You never know what you’re going to run into…
August 22nd, 2014


I was in Brazil last week, as last mentioned. They are experiencing winter there, but then we’re really talking 20 degree days in Rio, maybe a little cooler in Porto Allegre which is further south. I had a total blast. It wasn’t all work. When in Brazil you have to have their famous BBQ, which is essentially meat with meat. And one spends an inordinate amount of time in taxis. Traffic is hideous. One plans accordingly for meetings, but you never know what you’re going to run into. (more…)

Next week I’ll be in Rio, if all goes well…
August 8th, 2014


Next week I’ll be in Rio, if all goes well. That’s a stock photo above. I hope to have something real to replace it with soon. So this is a little story about what it takes to go there. You need a visa. A lot of people don’t realize that and buy their plane tickets and simply show up at the airport, expecting to be whisked off to Copacabana beach. Wrong. A friend of mine, a dean at another Canadian university, did just that. His staff didn’t know and so no one told him. There he was, smug as a just-picked tomatillo, luggage in hand, his expectant wife by his side. Oh the humiliation, not to mention the crashing disappointment. (more…)

Harbin, China. I’m still not over it…
August 1st, 2014


Harbin, China. I’m still not over it—not just the jet lag but the dizzying density. People, cars, shops, traffic, pollution, rice, rivers, and tigers. Lots of tigers. One afternoon we were taken to a huge expansive Siberian tiger park, where almost 1000 of these beasts roam openly in the middle of the city. Yes, it’s a carefully gated compound and the fences are meticulously controlled. Notice the bus going by as the tigers loll about in the heat. The windows on the buses are caged to prevent any of us from sticking our hands out too far. Picture-taking is a must but as soon as you indicate some flesh through those cages the tigers are keen to pounce. Imagine their boredom. Buses of Chinese visitors were more enthusiastic about feeding the animals. You can purchase buckets of chicken or red meat to dangle for the tigers but that’s a tricky thing to do. You have to avoid your wrist being taken with the meat. We watched a few of these scenes from our own bus and squirmed and squealed with horror at the spectacle.