Friday, March 18, 2005

San Francisco, part II

I survived the recertification exam, but I was amazed. For a poor peasant coming from the upcountry, it was real science fiction. The exam room was down a white corridor, lit by flourescent lamps, no shadows. Everyone was tuned into these computer scenes. I think next time I have to do this - in six years - they'll probably have cables that you can link into your nervous system. That will be for better interface; maybe they'll have us doing virtual reality CPR drills.

By the time I finished the exam, it started to get cloudy. I decided to see a film (one of the advantages that the US has over Bangkok) so saw 'Bride and Prejudice.' It was wonderful - Bollywood films, at baseline, are over the top, but this film really set the parameters for topness. Indian life is so much like Jane Austen - idle women, a lot of conversation and domestic intrigue - so making 'Pride and Prejudice' an Indian film was just perfect. The snobbish Mr. Darcy becomes Will Darcy, the owner of an international hotel chain, who doesn't like India to begin with an makes snobbish remarks about its backwardness. Elizabeth is Lanita, the firey second daughter of the family. James Whitcomb becomes Jimmy Whitcomb, a skuezzy backpacker. The greatest dance number was in staged in the market in Amristsar, perfect.

Today, I walked up to Golden Gate Park and found that the De Young Museum is closed for rennovations. Grrr! Nice walk though, kinda running through my memories of past San Francisco visits. Went to the Asian Art Museum, which has an exhibit of art from Ayutthya. I've seen many of the pieces before, both in the museum in Ayutthya and in Bangkok, but they were radiant in this exhibition hall. Museums in SE Asia are more like someone's closets - the pieces are crowded together, the lighting is poor, and the exhibits tend to interact more with the elements. Meaning totally natural - in the National Museum in Phnom Penh, the hall used to reverberate with the squeaking of the bats, and the air was odoriferous due to the same. So maybe the Asian Art Museum surroundings are more sterile (literally and figuratively) but it's kind like seeing the neighborhood Buddhas dressed up for a special occassion.

To top off the day, I saw another film - the "Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill." It is a quiet, understated documentary about parrots. That's all I can say about it.

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