Jumping on Entrepreneurship

Parkour, Startups, and Travel

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Misconceptions and Expectations about Palestine

I had dinner last night with my host, a local VC, and my friend from MercyCorps who does work in Gaza, and we had a very interesting discussion about outsiders’ perception of Palestine versus reality.

My friend from MercyCorps is preparing a “one pager” she’s going to use for fundraising, and I read through it to offer a second set of eyes. The stories of the help they’re providing and the impact they’ve had was great, but the most powerful part was simply a list of facts about Gaza.

Before reading the fact sheet, I had an image of Gaza. A mid-sized town, maybe 30k-50k people. Mostly one or two story buildings, most dilapidated and largely in ruins. Very little electricity, very poor education system. The only pictures or videos I've seen of Gaza were of bombs and missiles raining down, the city tinted green by night vision cameras.

But I was completely wrong. Gaza has a population of 1.7 million people. There are several universities there. And of those university students, 60% are women (and that includes in subjects like Computer Science). And apparently, they have great internet there.

Presuppositions Betray

On Point B

Enjoyed last eve a reggae band in the NE quarter of Chiang Mai's old city. Pretty good, played well together, complete w/ obligatory sax & trumpet harmonies. I meant to stay only briefly, but ended up spending a pleasant hour-plus digging reggae and ska renditions of ‘take me home country roads,’ ‘handyman,’ ‘let it be,’ ‘stand by me,’ and so on. Not a single Jamaican tune as such, but nonetheless a fine stew of audio-import. Drummer & bass player were both terrific, shoveling a grave-deep groove trench in which the frontline settled, flaunted, and prevailed. [Almost as enjoyable: the soul-crushing spectacle of drunken dancing Westerners.]

Moving backward in time: yesterday afternoon we took the scooters a few kilometers south and west to the foot of Doi Suthep, and dined outdoors at The Galae Restaurant, a lakeside cafe. Ordered two allegedly disparate menu items, and were presently presented with two identical plates of fried rice, both of which--i hasten to add--were quite good, despite being identical. Sizeable fish swirled and swarmed in the lake water beneath the please do not feed fish signs. And, for our dancing and dining pleasure: Kenny G. Not a whole record, mind you, just a single track on infinite repeat … at least i think it was the same track infinitely repeated ... it sounded infinite. (Though i here admit: i may not be the ideal candidate to comment with authority regarding Kenny G’s music. Pat Metheny did so extensively and to great effect some time back, and his authority on such matters exceeds mine as does the sun a Popeye nightlight.) Nice place, great view, and i imagine we’ll return, irrespective of the soundtrack.

I’ve yet to achieve plates for my bike. Upon its purchase i learned that i needed to present another proof-of-residence, the first of which was retained by the Thai BMV at some point during the full day i spent getting my Thailand motorcycle license. By full day i mean a Whole Entire Day, the afternoon of which (immediately prior to the driving test) produced a fine example of Thailand's mon-freaking-soon season. So i’ve just been riding around on a bike without plates as if i own the place, (though with official paperwork in the ready position in the 'neath-seat compartment, should the bike’s legality ever be challenged by local authorities ... at least i think it’s official paperwork. Most of it’s in Thai script.)

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