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Jamal's Asian Adventure!

Greetings true believers!

Hi everyone my name is Jamal Tekleweld, Im a young Canadian traveller who is embarking on an adventure of epic proportions. To illustrate this I decided to start this Planet Ranger Site! I figured this would be a great way to share my travel experiences instead of sending those tedious (and impersonal) mass emails I've heard so much about. I also have some pics here so that will save on filling up email accounts. Anyways, for everyone I have had the pleasure to meet in my travels and for everyone back home - and lets not forget the strangers who might stumble upon my page, Enjoy! If you want to get a hold of me for some clarafication or just to chat, you can leave a message on the site or email me at Be sure to check on some previous diary entries (for I have just found my writing legs once again and I plan to run like the wind), every now and then so you don't miss anything. Have a nice visit and I hope to see you soon!


Diary Entries

Friday, 20 January 2006

Location: Saskatoon, Canada

Shrouded in White

"Culture Shock," is a term almost synonymous with traveling in this day and age. Individuals who embark on crazy-go-nuts adventures, gallvanting across the globe visiting various cultures and civilizations - which do indeed starkly contrast their own conitunally feel the ever so potent feeling of culture shock. Upon reflection of the past 10 months I realize that as a traveller, I don't suffer culture shock in the traditional sense. By this I mean how individuals always associate the term within a negative context, pushing culture shock as a pessimistic happening which is nothing but bad news. Yet when I did experience culture shock it was far from a bad thing. In fact, it was of almost orgasmic proportions every single time I experienced a radically different locale or custom. This has not changed in the slightest, everytime I do experience someplace or something completely different; I enter a state of euphoria most individuals have to purchase to attain. Enjoying this feeling to the utmost degree.

Yet, I do experience the phenomenon known as, "Reverse Culture Shock." This occurs when individuals immerse themselves so much into a foreign culture they in fact experience culture shock when they return home. This is also widely considered a term with negative conactations and in most cases is a serious downer. In my case, im not really down or even blue - but I do get completely and utterly shocked concerning overtly mundane things on an hourly basis. Its downright silly. For example, it is a universal belief (and now doctrine in my opinion) that people in the west eat outrageously horrid diets. In fact my own digestive system is trying to start a systematic revolution against me. Gathering my other various bodily systems in a quasi political rally and trying to stage a coup de tat' against what I have been eating. Like any current leader I listen to the concerns of my bodily citizens, weighing their opinions and in pretty well all of my recent cases, have buckled in defeat continuing my healthy diet not even trying to succumb to the prolific existence of double cheeseburgers or outrageoulsy sized soft drinks.

The nutritional side of things (which I could go on for hours about, seriously - DIET SPRITE ZERO!!! WHAT KIND OF PLACE NEEDS A DRINK LIKE THIS! How about we lower the sugar in our normal Sprite, or heck - in our Diet Sprite and not throw in the 0 carbs, sugar content, and caloric content for good measure. I mean really, Im afraid to even try one in fear that it is in fact laced with sweetner chemically reminiscient of Arsenic!), are my only complaint orientated statements. Everything else involving my growing case of reverse culture shock really just has to do with the many differences between Saskatoon, SK. Canada and Shanghai or Hong Kong, China. In fact I am convinced Hong Kong is the official antonym of Saskatoon (Im working on a proposal for both Oxford and Webster's to actually have Saskatoon and Hong Kong deemed complete opposites in every single way imaaginable - wait about 2 or 3 editions, Im sure by then at least Webster's will have jumped on the bandwagon).

When I stepped into the humble terminal of Saskatoon International Airport, I immedietely noticed the lack of people and the abundance of elbow room, this was a particularly pleasant sensation. A day previous I was in Kowloon, Hong Kong - one of the most densely populated places on the planet which can have around 1000 pedestrians in one intersection alone. From Kowloon to Eastside Saskatoon in 15 hours is almost comedic upon reflection. Actaully Im laughing right now!

