Greetings from the Tokyo airport. It’s hour five of my seven-hour layover en route to the Hainan Island of the United States — Hawaii. I’m on my way (thanks to a free frequent flyer ticket) to meet this little guy (photo on right), my nephew Sam. This is my first time being an uncle. I hope I don’t drop him.
Interestingly, even with my long layover, thanks to an 18-hour time difference, I still arrive in Honolulu nearly two hours before I left Shanghai. I left Shanghai at 9:15 this morning, and will touch down in Hawaii at 7:20 … this morning. Right now, Honolulu’s low temperature is more than 20 degrees higher than Shanghai’s high temperature. Sounds good to me. I think I’ll stay for a month.
I’m going to be busy these next several weeks — doing the beach thing, babysitting and, yes, writing — so I was wondering: Can you guys help me answer some of the emails piling up in my inbox? The following are two of my more, um, interesting ones — covering everything from the notorious “shaking head pills” to Tommy Hilfiger to hunting with hawks. (Please leave your replies in the form of comments to this post.)
This one is from a former student, a college junior:
how are you going? winter holiday is drawing near and i’m very excited. i have been always thinking about going to the bar ‘cause the atmosphere there deeply attracts me. perhaps you think it very strange. going to bars is an easy deal, why do i always think? i’ve been told several times that it’s very terrible there. young people violently and continuously dance and shake their heads, and i guess that’s due to the drugs. so do you have any suggestions for me? in addition, dan, do you know about brands? i mean those american native brands such as tom hilfiger. have a nice day.
I Googled “head shaking drug” and this was the first link to come up: A People’s Daily story from 2000 entitled “‘Shaking Head Pills’ Seized at Baiyuan Airport.” Another link tells us that “shaking head pills” are ecstasy. I have never seen rampant head shaking at Shanghai bars — well, other than when Cecil plays the bongos — but maybe I just go to the wrong places.
The other email is from … well, I think it just kind of speaks for itself:
Dan, I am very interested in getting started in this process of educating myself in birds of prey and eventually learning handling. I live in rural Louisiana where there are literally hundreds of hawkson and near our farm. I have observed these creatures for years and am enthralled by them. What is the best way to get started. thqanks for any help you can provide.
Actually, I get emails like this all the time. This guy obviously stumbled upon this story I wrote around the same time, coincidently, the “shaking head pills” were seized at the Baiyuan airport. It’s part of my former life as a participatory journalist in the Bible Belt.
Thanks for helping me out. I look forward to your responses — as do, I’m sure, one of my former students and some guy in rural Louisiana. I will read them in between dips in the Pacific Ocean … and changing Sam’s diapers.