Having heard about the City Lights bookstore for a while, finally I got an idle afternoon to check out this cultural place. It was impressive that how the store encouraged people to read -- signs saying "have a seat + read a book" were everywhere.
I went to the poetry room and found a seat in the corner. The room was very quite in the afternoon with a ray of sunshine coming in through the window. Everything was just perfect to have a seat and read. So I picked a book randomly and started to read. I was expecting to read a poetry book but it turned out that the book was actually about Afghanistan -- stories about Afghanistan behind a collection of lansays. The name of the book was I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan.
I was more interested in reading and feeling the stories. To be honest, I only had limited knowledge of the middle east (or the West Asia), in spite of a fortunate trip to Israel this summer. When thinking about Afghanistan, my reactions were the American-Taliban war, withdrawal of American armies from Afghanistan, and some pieces of memories on the sharp contrast of Afghanistan in 50 years ago v.s. today. The book records some real stories in Afghanistan -- sex, rape, slave, war, marriage, family, exchange, education. Some brutal stories happened simply because people had no other choice. A vivid example is women's roles in a family. In the early days, women were responsible for bringing drinkable water to the family, and at that time they used containers like jugs to carry water from rivers to their houses. Recently, some families started to dig deep well to extract water directly from the underground so women no longer had to go out and carry water back. The interesting part was that because of the risk of rape and kidnap, women were not allowed to go out if not necessary, then it became hard for young girls to meet young boys. As a result, young people had fewer chances to meet each other. This side effect makes it harder to judge whether that technology improvement was good or bad; however, the wide applications of Internet (e.g. facebook) have significantly and positively impacted people's lives, as this lansay shows.
In nominal terms — the most appropriate measure when judging an economy’s global impact — India’s output is one-fifth that of China’s. India makes up a mere 2.5 per cent of global GDP against a hefty 13.5 per cent for China. If China grew at 5 per cent annually, it would add an Indian-sized economy to its already hefty output in less than four years. Saying India can match this is like saying a mouse can pull a tractor.
Then quickly checked China's GDP data...almost doubled since 6 years ago? (2009-2015). It is not just the math thing... not only add another India, China has already added another Japan-size economy. But wait, what does GDP mean for everyone?
That's like the question I had when I was wandering in streets in Tel Aviv...How should we account for economic growth? Especially for a big and quite unbalanced economy like China. My generation is not feeling stable -- so many people have to leave their hometowns to make a life either in Big Three (Beijing or Shanghai or Guangzhou/Shenzhen). Given another decade, how much worse could it even be?
Also wait... when US was at 10T China was not even 2T (2002)... now China/US is 10/17. Who can conclude that India cannot grow like China?
It took me a while to come up with the best title to describe my past 15 days experience in Israel... Finally I was inspired by "full of ingredients" and just a little change -- full of adventures.
I think I am the kind of person who loves to travel alone. I seldom make a travel plan -- last time when I traveled to Tibet and Nepal I didn't even book a round-way ticket. That's the unpredictable part of traveling: I don't know what's going to happen, so everything is a surprise and I enjoy the process of discovery.
This time to Israel was in fact better organized. It was a business trip; otherwise it would be very hard for me to get a visa to Israel. I had to stay in office on workdays; but that was not too bad either, because I could chat with Israeli colleagues and learn from them. Of course weekends were my adventure time.
600 KM Drive
The most remarkable day was the second Friday (Sunday-Thursday are workdays in Israel), when I drove 600 km by myself up to the north. Haifa, Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights. I watched the most beautiful moon-rise in my life when the moon rose up from mountains over the Galilee Sea. I could not stop myself from constantly driving around Sea of Galilee until the sky went completely dark and my GPS kept correcting me to the right route back to Tel Aviv. It was too amazing to be rational. Time flew without awareness.
Moon rise at the Galilee Sea
When I walked to a Cafe on top of the Bahai Garden for a short afternoon tea, it turned out to be a coincidence that a painter was drawing a painting that very similar to me! I wish I was in a long light dress so I could have matched the painting much better!