Archives for category: Travels

The Trip

At the end of May and beginning of June, I travelled to Jordan to participate in a conference on clinical legal education as a member of the SAIS International Human Rights Clinic with the Protection Project. The conference was next to the Dead Sea, and afterward I visited with some classmates Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, and Amman. Spent my twenty-fifth birthday snorkeling for the first time, in reefs off the coast south of Aqaba.



Right-click on the photos and open them in separate tabs to zoom in and find Waldo.


Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum

We all descended upon a cabin (no electricity or running water) in the middle of Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania west of Gettysburg for the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of April. Myself, Chris, Aliza, and friends of Aliza: Danica from NY, Cody and Kristen from DC, Lisa from Pittsburgh and her dog Karl.


I’ve completed the visual journey begun with Woooo Bangladesh Spring Break!! Bangladesh was very enjoyable, the constant meetings kept us busy and thinking, it all took a good week to adjust back (the day / two day flight didn’t help). Below is a gallery of a whole bundle of photos, I’ll try to sift out some of the better photos at some point. I’ll write in more academic/policy detail about Bangladesh soon.

And now for something completely different…

Arrived in Dhaka at 4am. First thing that hit me exiting the plane into the terminal was the smell/taste of the air, very reminiscent of cities in central-west China. Must share some common industry. yum!

Today’s adventures in picture form:

Tomorrow begins the busyness!
Sathya Sai Baba (L), who claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba (R), died yesterday.

Images of Sai Baba in Shakthi’s kitchen

In the upper right, and below in blue.

Notice the small picture of Sathya Sai Baba to the lower right of Sai Baba’s image

A Sai Baba temple along the road (on the road) between Shakthi and Aniruddh’s homes

The temple would give out free lunches to anyone in want once or twice a week, there were a lot of people who came for it.

On my flight out of India, the guy next to me had Sai Baba as his cellphone’s background wallpaper.

I recommend a gander at their biographies from the links above, the cultural/religious/ascetic tradition they come out of in India is very interesting, as is Sai Baba’s syncretic Sufi-Islamic/Hindu philosophy.

Comment on this entry

Successfully made it here, the day after finishing an… unpleasant finals week at the HNC (three papers, two finals, three days). Yay body not breaking down into component parts!

As an aside, I decided to just post some entries I had been slowing working on (/not working on) and not finished, and you can let your imagination fill in what more they might have contained. Honestly not going to have enough time to get back to them, the present is busy enough as it stands without having to worry about the past : ) Apologies for not updating enough, the school year has been a constant stream of Things. For your perusing pleasure: Tassie & Oz and What Work Unit Are You?

Chennai has been controlled chaos. The colony-era taxi blasting celebratory traditional music as it continually threads the needle between motorcycles and buses, the lively-suburb feel of the corner of Chennai I’m staying (with restaurants, shops, homes, apartments, temples, stands, all along one main busy tree-covered road that motorists share with pedestrians), constant honking (though unlike China for actually purpose)…

Thankfully (a big big thankfully) Shakthi helped me get situated, letting me to stay in her apartment while she was off in Goa with some friends celebrating her birthday (she’ll be back tomorrow). I arrived at the airport at 8am, got to her apartment by 9:30am where Mani the watchman–with b/w photo of me in had–greeted me and led me to the ground-floor apartment. Therein were her cook and her cook’s son, with key in hand and lunch in the fridge.

Her friend Aniruddh, who lives down the street (~15 min walk), arrived just after I’d settled down, and after chatting a bit we headed over to his place. There we proceeded to drink cups upon cups of chai and listen to Indian classical music and nerd out. Ani, who is much more knowledgeable about classical music than I am, helped me analyze through all the listings of concerts for the day and pick out one close by a young vocalist Abishek Raughuram whom I sampled on youtube and was sold:

Mine ended up being sponsored by Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited : )

We took a couple minute walk down to the beach, then out shopping for some stuff for dinner (Ani was going to have a friend over for dinner), before coming back to the apartment. After a while I took an auto (auto-rickshaw) to the concert location, a small single hall temple flush next to stores and restaurants outfitted with a hundred-odd plastic lawn chairs. A 50INR ticket (~$1.10) got me entrance and I stayed for the whole concert, from 6:30pm til 9:15pm. Abishek was accompanied by a violinist and two percussionists (mridangam rather than tabla like in video, as was Carnatic music), and he would often trade off with the violinist, which I enjoyed muchly.

