Friday, March 16, 2007
From snow to Southeast Asia
New Yorkers awoke this morning to a fresh blanket of snow. It was admittedly somewhat jarring. (Remember when you were a kid and snow was so exciting, at what age does it become annoying?)

I'm heading to Southeast Asia tomorrow morning, so there's always a lot of last minute stuff I have to do, and trudging through the snow just makes it that much harder. I've been getting shots for things I'd never even heard of -- who knew you need a vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis?

For years, I never got shots when I traveled. I figured it wasn't worth the hassle. Considering my cameraman Neil was hospitalized after our recent Brazil trip (he'd been bitten by a spider according to one doctor) and my other cameraman Phil had some bug lay eggs inside him, I've decided to get all the shots I can, and I've promised myself I will actually take my malaria medicine with me this time.

We'll be in Southeast Asia next week broadcasting from a variety of locations. I went to school in Vietnam in the early 1990s but I've only been back to the region once since then. I went for the elections in Cambodia, and I'm looking forward to returning to see how the region has changed. We'll be reporting on environmental issues for our "Planet in Peril" series, but we'll also be looking at sex trafficking, in particular the trafficking of children, which is especially bad in Cambodia.

We had our morning call earlier today, and there are a number of stories we are following for tonight's broadcast. The morning call is always interesting, folks call in from home or the gym or wherever they are to talk about what's happening today. You can usually hear a couple of kids in the background as producers try to maximize time with their families and get work done at the same time.

Plastered in the middle of our newsroom is this dry-erase board. It's where we lay out the day's show. The words "Ask Believe Receive" are written on the top. I think someone put it up there as a joke when we did a segment on "The Secret." No one's bothered to erase it yet.

Anyway, we were just meeting in front of what we call the "big board." And for now, it's a work in progress. That's okay, it's early. Usually, whatever we put on the board now gets changed later anyway. Still, there are some stories that will definitely make the cut.

One of them is Valerie Plame Wilson. The former CIA operative testified before Congress today and blamed the White House for blowing her cover. But is that true? The Washington Post had put out an editorial several years ago saying, Plame's husband was actually responsible for what happened to her career. I asked him about that a couple of weeks ago and he categorically denied it. We'll look at the facts and find out what exactly she was doing over at the agency.

Jeff Koinange has a fascinating profile about the very strange president of Gambia. This guy has no formal medical training, but he claims he can cure people of AIDS. Actually he claims he can only do it on certain days of the week. He says the treatment came to him in a dream.

From there, things get really bizarre. It's a really interesting story, the kind you won't see anywhere else. That's it for now. I'm off to take another look at the big board.

Ask. Believe. Receive. Sure, why not?
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 3:32 PM ET
  38 Comments
I've always dreamt to go to Southeast Asia. The history,culture, and people are fascinating. I hope you well there, and good luck.

About Human Trafficking. I'm still fifteen, but I'm hoping that when I grow older, I want to shed real light on major problems like trafficking. Each person being trafficked has a family, has memories, has a home. And to rob children of their innocence is, in my opinion, a crime. Because once you rob them from it, it never returns. Each person traffecked holds a story that the world needs to listen to. And when I grow older, I want the world to hear their stories. One day, I hope, that I can let each person whos rights were stolen, to tell their stories to the world.

About Jeff Koinanges story, its quite intresting to see a story like that, where someone thinks he can do something unbelievable through a message sent in a dream. Incredible story to watch.

Wish you luck!
Posted By Anonymous Hadiya, Monmouth Junction NJ : 4:02 PM ET
Ask, Believe, Receive?~!? Yahh, right AC! That sounds rather "religious", don't you think??

Nowadays, it's more like: "Fabricate, Embellish, Justify/Support"!! Haha! Glad to see you're back to work, and off vacation! You've had a little too much *free time* of late, if you read all the bored, disgruntled bloggers/viewers of yours!
Posted By Anonymous Hanson, Miami, FL : 4:04 PM ET
Hi Anderson...I look forward to your reports from southeast Asia. Take care of yourself out there. We need more corespondents who seem to care as you do.

