I spent Christmas on a plane to Kuala Lumpur. Sounds exotic don't it? The plane was horribly cramped and I spent the whole 14 hours fidgeting.
Koala Lampur is an anti septic city. The airport gleams like an ersatz space station. more glass than a crackpipe factory but not half the charm
For 3 weeks I tramped through India with my family. met so many relatives... ate lots of food, which instigated the dreaded Delhi Belly. we saw monkeys jumping through trees. The Taj Mahal is beautiful. I drank coconut milk from a coconut chopped open by an old man with a machete. "samhadi" means "sanctuary" . Indians drive like they're on a suicide mission. the streets are dangerous. Our itinerary: madras -> cochin -> mangalore -> mysore -> bangalore -> hydrabad -> delhi -> agra -> madras. Poverty everywhere but also prosperity. On a train we sat next to old ladies who chanted sing song scriptures in Hindi.
I read tons of books over break:
dogs of war -- excellent tale of mercenaries hired to take over a small african country on behalf of a crooked mining corporation. supposedly based on real events, though forsyth denies this
day of the jackal -- gripping novel; charles de gaulle is targetted for assasination by a mysterious stranger; french police race against the clock to find him before he succeeds
icon -- this was the lamest of the 3 forsyth books I read. an ex-CIA agent is recruited for a critical mission-- he has to stop a madman from taking over Russia. yeah whatever.
Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance -- I think the sort of book my ex roommate Matt from Rice plans to write. I didn't understand a lot of the philisophy and what I did understand seemed silly. but the story is interesting. or at least, the way it's written is interesting.
incredibly crappy Jack Higgins paperback: It was so traumatically crappy that I repressed the memory; so not sure what the title was
trashily entertaining Nora Roberts romance/mystery: Does the heroine fall for the dashingly broodingly mysterious dark and handsome art thief? Hmm, methinks so
'pagan night' or 'city medieval' or some such elmore leonard book-- he's a great writer but most of his stuff is so throw-away. classic potboilers, crime noir. engrossing but lightweight stuff.
Perfect Storm -- I didn't understand most of the descriptive stuff because I'm not a salty sea-dog. What I understood was interesting though-- life as a fisherman sounds brutal and short. The mere thought of being at sea in a storm where ten story waves crash over your puny ship is enough to put me off sailing for good.
Exodus -- Leon Uris is shamelessly melodramatic and lurid, but he's incredibly effective as a propagandist. This is his exciting account of the creation of Israel. By the time you finish it you'll be convinced that Israel is a godlike miracle of a country, the Jews who created it are all heroes, and the Arabs who oppose it are evil dirty dogs. One-sided? Methinks so. But there's enough historical truth in the tale to make it believable.
interpreter of maladies -- (by sudsomething roy? I forget her name. she's a hottie, if the author photograph is accurate) Great short stories about modern Indians and Indian-Americans falling in and out of love.
may you be the mother of 100 sons -- about women in India. summary: they are oppressed.
I'm optimistic about this year, even though right now it's a cold grey winter in SF and I'm lonely. I think things will get better; there are adventures ahead.