Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Passionate Authors

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

On October 8th, I had the pleasure of attending the AAUW Conversation with Authors event. ThreeColorado authors, Sandi Ault, John Shors, and Helen Thorpe each spoke for about 45 minutes and then answered some audience questions.

            Sandi Ault has written a series of “Wild” mysteries, Wild Penance, Wild Sorrow, Wild Inferno, and Wild Indigo. Her character,Jamaica, is a protection agent with the Bureau of Land Management, working in the Southwest nearTaosMountain. She interacts with Indians in the Tonoah Pueblo and has a wolf for a pet.

            Ault talked about her love of the Indians. She has been adopted into a tribe, but knows little of their language. Words are sacred and shared very sparingly. They refuse to let anyone write anything down. Ault also has a wolf as a pet. If a male wolf is orphaned, no pack will accept him. Her love for wolves shone through as she talked about her devotion to these animals.

            John Shors, a former English teacher and newspaper reporter, has traveled widely in Asiaand other parts of the world avoiding the cities and tourist attractions to spend time with native peoples. His books, Beneath a Marble Sky, Beside a Burning Sea, and Dragon House, feature exotic events in remote cultures. His goal in writing is for readers to feel like they have visited the places of the settings.

            Helen Thorpe, a journalist and wife of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, has written a book, Just Like Us, about four Mexican teenagers attending a high school inDenver and beginning college. One girl was born in theU.S., one is here legally with a green card, and two were brought here as young children by their parents. This factual book describes the challenges they have faced and continue to deal with. Thorpe emphasized that the book is not intended as an editorial. Her mission is to deepen readers’ understanding of the complexity of the issue.

            These three authors all spoke from their hearts about issues of vital concern to them. I was reminded, once again, of the power of the word. Writing does touch the core of the being of both the writer and the reader.



Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Vacations are wonderful things if they provide you with what you need.† †One requires different travel experiences at different phases of oneís life.† You may have loved camping when your children were young, but now perhaps you crave leaving your camping stove at home and taking a cooking class in Santa Fe or even Oaxaca, Mexico.

†If you are totally stressed out and exhausted, spending lazy days on a beach letting the sound of the surf polish your jagged edges may appeal to you.

† If you are citified and longing for Mother Nature and adventure, then hiking through Patagonia in South America or even the more primitive trails in your home state may be your choice.

At the moment, my daughter and her new husband are in Alaska visiting our son who lives there.† She has fallen head over heels in love with Alaska and the fishing experiences she is having.† Her first day there, she stood in the ocean for six hours straight throwing out her line without a bite.† Eventually, she snagged a salmon and hauled it in and was ecstatic! †To my shock, my son informed me that she ate the fish eggs from the newly cut open fish right there on the beach-apparently that is what fisherpeople do.† I am amazed that anyone would find joy in standing in waders in thigh high water all afternoon without food, drink or a toilet and then dining on fish roe without the sour cream or crackers.† †Not my thing, but then again, I donít have a desk job in an architectural firm like she does where she pores over blueprints and the fine points of design.† No wonder the majestic spaces and wonderful smells of Alaska appeal to her!

††††††††††††††† So dear readers, if you had unlimited time and resources at your disposal, what would your dream travel experience be at this point in your life?† Where would you go and what would you do?

Gone Home

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

A 50th high school reunion beckoned me home to NJ.

100 + class members attended. Some came with spouses others without. Many still lived and worked throughout the state. Others traveled from NY, CA, SC, FL, OH, VA, MA, VT, and CO to join in the festivities.

What surprised me most was the instant connection we made with one another. Seemed like yesterdayÖOh sure, a few years may have passed, gray hairs sprouted and an extra pound or two found its way to intrude, but still present was the same zest for life. One success story after another brought a sense of pride for these old friends who so aptly represented East Side High School out in the world.

Good food, lots of fun and rekindling of friendships...fantastic. DJ played "our" kind of musicÖRock ën Roll of the fifties. Lots of chatter, laughing, singing and dancing! We let the good times roll!

Next day after the reunion breakfast I was on the move.
I drove all over NJ to visit with several high school friends who couldnít make reunion, college friends and family. I scouted old jaunts, rode by homes we lived in, WALKED, really walked, the boardwalk in several beach townsóSeaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, and Belmar. Oh the memories generated in these places!

Sand dunes, salty air, ocean waves caressing the sandy beach, sun bathers tanning on colorful towels and blankets and small boats cruising the shoreline were a welcomed sight. Amusement rides for adults and kids, including the carousel and its magical calliope music, drew children of all ages who, with ticket in hand, waited their turn. Hawkers at the game stands challenged the vacationers to take a chance at winning a prize. Carnival type food, pizza at Tomato Joeyís, salt water taffy from Jenkinsonís Beach teased and pleased my taste buds. Miniature golf, fun houses, souvenir shops and the fun filled arcades still lured the crowds. Aside from a few upgrades, the boardwalk hadnít changed much. And how could I not mention the spicy, Lobster Diablo dinner I savored while sitting at a window table watching the boats come and go along Shark River? Nothing like melt-in-your-mouth fresh seafood to top off a wonderful trip.