Peace...
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 4:04 PM ET
Did you say that, for years, you never got shots when you traveled? Wow. I don't know if you're really brave or really stupid, but, one thing's for sure--you're really lucky!!
Posted By Anonymous chris manchester, nh : 4:13 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Welcome back to the blog; we missed you! Hopefully you will be off on your trip before the snow really hits.

I am very excited about your next installment of "Planet in Peril!" I wrote you on February 15 about the black market trade in wildlife because I have a great interest in animal issues, so I will find this report expecially interesting. Although if I were you, this time around I would think twice before I trusted Jeff again!!

I remember reading that you studied Vietnamese at the University of Hanoi; can you still speak the language?

I hope you will let us know how Jeff Koinange and his wife are doing after their terrible ordeal recently. The President of Gambia sounds like he's been reading "The Secret!"

Well, enjoy your trip and take your malaria medicine; we will be looking forward to many interesting reports during your trip. Don't forget, watch out for Jeff!!

Take care,
Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 4:19 PM ET
Why don't you take a lucky viewer on one of these field trips?

Isn't Southeast Aisa really lax with their pollution control? Can you look into how the international community might come down on the governments there for lack of vehicle emmission laws and industrial pollution ?
Posted By Anonymous xtina -chicago IL : 4:22 PM ET
Its nice to "hear" you ramble!! Have a safe trip!
Posted By Anonymous PJ, St Louis MO : 4:23 PM ET
Leave all critters where you found them! Or throw them in the snow!

Stay safe on your trip.
Posted By Anonymous Nicki, Calgary, Alberta : 4:25 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
There's an interview behind the your consummate interview with Mr. Cronkite 2/2007. We will never know if or how he was kidding when responding your first question, "What's your lead story? "haven't read the newspaper in a couple of days", he quipped...priceless.. .for both of you...the audience too.... I wanted to let you know that I thanked him for being "every family's dad" and that so many times I watched my mom and dad need just that....through the rough spots...and smooth spots too... I practiced my 12 Vietnamese words to say to you but felt no words were better than smiles. Better late.... Hon Hanh Gap Nhau Hanh phu'e Mai mo't Gap Nhau. Tai thi'ch Em.... than never... Keep safe in Southeast Asia....still want to take your picture....maybe when you need a Photographer-RN, you'll let me tag along...I know the all the medical stuff(20 yrs) plus some photo stuff...You and your team keep safe....
Posted By Anonymous Christina Williams, Hemet, Ca : 4:39 PM ET
Anderson--

"Ask. Believe. Receive". The thing about that is...well, it's kind of true. (I'm not too into The Secret, mind you. I came to discover the whole basic concept in my own travels through life.)

Jeff's story sounds fascinating and, yes, bizarre. I'm just wondering how if could get any more "bizarre", beyond what you've already told us about it? Is this man just preying on the desperation and misery of a group of people, as a truly dishonest person out only for themselves would do? Or is he for real? It seems odd to me that he says "the treatment came to him in a dream", because, if it were that simple, wouldn't people have figured the whole prevention of and curing HIV/AIDS issue out by now?

And, Anderson, good for you for finally getting your shots. AND TAKE YOUR ANTI-MALARIAL MEDICATION! We all care about you, and don't want to see you get ill.

Take care, be safe, and I'm looking forward to tonight's broadcast, as well as what you will uncover next week.

Oh, as an aside, I think that snow gets less fun, and really annoying, when you have trudge through it to run errands (as you know).

Again, take care and be safe.
Posted By Anonymous Mandy, Boston, MA : 4:44 PM ET
Can't wait to see next week's shows and hope all goes well, no glitches. Poor Neil, something always seems to happen to him in the field, first the red dye then the spider bite. It kind of makes you think maybe there is a jinx in your midst.

Have a safe trip all.
Posted By Anonymous Grace, New Orleans LA : 5:00 PM ET
Hey Anderson - did you say you have a lot of last minute stuff to do before you leave? I can't believe CNN doesn't have someone to do that stuff for you. Don't they know how important you are? You're supposed to have people to do that stuff for you!

