Sunday, December 30, 2012
When over 100,000 troops crossed the 38th parallel in Korea in 1950 to reunite their divided country under a communist regime, I was 10 years old and living in a small town in North Carolina. This aggression was the first move in a short but bloody "police action" or "conflict" between United Nations forces, mobilized by the United States, and an army supplied and supported by China and the Soviet Union. I was old enough to realize the dangers involved and followed events in the newspaper and on our black-and-white TV. Pictures and film of Korea as a devastated and colorless country are etched in my memory.
David A. Mason, author of Spirit of the Mountains, gave us a tour of Insa-dong while the white stuff was coming down and guided us through an excellent meal of traditional Thai cuisine at a superb restaurant called Jirisan. He also took us to the inspiring Jogyesa Temple, headquarters of Korea's main Buddhist group which emphasizes Zen meditation, and we went across the street to the headquarters of the Temple Stay program which he helped start.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons
T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
I used to hang out at Starbucks just inside the entrance to Central Pinklao, the upscale shopping mall up the street in my Bangkok neighborhood, but now I frequent Coffee World on the 2nd floor because of the comfortable reading chairs and free wifi. I think the cappuccino is better, although I don't consider myself a connoisseur of the bean. If truth be told, it's the foam that I like best. Since using my finger is impolite, the spoon is for the foam. I don't take sugar.