>I’ve been Tagged

>by Katrina Denza. The challenge is to list ten interesting facts about yourself. Here goes:

1. When I was a junior in high school, I played the Minstrel (complete with strumming mandolin) in our pitiful performance of Once Upon a Mattress, one of the dumbest musicals ever written. (Minstrel: “Many moons ago, in a far off place, lived a handsome prince with a gloomy face, for he could not find a bride.”)

2. In 1988, I did a bicycle tour of the South Island of New Zealand (with Backroads Bicycle Touring), including one day of more than 100 miles (my first and, to date, only Century). The blood in my piss was gone by the next morning, a cold and rainy day on which I only briefly considered getting back on the bike.

3. I was one of the first American tourists to visit China, in January 1978, when the country re-opened. I happened to be in Hong Kong at the start of an Asian back-packing trip (following my two years in Korea as a Peace Corps Volunteer). My friend Dan Shapiro and I joined a tour that took us to Canton (Guangzhou) for a few days. When I applied for my visa the travel agent looked at my passport, which indicated I’d been born in Indiana, and said, “You don’t look Indian.”

4. Over the ten years I lived in Singapore, I had three different cars, the most interesting (and least practical) of which was an orange 1976 Triumph GT6+, extremely low to the ground (making Singapore’s many speed bumps a real challenge), constantly overheating, with tire tread that tended to explode in the most awkward places.

5. I lived in Kazakhstan for a year, too, working on a US AID project in Almaty, where I tried to revive the Russian I studied (briefly, inattentively) in college. I had an under-heated apartment on Tulabaev Street, a lovely tree-lined boulevard that sloped down to my office in the business district. Because the project wasn’t going well, I also taught corporate law at the first private law school in Kazakhstan, Adilet School of Law.

6. I broke my collar bone in gym class in high school during a wrestling match. If you see Chris Trimble, tell him I forgive him.

7. When I lived in LA, I started getting phone calls from people who said they knew me but were upset when I said I didn’t know them. It turned out there was another Cliff Garstang. When we finally figured this out, one of my callers, Melanie, tracked the other Cliff down. When I moved out of the area, I gave myself a going-away party and Melanie came, along with Cliff and his wife. Last I heard, the other Cliff lived in Washington State.

8. I had scarlet fever when I was a kid. I don’t really know what that is and have never bothered to find out.

9.There is a city in Lancashire, England called Garstang. This fact has always fascinated my family, even though none of us has ever visited there (our ancestors came from nearby Preston). I often think that if I showed up and flashed my drivers license in a pub that they’d at least stand me to a pint. Garstang, the Gund Gorilla, was named after the city, not our family.

10. A woman who was mad at me for being cruel to her husband once told me I had the perfect nose.

I tag Mary Akers.

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  1. >I love these answers, Cliff! What a life you’ve lived so far.

    By the way, have you read “God Lives in St. Petersburg” by Tom Bissell?? I’m reading it now and loving it. I think you would too.

  2. >I, too, love The Other Cliff story.

    My great aunt lives in Lancashire. I’m going to look for Garstang on a map.

    I enjoyed your list. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. >Garstang isn’t a city – even by USA standards! It’s a pretty small country town. Used to live there myself, but now in Japan

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