Sunday, August 21, 2011


You may have seen these before. Sometimes they're called Mystery Balls. The fancier ones are carved from ivory, while the cheaper ones are wooden. I've been wanting one of these for a while, and I think I'll just have to keep wanting them. I'll never be able to afford one since they cost as much as a new car.

My brother-in-law has one with 28 or 30 levels in it. He let me try to solve the puzzle but I was too scared I'd break something if I handled it very much. To solve the puzzle you much align all the holes through all the layers. It's much more difficult than it seems. Usually you can get one hole lined up all the way through but the rest aren't even close. It's very much like a Rubik's cube; it's not too difficult to get one color but you can forget about it after that.

It's all carved from a single chunk of ivory. I have no idea how they can get in there to carve those inner layers. I would assume they'd have to carve the innermost layer first so they could hold it in place while working on it. If they worked on it from the outermost first everything would roll around and they'd never be able to grip anything to carve it.

I think I heard someone say all the old guys in China who know how to make these are dying off, and it's becoming a lost art. I hope they train some new younger guys to take over.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


We got to ride on a double-decker buss to the airport in GuangZhou. At first I was happy about that. We got up onto the top of the buss because that would be more fun. I thought.
I didn't realize we'd be barreling down a highway at rocket speed, and right on the edge of a roller-coaster-height bridge. The guardrail was about 2 feet tall. That would be just enough of a guardrail, not to stop your double decker buss from flipping, but to give it a quick spin and make the fall even more dramatic.
When I look at these pictures it doesn't seem as bad as it did in real life. It's difficult to conceive the scale of the drop in these shots. We were about 2 feet from the edge, and bouncing and bumping and flying across that highway the entire trip. Also big winds were blowing our buss which only added to the excitement. The only thing that gave me comfort was the fact that the driver probably drove that buss on that bridge many times a day, every day, and he was still alive.
Look at that tiny little guardrail!! Those are the tops of trees down there!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DANG! (Number 8)

I didn't have a single bad meal in Thailand. In fact every place we went was my new favorite.
I remember each time I ate somewhere I'd think, "I gotta remember to come back to this place!"

We never got the chance to eat anywhere twice, but it didn't matter. Everything was equally delicious.
So delicious I would say "DANG!"
While we ate at this place called Dang(?) a frog jumped through the entire restaurant, coming in one end of the dining area, hopping between the customers' feet and out the other side of the restaurant. Everyone saw it, and no one cared.

It started raining really hard so they let us stay there after hours until it stopped. It was an hour after they'd closed before we could go outside. While we were there they gave us some soup on the house.

Monday, August 1, 2011

LIU RONG SI Temple in GuangZhou China

This is a temple we visited in GuangZhou. I hope I typed the name correctly. We visited a few and I get them mixed up. This was a pretty big statue in the doorway. It had to be at least 9 feet tall.

Here's a detail of the little monster underneath the giant guy's foot.

There's no telling how old this stuff is. It could be hundreds of years old for all I know.

See this building? Look up there on the roof!
Here's a closeup
And each section had a uniqued sculpted scenery inside.
Here's Mei and a door.

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