Wednesday, December 10

The Professor

Kate and I join Ray for lunch at the local Greek nearby Columbia. Ray was a special professor when I was at the graduate school - his Modern Political Economy a classic, attracting the interesting sorts like Xia who was a dissident in China and at Tiannamen Square in '89. It was after the MBA that I got to know Ray outside school when we (and Katie) travelled into Kashmir's "disputed territories" between Pakistan and India, which has brought the countries war (Ka means "water" BTW and Shimir means "to desiccate". Hence, Kashmir stands for "a land desiccated from water"). Our trip via the Karakorum Highway or KKH that connects Northern Pakistan to Western China and China's remote muslims known as "Juegers" (there is plenty of tension between here and Beijing). Ray's first visit to Central Asia in '94 and he knows plenty of people by 1997 when we have our adventure. The story about Ray, however, that will convey not about the Karakorum mountains but rather a favorite moment I enjoyed in his class: somewhere in the middle of the semester our focus turned to John Kenneth Galbreath who was at Harvard the same time Ray getting his degree at the law school. On a snowy night driving to the library Ray almost ran over The Great JKG and says Ray today with perfect tone: "If I had killed him, rest assured we would not be having this lecture." Brilliant lead-in. I might not remember much about some of those economists but I sure do remember the fun I had in his class.

From lunch, Katie and I walk down-town where she has a meeting at the Empire State Building. Me, I take in the tall sites - I can never get enough as a visitor. Funny how I rarely noticed the surroundings when I lived in New York and now I find it awe-inspiring. Everything sprung from man's imagination, ingenuity and concrete. From the subway's gnarly pipes and beaten down tracks to the towering brick and steel skyscrapers. Wow. At 35th Katie and I say our goodbyes and I head to JFK for the overnight across "the pond" (I have always hated that expression and I don't know why certain idiots think it clever).