Asia

Accounting for Modalities

Accounting for Modalities

Given that many people in the United States are thinking about accounting today, I thought I'd share some of the raw numbers from my recent trip to China and the Philippines, but rather than detail how much money I spent (speaking of which, you are welcome to complicate my 2015 taxes by donating here), I thought I'd share the following summary of the many journeys within a journey I took while traveling through China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, Canada and the United States:

Feet shredded while walking miles through eleven cities, many small villages, one former military stronghold and atop, along and around ruined portions of a gigantic wall: 2

Subway systems used more frequently than can be tallied: 6

Personal cars ridden with a buddhist who would later host an elaborate tea ceremony, an atheist tour guide raised in a cave, and two precocious children: 1

Bridges crossed at which the largest conflict in the history of the world began: 1

Last minute rickshaw rides organized by a guide squeezing in one more sightseeing visit before a thirty-hour train ride: 1

A thirty-hour train ride between China's current capital and the city that served as its capital during World War II: 1 

Chongqing Aflame

Chongqing Aflame

Beyond the fireworks, you hear Chongqing in honking horns, sizzling streetside frying pans and screams of Schezuanese from every direction. At night, before your eyes, Chongqing's bright lights dance up skyscrapers, the same towers that shoot from fields of strewn rubble and half-buried buildings, far past the smog-smudged apartment blocks they're replacing. Chongqing's scent wafts from grilling meats and fetid alleys.

Motion Picture Treat: "When The Whole World Is So Upset"

Motion Picture Treat: "When The Whole World Is So Upset"

For the first time ever, I'm able to share a movie of Melville Jacoby himself. These snippets of 16mm movies were shot in the 1930s and are accompanied by excerpts from a moving letter he wrote his mother in early 1941 about why he pursued his dangerous careert.Mel was on a boat from China bound for Manila and, eventually, to the United States. He had just finished a year's work as a stringer in China and the region of Southeast Asia then known as Indochina. There, in the city of Haiphong (a part of modern-day Vietnam), Mel had been arrested and briefly detained by the Japanese, who'd accused him of being a spy. As he traveled back to the United States, he wrote a moving letter to his Mother in which he attempted to reassure her about the risks he'd taken in the previous year. Check out the full post to see the video.