So happy I went because Helen Pepsin (maiden name) rose to the occasion and uncovered/rediscovered her old self, the one from a lifetime ago...LOL. She was and still is lots of fun. I wonder how she got lost in being Mrs. Eddie and Jimmyís mother, Andyís mother, Matthewís mother and Amyís mother.

Gone homeÖyou bet I did. What a trip! A true blast from the past.


Monday, May 24th, 2010

††††††††††††††† I travel all over the world and the one thing Iíve learned for sure is that it really doesnít matter how fat one is.† What matters is how long one can go without peeing.†

††††††††††† Nothing is worse in Europe than the excruciating pain of an overfull bladder and no toilet in sight. Even if you stumble on a toilet, if you donít have a coinÖyou are screwed.† The way it works is that you are supposed to find a coffee shop and buy a coffee as payment to use the facilities.† This makes no sense as the coffee goes directly to oneís bladder and the cycle simply repeats itself.

On my trip to Europe this past April, I was searching frantically for a toilet on the streets of Barcelona and was unable to find one.† Desperate, I ran into a museum that was twenty minutes from closing and threw 6 Euro at the ticket taker just so I could use the toilet.† I bought a 6 Euro cup of coffee so I could pee in Santorini, Greece and a 6 Euro glass of bad wine to pee in Dubrovnik, Croatia in a camping potty behind a curtain on the edge of a cliff. †Each time, it was money well-spent.

Some days Iíd travel to some far off destination on a fancy motor coach with a toilet on board, BUT, the toilets are always locked, mocking you as you curse that one teeny sip of coffee that mostly you only smelled but didnít drink for breakfast.† I guess if management unlocked the toilet and let the passengers actually use them, then they would have to clean them which would increase their overhead!† On a train ride to Rome, I needed to pee so desperately that I used the toilet at the end of the car.† Unfortunately, the toilet locks itself at the train station when it is standing still and unlocks itself as it is hurling 80 kilometers an hour down the track.† No wonder the walls and floors are sticky!!!

When I was lucky enough to find a toilet on my travels, the line reached to Jamaica!† But only if you are a woman.† The men never waited, something to do with the ease of not undoing a belt and the freedom of peeing standing up at a urinal.† My husband was in and out in a flash and I spent most of my vacation in a cue at the ìladies room. So ladies, this is the new rule.† UNDO ALL YOUR CLOTHING FASTENINGS WHILE YOU ARE STANDING IN LINE.† GO INSIDE THE STALL AND PEE.† IMMEDIATELY EXIT THE STALL AND DEAL WITH YOU FASTENINGS OUTSIDE THE STALL. Iíve done the math.† The fastenings add two minutes to each person in line.†

And remember, really smart people make it a policy to never drink any liquids when traveling, no exceptions.


Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

New Years Eve 1974, Mike and I were in Madras India.† We decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner even though we had very little money.† We got on a city bus to ride to the restaurant on the edge of town.† When we got there, I realized I had been pick- pocketed on the bus and was broke.† Mike had some money so we were very careful with what we ordered so that we would have the funds to cover it.† We nearly died when we got the bill because the restaurant charged for each piece of bread that was eaten from the bread basket and we had eaten two.†† We covered our bill but we didnít have enough to get back to the hotel.† I still remember begging a taxi driver in the dark to discount his fare.† He did.

Lesson learned, I have never been pick-pocketed since.† I wear a small lightweight wallet/purse with a long cord around my neck (REI) with passport, drivers license, credit card and cell phone in it.† I put nothing else in it to keep it light as possible.† If it is too heavy, I will be tempted to take it off and I NEVER TAKE IT OFF.† NEVER,NEVER,NEVER.† Not to hang on a chair, stuff in an airplane pocket, lay on a table or put on the counter in the toilet.† NEVER.† When I sleep, I put it in the room safe or under my pillow.† Mike carries his stuff in zippered pocket on the legs of his pants. (Cargo pants) Very difficult to get robbed with those babies.

I travel all over the globe all the time and I havenít gotten sick for ages even with all the weird flu out there.† I took a hint from the crew on the cruise ships ñ NO MORE HAND SHAKING.† In fact, I touch NOTHING with my bare skin if it can be avoided.† I use paper towels, tissue, my elbow whatever to open bathroom doors, for example.†† I donít even touch the cup of water the stewardess hands me (think of where her hands have been)† I use the napkin she provides.† Do I sound like Howard Hughes?† Not really, most all the other travelers out there take the same precautions.† Touch nothing and wash hands frequently with hot water.† I donít use sanitizer ever - not a fan.† One problem.† My travel partner, who shall remain nameless, touches all the railings in all the buildings in all the countries on earth.† And then, he touches me.† Bad man!† By the way, sometimes he catches something.

Lastly, have a plan where to meet or what to do if you get separated from your travel partner.† (Besides using your cell phone which may be super expensive overseas.) Last July Mike nearly lost me at the Amsterdam airport.† I went to the ladies room and it was hidden behind a small door on a stair landing ñ totally weird.† He was looking in the hallways like in USA.† Our plan was to go back to the last place we had face time and donít move until we are happily reunited.

This blog is dedicated to Scott and Destiny who are gearing up for Bali.† Happy travels my little bunnies everywhere.† And remember, travel light!