Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The View From Here!

I'm nearing the halfway point in my six city visit to Asia.  I'm in Bangkok, having spent time in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.  Next will be Hanoi, Hong Kong and Shanghai.  Observations so far?  A few:

People are more positive about the United States than I thought they'd be.  They are cutting us more slack than we deserve.  It is more in the nature of hoping we'll continue to be good friends rather than an approval of our actions in recent times.

Everywhere I look are signs of booming economies.  Shopping centers, malls, both upscale and middle income, are crowded, especially with families.  New construction is ubiquitous- office towers and high rise residential.  For example, between the airport and downtown Kuala Lumpur the landscape is dotted with dozens, maybe hundreds of tall buildings fully occupied or being built.  Here in Bangkok from my hotel I can see construction cranes in all directions.  The same was true in Singapore.

The mood is good.  Locals and tourists are enjoying life.  It is a joy to see.  Admittedly, my exposure has been limited.  But the evidence is incontrovertible.

My focus on local food is paying off.  In the hotels, on the streets, in restaurants, the cuisine is plentiful and delicious.  Asia is clearly on the move.  Whether we'll be a part of this positive future is yet to be determined.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Asia Bound!

I’m off tomorrow for four weeks in Asia.  A change of scenery, a change of pace and a change of perspective.  Given the day-to-day craziness of life in the USA, probably a good thing to do.

I have no specific agenda for this trip, other than to sample interesting food, especially street food, in the six cities we’ll be visiting.  Mostly I want to “be” in these places and soak up whatever is happening.

In past travels I’ve been where we’re going (except for Kuala Lumpur) but not for quite a while.  So my impressions are out of date, and I’ll have a chance to take a fresh look.

We’ll be four days each in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hanoi, Hong Kong and Shanghai.  I’m not looking forward to the ‘getting there’ part – 17½ hours from San Francisco to Singapore – but once settled in there are adventures to be had, and I’m up for them.   

Thursday, March 08, 2018


How about California secedes?  Fantasy or No Way?  Probably No Way, but think about going our own way: 

A vibrant, growing economy, 10th largest on the planet.

Able to protect our environment and natural resources on our terms.

A legal sanctuary for immigrants, not subject to objection by a gaggle of aging white men in Washington.

A Supreme Court that rules humanely on the basis of 21st century reality, not wedded to every word of an 18th century document.

Gun laws that protect people, not lobbyists.

Politicians whose job is to serve the public rather than follow the wishes of those who finance them.

Second to none in the world of technology.

Tax laws that are not skewed to benefit the rich.

Free trade with the world.

And more . . . Not a bad vision even if unlikely.  Keep the dream alive!

Friday, March 02, 2018


A few interesting unknowns:

Who will win the Italian election on Sunday?  With something like 64 different governments in the last 70 years, does it really matter?

For sure, the Giants who lost 98 games last year will improve.  But by how much?  And will they be competitive in their division?

Who will be the next to leave the White House?  McMaster?  Cohn?  Someone else?  And over at Justice, Sessions?  The daily chaos is fun to watch.

Will North and South Korea be able to talk with each other and lessen the tension?  With or without the United States?

Will all the talk (and a little action) on gun control yield any meaningful results?  Not likely until politicians see they have something to lose by doing nothing.

The Oscars will be handed out on Sunday night.  The smart money thinks “The Shape of Water” will be the big winner.  But the smart money hasn’t always been smart, so who knows?  Maybe they’ll be able to keep the envelopes straight this time.

Will Netanyahu survive his latest corruption allegations?  And whether he does or doesn’t, will it change anything in Israel?  I’d say the skeptics win this one.

Have a nice day!