In the first 15 months of his planned five-year bicycle trip around the world, Beijing art professor Bingyao Chang, 52, has been snapped at by an Australian crocodile, propositioned and robbed. Chang laughs as he tells his stories, a man living up to the slogan on his sweat shirt: "Make Brothers Wherever One Goes."
"Being an artist, I want to know all the world," said Chang, who had never been beyond Hong Kong before he embarked on his journey (during which he is spending two months in Los Angeles). His trip is being financed on a paint-as-he-goes plan, supplemented by sale of Chinese-style paintings he brought with him from Beijing, where he teaches at the Central Institute of the Arts.
Speaking through an interpreter, Chang told of his dream of biking through 29 countries. First stop was Hong Kong. Then he flew to Australia, where his two-speed Chinese bike "ran out" after a few months. He now has a British-made 10-speed model he bought here.
It all began, he said, when foreign students who had studied in Beijing wrote, urging him to visit. One day he decided why not? and, with the blessings, he said, of his wife and 19-year-old son, whom he won't see for another four years, he set out.
The 52-year-old artist averages 50 miles a day.
"In China," he said, "people ride their bicycles to work, everywhere."
A Prom With a Home-Court Advantage
Time was, when the school prom was a rather homespun affair. Members of the mothers club were recruited to swathe the basketball hoops in crepe paper, helium balloons floated beneath the rafters of the gym and young romantics overlooked the distinctive fragrance of locker room.
But the school prom in 1987 is more apt to be a glitzy, grown-up, black-tie dinner-dance at a first-class hotel and with a first-class price tag of $100 a couple and up.
Concerned that some students were being priced out of the junior-senior prom, Loyola High School for boys decided this year to bring the prom back to campus--an idea initially greeted less than enthusiastically, said Diane Peck, secretary to the dean of students.
But the prom was held Saturday in the school auditorium and, Peck said, "the kids were all pleasantly surprised. So far, we've had nothing but positive feedback." There was a turnout of about 600, up by 40 couples from last year's event at a hotel, the catered food was good, the dance floor was big. The bottom line: It cost only $62 a couple.
With twinkle lights, fresh flowers, black drapes and a mirrored disco light, the Mothers' Guild had converted the auditorium. There was a catered late supper and casino games on the tented athletic field.
"We had our faculty members dealing blackjack" and serving up soft drinks, Peck said. "The faculty loved it, and the kids loved it."
He's Got Animal Entrepreneurialism
Delivering a flock of white doves for a black-tie Beverly Hills party, standing by at the birth of a litter of 16 Great Dane puppies, booking an international flight "pet-class"--it's all part of the job description for young entrepreneur Steven May.
May, 28, is president of Pet Limo, a pickup and delivery service for pampered pets needing transportation to their vets' appointments, their grooming parlors, the airport or their owners' new homes in another city.
For a basic fee of $22 to $29 one way, Fido is whisked to his appointed rounds in a windowless van whose amenities include fur-lined cages, color TV, piped-in stereo and air conditioning. And, May noted, the vans are flea-bombed after each client departs.
TV? "Pets are very nervous" in a motor vehicle, May explained, and a television playing offers them security like that at home.
May, a former veterinarian's assistant, also offers emergency service (top fee: $150) complete with gurneys, blankets and TLC. In a life-threatening situation, the owner may ride along. (The patient later receives a get-well card).
Clients have included a large aquarium of fish, a full-grown doe and a snake or two, all well-behaved.
"It's not so much the pets who are weird," May said, "but the people-- whoooo!"