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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MUGA #23: Seoul to Shanghai

Well, so far, so good, no nuclear missile intrusion into Seoul.  The only blowup was an American helicopter crashing near the Korea border (left) yesterday.  Those bombings in Boston only left me wondering.  Why two hours after the potential for maximum impact, and both within 12 seconds?  Why a marathon race? What an unexpected first terrorist-like attack after the 1993 Al Queda urea-nitrate bomb which killed six, the domestic caused 1995 Oklahoma City ammonium nitrate - nitromethane explosion and resultant massacre of 168, and the 9/11 Al Queda attack resulting in just about 3,000 deaths.  The amazing thing about this latest is how lucky the U.S. has been in avoiding these bombings for the past dozen years.  

If anyone can purchase fertilizer, pressure-cookers and backpacks, there is no rationale way to avoid these bombers.  Whether it be a crazed individual with some kind of gripe, or a programmed terrorist, this will only get worse.  One thing I feel certain about, can't be North Korea, notwithstanding this country serving as the latest film villain (Olympus has Fallen and Red Dawn).  Rick Yune, incidentally, pictured to the right, is an American of Korean descent who was born in DC, graduated from Wharton School of Business, became a hedge fund trader...but decided to try acting.

I might close Seoul by indicating that the cherry blossoms are here and there nearing peak.  There are also the yellow forsythia and violet azaleas.  This is a very colorful time here:


I'm now at Incheon Airport and awaiting my flight to Shanghai.  Appropriately enough, the  top headline this morning of the International Herald Tribune (the global edition of the New York Times):  China paper suggests U.S. is making Asia 'tenser."  On page four:  North Korea demands an apology for South rally.  While we can harrumph and scoff all we want, why is America sending our Marines to Australia? Clearly, this is hedge against China. This kind of provocation only makes the Chinese spend more money for their defense, which catalyzes the need for additional military-industrial complex funding in the USA.  Republicans will make sure this happens.

About that second headline, where 250 Seoul protesters burned effigies of Kim Il-sun and Kim Jong-il (the North Korean founder and his son, father of the current Young Leader) yesterday, and the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army angrily responding by calling this a "monstrous criminal act."  As I suggested to Kim Jong-un, they really should tone down their loopy exaggerations.  They must have a team of gag writers dreaming up these outrageous pronouncements.

On the way to Incheon Airport, I noticed that cherry blossoms were beginning to reach a peak:
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On the Asiana flight to Shanghai, I realized that in all my days in Korea, I failed to consume even one meal from that country. So, I ordered their Korean special:
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Basically, you make a sandwich, where the leafy vegetable (there were five kinds) serves as the bread. That's pork on the right and assorted condiments above. I'm also having a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Korean beer. I almost ate the whole thing.
If you are not in China, you can go to my regular blog site, and note that I spoke glowingly of the sterwardesses of Asiana. Here is the one serving me:
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I'm now having a Bailey's Cream with coffee and lemon.
The trip from Pudong Airport in Shanghai into town cost $30 on a taxi. My room at the Westin on the Bund, looking in one direction, has a view of that icononic symbol, the Oriental Pearl Tower to the extreme right:
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On the other hand, in another direction:
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I should mention that the Executive Club of this Westin is about the best I've experienced. There is a wide assortment of dishes and drinks, with excellent service and a terrific setting.
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