Travel Letters

South Africa? or Shanghai?

Bangkok, Thailand

15 June 2010

Dear Friends and Sports Fans Everywhere,

Back in 1994, when the FIFA World Cup was staged in the USA, I attended two matches at Foxboro Stadium outside Boston: Bolivia v Korea and Nigeria v Greece. I had never seen a football (soccer) match before. I loved the enthusiastic national pride of the spectators and I was impressed with the athleticism and skill of the players. I enjoyed the constant “stress” of the game. I was “sold.”

Beijing: "Mountains, Markets And Music"

Beijing
China

August 7, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

From Bangkok, en route to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, I decided to stop over in Beijing.  I wanted to see my friends and to visit one or two sights I had missed two years ago.

Actually, my first stop was a return to the small village of Chuandixia.  My friend Diego, his friend Miland, and I rode the Beijing Red Line subway for almost an hour to the last stop.  Diego then negotiated with a driver and we took off for the 90km ride through the hilly green countryside west of the city.

Chanthaburi: "The Rabbit in the Moon"

Bangkok

Thailand

December 20, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

(Have any of you lunatics conjured up the connection between Chanthaburi and bunny rabbits?)

Across the waters of the Gulf of Siam, about a forty minute ferry ride from Koh Chang, lies the city of Trat.  North of Trat is the city of Chanthaburi. 

In Chanthaburi I took my usual stroll, but this time I had a destination in mind - the Holy Mary Catholic Church. The largest Catholic Church in Thailand was built by the French during their occupation of Trat and Chanthaburi Provinces from 1893 to 1905.  This area borders Cambodia - part of colonial French Indochina.

Next Stop? The Horn of Africa!

Bangkok
Thailand

March 29, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

My upcoming departure for the Horn of Africa reminds me of  Haile Selassie and Abebe Bikile and the dramatic events and the enduring personalities of the 1960's.

Who among us can ever forget the sounds and images from late November, 1963: the gunshots in Dallas, the bloodied dress, Walter Cronkite's tears, the murder of the murderer (?), Chopin's music, a boy's salute to the flag covering the coffin of his father, the rider-less horse?
 
Do you remember the funeral procession of John Kennedy - heads of state in a solemn march? Le Président de la République française, Charles de Gaulle at 6'5" (1.96 m) walking beside and towering over the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie at 5'1¾" (1.58 m).

De Gaulle died in his bed in 1970. But Selassie?

The opening sequence of the film "Marathon Man" features the archive footage of a graceful young athlete, on a summer evening in 1960, effortlessly running the 42km (26 mi) Olympic marathon, gliding past the Coliseum and along the darkened, torch lit avenues of Rome, sprinting toward the finish line at the Arch of Constantine. Abebe Bikile became the first black African to win a gold medal at an Olympics event. 

Phanna Dureyavijit (1946 - 2012)

Nang Rong

Buriram

Thailand

Sunday

December 23, 2012 

My Dear Friends, 

I am sad to report that my friend Phanna Dureyavijit passed away on Thursday, December 20 at her son Kiew’s home in the Isan province of Buriram.  For the past few years, Phanna suffered from the painful and debilitating effects of diabetes.  Kiew told me his mother passed away peacefully in her sleep.  Phanna was 66.   She leaves behind her three sons, her mother, six sisters, and innumerable family members and countless friends.

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