March 13-22, 2007
My friend Dan, from Shanghai and Taipei, sent these graphics and text about the lantern festival in China ... he also attached a number of photographs from his own camera:
Lantern Festival, also known as Shang Yuan Festival, takes place on the fifteenth day of the first moon. Last in a series of springtime celebrations, this "second New Year" is widely celebrated by families all around Taiwan.
On the night of the festival, decorative lanterns depicting birds, beasts, historical figures, and any one of a number of different themes are carried by children or adorn temples. To highlight these glowing works of art, competitions are held. The Taipei Lantern Festival, held annually at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Plaza and the largest and most famous of these competitions, is attended every year by thousands of lantern-watchers. The Lantern Festival is further enriched by the customary lantern riddle parties that are held on this night.
The night sky on Lantern Festival is also illuminated by the Tainan Yanshui Fireworks Display and Taipei Pinghsi Sky Lanterns - known together as "Fireworks in the South, Sky Lanterns in the North," as well as many other regional folk activities.
In addition to displaying and appreciating lanterns, Lantern Festival is also celebrated by eating tang yuan, an important custom symbolizing family unity and indispensable to the day's festivities.
The varied festivities and customs practiced on Lantern Festival not only provide celebrants with rich entertainment, like the historical-theme lantern displays and riddles, but are also instructive, by their expression of ancient wisdom. The variety of splendid lantern features different folk art techniques, impressing these arts deep in the hearts and minds of the people.
March 14 is once again Hua Hin Day for the folks at SI. Last year, they showed us Ana; this year, it's Oluchi.
Dear readers, in a constant effort to keep you happy, THOCBDC occasionally will accept readers' requests. Reader C. Milquetoast from Winona, Minnesota asked for more food pictures. Reader J. Hardwick from Little Rock, Arkansas wanted to see more car photos. Everyone else wanted to see beach bunny shots. THOCBDC gladly bows to the lovers of Spring Break.
This was the first time that we ate at Seasons 52 since we returned to Florida last month. Seasons 52 is located in the Galleria Mall right next to P.F. Changs ... the Chinese restaurant which we focused on a few days ago. Also in the same area of both of these restaurants is the Capital Grille which features great oysters and prime beef.
Anyway, at Seasons 52 we started with steamed mussels and tomato flat bread for both of us. And while I had lamb chops Watcharee ate dessert. (*)
By the time we left the restaurant our car was the only one in the garage. (**)
(*) This is for reader C. Milquetoast from Winona, Minnesota.
(**) This is for reader J. Hardwick from Little Rock, Arkansas.
More laughing at the Shrub.
This camera (a Leica IIIg) and its auxiliary lenses (35 mm, 50 mm, 90 mm and 135 mm) were made in Germany in the 1950's. They all still work. I wonder if my current Nikon digital camera will even 'click' a half century from now. I have already discarded 4 digital camera since they first came on the market. (Hey, what are floppy disks? Even now Compact Flash cards are yielding turf to newer 'formats'.)
"Stop grumbling, Alf, we live in a disposable world."
PS: My friend Dan shows us more of Shanghai.
Tomorrow something big is going to happen here. Any guesses?
The preparations reach high gear.
Starting at about 12 O'clock the only person standing is Watcharee.
Now I am going to move clockwise. Jon (Ta's husband) is co chairing the head of the table with Jan. Next to Jan is Raquel who is 25 but looks like she is only 16. Kig is sitting between Raquel and Dang. Dang looks very much like Sandra Oh, one of the stars on Grey's Anatomy. Her husband, Lewis, is the only person profiled in this picture. Khaw and her husband, Bill, almost round out the clock (table). Jon's wife, Ta, is sitting next to Watcharee, who is wearing red.
More pictures to follow.
PS: As promised, more photos:
Reader Paul from Seattle sent this In-Flight-In-Your-Seat-Pocket bit:
Associated PressLONDON – A first-class passenger on a flight from New Delhi to London awoke to find the corpse of a woman who had died in the economy cabin being placed in a seat next to him, British Airways said Monday.
The flight's economy section was full, and the cabin crew needed to move the woman and her grieving family out of that compartment to give them some privacy, the airline said.
The first-class passenger, Paul Trinder, told the Sunday Times newspaper that he was sleeping during a February flight from India and woke up when the crew placed the dead woman in an empty seat near him.
"I didn't have a clue what was going on. The stewards just plonked the body down without saying a thing," the newspaper quoted Trinder as saying. "I remember looking at this frail, sparrow-like woman and thinking she was very ill. When I asked what was going on, I was shocked to hear she was dead."
British Airways said in a statement that about 10 passengers die each year in flight and that while each situation is dealt with on an individual basis, safety is paramount. "The deceased must not be placed in the galley or blocking aisles or exits, and there should be clear space around the deceased," the statement said. "The wishes of family or friends traveling with the deceased will always be considered, and account taken of the reactions of other passengers."
Because there was space in the first class cabin, that "allowed the family members traveling with the deceased some level of privacy in their grief," the airline said.
"We apologize to passengers in the first cabin who were distressed by the situation - our cabin crew were working in difficult circumstances and chose the option that they believed would cause the least disruption," the statement said.
David Learmount, a former pilot and cabin crew member who now writes about the aviation industry for Flight International magazine, said that each airline has to deal with the relatively rare situation on an individual basis. He said it would be unusual to divert the flight, and that the captain would be consulted before the crew acted.
"Personally, I think they did the thing that was the best thing to do," he said. "It's an isolated incident. It's not as if it happens every day, but you do have to take in people's sensibilities when it does happen."
For the past 26 or 27 years my friend Stephani and four of her friends from college have held an annual weeklong reunion. This year they are holding it in Fort Lauderdale. Today, Stephani invited Watcharee and me to have lunch with them at Seasons 52. We really enjoyed meeting them.
Pictured left to right are Mary-Ann, Stephani, Watcharee, Sydney, Barbara and Margie.
It's been more than two years since this clip was produced.
The black and white photo was taken more than 53 years ago from the same place that I took today's color shot. The biggest changes are seen on the horizon. I think that the white two story home on the right is still in existence.
Next: Part III