OTHER SAIS CLASS SITES: 89-90 | 90-91 | 91-92 | 92-93 | 93-94 || 95-96 | 96-97 | 97-98

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LATEST NEWS (March 8):
•Markam Ouaiss goes to Cuba, Bangladesh...
•Does Jame DiBiasio make it up the mountain?

PREVIOUS NEWS (March 3):
•How Jame DiBiasio got addicted to Kinabalu
•Jame makes it to the foot of Kinabalu
•Cigdem Oktem on the weather in Portland
•Andrew Stephens sends in photos
•Stefan Geens takes a vacation
Tidbits

 

 

March 4: Jame DiBiasio, Hong Kong

(Read Part 1 and Part 2 first)

THE MOUNTAIN

What impulses drive people to go to places where they're not welcome? Human beings have no business on mountaintops, even if the mountain is second or third-tier. There is nothing to eat, nothing to drink, nothing to shelter us from the wind and the sun, and not even enough air to breathe. The process is expensive and time-consuming and, at times, lonely. It's hell on your knees, your leg muscles, your lungs. Even sleep is denied you by the altitude and the thin air. You are stripped down naked, your willpower exposed.

Unless, of course, you are Al, the airline pilot and part-time marine who has a washboard stomach and, even as we are told to get out of bed at 2:30 a.m., sings, "Lager is life! Lager lager lager is life!" I don't think Al had many problems racing to the top. For we mortals with desk jobs and sleep-in weekends, however, the pain had only begun.

JAME'S DAY OF RECKONING

 
   
 

February 21: Jame DiBiasio, Kuching, Sarawak

THE PLAN

It all began with a couch. My couch. An ugly used beat-up thing. I was lying on it sometime last year wondering what to do during the next Chinese Lunar New Year break. In the secure cushion of broken-in furniture, I decided I should climb a mountain. Mount Kinabalu, in fact, Southeast Asia's highest peak (4100 meters). It is located in Eastern Malaysia, on the northern tip of the great island of Borneo.

Borneo. The wilds of. Sounded good, in the confines of my Hong Kong domesticity. Maybe I'd finally be able to one-up Charles Clover and Jon Sinclair on exotica. I stretched my toes and reclined some more. Ah yes.

READ THE FIRST PART OF JAME'S ADVENTURE

 
   
 

February 24: Jame DiBiasio, Kota Kinabalu Sabah, Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU

She looks nine but she says she is fourteen. The actual nine year-old looks six, maybe. The older one knows the scantest English. They sit around me in the cafe, all dark eyes and swinging feet, giggling whenever I look up at them from my book. They find my big nose hilarious. A few more kids come over. It's a Wednesday. They've got nothing to do. They come in off the street. The teenage boys load coins into a jukebox that's past its prime. The Spice Girls shake the block through the blown speakers. I scoop another spoonful of nasi goreng into my mouth. It's 2:30 on a Kota Kinabalu afternoon.

READ THE SECOND PART OF JAME'S TRAVELS

 
   
 

Julia Holman's new email is
julia.holman@banking.state.ny.us

Merce Kirchner's new email is
m.kirchner@eipa-ecr.com

 
   

OTHER SAIS CLASS SITES: 89-90 | 90-91 | 91-92 | 92-93 | 93-94 || 95-96 | 96-97 | 97-98

GO TO: January 99 | Mailroom | Archives | Pictures | Links Page | SAIS DC | Bologna Center | Contribute

LATEST NEWS (March 8):
•Markam Ouaiss goes to Cuba, Bangladesh...
•Does Jame DiBiasio make it up the mountain?

PREVIOUS NEWS (March 3):
•How Jame DiBiasio got addicted to Kinabalu
•Jame makes it to the foot of Kinabalu
•Cigdem Oktem on the weather in Portland
•Andrew Stephens sends in photos
•Stefan Geens takes a vacation
Tidbits

 
 

March 4: Markam Ouaiss, Washington, DC

I hope that the 20/20 episode with Monica is the last episode of "Sex, lies and democracy" One of the most interesting features of this unfolding drama was that the system did not implode and gave full space for dialog and search for the truth...despite the notable excesses. It was interesting to see the camera crews from all over the world assembled downtown in front of hotels, government buildings....

On a more personal note, three weeks ago I moved into a new apartment with my girlfriend Jennifer Skulte. She is a wonderful person (I know I am bias) Jennifer and I have been going out for the last eight months and it has been just great. She is a PhyLa student at the University of Maryland.

MORE OF MAKRAM

 
   
 

March 2: Cigdem Oktem, Portland, Oregon

The talk of our fifth year reunion (gasp, ack) made me realize I have not been doing much keeping in touch with SAIS brethren. I am still in Portland, OR, enjoying life here. However, this weekend I am planning on buying some woods, nails, etc. to start building my arc. It has been one of the wettest winters on record, which is why I have been trying to do as many little trips to sunny places as I can.

Any SAISers in town are welcome to crash at my place. I would appreciate if you would add my address to the list, it is: cigdemoktem@hotmail.com. I have to say I am very impressed with the web page, having visited only once before, several years ago. Wait, I caught a glimpse of sun as I typed this. Yes, yes, yesssssss. Aaaargh, it's gone now.

Cheers, Cigdem

 
   
 

February 24: Andrew Stephens, Washington, DC

I've just had these photos developed after dining at Chris Donat's apartment in San Francisco recently. Chris and Adriana cooked for Hazlyn Fortune, Hazlyn's friend Nigel, and myself. Cathy Lewis dropped by for the photo op before jetting off on a date.

When I was having difficulty getting my camera to work, Hazlyn said, isn't that the same old camera you used to have? Indeed it is, and it happened to still have the same film in it from graduation day 1995, thus the time warp factor for the other photos that I have included.

Anyway, hope it doesn't take another time warp to see old friends...

SEE ANDREW'S PHOTOS

 
   
 

March 3: Stefan Geens, New York

Keen observers of this site may have observed the absence of an "issue" for the month of February. This should not be construed as an waning of interest in the SIghs project, but rather as a case of me going on vacation in the old continent.

And also that February is a short month.

On my trip. not only did I get to catch up on family matters in Brussels; I made Eurof Uppington, Matthew Rose and his beau Kim Strassel go on a pilgrimage with me to the old farm in the Ardennes where I used to spend my summers.

And with a train ride from Brussels taking only 80 minutes, I couldn't resist visiting friends in Paris, where despite the best efforts of the natives I managed to enjoy myself immensely.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, below are 22,000 words' worth about what I've been up to so far in 1999. They include pics of New Year's eve, spent at Zach Messitte's parents' place in Maryland. The Scrabble theme is due to a recent eruption of enthusiasm for the game, not least by Eurof 'zuni' Uppington. How codding of him.

1999 SO FAR