May 27, 2015
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon was by far the most beautiful sight I've ever seen in my life. That is saying a lot. Before I entered, I did not have any indication of what it was going to be like. The second I set foot inside, my breathe was taken away. One must remove their shoes and socks before entering the grounds. So you walk around barefoot on marble floors, 14 acres worth. There seems to be a hundred temples all interconnected. My eyes hurt trying to take in all the gold and beauty. I surely felt the belief in a higher power wandering around that place. Even my bare feet touching the smooth stones that have been walked on by millions of people gave you chills. You get a tactile connection to the earth. Yun and I went back a second day too because we couldn't really comprehend what we had just seen the first time. I made a little video that I will be posting next time, so be sure and watch it to see what I'm talking about.
May 25, 2015
There is one odd thing about traveling to Burma. You must bring brand new American bills. No one will accept old wrinkled dough. In order to do this, I had to notify my bank in advance. They didn't have enough crisp new ones of each denomination. When I went to pick it up I felt like I was in a movie, strolling down the block with a bag full of money. It stayed on my desk, next to my computer the week before we left. It was crazy to look at the stacks. When we got there, it felt strange to always peel off fresh new money to pay for things. Somehow it felt counterfeit. Of course, we didn't spend all the money we brought with us. We had to keep using it back in the states for a few weeks. I was finally glad to get back to smelly old money and debit cards.
May 20, 2015
Recently a school teacher from Boise, Idaho wrote to me. She told me she was bringing 31 high school art students to New York city for the purpose of seeing all the great art galleries in Manhattan. Christine thought it would be a great idea if they could meet a real artist too. That is where I come in. "Would I agree to be that, said artist?" Hell yeah, I'll meet some crazy kids. We met on the High Line, where I was doing a drawing. They got to see me working on a sketch in progress. I brought along a bunch of my drawing books for them to see first hand. It was a lovely experience for me and maybe for them too. They do have a very smart teacher, that's for sure.
May 18, 2015
The world has shrunk. Yun and I planned our trip to Burma a while ago. I was looking at photos on my Facebook feed and noticed a girl I had once worked with posted a photo of herself in Burma. I figured she must have just visited there so I wrote to her. Turns out she was actually living in Yangon. What are the odds of that. Her name is Perrie Briskin. Because I am an artist, I somehow have over eight thousand art followers on Facebook. Perrie happened to be one of those followers. Years ago, we worked together at The Barbarian group. We knew each other to say hello but that was about it. Now here I was traveling to the end of the earth and she was going to hang out with my wife and I. Perrie has been living and working there for over a year. She is an interesting person to say the least. Perrie is a tall, beautiful individual. My wife hit it off with her immediately. She took us out to a crazy Indian restaurant to eat. She told us all about life in such a far away place. We told her we were flying to Bagan and wouldn't see her anymore. Perrie then informed us she was going to be there too. A couple of her close girlfriends were coming to visit her and have an adventure. They were to arrive in Bagan one day after we arrived. What are the odds? So we got to hang out with her again in an even more exotic city. After our experience, Perrie is no longer just a pretty girl I used to work with but a friend for life.
May 15, 2015
This is an update to my recent tale about Wikipedia putting my photo up as the portrait for Tommy Kane the NFL football player who murdered his wife. So one of my friends, Kit Umscheld, said that one of my fans should be able to get into wikipedia and change the photo again. She suggested the squirrel with a gun. Well turns out that someone was able to change the photo. Except they changed it to a real picture of the killer, Tommy Kane. But the picture they now used is a drawing I did of him many years ago for a blog post I did about us having the same name. That is genius. I wonder what will happen next.
May 13, 2015
Bagan is one of the most amazing places in the world. There are over 2000 Buddhist temples and pagodas all within biking distance. They vary from quite large to very small. There is at least one statue of Buddha in each one. Some places have self imposed villagers who guard and caretake the religious site. The people are very poor. It is the fifth poorest country in the world. They are always trying to sell you some type of souvenir which breaks your heat. Of course, Yun and I left with a suitcase full. They do make beautiful lacquerware. We rented an electric bike to get us around. Electric bikes are fantastic. Very quiet and economical. They are a little slow but Yun didn't mind that. For one long stretch we had to travel through a lot of sand. The bike is nearly impossible to control on sand. I had one minor wipeout going 5 miles an hour. Of course Yun won't let me forget that.
May 11, 2015
After Hong Kong, Yun and I traveled to Myanmar, which is really Burma. We wanted to see something off the beaten path. It's been my dream to see it for a long time. We started in Yangon (Rangoon). Basically overnight, this city has gone from bicycles and scooters to cars. No one really understands driving too well because it is all so new. Seat belts are never worn, laws are loosely obeyed and everyone talks on cell phones while they drive. People would stand in the middle of a road sweeping, while cars whipped around a bend and just miss them. No one seemed concerned. It was hot when we were there, in the mid nineties most days. No one really spoke English.