Life is what happens when you’re trying to travel blog! The trip is long in the rear-view mirror but here is part 2.
After a quick breakfast from hell’s supermarket, and lots of vending machine coffee (I am low-key obsessed with Boss Coffee), we went to Himeji to visit the castle and gardens. I was a bit peckish so I picked up a fried Lovecraftian horror during the walk from the train.
The castle was wonderful. It’s a famous example of traditional Japanese architecture, and while it’s not got a history of super-famous people living there or anything, Kurasawa filmed Ran there. A lot of other movies were filmed there too! And it has a long modern history of being nearly demolished or bombed to dust, so lucky us.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating with photographs until we were just leaving. But here’s a nice pano that might give you the idea.
…I am in Osaka!
When I woke up Friday morning, I had an email from a spec-fic magazine editor about a story I’d submitted. He wasn’t buying it, but he’s willing to work through a series of revisions with me, and see if he likes what I end up with. I’ve taken him up on that. (I know the story needs a little work, but I couldn’t tell you exactly how. It’s very helpful to have a pro articulating where it stumbles.)
So that great news was a great start to my vacation. I sent a reply and then got ready and we were off to the airport.
The flight was rather long. I bought a video game for it, Subnautica, which was recently released for Steam. I hadn’t heard of it before, which is kind of surprising since it’s right up my alley–survival/adventure/exploration, plus the horror of sea monsters. But then, I often don’t hear about a game when it isn’t on a platform I have yet. Too much to keep up with otherwise. I ended up playing it for six hours on the flight.
Customs was ruthlessly efficient, and after some weirdness trying to figure out the train tickets, we were off to Osaka proper. Continue reading
I’m pleased to announce the launch of my new public project, a webcomic named Against Stupidity. From the summary:
Meet Jesse Grunwald.
He just finished two years at community college in Santa Fe. In a fortuitous coincidence, earlier this year, he got offered a four-year scholarship at a Denver university and inherited his grandmother’s estate–a vintage victorian right by the lake in south Denver. Now it’s fall, and he’s moving in. He’s prepared to balance the quadruple demands of keeping up his GPA, holding down a job, making new friends, and keeping repairs up on the undoubtedly shitty car he’s about to buy. Unbeknownst to him, he’ll have to add two more demands–taking care of grandma’s pets, and holding up his magical karmic duties as the only grandchild of the powerful witch Clarita Grunwald.
I hope you’ll join and follow his adventures. Here’s the cover for Chapter 1, Over The River and Through The Woods:
Greetings from Hanoi. It’s a lovely day here, a nice cool eighty-two degrees. Perfect for, say, a stroll along a tree-lined boulevard next to the lake.
The French left their mark on this city.
We arrived here yesterday on a late flight from Siem Reap, Cambodia. Siem Reap is next to the Angkor complex containing among other things Angkor Wat
. Angkor was the seat of the once-mighty Khmer empire, and a thousand years ago was home to a million people. Nowadays it’s known for the temple at Angkor Wat, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and the largest religious monument on the planet. Originally a Hindu temple, as well as the mausoleum of the king who oversaw its construction, it gradually turned into a Buddhist temple as the Khmer people began to favor Buddhism themselves.
And of course it’s really amazing.
Greetings from a cafe named Dexter, probably not after the serial killer.
Yesterday we went to the Bangkok Art & Culture Center (BACC), which will apparently like your posts on Instagram if you tag them there. It seemed to be, essentially, a modern art museum without any permanent exhibits from the new masters. It had some pretty cool stuff! And it was for the most part cultural art, which I guess makes sense when you consider the name.
Much of the Center’s offerings were dedicated to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was very, very popular around these parts. Very very. I don’t know as much about him as I should, but might very well pick up a book on him. Trying to understand Thailand very well, without understanding Bhumibol, seems pretty impossible.
Anyway, he died in October, and they’re still officially in mourning. The very front of the museum, right at the big National Stadium rail stop, featured the exhibit 5 Graffiti Artists in Remembrance of H.M. King Bhumibol.
Pretty cool stuff. I recognized a couple of the artists from their works around town. Continue reading
Hey there, probably-nonexistent readers. I’m on a trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam right now. I’m sitting in a cool jazzy little cafe writing this on an unlocked phone that my husband had sitting around. This is actually my first time traveling overseas with very much of a data plan at all (2GB for $8 at the airport is a steal), and it’s nice. The best part is Google Maps, but being able to look things up more generally is good too. In a pinch, it’s also good if I get bored, but I’ve been trying to work on presence more and so far I’ve only gotten bored while using the bathroom, which I think is close to a human universal.
Here’s the cafe I’m in, which has a great name, don’t you think?
I haven’t done a whole lot. Went to the mall because I packed the one pair of shorts I own and realized I would probably need another. The mall, Terminal 21, was interesting. Each level is decorated like a different city. The food court, which is excellent, was San Francisco. Can’t get away from that place! It’s much cleaner here, though.