It’s Friday in Singapore! What better reason to reflect on the week and share some fun stories and photos from around the world? Hope you enjoy! I’ve got lots more upcoming posts now that I’m back from the US, settling back into Singapore, and ruminating on my recent travel experiences.
Yes, that’s Lake Tahoe in the photo above — a real-life Rothko last Sunday afternoon. We were driving the east coast on a weather-beaten day when the sun punched through and set the surface aglow. As a friend of ours noted that day, the view of Lake Tahoe can be exhausting with it’s shifting light and brooding colors. It’s a photographer’s dream given a day with no plans and a little bit of weather. Luckily, we nearly had both and were treated to a spectacular afternoon of photographic entertainment.
Did you hear? Singapore is this year’s Most Expensive City in The World. Can you hear the sound of one hand clapping? And a dying party horn? Because the party just officially ended. I can’t imagine that any city really wants or enjoys this label with the negative notoriety it brings. But then again this is not new news. Anyone living here would agree. The cost of a Toyota Corolla in Singapore for example, as cited by the survey, is $110,000 USD. That’s just the car. A Toyota Corolla! Getting it on the road with a COE (Certificate of Entitlement, appropriately named) will set you back an additional $76,999 SGD.
Some of you have asked what’s happening with my effort to take part in the rebuilding after Typhoon Haiyan. The answer is… rebuilding is going to be a long, slow process but I am actively searching for the best way I can personally be involved. Naively, I initially thought I might just show up and start helping. However, I would only be adding to the problem as one more person who requires food, water and shelter from an area that can’t currently provide it.
I have made contact with a Canadian who journeyed to Coron (the area I visited a few years ago) shortly after the storm. His wife’s family lives in the area. He says Coron and the surrounding areas were damaged but not as severely as he expected. He writes:
“The island was severly tree damaged and stripped of most leaves and small branches, heavy rains have caused most trees to regrow new leaves…some broken trees were shocked to survival mode where leaves started growing out of the trunks and large limbs….never seen that before. I have been busy cutting broken trees, lumber etc and helping those I can. Locals are resilient in piecing temporary homes together, many with tarps for roofs, but life goes on easier than it would if it happened in a western society.”
I expect I’ll be journeying to Philippines later this year through an organized rebuilding effort, perhaps with Habitat for Humanity as soon as they have host capability which is necessary before sending a team of volunteers. I’ll continue to keep you posted of my plans, as well as ways you can be involved if you so desire. I’m still hoping to buy a boat for a fisherman!
Here’s a fascinating story illustrating how undersea cables are keeping us connected around the world. If you’re reading this blog, it likely made its way to you along the bottom of the sea, not by satellite. Amazing stuff!
One last Friday reflection to end today’s post … I attended junior high and high school with a classmate named Jon Lujan. He was liked by all — funny, active, caring and just a really good guy. Fast forward 25 years and I just learned he’s been named as the US flag bearer at the upcoming 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.
Jon was in the Marines and injured his back while serving in Iraq. Reparative surgery in 2005 resulted in paralysis in his lower legs. But his condition hasn’t stopped him for a minute. He’ll be representing the US in alpine skiing and carrying the flag at tomorrow’s opening ceremonies — an honor bestowed on him by his Paralympic teammates.
I’m quite certain this is not the future Jon had imagined for himself when we graduated from high school, yet it is a spectacular place he finds himself and a real lesson in how to create and celebrate your life no matter what challenges confront you. Good luck, Jon! You’re an inspiration and I can’t wait to watch you in Sochi!