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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • May 06, 2006

     

    Itching For a Vacation

    This might sound ridiculous but with only five months into 2006 I'm thinking about my getaway at the end of the year! Practicality dictates to plan early with the skyrocketing gas prices: the airlines are within their pale of reason to ask for a fuel surcharge as a barrel of petroleum now costs $75 on the market. It's always advisable to book early as soon as I confirm the date unless I want to brave the last-minute deals, which usually don't exist for many of the Asian destinations. From my humble travel experience, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Tokyo are usually booked up quickly due to popularity. Cambodia, which is the home of the world heritage site Angkor Wat, has attracted streams of visitors from all over the world. Shortage of flights into the tiny, under-developed, ill-equipped airport at Siem Reap mandate travelers to plan early.

    The first sketch of this year's itinerary includes a trip to re-visit the Thai resortland in Phuket, where the entire strip of Patong Beach was swept and damaged by the tsunami in Dec 2004. The Thai government's indomitable effort to rebuild Phuket, along with international succor, has restored most of the toursy areas and recently the island hosted a campaign sloganed "Phuket is Back, Let's Celebrate", which culminated in the festive Phuket Gay Festival. I'm thinking about spending a week in Phuket and sailing to some of the coral islands. Other than usual travel mechanics like how to get to/from the airport, I'm spontaneous: I hate to be under the constraint of schedule. What's better than sitting on the beach, having a sip of tropical drink and reading a book?

    The 58th Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan would be my last stop before heading back to San Francisco. The festival is the largest winter's celebration in Japan featuring hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures which lined Odori Park, the main street in Susukino and Satorando. I haven't worked out the fine details yet but it looks like the tentative route would be San Francisco--Phuket--Hong Kong--Tokyo/Sapporo--Home.

    Anyone wants to tag along?

    6 Comments:

    Blogger matty said...

    Wow! That sounds exciting.

    ...vacations. I've forgotten what those are. ...but I fear I won't be seeing one till 2007. unless a long weekend to LA.

    Do you travel with friends/family?

    5/06/2006 12:20 PM  
    Blogger Tony said...

    A few areas I will have to experience in the future. I have ahd this undying itch to go to Hong Kong and Japan for quite some time. And I have heard about the Snow Festival in Japan. Envious here! But my primary international travel goal within the next year to two years is to get over to Aussieland and New Zealand, in particular.

    5/07/2006 1:09 AM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Matt-
    I usually travel alone or with a tight-knitted group of friends. I like to do things spontaneously when I travel and I'm not much of a shopper. I went to Thailand alone last year, spent almost 3 weeks there by trains.

    Tony-
    English-speaking countries are not my priority for now. I still have India, Tibet, Nepal, Morroco, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Chile on the list. But I can visualize the coral reef fin Golden Coast and the solicitous Maori tribe in New Zealand. Someday... :)

    5/07/2006 11:19 AM  
    Blogger matty said...

    I don't think I could travel alone. I had to spend 2 days in NYC alone a couple of years ago and I was sooooo lonely. I like to be with people to do and see things. Not much of a loner. ...but, I envy people who can travel, be alone and have fun.

    5/07/2006 9:31 PM  
    Anonymous iliana said...

    This doesn't sound ridiculous at all, then again I live for vacations :) All the destinations you mention sound amazing. One of my top places I want to visit one day is Japan.

    5/08/2006 7:09 AM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Japan is very traveler-friendly even if you don't speak the language. All you need is a JR (Japan Railway) Pass, which is available in periods of time. I plan to take the Shikansen (Bullet train) from Tokyo to Sapporo, which allows me to see the urban areas petering away as I head to the north. The opposite direction of the line takes me to to Osaka and the ancient capital Kyoto. I'm fine tuning the travel details and hopefully find a pension to live in. :)

    5/08/2006 10:01 AM  

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