My opinion: One doesn't get to heaven by fighting against hell.
Rather strive as a member of humanity to bring heavenly qualities into life on earth.

I'm back in Kelowna returning by train from Kashgar through Nanjing for 4 days and 2 days in Shanghai.

Cowboy herding cattle in the Tian Shan
(Celestial Mountains) alongside the rail line
between Yuergou and Hejing.

I'm spending my 15 days in Kashgar mainly associating with Abdul Wahab, his family and friends at Old Road Tours and learning the ins and outs of local life.

I've purchased a few rocks for Lindea but this time haven't found the good lapis lazuli that I expected to buy.

I'm taking the time in this remote area to retune my spirit and consider what I should try to direct my energies and influences toward.

Carved Jade bought in Kashgar

Jade carver and work station.

Officials including a Standing Committee Member and
the Chairwoman of the Committee for Cultural Relations
with Foreign Countries welcome participants to the Book Fair

My second trip of the year to DPR-Korea at the invitation from the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries went well.

Naeim and I contributed books to the booth assigned to Trans-Pacific Enterprise Expeditors at the Pyongyang Science and Technology Book Fair. I was presented with a vase and "diploma" from the Chairwoman of the KCCRFC in the presence of a Standing Committee Member as mementos of the event.

We met with representatives of the business community and saw the manufacturing facility for the production of tin cans, visited many attractions — including the new ski facility near Wonsan and the popular Mount Kumgang area near the south-east coast of the country.

The food was enjoyable.

My shooting with a competition .22 rifle at the gun range of 50 meters produced a high score with all 10 shots on target and 3 in the bulls eye. The accuracy evoked the question from the female range attendant of whether I was a sniper, and gave me an opportunity to clarify that I wasn't interested in using such skills for shooting at people.

Plans for another English teaching trip will be made by the KCCRFC for a spring visit.

I meet with Roger and Louise at McDonalds
to exchange things we have for each other

The trip to China this time went as scheduled. There were no difficulties but lugging the weight of my belongings and the goodies I brought to Roger.

I took the maglev from Pudong airport to save time going to Shanghai Hongqiao railway station. It allowed me to get an early evening train to Nanjing and I arrived there before 7pm and had to wait at McDonalds for Roger and Louise to get my train tickets and mobile SIM card. I greatly appreciate the effort they put into helping me. It made the arrangements for the phone service and train ticket purchases a breeze and the trip to DPR-Korea went forward without a hitch.

Smoke in the air from forest fires
adds a yellow hue to the moon

Bright super moon at midnight

A deer decided to have lunch in our back yard.

Lindea extracting barite crystals
from a vug

Lindea and I went to the Rock Candy Mine for a day of collecting mineral samples of fluorite rocks and barite crystals.

I met with Norm Letnick, BC Minister of Agriculture, at his constituency office to keep him updated on my efforts to improve relations with DPR-Korea through my visits there.

I let him know of my next trip to bring science and technology books to a booth I'll be attending at the book fair in Pyongyang in September.

So far I have books on Perl programming, architecture and cultural buildings. I am expecting a friend to contribute books on environmental waste management and other similar items.

Camera: FinePix HS50EXR
ISO: 200, F/11, 1/160 Sec.
185mm (1000mm 35mm eq.)

The best picture of the moon I was able to capture with my camera. I used different features of the camera and took many pictures at different settings to find the proper exposure. I then enhanced and cropped the image using Microsoft Photo Gallery.

Two fluffy bird chicks hide
beneath a sage brush while
the mother was frightened
away by our presence

Lindea and I went on our annual rockhounding trip to Oregon. We attended the powwows at Prineville and Madras. We went on rock gathering trips with Cheryl, Allison, David and others to places like Hampton Butte, Glass Butte and McDermitt where we found large quantities of beautiful rocks that were easy to get. We returned home with the truck and trailer loaded with a lot. Lindea will spend much of the next year cutting, polishing and showing her work with friends and at rock shows. I'll likely try to make some jewelry and other pieces as well.

Lindea viewing the Dry Falls cataract

I went with Lindea to Castlegar for the Kokanee Gem, Mineral, Fossil Show & Sale hosted by the Kokanee Rock Club along with the Selkirk Rock Club.

Lindea with her rock display

The Columbia River from
Crowsnest Highway

Whirlpool downstream
from a bridge pier

A mallard duck couple rest
on our front lawn

I'm back home and have spent the time since I returned trying to catch up with chores, find support for developing DPRK activities, and prepare the truck and trailer for rock hunting excursions.

