Military Linguists, Part 1

Bruce is a gentle man, soft-spoken and low-key. He’s often in the company of his very cute four-year-old son, Nathan. Bruce speaks with particular warmth of the love he has received from the Korean people.

Bruce’s Story

It’s been my experience that in Korea there’s a special camaraderie unmatched in other U.S. military bases in the world. You find this especially in units of two or three hundred, up to six hundred people. I’ve been out on the town with people in the unit here—maybe seventy to eighty people from the commander down to the lowest airman, all together, just … Read More

The Second Journey into Tibet

Alexandra David Neel was a French-born scholar of Tibetan Buddhism who in 1923, at the age of 55, became the first white woman to enter the forbidden city of Lhasa. She made her long journey on foot, disguised as a beggar-pilgrim and accompanied by her adopted son, a Tibetan lama. Some sixty years later, a middle-aged compatriot and admirer of Neel made two journeys to Tibet, traveling the roads her role model had taken. This is her account of the second trip, which she told as she crocheted a shawl for me.

Nichole’s travel in Xinjiang is available here. (Read More

The Last Contract

In the spring of 1986, I talked with Andrew in his bungalow at the Mandarin Hotel near the Huli District of Xiamen’s Special Economic Zone. It’s a place Andrew characterized as having been a five-start hotel before the Hong Kong management pulled out, but now in decided decline. Andrew’s living room was bare except for the furniture and packing crates. He was a good-looking Briton in his late thirties, an executive who gave me an immediate impression of competence, assertiveness and general goodwill toward others. He spoke in a dry, clipped, very articulate manner.

Andrew’s story

I work for a … Read More