Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hong Kee Restaurant, Chueong Chau Island

6 x  17 cm Film.  Htis is like Edward Hopper goes to China to eat seafood.  Enjoy! We ate something like a conch only small.  I think it was a sea snail.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tai O Fishing Village, Hong Kong

Tai O Fishing Village, Hong Kong.  This is taken with my Pentax 67 and 55mm lens. Prints are available. 

Bai Performance in Dali

This was a extravagant performance in Dali by the Bai people.  Allegedly this was directed by  Zhang Yimou, the director of the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics.   In the background is the Jade Dragon Snow mountain. 

Shehe Old Town, Li Jiang Fire

Here's what the Shuhe old town in Lijiang is like on a sunny day in March:

And here's what it looks like on fire: 

And in English: 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bird Flu? Or not?

Yesterday, I went to the doctor at Kaiser Permanente because I was feeling sick.  After leaving China on the 26th, I noticed an itchy scratchiness to my throat, which I largely attributed to the wonderful and pleasant environment inside the plane.  As I gradually recovered from the jet lag, the symptoms gradually started to appear -- first a sneeze or two after a chill, then a slight headache, then a runny nose,  and yesterday morning a cough.  Normally I wouldn't probably go to a doctor for this kind of illness.

However, after seeing multiple warning's regarding the avian flu H7N9, in the airports both in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China, I decided to follow the advice I found on the Center for Disease Control website, which says
  • See a doctor if you become sick during or after travel to China.
    • See a doctor right away if you become sick with fever, coughing, or shortness of breath.
    • If you get sick while you are still in China, visit the US Department of State websiteExternal Web Site Icon to find a list of local doctors and hospitals. Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website (www.jointcommissioninternational.orgExternal Web Site Icon).
    • According to a messageExternal Web Site Icon issued by the US Embassy in BeijingExternal Web Site Icon, patients with fever and other symptoms of flu will be sent to designated hospitals for evaluation.
    • Delay your travel home until after you have recovered or your doctor says it is okay to travel.
    • If you get sick with fever, coughing, or shortness of breath after you return to the United States, be sure to tell your doctor about your recent travel to China

I did this exactly.  I went to the doctor armed with the advice and told him that I had travelled to China and had visited farms with pigeons, chickens and other animals being bred for pets and for food, and that I went to the Qing Ping pet market.  The doctor said, "well we won't even test for bird flu unless your hospitalized.  There are very few cases.  This flu is not pandemic.  I will give you some cough medication with Codeine."   This seems to completely ignore this advice, from the same document: 

Clinician information:

Clinicians should consider the possibility of avian influenza A (H7N9) virus infection in persons presenting with respiratory illness within 10 days of an appropriate travel or exposure history. Although the majority of H7N9 cases have resulted in severe respiratory illness in adults, infection with this virus may cause mild illness in some and may cause illness in children as well. Influenza diagnostic testing in patients with respiratory illness for whom an etiology has not been confirmed may identify human cases of avian influenza A virus infection or new cases of variant influenza in the United States. If patients are infected with H7N9 virus, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing will be positive for influenza A but will be unsubtypeable. Clinicians suspecting H7N9 infection should obtain appropriate specimens and notify their local or state health department promptly. State health departments should notify CDC of suspected cases within 24 hours. For more information, see the Health Alert Notice issued April 5, 2013.
Because of the potential severity of illness associated with H7N9 virus infection, it is recommended that all confirmed and probable H7N9 case-patients and H7N9 case-patients under investigation receive antiviral treatment with a neuraminidase inhibitor as early as possible. Treatment should be initiated even if it is more than 48 hours after onset of illness. Laboratory testing and initiation of antiviral treatment should occur simultaneously. For more information, see CDC’s interim recommendations on the use of antivirals in treating H7N9 influenza.
So, there are several possibilities, I have the bird version of the flu, which means I am not contagious to other humans, and I will possibly get much sicker, or I have a common cold, am contagious to others and will get better in a few days.  There is a third possibility, that I have the version of the flu that I was vaccinated for.   

