We all have our expensive habits. Fast women and slow horses; music, sex and cookies; faberge eggs*. Mine is travel. From my first day in China I started planning trips elsewhere: Africa, trans-Siberia, the Balkans again. Two days ago I stuffed most of what I own in a backpack and left Dalian, for the moment, to suffer its own cold winter without me.
Tonight will be the fourth in as many consecutive nights I've slept in a new place. Since Friday, I've passed through five cities in two countries. In the past week (my most hectic since moving to China) I've spent roughly 18 hours on buses, 17 on an overnight ferry, six in an over-packed group taxi. I don't want to total up the money I've burned through.
I'm in Seoul at the moment, sitting in a net bar. The events of the past week, and my reasons for being here, however temporarily, need a fuller explanation. Expect that soon.
I'll be here for a month, then it's probably back to China, at least for a little bit. My winter holiday just started and I don't have to teach at the university again until March 5, so there could very well be more travel in the offing. I have a short-term teaching job here, with a First World paycheck that will go far when I'm back among Third World prices.
I haven't been online much in the past week, between traveling, working on a side project, and being cut off from the non-Chinese internet, and I'm way behind on both posting and reading. When I get my laptop hooked up in my room, expect a flood of posts. I did manage to see that Jeremiah from the Granite Studio tagged me with the seven successes/five things you didn't know about me post that's been circulating. That's sitting on the laptop, too.
The internet is up and running and connected to the rest of the world here in South Korea. It's like the quake never happened. And there's no Great Firewall. Nice, really. I finally read Ryan's great bit on the earthquake. And today I saw that my last post ended up on the Peking Duck and caused some stir because I said China was cut off from the World Wide Web. I'll stand by that, actually. If you can't get anything outside of China (and I couldn't) it just ain't "World Wide." And as Ryan said today, considering that snapping one cable took most of China out of the ballgame, that hardly qualifies as being in the Web.
I don't quite know when the next post is coming here. I also plan to focus a bit more on Korean issues while I'm here, though I'll do my best to keep an eye on China, too. In the meantime, here are a few other places to wander, should you likewise be inclined to get out of China for a spell:
James in Turkey. James used to cover the cops beat at my old paper. He also worked in the funeral business and for the Republican party. He likes poking dead bodies with sticks. Now he lives in Izmit, Turkey, where I'm pretty sure he has about the same moral framework (read: none). We like to say James sins for the rest of us.
Nicole in LA. Nicole actually had the cops beat before James, but she left journalism for a more lucrative and less stressful dot.com job.
Laura in Madagascar. There isn't much here, because, well, it's Madagascar and Laura doesn't get online much. She's a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in conditions that make Dalian Fisheries University look like Harvard. She's a better writer and a smarter person than me. (Full disclosure: I'm sort of remote managing this blog. All the content is hers, though.)
Red Fence. Some of my more artistic friends back home decided that trying to find places for their diverse and multi-genre work wasn't worth the effort, so they started their own magazine. It's all online at the moment, but I hear a print edition is coming soon. They also have a blog.
*The preceeding addictions can be attributed to George Foreman (as said in a radio interview I heard recently); George Uetz from a song of the same name; and Bleeding Gums Murphy from the Simpsons. I couldn't find proper links to go with these.