her feet so much.


Today I'm just amazed at all of the ways we get to create and share beautiful things with each other. Considering what a gift that is--what a rare honor--it's too bad we don't do it more.

Overcast Beautiful


It's been cloudy and a bit dreary this last couple of days, which is very unusual in South Florida. For me, it's been hard in some ways. I'm seasonally affected, and dealing with dreary days for me sometimes feels like it requires a regular working out. It's not getting that workout down here, which is mostly a very good thing.

But it has also been really amazingly beautiful. Overcast skies create such amazing, even, beautiful light. They're a photographer's dream. If I had time to be taking pictures, I'd go do it.

It also makes coffee taste better, books easier to read, and relationships deeply important. Just saying.

Fina, Zoe, Bubbles, Beach


Fina, Zoe, Bubbles, Beach from Jeremy Varo-Haub on Vimeo.

Shot on my iPhone 4 and cut together simply in iMovie today.
The song is "A Little Opera Goes a Long Way" by Sky Sailing.
Adam Young is now Owl City, which is also absolutely worth a listen. You'll see.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2009 is the previous archive.

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