Aside from the predictable amount of physical space, the contrast in seasons was apprarent. I have brought with me the second snowfall of winter this year. And yes I have suffered flagrant verbal assault by various loved ones, I guess I should just go to a tropical island where my snow bringing super powers would be appreciated. Apparently it has been a freakish winter rife with nice temperatures and other forseen effects of global warming (David Suzuki for PM!), so everything is covered in the graceful white of snow. Being a homegrown Canadian boy, its almost impossible to imagine a winter without snow. I have in fact lived through half of one in Shanghai and its funny, sure Canada is cold to the point of insanity but you know - at least it has character. Am I saying that Im down with the mind numbing temperatures of minus God knows what, certainly not and I do in fact plan to visit Japan next winter. Yet winter here is nothing short of beautiful, there is a reason why our local photographers do in fact brag about our shots of winter and frost for it is difficult to botch up a picture in the face of the countless aisles of snow covered pine trees, or of the majestic Saskatoon city line with our bridges, our Bessbarough hotel, and our dwarfish damn named, "The Wier."

Another immediately noticable difference deals with the size of HK vs. ToonTown, both in terms of buildings and area. For everyone who lives in ToonTown, imagine doubling our province's population and having all of these individuals reside in Eastside. For everyone in HK or China, imagine having the population of one major district such as TST or Causeway Bay for HK, and/or Xuijiahui for Shanghai or any other residential area and spreading that all over Kowloon and Hong Kong Island or one district in Shanghai. These examples will give you an idea of how much the size difference is in terms of area. Concerning the buildings I will be blunt: HK - one of the tallest cities in the world. ToonTown - bungalows galore (a bungalow is a wide house with a basement and one main floor).

Yet upon witnessing the massive plethora of bungalows which seem to dot the Saskatoon landscape, I also had the pleasure to witness the sky in all of its glory. Sure Hong Kong and Shanghai have towers reaching into the heavens yet these towers do in fact impede your view of the sky. Since each town also has quite a bit of pollution, sunny days come off as being depressingly grey in tall Hong Kong when compared to the vibrant blue sky of the short, yet extremely clean Saskatoon.

Its great to be back home among family and friends. Being welcomed with open arms, firm hand shakes, and an extreme amount of quality home cooking is far from a bad thing. After well known loved ones have gotten over the moderate changes in my appearence and did in fact recognize me as, well... Me - they commenced telling (more like demanding actually) me to shave, eat a lot of food to gain weight (for I am now a stick man, who has so far been accused of being bulimic and looking like a true third world Ethiopian), and to change my clothes into something well, I don't know what really. Most likely something more reminscient of what I was into before I left, considering I ended up bringing back all of the clothes I took in the first place is besides the point. When I do raise this point (in defense of absolutely doing nothing wrong besides growing up), I then get told to shut up and eat some more food. One of the more plesant by products of being raised in an African household I suppose.

Yup, its great to be back. Im going to go eat some berries. Take care everyone.

Like supafly TNT,

Friday, 20 January 2006

Location: Saskatoon, Canada

Hey Everyone,

So the adventure has finally come to a close. After 10 months of silliness, craziness and a fair share of shananigans - my Asian adventure has come to a close. Yet due to the size of the continent and due to the fact that I plan to see most (if not all), of the globe before they nail my coffin shut; I suspect a second chapter to my Asian adventure will be a very real reality - in fact its in fruition as I type these words.

But for now I am back in my home of Saskatoon, SK. Or ToonTown as I like to put it (due to the sheer amount of cartoon characters who try to haphazardly impersonate human beings on a daily basis). Since I am back in good ol' ToonTown I thought it was time to play a ridiculous amount of catch up with my relic of a Planet Ranger site. And yes, you have heard it once, most likely twice - but in reality more close to a baker's dozen amount of times... I apoligize for the less than regular updates on this site. In fact for everyone out there who is genuinely dissapointed with this issue you will be happy to know about the occaisional amount of hate mail I have received.

"Dear Jamal, my name is Sherry - I read your site with my twin sister who is named Alex. We are 12 years old. We live in Idaho in America. We came to your site by mistake but we are happy we did but you havent wrote anything new in a long time. Please write a new and funny story, they always make us laugh until our tummies hurt. Bye-Bye and Thanks. xoxo Sherry and Alex."