Being sick is making me grumpy, and right now it's not getting better.  My illness has been progressive increasing now for 7 days, and there has been no real sign of improvement. After going to visit the doctor at Kaiser, I often feel that the care I receive is quite a bit less then good, and the first effort is always to send you back home and wait. Since I won't take the codeine, I am taking over the counter expectorant.  So the net result of the visit is the reassurance of a doctor who isn't following the advice of the CDC that I don't have the bird flu.   

What I think is the more interesting question though, is whether or not the doctor has a responsibility to report or test on a possible case.  Organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization are tracking the various flus at they spread around the globe, I am ,pretty sure they would want to know if I appeared in the US with a case.  The statements above claim that all confirmed and probable cases should be reported and receive treatment as soon as possible. 

Clearly, I haven't appeared to have enough of the symptoms to merit further investigation, much less be "confirmed" or "probable".  It's sort of  implied that I will have severe symptoms within ten days, so we'll know in a couple of days.   

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I have returned from China and the result is generally good.  Twenty something days travelling in China and I feel good, I lost weight, and the dry mouth I was experiencing is completely gone.  I think I may have lost as much as 15 pounds.  This is not because I did not eat.  I wonder with the utmost fascination why every chicken in America tastes the same and every one in China tastes different.    I think that we Americans have somehow broken our meal plan in some significant way. 

Since my last camera failure in China, I took three camera setups to China.  My 20D with two lenses, and the Pentax 67, plus my 4 x 5 with the 6 x 9 back and the Shen Hao 6 x 17 cm back. The tally looks like this, 12 rolls of 120 film, and 25 gigs of digital images from my 20D. 

The casualties were significant.  The Pentax broke in 3 different ways.  I was still able to shoot several rolls of film.  One -- It was unable to be adjusted by time value due to loose set screws.  If you need mini screw drivers try the street market in Hong Kong ... Two -- the mirror froze which was easily fixed by replacing the battery.  Three it now won't advance film.  It will need to be serviced.   it was mechanically damaged during shipping. 

The 4 x 5 took a couple of significant hits.  The 6 x 9 cm back was taken out of the game by having it's winding mechanism ripped off.  Additionally, one of the lockdown levers (for the swing), fell off. 

The 20D lost a lens filter when I managed to tip it's backpack over.  Shattered glass everywhere. 

I drove my car today.  Well yesterday actually.  It was a bit weird.  I haven't driven a car since March 3.  In China it is really urban ... even in places you feel are less than urban there is concrete.  And street lights.  The government does this.  Even in the seemingly ancient village of Mishi, there were concrete roads and street lights, belying the ancient feel of the place.

I was carrying my cameras in a backpack.  The several women helping me were complaining because I was carrying the backpack -- it was too heavy.  They decided I needed a rolling bag.  So in one of several fishing villages in Hong Kong, we moved all the camera gear from the backpack to a rolling suitcase.  It was a brilliant move.  From that point on I hardly touched the bag.  They pulled it along ... and brought it to me when I needed it. 

So the take down  from the trip is good. I had a great trip.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lunch with Gloria's Friends

Shamian Island,113.244581&spn=0.010223,0.019011&sll=23.109181,113.248615&sspn=0.020446,0.038023&brcurrent=3,0x0:0x0,0&hnear=Huangsha+Station,+Liwan,+Guangzhou,+Guangdong,+China&t=m&z=16

When we arrived at Huangsha station near Shamian in Guangzhou, it was pretty clear, that Gloria had no idea where she was, relative to what she saw, despite having worked near this station some decades ago.  The shopping mall was new and the roads were bigger.  Eventually we managed to locate Shamian, whose location and character haven't really changed, since it's historical importance seems somehow valuable to the Chinese.  Travelling with someone who calls a place home, can drive our expectations up, thinking, mistakenly at times, that they are fully oriented, when in fact, things have changed dramatically, and the cues one might normally rely on are simply gone.

