Thursday, September 28, 2006

21 hours

So it is 12:41 am. We are leaving today in about 21 hours. We are finishing final preparations. Kind of getting nervous and excited. I just can't believe that this is actually happening. We are getting ready to start a trip that we started planning over a year ago.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

24 hours

So as it turns out Sara from the STA yesterday was just crazy and we were able to get the Osaka tickets she wouldn't sell us at a different STA on the UCLA campus just down the street. By this time tomorrow we will hopefully in the air and on our way. I wonder a bit if ditching Thailand so quickly was a mistake - it could have been an opportunity to capture the spirit of change there - but this way we will get a better sense of Australia and Japan, which was really our intent. I just hope we don't miss some of the "sustainable by force" we may have found in more developing countries.

On a side note I completely agree with Alison about LA. Having been here for the past week it is amazing how spread out everything is. You need a car to get anywhere and there are no trains. Because of this peoples' cars are a huge status symbol and I just feel like everyone is competing, or struggling, to get above everyone else. It's rather sad actually.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ketchup Face

We went to get our tickets changed yesterday. We got a refund on the Thailand tickets and then wanted to get flights to Japan only to find the STA here in LA couldn’t get anything for us. The woman helping us, a Ms. Stern, was very difficult to work with so we ended up leaving. Hopefully we’ll be able to get something in Sydney or online. Given the situation we had just dealt with involving STA's wrongdoing in booking our inter-Australia tickets, they are not ranking very high in our book right now. The problem we realized today is that with out going to Thailand it will be the dead of winter for our entire time in Japan, if we go there in January. We have no warm clothes…

In other news I emptied half a bottle of ketchup into my ear at dinner last night.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Military Coupe in Thailand

I just heard on NPR today that while the Thai Prime Minister was at a conference in New York today the military staged a coupe and has assumed control of the country. I don’t know much more than that at the time, but I have a feeling this may affect out travel plans…

I’ve been doing much better with the Japanese, though, I’m a bit worried that thinking up stuff away from the tapes will prove much more difficult. I have found that the little lonely planet phrase books we got are very helpful in just being able to see how some of the words are phonetically spelt and understanding some of the more grammatical sounds.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Preparing to Leave the US

So. . . I have neglected the blog until now. I have been trying to read the books that Matthew had recommended to me, but my attention span is very short when there is so many other stimulus around. I am now in Los Angeles, staying with my brother until our trip begins on September 28th. The question that everyone asks me is if I will move to LA to live. They say that it is the best place to live.

Last night I went out to an Irish pub with at friend, had dinner and people-watched out of the window. As I looked out of the window all I saw was unnaturally tanned bodies in the latest fashions driving the newest SUVs. I wondered why people are still cooking themselves for a look when we are educated about skin cancer and why do people still drive these monstrous vehicles when gas prices are so high and in the midst of this war. Maybe this is a dismal out look but sometimes I just can't help it. The sense that I get is that this place is full of superficial people. In LA success is equivalent to money.

It seems very ironic that we have to fly out of LA it go to a place thats primary focus is community rather than money.

We are planning this trip to see other ways of life.

Another thing . . .

For Others that are traveling.

When you go to places like Thailand you need to get the typhoid vaccination. Most travel clinics will offer the oral typhloid vaccination that requires you to take a pill every other day for a total of 8 days. The catch is that the pills need to be refrigerated. The most it can be out of a refrigerater is for an hour. . .
. . . A quick story about me . . . I got the pills and on my way to NY the freezer pack melted. The next time I got the pills the outlet for the refrigerator in the woodshop went out during the night. So you understand my frustration. When I went to Passport Health here in LA, they informed me that I can get a shot for the vaccination. After hundreds of dollars wasted I find out that I could have gotten a shot! The difference is that vaccination will continue working for 5 years with the pills and the shot for 2 years. Also The Malaria pills are considerably cheaper at Costco Pharmacies!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Help Exchange

Alison found this site the other day that will hopefully prove useful in providing us with some things to do and a place to stay for our brief leg in New Zealand. It seems very similar to Australia’s now global WWOOF program, just a little more informal. The Willing Workers On Organic Farms is our principal means of survival while in Australia. The program allows hosts to take in temporary unpaid travelers who for 4-6 hours a day in exchange for three meals a day and a place to sleep.

In the final stages now, STA thankfully got back to us and corrected a recently discovered error in our itinerary that would have dramatically abbreviated out time in Tasmania. It’s getting a little nerve-wracking, for me anyhow.

Friday, September 01, 2006

In Defense Of Globalization

Yesterday I mentioned the book In Defense Of Globalization by Jagdish Bhagwati and have to admit I have stopped reading it. I thought the book would be an explanation of what Globalization really is and it’s positive effects on society, but halfway through the book I could tell this was not the case. Now the definition globalization is more blurred in my mind than when I started the book. Bhagwati put most of his attention into what globalization is not, and often through obscure analogies that contradict his intended message. I somehow kept thinking of the Ten Commandments and the crusades. While and excellent read if you can’t fall asleep at night I had to skip to the conclusion and move on. Bhagwati argues that anti-globalizationists and NGO’s don’t really understand what globalization is, but does little to make the case for globalization. I’ve yet to make up my mind on globalization, but have decided against this book.