July 28, 2010

Arnab and the Sedin

Henrik Sedin led the NHL in scoring and captured the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player for the 2009-2010 season. Before his breakout year he was mostly known for being identical twins and lifetime linemates with his brother Daniel Sedin. Taken one spot after Daniel in the 1999 National Hockey League Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, he was supposed to be the playmaker while his brother was to be the scorer. He came face to face with another rising star in 2008 when he crossed paths with me.

Source: Canucks Army

I had just left my job at ResponseTek and was about to embark on my oriental oddysey. I met him in GM Place, the home of the Canucks. Preparations were under way for Vancouver fan favourite Trevor Linden's retirement ceremony. His #16 jersey was to be raised to the rafters the follwong night, so no one was allowed onto the skating surface of the arena as rehearsals were taking place. We chatted briefly outside the team dressing room and posed for some photographs, before I was herded off to the press room and he went off to do some exercises.


"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." ~ Wayne Gretzky

July 14, 2010


Barbie celebrated her 50th anniversary in style in 2009. More than just a doll, Barbie is a brand that has evolved with the times. The bikini wearing bimbo has had many careers, ranging from flight attendant to surgeon. The leggy blonde with the perfect figure is popular across the planet. Her dull boyfriend Ken is not.

Although Barbie was only introduced to the People's Republic ten years ago and I only arrived last year, China has embraced both pop culture icons wholeheartedly. The fashionable figurine staged an exhibition in the World Art Musuem near the China Millenium Monument to commerate five decades of existence. Scores of kids and adults alike came to marvel at the thousands of variations of the plastic girl on display. I, of course, was one of them.


“To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still.”

~ William Shaksepeare

July 12, 2010


I cook very rarely. If I have to, it means that I have no family, friends, or females around who will make me food or go to a restaurant to eat with me. On the rare occasions that I do enter the kitchen, I am sure to deliver a feast unmatched in taste and texture, untried by the common chef, and untainted by prior cooking experience. I use a combination of heating techniques such as baking, microwaving, burning, grilling, boiling, and toasting to prepare the courses. A pathfinder in the culinary arts, I deliver dishes that the world has not seen before. Since I only cook for myself and never repeat a dish nor write down a recipe, I capture the moments of edible euphoria on camera.


"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~ Luciano Pavarotti

July 07, 2010

The Largest City in the World

Chongqing was the provisional capital of China during the years of the Sino-Japanese war. Since then it has evolved into the nation's most prosperous inland city, famed both for its hot pot and its hot women. The central government carved the city out from the province of Sichuan, putting it in the same heady company as the other three directly controlled municipalities of Beijng, Tianjin, and Shanghai. The largest city on Earth based on the surface area it covers, Chongqing is spread around the confluence of the Yangzi and Jialing Rivers. The city state is the size of Austria and boasts 32 million inhabitants.

I flew from Beijing to Chongqing on October 1st, shortly after the the skies were reopened to commercial traffic following the 60th Anniversary Parade of the People's Republic. I visited the lavish Three Gorges Museum, the intriguing Planning Exhibition Gallery depicting the grand plans for Chongqing's future, and the Arhat Temple. Its rolling hills were a welcome change to the flat terrain of most Chinese cities, but the level of pollution was on par with the coastal megapolises. The sky and the river were similar shades of brown, and I spent only a few days there before heading of to the wilderness in Yunnan.


"The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark." ~ Barbara Hall

July 05, 2010


One of the most frequently asked but hardest questions to answer for women in China is "Why don't you shave your armpits?". For me, that question has been "What is your favourite place that you have visited in China?". Usually I mutter a list that includes some of the recent places I have visited, but ostensibly it includes Yangshuo. The limestone paradise is located in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Reachable from Guilin via road or river, Yangshuo is extremely popular among travelers but not overwhelmed by them. From spectacular scenery to hot air ballooning to tai chi lessons to 18 year old Chinese girls who want to practice their "Business English", the tourist haven of Yangshuo has something for everyone. Skirting the Li River, Yangshuo is surrounded by unique karst formations. Many people rent a bicycle and take a ride to the neighbouring villages. I took a bus.

Weather permitting, a folk musical is performed on the river every night. The water show is the brainchild of world renowned director Zhang Yimou, the man behind Hero and the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. I spent almost four days in  Yangshuo, but the water level was too high for the performance to take place safely.


"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." ~ Dr. Suess