Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dear All,

We've sort of lost touch with blogging as September was a super stressful month..I'm rating this one 9 /10. Dad was in hospital and lost 4 toes due to a minor infection + diabetes, so watch those sodas!!!
Anyhow, things are great now, apart from the ongoing protests in Thailand. A ahndful of fanatics manage to harrass an entire city, even bloody close an aeroport today...that being a day before Ake and Andrei fly out. The police are still standing down for a fear of military getting involved, that triggering another coup....basically...we're screwed.

Many thanks for your emails, asking about us...we'll get back to news now...hopefully flights will be on tomorrow!
Meanwhile...we're facing anarchy...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My friend Bryan in AFRICA...a superb read folks!

TWO AFRICAS - part 1

The first thing that impressed me about the Kenyan chicken farmers was that even though I wasn’t interested in buying a chicken, they still sat me down inside their tumbledown shack and offered a cup of tea. The second thing was that even though these men were just scraping by, selling eggs and corn on the streets of the second-biggest slum in Nairobi, one of them had an email address, and he made me promise to email him pictures of each of his friends holding up their prize chickens. I was so late in getting back to the Mercy Care School that the worried principal almost sent his teachers out into the slums looking for me. Although I felt embarrassed by the concern over my safety, I also knew that I needed to experience more of Africa than I would while on safari, even if I presently stood out as the only white man within ten square miles.

For those of you who are wondering how I went from Nevada to Kenya in less than a week, some backstory is probably necessary. A friend of my family in New York paid $8,000 to reserve space on a safari for semi-professional photographers in the Masai Mara Wildlife Preserve. Unfortunately, this summer the man suffered a fractured vertebrae after an unfortunate incident involving a ladder, a gazebo, and gravity. The tour company was unwilling to refund his money because the departure date was only six weeks away, and since no other relatives could take the time off, I was sent an email inquiring whether I wanted a free trip to the northern Serengeti Plains. A free African safari. Free.

Needless to say, six weeks later I walked into Los Angeles International Airport with thirty pounds of borrowed photographic equipment, bound for Kenya. I get compensated for my newspaper articles in frequent flyer miles rather than cash, which is how I managed to afford the airline ticket. But because I hadn’t been able to book the flight in advance, the best itinerary I could find took two entire days to complete and deposited me in Nairobi one day early. I found a place to stay in the foreign city using the website couchsurfing.com, which connects people like myself with hosts who are willing to let travelers stay in their houses free of charge. My host’s apartment hadn’t had running water in over a month, but her fellow renters were friendly and considerate, and the bed in the upstairs guest room looked irresistible after my exhausting journey.

My jetlagged body told me it was time to sleep, but the sun had just started to shine on Kenya’s capital city, so we squeezed onto a crowded van and headed for the downtown district. My host worked for a non-profit organization that focused on arms control and peace-building, and she helped orient me to the social realities of life in East Africa. Gazing out the window of the van, I was amazed at how clean and well-dressed each person looked, without exception, even though the city’s infrastructure – the roads and concrete buildings – seemed to be crumbling around them. Businessmen in the sharpest suits were literally walking through rubble to get to work. It appeared as if each Kenyan was trying to individually leap across the divide separating the First and Third Worlds, while the nation itself was falling behind.

Two Africas co-existed here… one showed signs of hardship, and the other of prosperity, but the latter vision was still only a dream for all but the most affluent of citizens. Desperate children sold peanuts to drivers stuck in traffic, while above them, stylish billboards advertised safari tours and cell phone plans. Both SUVs and hand-drawn carts moved through the city, highlighting the economic disparity that had contributed to political unrest during the last elections.

to be continued...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not meaning to, I have totally negleted this blog lately. My parents left fro Romania just a week ago and before that we hit the road and headed to the nearest beach.
We had a speactacular holidays on Dolphin Bay...a quiet beach, a superb swimming pool, cows and monkeys around...and a great playground for the little one.
The highlight of the week was hiring a fishing boat to take us around. For 300 baht (10 USD) we had the boat for half day...

The hard cold reality struck shortly after my guys left and we found ourselves hands full up to our knees in work.

Here's to Dolphin Bay!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

SUMMER CAMP - part 1
Hey guys...I know..long time no post... but we have a good excuse: WE WERE HAVING FUN! ...at summer camp... We ran a cool 1 month summer camp at the school and took Andrei with us to join the littlest of group: the Early Years.

Friends of mine tell how exciting is to take your child to his firt day at school. Well I got to see all that since I was running the early years group.

Andrei did awesome (when kids weren't hugging Miss Carmen - that was the only prob) and is missing school now...Houston, we have a problem! He gets every morning and points to the car wanting to go to school...

It was kinda funny when kids were taking toys from him and Andrei was give me the "help mom" look and I had to give him the "Now, Andrei we have to share with our friends...or go and get something else to play with..."...and best of all...he learned to sit down and eat by himself (like all the other children) as we often had to do tricks to get him to eat at home. YEY!!!

We loooved it!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pigeons and 3 year olds...

Yahoo posted a link towards an article comparing the intelligence of 3 year olds and pigeons. Apparently the pigeons won, making quicker links. The interesting thing was that parents and animal lovers jumped at each other's throats defending their loved ones (see the comments).
Personally, I think the comparison is rather pointless. It's like saying bananas are better than apples. It's like comparing 2 children at their ability to add fast and deciding that the slower one is dumber.
Anyhow...check out the comments and the article below.