Anyway, have a safe trip and thanks for blogging and keeping us informed. Shots you say? Maybe I don't mind being stuck at home after all.
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 5:03 PM ET
"Ask, Believe, Receive" I'm sure that's the same mantra AIDS victims in Gambia have. Maybe it's a crazy result of a dream, but when faced with no alternatives, why not? Have a safe trip to Southeast Asia!
Posted By Anonymous Bob, San Francisco, CA : 5:10 PM ET
Anderson: On one hand, I think you all are nuts. On the other hand, you've got me looking forward to your reports next week! Don't let Corwin prick you with anything again....we don't want you getting the "creeping crud" now! Good Luck!
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 5:10 PM ET
Hello Mr. Anderson Cooper it's nice when we hear or read something from you at the blog because we feel the connection, we feel that we are part of your every project. this is the only way that we can reach you thank GOD for the internet. I noticed that you only post at the blog everytime you have to go in some places. I agree with you about the snow 1st when I got here at Chicago I'm excited about the snow because we don't have snow in the Philippines but now the snow it's kinda annoying specially this season.

I hope you visit also Philippines because there are so much to tell about that country regarding to the environment and sex trafficking. I remember when I was a missionary I also need some vaccines and I need to take some malaria medicine I think before and after going in some particular place.

well goodluck Mr. Anderson Cooper and I'm looking forward for this coming episode of AC360.

regards to all staff and crew of AC360 and to Mr. Jeff Koinange.
Posted By Anonymous Jemillex Bacerdo Chicago, IL. : 5:17 PM ET
Anderson,
I am looking foward to your show tonite. I hope you have a safe trip. I hope we will get to see more coverage on this trip. The Amazon was great stuff expeciqlly the sloths and you feeding the Manatee was priceless, but I wish you could have shown more. I am going thru a lot of health problems right now. Knowing I can watch you at nite is what gets me thru the day.I also would like to say that I enjoyed watching you on Regis and Kelly Tues and wednesday. Take care and do not forget to eat.
Posted By Anonymous Terrie Ford Prince George, VA : 5:26 PM ET
Anderson,
Looking forward to your reports from Asia. I've always been interested in the black marketing of animals and what we need to do to stop it. I hope you give us some great in-depth coverage of this problem. It's awful what is done to these animals!
It's a good thing that you got all of your shots, with Jeff going there is no telling what he'll try to do to you next! Stay away from him! NO, really he is a great asset to the team. He makes your stories interesting and quite funny! Not that you don't....but....SORRY
By the way...I sent in a post yesterday and they pulled your story. So if you get two post from me on here saying about the same thing, don't think I'm crazy! OK
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia, Covington, Ga. : 10:47 AM ET
Living in a part of Asia, I do not know enough of our region.

I ASK you to bring a lot of surprising stories from where you will be,
I BELIEVE you'll safe there,
and I'm sure we'll RECEIVE a lot of knowledge.

Have a safe trip!
Posted By Anonymous Mio, Oita, Japan : 11:38 AM ET
Anderson-

The snows of New York may be a little bothersome however I believe I would choose a little frozen precipitation over insect eggs being laid inside my body. The Southeast Asia area sounds interesting and you should certainly enjoy your old stomping ground but please be careful. It's such fun watching you travel around the world and bring so many endearing stories into our homes. Remember to take your malaria medicine and watch out for those spiders and insects. The Cambodia weather should be a bit warmer and little muggy so you won't have to pack too heavy.
Hope Neil and Phil are on the quick road to recovery---that's got to be scary! My goodness--
Be safe---and Godspeed Mr. Cooper and may the big "Dry Erase Board of Life" always be filled with topics to tickle your fancy. Just don't stop bringing them back to us through the wonderful world of technology. Always remember---Ask Believe Receive--
Posted By Anonymous Zann Martin, Tennessee : 11:41 AM ET
Hey there, sceptic, "The Secret" might be as ineffective as,say, Alberto Gonzales press conference, but we are both Broadway babies, and doesn't the idea sound suspiciously like Professor Harold Hill's think method? If you think the Minuet in G you can play the Minuet in G? Hold the phone, my mistake, if you ask for weapons of mass destruction and believe they exist, and you out a clandestine CIA officer you'll get a war. I'm confused--but one thing is clear--we got trouble, my friends.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa Line, Lutherville, MD : 11:43 AM ET
Hi Anderson'
It is so nice to have you blogging again-keep it up, We loce your prose,
Anyway Asia I'm sure will be a very intersting contient to explorenre. Judt beware of creapy animals and bigger frogs
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 11:48 AM ET
Wow, you're back! Was wondering what happened to your blog yesterday or if someone crashed it. Have a good trip to Anderson and the whole 360 crew.
Posted By Anonymous M. Fitzmas, VA : 12:20 PM ET
Hi Anderson -

