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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TEMPLE OF HEAVEN

  • At the Incheon Airport Asiana Lounge, I just had a real Oriental meal with a sparkling Zinfandel and glass of beer, listening to a concert pianist at the other end of the room.  This is all free.  There are several sleep rooms with massage chairs, a dozen computers for you to connect to the internet, and when I turned mine on, I immediately got to my home page through a wireless system that is faster than anything I have ever experience.  There was no fumbling to connect with a password.  There are some nice touches in South Korea:  some public restrooms have a dispenser for foam soap to wipe the seat, at fast food establishments I noticed a dispenser of large treated napkins to clean your hands before touching the hamburger or pizza, the bus to the airport shows a gigantic high definition TV with a pretty spectacular surround sound system, I never saw a homeless person and there are no beggars.  In 1962, the per capita annual income was $82.  Today, GDP/capita is only #36 at more than $17,000, but that of China is #99 at $3735.  Next Shanghai, where I read that China topped the list of women billionaires, more than half of the 20 richest.
  • I am impressed with the Incheon Airport security system.  As I was about to start a meal, a young lady came up to me, asked my name and inquired if I had a lighter in my checked baggage.  First, how did they find me, and second, great x-ray system.  I thought, oh no, Delhi again, where I thought I would be executed.  But she said they would keep me apprised of developments and I did not have to go down to the bowels of the airport.  Half an hour later another nice lady found me and said they had trashed the lighter.  Great, at least at Delhi they just evacuated it and left it in the suitcase.  And here I thought lighters were again allowed.  I guess mine was that torch type which is still verboten.  Hope my bags make it to Shanghai.
  • My 155th country just visited:


SENEGAL POPULATION: 13,711,597



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 Background
The French colonies of Senegal and the French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted their independence as the Mali Federation in 1960. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982, but the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s, and several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict. Nevertheless, Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until current President Abdoulaye WADE was elected in 2000. He was reelected in February 2007, but has amended Senegal's constitution over a dozen times to increase executive power and weaken the opposition, part of the President's increasingly autocratic governing style. Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation.


Map data ©2010 AND, Geocentre Consulting, MapLink, Tele Atlas - Terms of Use



By the way, as of this writing, not one person has comment on my latest strategic for world peace, forever.  Click on "A Message for President Hu."


From my room, I noticed there was a ceremony next to the hotel (above).  This is the Wongudan altar, the Temple of Heaven.

I had dinner at Ninth Gate, a French steakhouse.  Another fusion restaurant.  With a gin martini, came a salmon pate.

Wongudan is behind me.  At the Temple Altar I  had grilled foie gras with truffles.  Soon FG will be banned, for it is considered to be cruel to ducks/geese.  Anyway, this is a terrible dish if you have any cholesterol problem.  A truffle is a fungus which has a swampy taste, but, over time, can grow on on you (the taste, that is)  The wine was an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon in a Spiegelau bordeaux glass.  For 3-4 ounces, this was way overpriced for $20.  Foie gras costs in the range of $300/pound, truffles, about double that.

My entre was a specially aged T-bone steak with creamed spinach and tempura onion rings.  The spinach was over creamed, but these were the best onion rings, ever, with the outside crisp and inside al dente.

The background music was what you might expect in heaven...if there is one.  My hostess was Ms. Woo.

Terrific service and a great meal.

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The Dow Jones Industrials fell 91 on Monday to 10,919, with world markets also mostly down and oil slipping to $82/barrel.  No, gold did not break another record, now down to $1346/toz. 

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Hurricane Paula at 75 MPH suddenly appeared east of the Yucatan, and is expect to gravitate towards Florida.
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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

By HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Patrick Takahashi 11:43 PM on 10/12/2010
It's been a full day and still no comments. I've noticed that peace just puts people to sleep. I guess zilch is better than someone telling me these suggestions are so irrational that they wonder why HuffPo allowed publication.

In any case, of the 80 or so articles I've now written, I think this is my most relevant. Maybe someone in China (do they allow the Huffington Post there???) will read it and virally spread the proposal. After all, I will be in Shanghai in a couple of hours.

Anonymous said...

By HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Patrick Takahashi 8 hours ago (9:08 PM)
As many of Google's portals (like my blog site and You Tube) are blacked out in China, I'm using 250 words per day to continue my daily blog through this Huffington Post comments section, such delicious irony, considering the nature of my article above. Nothing I share should be considered to be seditious or fussy, just my usual reportage from my travels.

Anonymous said...

By HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Patrick Takahashi

FRIDAY, 15OCTOBER2010

1. I'm into my third day in Shanghai, and have just paid for one meal: $9 at Din Tai Fung for exquisite Shanghai Dumplings and a Tsingtao beer. Otherwise, breakfast and dinner are free at the Westin Executive Club, both remarkably sumptious, and dinner with anything you want to drink. A decorative tank of an unusual red fish was eye-catching at DTF, while the Westin EC entrance is graced by a huge aquarium of circulating jellyfish.

2. Leighton Chong, chief counsel for the Blue Revolution, arrived, for we have been invited by Zhejiang Ocean University to work out cooperative marine programs tomorrow. Today, however, we go to the Shanghai Expo.

3. I made two purchases yesterday. I considered a pair of $3 dress shoes, but settled for $8 safari sneakers. I also spent ten minutes in a 2 Yuan (30 cents) Shop and finally settled on a sewing kit set with 20 needles, an assortment of threads and scissors. Thirty cents!

