Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolution

You Should Travel to Italy

1) Get a pet wallaby

2) Eat more chocolate

4) Study photograpy

5) Get in shape with surfing

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fodor's Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos

I used Fodor's Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos on my recent trip to New Mexico. I favor the Fodor's series because their "Fodor's Choices" always meet my expectations and their star system helps me decide what to see when I have little time. From this book I discovered the Turquoise Trail, which in turn led me to Madrid, NM, a delightful hamlet with several good shops with reasonable prices. The sidebar essays are quick reads that offer good inside information on the area.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Canyon Road, New Mexico

Funky, yet traditional Canyon Road is home to dozens of art galleries and shops with lots of Native American jewelry, cowboy clothes and ceramics. There's so much that's beautiful, but everything I saw was pricy. I've gotten accustomed to buying crafts in Asia and I can get something lovely for $40 so it's hard to buy something comparable here for $200. Yet I realize the artists here need to earn more to support themselves. At the same time, if supporting oneself means living a block away from Canyon Road where I parked and saw a tiny house on the market for $750K well, I'm not as sympathetic any more.

Still it's fun to browse the shops, though I wish I could take some photos. I don't because it'd be rude and the owners would probably get miffed as the clerk did when I got the cowboy boots shot last week, but that I couldn't resist. It was one of those Dorothy Day, "I prefer to ask forgiveness, than ask permission" moments.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

On Culture: Mistresses in China an South Korea

Asia News Network reports that:

Seoul - The increasing popularity of "ernai," or mistresses among wealthy men is emerging as a problem in Chinese society, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Amid the rapid development of the country's economy, large numbers of those fortunate enough to enjoy the prosperity are having affairs with mistresses, making it the symbol of the rich.

"Keeping a mistress is just like playing golf," a man told the New York Times concerning the issue, adding "both are expensive hobbies." Those seeking such liaisons offer lavishing apartments or cars as well as monthly allowances.
However, the public is angered by the trend. Chinese prosecutors believe about 90 percents of governmental executives accused of corruption have mistresses, sometimes more than 10.

In December a government employee allegedly murdered his mistresses and abandoned the body in a river when she asked for $3 million in return for putting end to the relationship.

Zheng Beichin, a lawyer who had defended a mistress, told the New York Times "the nation's elite, including judges and government officials, have little desire to tinker with the status quo."
Meanwhile, a similar phenomenon exists in Korea covertly under the name of "sponsor contract," where rich men provide money and a home to women in return for relationships.

For Travel Writers

If you read much travel writing you're probably aware of the Travelers' Tales Guides, anthologies and chronicles with a wide array of themes. I've just discovered that they have an open submission policy and a webpage full of good articles and information for writers and travelers. Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Old Town, Santa Fe

Sunday I arrived in Albuquerque, rented a car and drove up Hwy 25 to Santa Fe. I wandered about the plaza checking out art galleries and jewelry shops. I love the adobe architecture. I imagined that the houses would use something different, that they'd have abandoned tradition, but they haven't.

Around the plaza there's three churches with beautiful architecture and art. St. Francis Cathedral Basilica and San Miguel, the oldest church continually in use in the US are open and free to enter. The Loretto Chapel isn't. It's been bought by a businessman who charges three dollars a head to go into the small chapel. The claim to fame is an unsupported spiral staircase, which is cool, but since it takes about 5 - 10 minutes to see the chapel, I'd say its something of a tourist trap.

One tip: You don't have to feed the meters on Sunday. So find a metered parking space. No reason to pay for parking.

Friday, August 5, 2011