After reading the last 2 posts, I'm a little grossed-out, yet intrigued! :) After reading your book and watching your reports from the field, I've wondered what kind of diseases / conditions you've had to battle, but have been afraid to ask! Please take care!

I'm looking forward to your reports from Asia. I haven't heard much about the animal trade... The issue of sex trafficking is so important - it will be interesting to hear an update on that story.

Thanks for covering stories we don't see in depth on other shows... and thanks for covering them in a way that makes us feel as though we are right there with you!

Jen
Posted By Anonymous Jen, NY, NY : 12:23 PM ET
The Gambian president is the strangest person i have ever seen. As a gambian, i am really ashamed of his actions. He has no formal medical training or even a college degree. Yet still he stands in front of the whole world and declare a cure for AIDS when infact he knows he is lying. Why did'nt he offer Jeff Koinange the interview he requested. He did'nt want to look like a fool? Yeah right! We all know that this man and his cabinet are all bunch of fools. The only sad part is that some Gambians might believe his unfounded claims and engage in dangerous sexual activities. This man needs to go!
Posted By Anonymous Njoku, California : 12:25 PM ET
Interesting topic and one that is very important to cover. Will you cover the traffiking of young women to the US as well?
Posted By Anonymous Sheryn Royce, NJ : 12:26 PM ET
Here's another thought for the big board... the destination is pointless if you haven't enjoyed the trip. Enjoy your trip, Anderson - and thanks for sharing views of our world that are taking a perilous turn.
Posted By Anonymous JB, Memphis, TN : 12:27 PM ET
wow...the president of gambia kinda sounds like our local "magic healers".
stay safe.God bless.
Posted By Anonymous naurah,lahore,pakistan : 1:45 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Welcome back to the blog; we missed you! Hopefully you were able to leave without any problems this morning. I am very excited about your next installment of "Planet in Peril." I wrote you on February 15 about the black market trade in wildlife because I have a great interest in animal issues; I know I will find this report especially interesting. Although this time around I would think twice before trusting Jeff again!!

I remember reading that you studied Vietnamese at the University of Hanoi; can you still speak the language?

I was glad to see Jeff Koinange looking so well, his report on the President of Gambia was interesting, but troubling. This man sounds like he's been reading "The Secret."

Well, enjoy your trip and take your malaria medicine; I will be looking forward to many interesting reports during your stay in Asia. Don't forget, watch out for Jeff!!

Take care,
Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 2:34 PM ET
Southeast Asia is bound to be an incredible adventure and I'm so glad the "Planet in Peril" segment is continuing on so many levels, not just the environment. Thanks for following up on the sex trafficking as well as societal influence on the environment. Putting human faces to such overly-statistized problems can really do wonders on the perceptions of viewers abroad.

Your viewers are thankful that you're getting your shots, Anderson. I hope Phil and Neil are doing well! Safe travels and best wishes!!
Posted By Anonymous Aruna Rao, Minneapolis, MN : 2:53 PM ET
Hi, Anderson,
Glad to see you post again, we like it when you post on the blog. Have a safe trip, can,t wait to see your show. Show us more than you all did when you were in the Amzon. Love when you guys travel, very interesting.