4. Mision cumplida in Chile, unlike President Bush’s 2003 landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln. What a heartwarming miracle in the Chilean desert.

Anonymous said...

By HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Patrick Takahashi

Here is the second installment. Still Friday, 15 October2010, but I thought I'd comment on the role of the U.S. in the Chile mine rescue. There has been a tendency to downplay any American role:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-10-14-chileside14_ST_N.htm

and that's good, no problem with me on that score. However, for the record, we should appreciate that Schramm, a drilling company from Pennsylvania, beat two other countries to get to the miners. NASA was very helpful, including NASA's Clinton Cragg:

http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/to-design-miners-escape-pod-nasa-thought-small/19667140

whose design was used by the Chilean Navy to build the rescue capsule, and Aramark was able to get vacuum-packed hot food to the miners. The rescue cable came from Germany, Japan provided the video know-how and China the crane. Thus, this was a wonderful international partnership which came together for the most watched event of the year. NOW IF ONLY WE CAN GET SIMILAR COOPERATION FOR WORLD PEACE IN OUR TIME. Just read the article found at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-takahashi/three-steps-for-china-to-_b_757254.html

Anonymous said...

By HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Patrick Takahashi

16 October 2010

Professor Jinbao Wang of Zhejiang Ocean University (ZOU, located in Zhoushan) and his driver picked us up at the Westin on the Bund and broke a world's record to their campus. What should have been a four hour trip was accomplished in three, as the car weaved in and out of traffic, at times exceeding 100 MPH, in a ride that reminded me of a death-defying auto racing video game. I think I acquired a permanent nervous twitch to my right eyelid.

We of course went through the usual protocol by visiting their laboratory (which includes a massive 130 meter wave tank) and Leighton Chong provided a presentation on the Blue Revolution to Vice President Changwen Wu and the faculty. ZOU was founded about a half a century ago, but will now zoom into prominence, for the $9 billion bridge for the first time connecting this "city" of more than a thousand islands to the Chinese mainland, was just made operational less than a year ago. Already, there are construction cranes everywhere you look. I would not be surprised if their 10,000 student population becomes a multi-campus of 35,000 in a decade or two, in the process becoming the premier ocean institution for the country.

Zhoushan is a perfect sister-city for Hawaii, as we both have populations of 1 million, depend on tourism and seek prominence in ocean systems. Mayor Zhou and Councilman Nestor Garcia are proceeding with gaining official sanctions.

The highlights of the day were our two sponsored meals. Lunch at the Sheraton where we are staying, the best hotel on these islands, featured a twelve course extravagance with white and red wines. We were hosted by ZOU and the Mayor's Office and given an assortment of gifts. What to do with them will be a problem because I still have 17 planes to catch. Professor Zhibo Tang, who organized our trip, called from New York to acknowledge our presence.

Dinner was even more experienceful with a 15 course seafood feast involving a local beer, 38% sweetish wine from Jinbao's home region and a 10% yellow wheat wine. There are around 70 of these restaurants around their port where our fast ferry tomorrow leaves to take us back to Shanghai.

The evening ended at a glitzy karoake establishment, greeted by 20 hostesses where there are various private rooms with impressive acoustics. Nothing like this in Hawaii, although Hong Kong has similar entertainment centers. Mike Sun of ZOU was the superstar of the night.

What an incredible day and night to remember.

Anonymous said...

By HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Patrick Takahashi
18 October 2010

1. While Chile saved all 33 miners, it is now appearing that the Henan (China) coal mine disaster deaths will reach 37. China has about as many coal mining casualties per day as the U.S. has in a year. It is generally not reported, but China, it is speculated, suffers something in the range of 10,000 mining deaths/year.

2. While coal is the energy source which remains #1 globally in growth/year, China has doubled wind energy production each year for the past five years, while the U.S. in 2010 will experience an installation rate DROP. Wind power and geothermal energy are the only renewable electricity options competitive with coal and nuclear. A controlled government is more efficient in affecting change as necessary. The American government is broken (the military industrial complex, fossil industry and farm lobby dictate policy to our Congress and the White House). Europe, however, is worse, and Russia...

3. Mega Typhoon Megi, now down to 110 MPH, rolled over the Philippines, but is predicted to re-strengthen into a Category 4 storm and slam into China (probably Hainan, which already experienced 4 feet of rain earlier this month) and Vietnam.

4. The Shanghai Expo saw crowds approaching the population of Hawaii each day this weekend, and has now hosted more than 65 million. Thirteen days remain, where the admission during the final days will be halved to half a million each day. Tomorrow, I'll be back for a night viewing, then on to Zurich, where I will be able to resume my daily blog.

5. If you like car horns, you'll love China, for many vehicles have four of them: the standard puny one you have, a higher frequency attention catcher, an intimidator to scare other cars and a truly frightening one to to anyone ahead of you to get out of your way, now.

Anonymous said...

By HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Patrick Takahashi

19 October 2010

XI JINPING

The next president of China will be Xi Jinping, who served as the leader of Shanghai until promoted in 2007 to the Beijing ruling group. Appropriately enough, he is chemical engineer. During the period when he was 16 to 22, he lived in a remote mountain village reaping wheat and shepherding. His immediate next stop was at Tsinghua University, where he graduated as an engineer. As President Hu never did respond to my message, my next effort will be directed at Xi...maybe as soon as tomorrow from my flight to Zurich.