Then it was an auto back to Ani’s place, meeting Ani’s friend, dinner leftovers (nom nom nom), and back to the apartment for night.

Today has been sleep recovery, and internet recovery, currently at Ani’s place drinking chai, listening to vocal music and tip tap typing away.

Much love!

Comment on this entry

For our Thanksgiving holiday, we had a full week off, and attempted to take full advantage of it by meeting Neil in Melbourne and travelling around Tasmania before heading to Sydney and then out back to Nanjing and school.

It was just as great of a trip you can imagine, and I fell in love with the great cities, lovely nature, and ubiquitous ginger beer that exist at least in this part of Australia.


Mount Wellington (outside Melbourne)

St. Kilda (suburb of Melbourne along the water)


On the boat around Tasman Island to Port Arthur

Port Arthur

{old decrepit prison surrounded by greens on the water}

[hollowed out ceiling-less church, the ground is green grass and covered in small white flowers]


Comment on this entry

On Saturday the 6th I went with a bundle of HNCers to 栖霞山 Qixiashan, a temple/hilly area northeast of and well-outside downtown Nanjing. Hopefully the photos will narrate themselves, suffice to say I teamed up with Ray and we walked around the hills for a couple of hours. It was a nice break, especially that weekend because I had two papers due (one in Chinese). This weekend I only have one! Such fortune I am blessed with : )

Climbing the mountain, Chinese-style.

Comment on this entry

As part of a weekend of performance, I played with the Nanjing University Symphony Orchestra [南京大学交响乐团] on Friday with a Chinese choir at the new Nanjing University campus far from the city center. An oodle of center students and friends (~8) came to watch the performance, which went pretty well, considering that the orchestra is probably a bit worse than MSYO back in the day (though perhaps my memories are rosy with time).

Some pictures Breeana was kind enough to share with me.


The chorus was quite glowing.

After the performance I spotted my International Law 国际法 professor in the audience and said hi, though he was pretty embarrassed since he had cancelled class that whole week (included that very day!) due to business things (turns out he had to show around some visiting academics or something).

While the center peeps enjoyed the show, what they REALLY enjoyed was meeting the conductor, whose portable sheep of a haircut instantly won them over:
Me, Tammie, Alysson, our librarian from the center (part of the choir!), librarian friends surrounding Mr. Lv Xiaoyi 吕晓一 the conductor, Hanna, Breeana, 常妙 Chang Miao (Alysson’s roommate), and Cooper (cut off).

And one of just Cooper, myself, and that glowing, haloed man


On Saturday the orchestra headed to Suzhou to perform and accompany some pianists. Cooper didn’t come so it was just me representing the foreign contingent of the orchestra. Woke up at 6:45am (8am) to find out that in the process of turning off my alarm, getting out of bed, and taking a shower I had somehow lost an hour and fifteen minutes. Got to the bus just as it was leaving and promptly napped the three/four hours to Suzhou. Nice big banquet lunch, rehearsal, cafeteria dinner (played Mafia 杀人 on the bus to and from which was a lot of fun), lousy performance, back on bus, napping the way back, in the center ~1:30am, with the center Halloween well over and me tired. More of a meh, especially since the performance wasn’t good. You know if if the orchestra isn’t that amazing there are usually two types of concerts, the ones where the orchestra screws up but the audience doesn’t notice and the ones where the orchestra screws up and the audience can’t help but notice? Yeah… Doesn’t improve the situation when the conductor rushes three out of the five pieces. Still a nice experience though : )

Comment on this entry

Just wanted to say I came back a little beat up and tired but otherwise fine. Since I won’t have the details up for a bit, I’ll just share some of the highlights of my week trip from Urumqi to Lanzhou.

Turpan – Uighur culture and food, grapes, accidental desert exploring, ruins of ancient city, Kashgar girl on bus taught me some Uighur.

Always travelling by bus… This is from Turpan to Dunhuang

Dunhuang – Beginning of Hui (Chinese Muslim) influences, dunes, Buddhist grottoes. Ran into a friend from Hangzhou also travelling there with some friends.

Jiayuguan – was okay. Ancient fort, and part of great wall. Was asked if I was Muslim, a first, while eating at a Muslim restaurant in the Hui part of town. Explored with Hangzhou friend and posse.

Xiahe – Tibetan culture and food, Labrang Monastery (one of the six most important Yellow Hat sect monasteries). Was befriended by group of Tibetan teens/young people my age. Eating and singing and drinking commenced for the evening.

Very lovely, enjoyable trip. Details at some point : )

Comment on this entry |