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Notes From The Flip Side: 11.05.2000

The last week and a half have been crazy for me. I've had a couple of days with no flights, but the rest of the time I've been in motion. I've been to Los Angeles, Shanghai, Xi'an, San Francisco and Portland, in that order, with a 2-hour layover at Narita between L.A. and Shanghai.

Shanghai was okay, but it was really confusing and hard to get around and I like to walk a lot. It helps me learn what a place is like and I usually don't feel at ease anywhere until I've had a chance to get my bearings on foot. That's probably why I feel okay in New York, Portland, Gdansk and a bunch of towns in Japan.

Once I got to Xi'an I had a blast. I was the only white person that I saw for two days. I wandered around the streets, looking at back alley markets where butchers slaughtered pigs in the street and live carp in tanks swam around. I walked around the city walls at dawn - elderly Chinese people had brought their birds to the park and hung the cages from tree branches. I tried to learn Tai Chi and practiced my Mandarin with anyone willing to talk. I got lost in seemingly endless tunnels under the city, none of which were tall enough to accommodate my frame, so I walked around hunched over as the light grew dimmer. I went out to Qin Shihuang's tomb and saw the army of terra cotta warriors and almost started crying when I walked into the cavernous hall which houses the first dig. I don't get to go somewhere that I've wanted to see for my whole life every year and that moment was worth the entire trip - including the 40-odd hours of flights and airports.

Naturally, I was thinking about a girl for the entire time I was there. We've been talking for hours lately - emailing back and forth, calling each other on the phone. Everything is up in the air right now, but I hope it's her whenever I pick up the phone, and that's really all I need to know.

On a final note, I really feel as though I need to publicly state my absolute opposition to George W. Bush. I'm really afraid of what I might wake up to on Wednesday morning and the last thing I want to see is another four years of Republican rule. I don't feel that Gore is any better (check out Michael Moore's open letters to both at www.michaelmoore.com) but at least he isn't as blatantly stupid and unwilling to learn such minor details as the names of international leaders.

In America, we get the government we deserve - I fear that on Wednesday, the government that we will have earned through rolling science education back to the days of the Scopes trial, failing to read the Second Amendment as closely as we do the First (Paul Fussell wrote a brilliant piece on that subject in "Thank God for the Atom Bomb" which staunchly supports a stringent interpretation) and creating an environment hostile to nearly everyone except white males who are desperately trying to cling to whatever scraps of power they can maintain will consist of a man who did nothing of any account until his mid-30s when he needed to be bailed out of the oil industry and went into baseball, where he traded Sammy Sosa to the Cubs for a handful of players who made little to no difference in the Rangers' pennant race. I suppose after a life of failure in business, the only job opportunity left for him is President and rest assured, if Bush is elected, we will deserve both that and its aftermath. The imminent specter of President George W. Bush is the direct result of our small-minded gossiping, pettiness and complete inability to mind our own business. No matter what happens, I'm dreading the next four years.

Now Playing:

The Sharpshooters "Viva Los Guerrillas!," The Weakerthans "Left and leaving," Elliott "False Cathedrals," The Sea and Cake "Oui"

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008