On the 7th of May a mallard couple made themselves at home on our front lawn and on the 11th a beautiful double rainbow formed over the valley in front of our house.

I've spoken with community leaders and made appointments for more. I've added a battery and inverter to the trailer to improve dry camping activities and added a tool compartment to the box of the pick-up truck to conveniently keep the rock hounding tools in order. I changed the winter tires to summer tires on Lindea's car and discovered the misalignment on the rear wheels was so bad that the new tires were completely worn out. Since the problem existed when Lindea bought the car, Kelowna Toyota paid the cost for the alignment and Fountain Tire kindly gave Lindea a coupon to compensate for some of the cost for next winter's tires. I've discovered how to get more accurate China Railway station locations from Google Maps and am updating the data list for the railway website. I'm checking each station and removing any that are not currently used for passenger service. The process will likely take a few months to complete.

I have lots more work to do around home including installing the deck railings and canopies, organizing work spaces and cutting and polishing rocks. I'll be taking a silversmithing course on Saturday.

I'm back at YVR (Vancouver Airport) between flights. The flight from Shanghai was the quickest yet. We arrived before 11:30 am flying the distance in less than 10.5 hours. No delays of any kind.

Flight to Kelowna YLW departs at 1:20 pm, so the wait is not long, but it's another of those 39 hour days.

I'm at Starbucks in the Henderson Shopping Centre on Nanjing Road East tanking up on coffee for the flight home.

See Album

The teaching visit to the DPRK (North Korea) was enjoyable beyond all expectations. I was free to walk about the city without any restrictions in my spare time. I walked for about 1 1/2 hours one day and at least 20 minutes each day. The only other westerners I encountered was a group of 4 students of Juche from Russia. Otherwise I was a unique feature of the environment. I met a few people who spoke a little to me in English but otherwise it was just me and the city with thousands passing by. I'll add more about my trip when I recover from the journey and find some time.

Pictures taken while I was teaching at Kumsong College in Pyongyang.

Looking north on Sungri Street
from Kim Il Sung Square
during an evening stroll

The days are passing quickly as I experience the planned events and relaxation time.

Before lunch today I walked on my own from the hotel along the river, through the main square where the mass celebrations of national events occur and back along a main street.

I met a few groups of people along the way and spent a few social moments with a group of men my age. Some understood enough English to learn that I come from Kelowna, Canada, and we shook hands with each other.

The research and treatment group at the hospital for breast cancer would like to work with specialists and other medical organizations to advance the cure and treatment of the disease.

I'm at Dandong station waiting for the train. I've passed inspection to enter the waiting room and will board train soon to arrive in Pyongyang this evening.

My visa to the DPRK was issued this morning. It took about 2 minutes waiting time from submission of my application until I received my passport back with the visa affixed and stamped.

Tomorrow I board the train to Dandong where I get the ticket and train to Pyongyang on Friday.

Next expected update to this site likely about 17 April.

This may be my last remarks before I embark on my third (annual) visit, but first as an invited guest to the DPR Korea.

As I prepare my thoughts, I review much of what I have grown to understand about China and the likelihood of parallels already evident and yet to be more fully discovered. It is obvious to me that China would not be the powerhouse it is today without its long history of creative planning, consistently diligent application of effort and adaptation to changing conditions — from a destitute and shattered nation, mostly alone and usually against the resistance of foreign interests.

With having to start from complete destruction down to ground level, the development in this isolated part of Korea has been ever more challenging and the opposition from all quarters even more severe. That a country can arise to overcome all such obstacles to the degree it has, as is evident today, is astounding to me. I would not believe it possible but for the fact that I have seen such indisputable evidence and spoken at a heartfelt level with some of the people who are living through the experience.

I am hopeful that the coming involvement will reinforce and expand my understanding, provide clearer insight into the needs and opportunities of the future, build a foundation of trust on both sides of the border, and contribute as much as possible both during and following my visit, to a more genuine good will for the inclusion of the country in the world community.

I'm aware that many will try to interpret my undertaking in a partisan political light, but I state in indisputable terms that my life demonstrates a complete freedom from partisanship and detachment from any ideological ism. My commitment is to the oneness of all people and the work necessary for the development of a global community with just opportunity and equity for each and everyone.