Here is another from a random.

"Hi Jamal, great story about the cobra meal. Thats a lot of snake man. Start updating your site more often, you cant leave us high and dry with your stories. We want more! Get home safe, Rocky B. student from Manchester.

And my personal favourite,

"Get your ass back on the computer Jamal!" Anonymous.

There you go everyone, I suspect most of you are nodding your heads in approval right about now. Rife with Jolly Goods, and Well Dones for the people who have voiced their concerns, and yes they have brought me back into writing so every once in a while I will write a back log of my travels in Asia. I will try to be fairly regular but experience has showed me to quit making quasi promises. But for starters, I wrote an email to a few friends a while back about a horrendous story in Hong Kong International Airport, for the individuals who have read the story its nothing new. But for everyone else - Enjoy!

Like supafly TNT,

Jamal aka Tek

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Recent Messages

From monna
I don't imagine your web site is so great, professional. And i don't imagine you are such a curious guy.let me know you from another for your teaching job, i will do my best to help you.however, if your main idea is traveling, i think the opportunity of our meeting will be a little, so my wish will be difficulty to come true. i mean my spoken english.i feel a little depressed.
anywey, hope you have good time
Response: Thank you Monna, don't be feint of heart! We will have plenty of time to chat about life, the universe, and everything! Be sure to keep in touch.
From Richard Addison
Well done, Jamal.
You have put a lot of good work into this site and it is a credit to you. Older people will envy you your energy, accomplishment and determination.
Response: Thank you for the kind words Richard. Be sure to keep in touch!
From Eman
hey jamal all the kids @ ma skool luv ur site, ( well not the guys cuz they just arne't mature enough lol :) well the girlz think it's the coolest, u should broadcast ur adventures on the discovery channel, it would be great if you had your own show talk 2 u soon
Response: Hi Eman,

Thanks for the compliments. Im happy you are enjoying the site. As for television, I don't think I have the face for it - maybe I could get into radio! In either case, take care of yourself and write lots.
From Patricia & Mathias
Hi Jamal!

It was a great pleasure meeting you today below Moon Hill. If you happen to come to Suzhou sometimes in the future, please let us know!

Take care,
Response: Thanks a lot Patricia and Mathias!

Thanks for coming by the site and be sure to check in every now and then. Take care.
From Eman
Hey jam sup. I am in Saskatoon rite now 4 dreese's hockey. It feels really weird 2 b in ur house when ya ain't there. Strange 2 say i miss ur peaceliness, (lolz) Faysal keeps killin me, i will remeber him 4 ever 4 all the bruises i have, (heheh). Put more pics of um thoes kimoni thingyz, they r way cool, miss u bunches eman ( and if u cum home soon i wont hurt u 4 @ lest 5 minutes :) c ya
Response: Eman!
How are you doing!! I feel so bad that im not there to defend you against the threat known as Fassil. But alas, if you wrote to me earlier I definetely would have thrown Fais through a window for you viewing pleasure! Im happy to hear from you and even happier to hear you are keeping active. Take care and send lots of love to small Hamzah, smaller Bilal, and your larger than life parents!
From Idris
wud up Jam long time no see hope your having a good time.
Response: Idris!
Wow, its great top hear from you two. How is everything going with you? I assume you are still doing well in school and hockey alike. Now don't start slacking off in your studies or in hockey. That now goes for your sister as well. Anyways it was gret to hear from you two and come by this site every now and then. You can also email me at Take care.
From Karn
Hey Jamal!
I hope you are well.Thanks for your pics.I enjoy its too much.
There are many pics that i like
especially my campus; it 's beautiful pic.
Thanks again.
Take care!!
Response: Hey Karn,
Thanks for the comments and thank you for taking me to your campus. It was a fun day I will not forget. Write whenever you get the opportunity and I hope to hear from you soon.
From f
wow what can i say but see you soon
Response: Well for starters you could leave your name so I could wirte a proper reply. But alas, thanks for the comments.
From Nathan
stupendous photos old chum. glad to see you're having such a great time in the grand old land of asia. more photos!
Response: You got it chief. Be sure to email lots and I'll try to put up some photos. C u on the flipside.
From Ryan Metz
Wheres the hot asian babe pics?

