Archive for May, 2007

–In the Old Testament, a city (now thought to be Babylon) in Shinar where construction of a heaven-reaching tower was interrupted when the builders became unable to understand one another’s language.–

This is the definition for the word “Babel” given in Kingsoft, a popular Chinese e-dictionary. The movie smartly borrows its meaning to reveal the theme of the movie. True to its name, the movie itself is a labyrinth of anfractuous clues and unexpected conflicts.  The only thing you feel watching it is: Breathtaking and heartquaking.

A Japanese man who had a deaf daughter traveled in Africa and gave the rifle as a gift to his local tour guide, an old man in a small African village. The old man traded the rifle with the father of two little brothers who helped the family tend the sheep. And an American couple, Richard and Susan( starred by Brad Pete and Cate Branchett), came to Africa on a tour in the wish to salvage their almost broken marriage. At their home, their Mexican babysitter taking care of their son and daughter hoped to go back to Mexico to attend her nephew’s wedding ceremony. Numbers of clues were developing independently at the beginning yet gradually mingled and intertwisted together.
One day, the brothers carried the rifle while pasturing. To test the powerful rifle, the brothers shot the objects faraway. My mind was suddenly strained up when one of the boy pointed the gun at a bus coming from faraway. With the piercing sound, the running bus stopped. The frightened boys realized what a serious crime they had committed.

On the bus were some foreign travelers from many different countries, including the American couple. Coincidentally, however, the bullet from the rifle hit and wounded Susan seriously. The bus turned into a bedlum. Worried about Susan’s life, Richard pleaded the crowd and asked for the nearest hospital. However, in such a faraway and poor village, no hospitals were available for treatment of Susan’s wound. Following the tourguide’s suggestion, Richard sent Susan to a country doctor. Deserted in such a desolate village isolated from the outside world due to poor communications, Richard and Susan were lost in despair. Richard finally had to turn to the American Embassy for emergent rescue.

Their home in the US was another mess. The babysitter didn’t want to miss the wedding ceremony and finally decided to take the two children to Mexico. On the way back home, the police thought the babysitter and her brother were trying to kidnap the children. Impatient with the endless investigations, the nephew started the car and broke through the checkpoint. Chased by the police, the nephew ordered the babysitter to get off the car with the two children. Blind and hungry, the three got lost in the desert at the border. When she left the children alone and asked for help, she was found and arrested by the patrolling police. The police somehow located the children and sent them home at last.

In Africa, the scared father was running away with his two sons when they were blocked by the local police. The younger son shot and wounded one policeman and the three were beseiged by the police on a small hill. During the fight, the older brother got a gunshot and terribly wounded. The younger boy finally crashed the rifle and surrendered to the police hoping that they would save his brother.

The embassy finally arranged a helicoptor to take Susan to a hospital for treatment. And a few days after a successful operation, the couple returned to their country. Having gone through the hardships together, the young couple finally kindled their love flames and saved their marriage.

In Tokyo,the deaf daughter was neglected by his father and craved for love from others. However, she failed every time she was intending to show her love and was considered an eccentric by others. At the end of the movie, the girl became reconciled with her father.

From the beginning to the end, the clues turned up one after another, conflicts filed in unexpected succession that made you almost suffocated. The conflicts, either out of cultural differences or entrenched conceptions, either between husband and wife or father and daughter, burst out just in one second that almost overwhelmed you in a deep ocean of conflicts. Tensions pop up from somewhere while you watch it that keeps your attention on the development of the story.

As a movie that has won the Golden Globe Award and many Ocar nominations, it surely deserves it. Just as the title of the movie implies, we live in a world full of conflicts, but we can finally overcome these difficulties with our heart and efforts.

What’s more, while intrigued by the labyrinth-like story, just enjoy some spectacular scenery in different places of the world: Africa, USA, Mexico and Japan. However, do be careful: Stay away from your children!…:)

Profile: Babel
Director:Alejandro González Inuritu
        Brad Pete      as  Richard
        Cate Branchett as  Susan


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After a whole day, the rain finally stopped. We are greeted with a very pleasant and refreshing morning.  Filtered by yesterday’s incessant rain, the air is so pure and fresh, and the cool air has driven the sultriness that had ruled the city for days.
Walking on the wettish ground makes me feel very good.  The clouds above are still thick, suggesting another heavy rain today.  I’m looking forward to it, while reminding myself not to forget taking my umbrella again….:) ( I was almost soaked through in the rain though the distance from the subwaywas not very far away from my office)

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I’m afraid I’ve got to speed up in finishing my travel notes on the Maldives, or some exciting moments during the travel may be buried in oblivion if I don’t pick them up timely. Anyway, memory is not always reliable.
Not to mention the delicacies that whet your appetite, you could get some more breath-taking experiences in various events and activities on the island. Among them, snorkeling and windsurfing were two you could join for free. You can also take a short trip about 20 minutes in an amphibian, a plane that can both fly and float on the water, but that may cost you about $100. And, a trip to the local village may cost you about $50. Then, just let us to enjoy the free part…:)

To go snorkeling and windsurfing you must be good enough at swimming. Yet I was lucky to be allowed to join snorkeling although I was a poor swimmer( But I do suggest you not to do it if you can’t swim at all, otherwise you will be exposed in  great danger in spite of the meagre protection of a life-vest. ) We had bought the outfit for snorkeling in Beijing before the trip, which saved us a lot of money.  The following is a picture of the outfit we used there:

The next morning after our arrival, we went to a bay nearby on a speedboat which would take us to the place for snorkeling. The water was over 10 meters deep. In a life-vest, everyone went down into the water. First time in such deep waters, I was really scared and couldn’t keep balance even with the help of the life-vest. I couldn’t stay in the water any longer and managed to get back to the boat. It was such a pity that I had missed the joy of snorkeling!

Luckily, we found another good spot for snorkeling the next day. It was shallower, and abounded with much more fish. In the sunshine, we were floating on the water and watching colorful fishes in the water: blue, yellow, dark brown…some were covered with colorful stripes. The fish were just prowling around you, and I almost got such an illusion that I was in a 3D movie and the hero was me with the fish. Those playful little fish, like some naughty elfs, darted away at the moment I reached out my hand to touch them. On the shallow seabed were growing some thick yellowish green seaweeds, swaying with the waves. The bed was covered with shells and coral and you could barely keep your feet on it because you felt hurt by those sharp debris of shells and corals.

It was a pity I couldn’t take any pictures in the water because my camera was not waterproof. The fish were so beautiful! What a wonderful underwater world!

You may ask me why I haven’t said anything about windsurfing till now. Well, I followed the advice of the local coach not to try it as I was so bad at swimming. What a pity! That’s also why I’ve made up my mind to learn swimming as soon as possible. So, do learn it if you hope to travel to the Maldives, or you will miss tons of joy there!
There is still a lot worth to take down during the trip…The beautiful sunrise and sunset, that was as splendid as what I had seen in Hawaii, was also so impressive!  If the memory still stays, I may record them in the future..
Welcome to the Maldives!

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