Take care or each other,
Sandy Richmond, VA
Posted By Anonymous Sandy Richmond,VA : 3:01 PM ET
Next weeks shows sound fantastic. Hope all goes well. Poor Neil he always seems to have some type of a mishap on these trips. Could there be a jinx in your midst?

Have a great and safe trip all.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia Warren MI : 3:37 PM ET
I remember when I went to India last year...I had to get a bunch of shots, including Japanese Encephalitis.
As far as the malaria medicine goes, I took it for the first two days, and after that, the next time I saw it was when I was back in the states
Hopefully, you will remember to take your medicine!

Good Luck in Cambodia and I can't wait to see your "Planet in Peril" reports.
Posted By Anonymous Manisha, Los Angeles, CA : 4:41 PM ET
Anderson,

I was happy to hear you and your collegues are off to another fact finding worldly adventure,and with Jeff along, never a dull momment watch out for his "shenanigan's" . You must know re/"Planet in Peril" You left the viewers wanting more, the segments were to brief, short . Very informative , why not combine one hour of footage? guess it's up to the producers, with all of the much needed coverage on global warming/ endangered species your viewership is growing and paying closer attention to the issues. Anderson please ...pretty please longer segments, 360 just ain't the same without you". I hope you are fully immunized , you don't wear a seat belt,... when in the middle east , dont always wear a helmut , the last thing I want to see on "The shot of the day" is you explaining to the viewers how the lump on your stomach is the larva" of some unknown species growing in your small intestine. On another subject looming I watched on Cspan, the testimony of CIA operative Valerie Plane" I don't understand was she "covert"? or not , what is the true definition ? , she appeared to confuse the issue convieniently. Her testimony grew stonger as led by the democrats prejudice and bais questioning., of course there is the tell all book deal in the millions. I heard one reporter say Garbo speaks" that guy whoever you are? you need a cold shower. To all of the 360 crew and Jeff, please by safe. millions will be watching.

Maritza,
Posted By Anonymous Maritza Munoz San Jose, Ca : 4:48 PM ET
Not the Secret, Anderson!

It's written:

Knock and the door will open.
Seek and ye shall find.
Ask and you will be given. (The keys to the Kingdom of Heaven)

So it's really no secret at alland it's much older than thier book. Fortunately it works, and it won't even cost anyone the price of the book. All you guys remember when something scares the you know what out of you on these outings! I will do the same to bring each of you home safely. However. if the rainforest was any indication it may be a tad more difficult.

Be safe & well!

Maggie
Posted By Anonymous Maggie, GV, MO : 5:10 PM ET
Snow? Annoying? Let me actually see some on a regular basis and maybe I'll change my mind. Good luck not catching malaria. In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to the next installment of "Planet in Peril." Hope the trip goes well; can't wait to see what happens Monday.
Posted By Anonymous Ashley, Baton Rouge, LA : 5:21 PM ET
Have a great trip to SE Asia. At least it should be an American Idol free zone !

Its going to be interesting to see what the enviornmental issues are in this region. I think we hear so much about the South American rain forests and the Polar ice caps that this area is often forgotten.

Here in the UK we are seeing a great influx of goods (especially coffee, tea and bananas) which are claimed to be "fair trade". By this the produce is sourced from local producers and they are paid often directly or through co-operatives to ensure they recieve a fair price and can there for maintain a decent standard of living. Would your trip be able to look at any of these initiatives ?
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Canterbury, UK : 5:22 PM ET
I saw you on Regis and Kelly I thought you were great. How long will you be in Asia? I hope you have a safe trip.I will be whatching everynight. Takecare and god bless
Posted By Anonymous shani jackson Norfolk Va : 6:26 PM ET
We often times hear about the trafficking of children in different parts of the world. It seems the government usually turn their back to what is happening, "out of sight, out of mind." What, if any is the Cambodian government doing to combat the trafficking of children? Or are they leaving it to the few citizens that care to deal with the problem?

Save travels.
Posted By Anonymous A.C. Altadena, CA : 6:57 PM ET
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