I do not seek two sides of an issue in order to reconcile opposing opinion, but rather observe the multifaceted activities of community life, engage in consultation and the scholarly study of philosophical ideas and ideals, experience day to day friendly relations and participate in the reasoned development of social life based on principles that promote the evolution of a functional organic oneness and interdependence of human civilization.

My personal struggle is not against any established position but instead to find the ways and means, both within myself and in cooperation with others, to be creatively and innovatively involved in social development.

Next Tuesday on my birthday it will be the tenth anniversary of my first arrival in China. I've spent about half of that time in this country and on that day I'm scheduled to pick up my next visa to the DPR Korea.

Today I completed the arrangements for my tickets to Pyongyang, so maybe I can relax a little. Only the train tickets back from Dandong to obtain or perhaps I'll fly back to China. I still have time to consider the alternatives and decide what I shall do. I'll likely wait until I'm in Korea to make the final choice. Although somewhat daring, it will be a good opportunity to explore travel planning from there. Young Pioneer Tours will have some groups there at the time so I can likely arrange with them for my return tickets as a last resort or even a first choice, as the case may be.

I received the plans for my trip to the DPRK to give lectures to high school students. I'm planning to bring some requested 'architectural books concerning the construction of international conference house and exhibition hall' that my Nanjing developer friend, Mac will provide.

The plan is for my visit to be from 28 March - 16 April and I'll be staying at the Haebangsan Hotel. I'll likely travel from Beijing to Pyongyang and return by train. I expect to go to Beijing a few days early to arrange for my visa at the Embassy of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. My return flight from Shanghai to Canada has been rebooked for 21 April.

I'm looking forward with expectations of a wonderful experience and learning more of the hopes that the people there have for the future and doing whatever I can to help improve communications for the development of peaceful activities and relations. I have never met anyone with such experience so as to provide advice so I'll have to rely on the same resources as has helped me get this far in life with the little means as has been available to me.

I have arrived safely in China, obtained my new phone plan and started to adjust to the body clock change.

It's still holiday mode here in Asia so I'll bide my time as people get back to normal activities next week.

My electric bike is missing so we will try to find out whether the security firm that is paid for watching this residential area will provide compensation for the loss. I have a segment of the licence tag that should provide enough identification details for the necessary police report. Next time I should keep a record of the purchase and licensing. This time I had them in the bike for proof of ownership if I was stopped, so they are also missing.

The view from home.

On 29 December Lindea and I went on a rockhounding and family visiting trip to Arizona and California. We arrived in Pheonix, Arizona, 31 December to visit Lindea's sister Margo and her family during their year-end vacation at a resort community house.

Earthglow moon at sunset

On 1 January we went to Quartzsite, AZ, where we spent a week and Lindea began her acquisition of a large quantity of rocks.

We then went to Yuma, AZ to again visit with Margo and Jim who are camped out there in their trailer for the winter. We played a fun round of golf, bought eye glasses in Los Algodones, Mexico, and went rockhounding in the desert areas near Ogilby Rd. and Imperial Gables Rd. We stayed in the short term BLM camping area near Felicity, CA.

Next we went to North Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, for a week to visit Sylvie. Pulling the trailer through the LA traffic at rush hour was a challenge that required serious attention and care but it was accomplished without incident.

Next we returned to Quartzsite for more rockhounding for porcelain jasper and and other jaspers near Hauser Geode Beds in the Wiley Well District of California, chipboard jasper near Ramsey Mine Rd. AZ, desert roses chalcedony south of Quartzsite, and took a sightseeing trip out Kofa Queen Canyon Rd. and to Palm Canyon. I inadvertently left my spare camera battery and charger at home so I was unable to get the fine pictures this area offered.

We headed for home on Saturday, 25 January, and arrived on Monday. I winterized the trailer plumbing system after leaving Las Vegas before heading into the colder climes and the temperature that night when we stopped between Ely and Well, NV went down to about -12°C.
I'm now preparing for my next trip to China and communicating with a member of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries of the DPRK in hopes that I can be invited to lecture high school students and become informed of more cultural and business relationship development possibilities so that I can share my experience of friendship there with others. Today I also sent a short message via the Hilton Foundation to Steve Hilton whom I met in Andorra in 1971 and reminded him of our trip together in his Volkswagon van from there to the Paris Hilton Hotel. I'm sure he will recall the time. Perhaps he will follow the link to this site and see a great change since then and how enjoyable my life has become.