I KNOW you have them!

Anyway, i hope your having a good time, just remember, dont do anything i wouldnt do... erm.. would do...err...haha.

Peace ;)
Response: Ryan, Ryan, Ryan...
This is a PG-13 website...
I'll save 'those' stories for when I get back ;)
From Abebe
I have developed a habit of reading ur story after work hours. I feel like I am reading a novel. Keep up the good work.
Response: Wow, thanks for the comment. Ill keep on writing if you will keep on reading. Take care of yourself Abebe.
From Hi Jam,
Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience .You sound like a professional journalist or an old story teller. The story you wrote about cambodia (Scars of a Nation) could have covered your travel expences, if it was on video. The script is beautiful. what is not there is visuals (we call it B-Roll) in TV land. Medias, like STV are paying good money for travel stories.
Maybe next time!!

Take Care!
Response: Jeez, I cant take these compliments. I dont think I could make it on TV, I just couldn't take myself that seriously. But thanks Mohammed, how is everyone back home? Dont hesitiate to email me about whatever comes to mind. Take care Omars!
From Jennifer Mullens
I have known you for more than half of my life, and never have I seen you in "your element" like this before. You are living everyone's dreams, and I hope that your journey brings you nothing but oceans of fulflilment.

Love from the Mullens!
Response: Hey Jen,
How is everything going? Thanks for the kind words and be sure to come back every now and then. Take care and say hi to everyone back in ToonTown. If you see that clown twin of yours sometime in the future be sure to give him a big hug from yourself and a proper scuff upside the head from me. Thanks babe.
From azeb
hi Jamal how are you!!
It is good experence to get have fun! We all mess you. Take care.
Response: Hey Azeb,
Thanks for the comments and I miss everyone back home as well. Say hi to the family for me and take care.
From fassil
Response: Thanks Fais.
Be sure to read the Han Oi entry. You'll dig that entry more than most.
From Zebura and Ali
We've enjoyed going through your website on this glorious Mother's Day (actually I'm so tired I can barely type). We're glad that your doing well in your travels. You really could have your own show. Keep writing. Lots of love.
Response: Thanks Zebura and Ali,
How is school going for you two? Be sure to keep out of trouble (im trying to keep out of it but this is proving trickier as the days go by). Take care and write lots.
From sara
hi jamal

thanks alot know i know more about asia

from sara
Response: Hi Sara,
Thanks for the great compliment. From now on I want you to make sure your mom or dad goes on the site before you do whenever you log on. Not everything on here might be suitable for your age so be sure to get Mesfin or Azeb to check it out for you. This also goes out to all of the other children out there. Sorry to be all parent like all the way from the other end of the world but hey, thats what uncles do.
From Tadesse Tekleweld
it is impressive and a good way of showing your talent
Response: Thanks Pops,
Keep on writing lots and come back every now and then. Apologies for the poor reply on the site - it was due to the tedious connections at the time. Love u always.
From shaddy
hi jam, got thru to your website. just got 3 pictures- very beautiful. glad your fine. all my love, mom
Response: Thanks Mom,
Read Dad's reply and the same goes for you as well. Be sure to swing by every now and then and write whenever you feel the urge. Love u always.
From Chantel
Hey Jamal!

Kay, so I never thought Asia was a place that I wanted to see but you are quickly changing my mind! It sounds like you are having a blast. I look forward to hearing about your future adventures.

Response: Hey Chantel,
Thanks for the comments and be sure to write lots. If you get the opportunity to come out to this region of the world jump on it and never look back. Take care
From Cheryl Krueger
This web site is great. You should have your own travel show. Have a great day
Response: Thanks Cheryl,
Im glad you are enjoying the site. How is everyone at the hospital doing? Be sure to stop by every now and then. Take care.