The Shamian is a neighborhood  on the Pearl river ... which despite being frequently referred to as an island, is actually a sandbar.  to steal directly from the Wikipedia (


Shamian Island was an important port for Guangzhou's foreign trade from the Song to the Qing Dynasty.[2] From the 18th to the mid 19th century, the foreigners lived and did business in a row of houses known as the Thirteen Factories, on the banks of the Pearl River to the east the present Shamian,[4] which was then an anchorage for thousands of boat people.[5][6] Shamian became a strategic point for city defense during the period of the First and Second Opium Wars. In 1859,[2] the territory was divided in two concessions given to France and the United Kingdom (of which 3/5 belonged to the British and 2/5 to the French).[7] It was connected to the mainland by two bridges, which were closed at 10pm as a security measure.[4][8] The English bridge to the north was guarded by Sikhs, and the French bridge to the east was guarded by Vietnamese French troops.[5]
Trading companies from Britain, the United States, France, Holland, Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Japan built stone mansions along the waterfront.[4] The construction on the island was characterized by climate-adapted but Western-plan detached houses with hipped roofs and large verandahs.[9]
The island was the scene of fighting during the "June 23 incident" in 1925.[10][11]
After 1949, the mansions of Shamian became government offices or apartment houses and the churches were turned into factories.[4]

End of excerpt. 

We walked around the sleepy town in the evening and it seemed every bit it's laid back rumored self.  We went looking for the White Swan, a hotel down on the water, which as near as we could tell was closed for renovations.  I was disappointed because I thought I might be able to break my moratorium on ice and order a gin and tonic, and imagine myself a nineteenth century traveller in "Canton" to trade my sugars, and spices, and opium, and ...  whatever other magic they might have traded in those days. 

We had a nice walk about the neighborhood and then rode back to Gloria's on the subway. 

Pearl River Draft

This is about my 25 th new beer for this trip. It's only 3.6 % alcohol so it's cheaper and safer than the water.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Zhi Sun

Function follows form ... Wait, what?

Mosquitoes and Me

On the 12th I was bitten by a mosquito in Renhe, which is a bit North of Guangzhou.  Although there is no strong evidence of malaria in this area ... it is within the range of possibility.  If I were infected with Malaria ... odds are good that sometime in the next 16 days I would be symptomatic. 

Tips Regarding the Canton Tower

Hi. Today I went and looked at the Canton Tower.   First tip.  If you want to go to the Canton tower and ride the elevator to the top and maybe get a t-shirt, go to the nearest subway station and get off at the Canton Tower.  I have a lot of confidence in local knowledge, and often it works out great.  Not today.

Second tip:  RTFM Shawn.  I still haven't read it.  But I bet it says right in there how to get to get to the Canton Tower. 
Third tip:  If you are a cabbie in Guangzhou and someone asks to go to the Canton Tower, please tell them to ride the subway and take them to the nearest station.

Fourth tip:  If you are a Guangzhou resident, and a Western traveller asks to go to the Canton Tower, do not take them to the south end of the national mall and try to walk to the Canton Tower.  It can't be done in a reasonable period of time (I think we walked about 4 miles), and I have no reasonable evidence it can be done despite the appearance of a bridge across the Pearl River. Take your friends to nearest subway station and go to the Canton Tower stop and get off.

Then look around for a really freaking big tower. 

My apologies to the three English speaking young men, who asked me at 11:00 how to get to the tower, because I told them they would probably have to walk across the river. The correct thing to tell you, (as I found out a few minutes later)  was to get on the subway and ride to the Canton Tower station.  You had missed the last train on the short route, so it might have been faster to walk anyway. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Worst beer ever.

Today, Lantau Island ... Tomorrow Chueng Chau Island

I spent today on Lantau Island, just across from Hong Kong Island. Apparently there are still native populations of the original occupants, and also feral cattle and buffalo. I shot film and ate wonton from a street vendor. I saw bananas growing and what appears to be a whole island full of local jungle.  The local fishing village of Tai O is pretty interesting.   I sent 6 rolls of 120 to the film guru in Tuscon at the Post Office in Tai O.

Tomorrow, the New Territories. Chueng Chau Island.  A fairly informative post -- here -- if the monkey could actually remember where she went.