Friday night ? – יוֹם כִּפּוּר

Saturday, September 18th, 2010
Greetings from LAX.. I just got here from beijing and actually landed earlier on the same day that I left. It’s a peculier day.. Today… whenever that is.. is Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the jewish calendar.. It’s the day where you reflect on all the things you did that were ‘wrong’ in the past year.. Wrong here can mean places where you wronged someone, stole,  didn’t do your best, told false stories.., disrespected teachers., demonstrated false pride, been hard hearted, been immodest, been glutenous,  lied  etc. etc..  There’s a whole litany of these wrongs spelled out..   a really comprehensive list . Anyway.. today’s the day you ask forgivness of those you may have wronged.. and of yourself.. and set your heart to do better in the coming year..

The custom is to spend the day fasting and attend services in shul..(aka synagogue) I am fasting..the proscribed 25 hours.. but instead of shul.. I

am spending the 24 hours  in planes finsihing up the last legs of this

round the world  trip

(btv->nyc->stockholm->bejing->LA->Boston->BTV) .

Being on a plane is a good place to reflect. The combination of jetlag and low blood sugar have me in a kind of mystical stupor..

I hesitate to say I’m enjoying it.. .. maybe finding it meaningful is more like it..

Even though I no longer consider myself to be religious.in a formal

sense.. I do take this part of being reflective and setting your

intentions very seriously.. so.. If you’re reading this and I somehow

wronged you or was a jerk to you this year.. I sincerely apologize.. and will do my best to do better this year.

Thanks !

nite all, nite sam,
-me

ps. Here are some more pictures from this week.. It’s so nice to be able to get to my blog and myspace  again.. That was pretty strange being offline that long.

Here was lunch yesterday at work.. it’s rare that our cafeteria food looks back at you like this ..


Here are soem pictures from the 15th anniversary celebration from our China Research Lab.. it just happened to be going on at the same time my meetings in china were happening. It was fun to participate !  The whole place was decorted a

Here’s some of the folks I was working with.. Petras, Ling, David Radha, Jane and Andreas

There were even fireworks.. real and simulated.. it was really festive.. lots of speeches.. everyone was proud of what the lab had accomplished in these past 15 years. I think my first trip here was about 10 years ago.. the place has really grown into such a great collection of brilliant and cabaple folks.

Here’s Jane wiht my host for the visit Hai.. he’s oly been at IBM for 6 months after getting his PhD in Switzerland. He took such good care of us.. driving us around, getting us to places on time, making sure we were fed.. I’m hoping Hai and his colleagues come visit us so we can take care of them sometime..

Hai even brought us Moon Cakes in honor of the coming mid autumn festival.. This one had a duck egg yolk in its center..   (ewwww !)

We managed to take some of our hosts out to lunch in appreciation for all they did for us.. (and for a nice work success) . They chose a Bejing Duck place..
Most of the food was parts of a duck.. eg. liver

hearts

even duck feet (:-)

There was veggie stuff too like this tofu pizza thingy

bok-choy and chesnuts

and as everywhere.. another big fish head !.. They are really big on fish heads !

It was great seeing the China team relax. they work amazingly hard every day..

Here’s the team with the SamStones I gave them all..

Afterwards we went back and worked a bit. then it was time for them to go.. It was kinda hard to say goodbye. I really, really like the team here.. I am looking forward to workign with them and seeing them again soon.

Then it was time to head to the airport. I had a choice to make.. I could take an hour and a half cab ride for about 20 bucks..   or I could take the subway. I have this ‘thing’ for subways.. I love riding them.. I have ridden Beijing subways many times.. they are the most crowded in the world, I think.. but I love them.. so that’s what I decided to do. I wakde about 2 KM to the tran station.. which had this cool.. (and really smelly) outdoor market)

I managed to buy my tickets. ($16 cents) . and had no trouble following the way.. All the stations and end points are listed in English also..

It was amazingly packed. I barly cramed in as the doors shut. you couldn’t move an inch in wither derection we were so packed.. very cool !

At DOngzhemein I changed for the airport express ($4)

as the train arrived I tossed a samstone under the bench

The train was fast and moden.. as is the airport (sorry for the blur.. it was pretty dark)

I got to the airport computably on time.. but without a long wait.. I manged to get to the gate  only 30 min before boarding..

I’m abut 2/3 the way home now.. at least time wise. can’t wait to see my family..
more tomorrow..
nite all, note sam
-me