Smart Pigeons

Friday, June 06, 2008

a day in the park

Mum and dad are here. That's so beyond fantastic...except the fact that now they are 4 over caring grandparents, and we (the parents) are left to clean the mess. And as it usually is everywhere, I get the blame for any spoiled elements in Andrei's behavior. he he he...Noh, just kidding...everyone's being a good sport but whenever Andrei needs a TALK I usually get the wink...

I'm on a mini holiday from school now and we hit the road to the park...We each had an cold shake (coffee and chocolate) then rented bikes...2 really good hours of strolling around and stopping for playground breaks ...by noon the heat chased us home to our air con rooms...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Dalai Lama: on China, hatred and optimism

An inspiring, soul-touching interview with The Dalai Lama on the subject posted below...My opinion: It will be terribly hard to change anything in Tibet without the Western World getting involved. No government said NO to the olimpics?

Thurman: You use the term "cultural genocide" to describe what China is doing in Tibet but have suggested that Tibet could live with self-rule within China. How do you define self-rule, and what are its advantages over independence?
Dalai Lama: Today, due to the massive Chinese population transfer, the nation of Tibet truly faces the threat of extinction, along with its unique cultural heritage of Buddhist spirituality. Time is very short. My responsibility is to save Tibet, to protect its ancient cultural heritage. To do that I must have dialogue with the Chinese government, and dialogue requires compromise. Therefore, I'm speaking for genuine self-rule, not for independence.

Self-rule means that China must stop its intensive effort to colonize Tibet with Chinese settlers and must allow Tibetans to hold responsible positions in the government of Tibet. China can keep her troops on the external frontiers of Tibet, and Tibetans will pledge to accept the appropriate form of union with China.

Because my main concern is the Tibetan Buddhist culture, not just political independence, I cannot seek self-rule for central Tibet and exclude the 4 million Tibetans in our two eastern provinces of Amdo and Kham. [Once part of an independent Tibet, Amdo is now known to the Chinese as Qinghai; Kham has been divided into the Chinese provinces of Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan. -- Eds.]

I have been clear in my position for quite a while, but the Chinese have not responded. Therefore, we are now in the process of holding a referendum on our policy among all the Tibetan community in exile and even inside Tibet, to check whether the majority thinks we are on the right track. I am a firm believer in the importance of democracy, not only as the ultimate goal, but also as an essential part of the process.

Thurman: To your mind, once self-rule is achieved, who should be in charge of the economic development of Tibet -- the Chinese or Tibetans?
Dalai Lama: Tibetans must take full authority and responsibility for developing industry, looking from all different perspectives, taking care of the environment, conserving resources for long-term economic health, and safeguarding the interests of Tibetan workers, nomads, and farmers. The Chinese have shown interest only in quick profits, regardless of the effect on the environment, and with no consideration of whether a particular industry benefits the local Tibetans or not.

Thurman: What is the environmental condition of Tibet today, 47 years after the Chinese invasion?
Dalai Lama: The Chinese have clear-cut over 75 percent of our forests, thereby endangering the headwater regions of their own major rivers. They have overharvested the rich resources of medicinal herbs and caused desertification of our steppes through overgrazing. They have extracted various minerals in environmentally destructive ways. Finally, in their frenzied effort to introduce hundreds of thousands of new settlers into south central Tibet, they are threatening to destroy the ecosystem of that rich barley-growing region by draining its major lake to produce hydroelectric power.

Thurman: What do you think it will take for China to change its policy toward Tibet?
Dalai Lama: It will take two things: first, a Chinese leadership that looks forward instead of backward, that looks toward integration with the world and cares about both world opinion and the will of [China's] own democracy movement; second, a group of world leaders that listens to the concerns of their own people with regard to Tibet, and speaks firmly to the Chinese about the urgent need of working out a solution based on truth and justice. We do not have these two things today, and so the process of bringing peace to Tibet is stalled.

But we must not lose our trust in the power of truth. Everything is always changing in the world. Look at South Africa, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East. They still have many problems, setbacks as well as breakthroughs, but basically changes have happened that were considered unthinkable a decade ago.

To read the full interview click down here:

Monday, May 19, 2008


Couple of years ago I was talking to a friend about the prospect of taking couple months off and touring the world, well bits of it... I would still looooove to do it when Andrei is old enough to get a good feel for travelling and hopefully my bones will still be up for it then.
Meanwhile I'm quite fond of taking a boat(cruise) back to Australia next time we head down under.Money-permitting. Our friends from Czeck Rep. just a had a fab working holiday in New Zealeand. Great great experience! I have a feeling will be doing some of that as well...

As I said, the weather was all sparkly, but we loved it anyhow...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

China's flame in Sydney

This message had nothing to do with politics. Our second day in Sydney we stopped for an hour and marveled at the chinese community in Sydney. Very strong and peaceful. It was actually quite moving. I've never seen anything this big. I guess what I liked tha most was that EVERY chinese was there, from little kids to 70-80 year old guys...

PS. Check out the cute Syndey monorail popping up in couple of the pictures!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sydney Harbour

A great place to hang out..in fact we spent several afternoons here, just 'taking it in'...great little cafes and superb views of the North Shore. Also THE spot for taking the ferries around...

We actually wanted to take the climb the bridge tour for some bird's view shots of Sydney, but gave up as it's quite pricey and you can't take your camera with you either.

The seagulls were comical and reminded us of their Nemo portrayal...the little scavengers...:)