March 15, 2010

On Thin Ice

Unlike most of the major cities on Earth, Beijing is not located near any large body of water. Numerous lakes and streams are sprinkled throughout Beijing's districts to compensate. During the long winter months these waterways are frozen solid. Recreational fishermen dig holes in the ice and wait patiently for the fish to bite. Near the banks, old men strip to their undergarments, stretch, and then take a plunge in the frozen water. Less adventurous types simply skate on the icy surface.

I walked a 2 kilometer stretch of the Liangma river, occasionally having to duck under bridges. Several boats had been ensconced on the riverside. I spotted a man urinating in the middle of the river. He was cool as a cucumber as vapor rose from the area around his feet. To safeguard the public, I also contributed some liquid sealant to mend a few cracks in the ice that I came across.


Beauty, like ice, our footing does betray
Who can tread sure on the smooth, slippery way
Pleased with the surface, we glide swiftly on
And see the dangers that we cannot shun.

- John Dryden -

March 09, 2010

Higher Learning

ARNABlog began to chronicle my globetrotting adventures after I graduated from Simon Fraser University. The campus was located on top of Burnaby Mountain, giving it the nickname "high school on the hill". The dull grey buildings and the isolation from the society below also gave it the moniker of "Simon Fraser Minimum Security Facility". Every day, I would join busloads of diligent students on the trek up to the peak. If it snowed just the right amount classes would not be canceled but the buses would not make it all the way up the steep incline, depositing students midway to their destination. We would trudge uphill in snow with heavy backpacks full of textbooks and notepads, leaving our bodies exhausted but our minds still thirsting for knowledge. 


"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~ William Butler Yeats

March 08, 2010

Imagine 2010

Five years ago, the Olympics were still a faraway thought in the minds of most Vancouverites. The Imagine 2010 launch event at GM Place introduced the general public to what was about to come in the years following. First Nations hosts, RCMP officers, and Cirque du Soleil performers all appeared on stage before the new Vancouver 2010 logo was officially unveiled.

An inukshuk sporting the five Olympic colours was chosen as the symbol of the Winter Games. The stone landmark was primarily used by natives of Canada's Arctic regions as a point of reference and food cache in the frozen tundra. The precursor to modern day GPS markers, inukshuks show the way ahead while providing hope of better things to come.


This is the moment we have dreamed of all our lives
We'll be the change we wish from others
We'll stand tall for what is right
And in my heart there'll be no doubt
The arms of the world will come reaching out
- Olympic theme song 'I Believe'