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Month: February 2010

Zip Lining

Yes. It’s me. Flying over the jungle like Tarzan. A clumsy, terrified Tarzan, to be sure. A Tarzan shouting, “Oh sh*t!” rather than “Aiyeeaiyeeaiyeeeeee!” or whatever he shouted as he swung from his vines. But today, Lorri and I did what we promised ourselves we would do at least once on this trip despite any quibbles and cowardice. We went zip lining. It was harder for Lorri because we had to climb for 45 minutes to get to the top of the mountain to start the course. Aside from just getting over the effects of drinking some Don’t-Drink-the-Water, she has…


Pictures from Furrin Parts

A few pix from my adventures. Apologies to those on slow connections, but I haven’t mastered the art of creating clickable thumbnails on this site yet. I’ll work on that. This is the view — such as it was — from the window of our $8/night hostel (in the local Big City where we spent our first three nights). Wasn’t as scary-bad as it looks, though it was definitely very “basic.” Speaking of contrasts, this is the village where we stayed in the Wayback-Outback. The two-story house to the left of the bridge was a chief’s house, where we rented…


Hey, now here’s a plan!

You may have been following the story about the double-dipping sheriff who showed up in class to force an apology on a professor who criticized him. Just business as usual in Govland. Ho hum. But the article linked above does contain (inadvertently) a wonderful thought: “If we try to bury every politician who made a mistake, we won’t have any left!” Ahhhhh … dontcha wish?


In the Wayback-Outback

The first thing to know about “indigenous” villages, if you didn’t already, is that they’re claustrophobic. And almost totally lacking in privacy — especially if you’re one of the rare foreigners to stay within their borders. The sheer Novelty of You makes you a public attraction, no matter how much everyone tries to be polite. One of the first things to know about “island paradises” is that they mostly aren’t. Islands, yes. Paradises, nope. Another thing I didn’t know about villages is how F*&&^%%ing noisy they are. OMG, OMG, OMG! My friend Lorri and I spent most of a week…


Another reason to dis the census

I’m still traveling, but now I’m in a place where I can satisfy my news addiction. It seems that a lot of 10-year-old articles about the census are turning up right now. Which isn’t a bad thing (though some of them should have been updated first and most should be more clearly marked for what they are). Ran across this one by Dave Kopel that reminds of yet another reason to tell the census-taker to go to hell: because information about you will be sold to marketers and some of it could quite easily be personally identifiable. The main thing…

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Landed in ‘Netland

Trav’lin … Hey! I’m here. I have landed in a part of these Furrin Parts where I’ll have pretty reliable Internet for at least the next few days. I’ll soon be writing about our recent experiences in the Wayback-Outback. (Most of a week without electricity, running water, news, English, or even wheeled vehicles — oh my!) But for now, here are two observations I penned (computered?) just before leaving the local Big City for Remoteland. It’s great to be back in touch for a while. —– More Unamerican things Yet another unAmerican act observed taking place right out in public:…


Furrin languages

(I’m now off adventuring beyond the reach of wireless. So here’s a post I wrote early-early on. I’m getting a tad more used to things now …) —– Trav’lin’ … The first thing you notice about furriners is that they speak Furrin. (Never mind that I’m now the furriner; don’t Americans always think of themselves as the center of the universe?) I’m not opposed to speaking Furrin. I’ve tried to learn to do it myself, twice. One time, I managed to get two years’ worth of straight As, become a tutor to several of my own classmates — and still…


Pre-flight paranoia

An out-of-order post. Though you’re seeing this after I’ve “escaped,”** I’m writing it at 3:45 a.m. in the sleepless hours before my flight from the U.S. I’m at a friend’s house in the big city, connected to a network one of their zillions of neighbors left handily unsecured. —– I’m still excited about my trip, but I’ve been struck by pre-flight paranoia. It started yesterday as I packed. Deciding to take tea along, I slipped some regular old Lipton, then a few Earl Greys into a baggie. Finally, I tossed in a couple packets of my favorite treat-tea, the lovely…

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First morning

(Sending from an Internet cafe that was one difficult puppy to find. Thank heaven that on this one day we have a guide who’s showing us the sights and keeping us from stumbling into the wrong places — which in this city do abound.) —– After a chill, miserable night in the Miami airport, I was finally on my way to Parts Unknown on Friday morning. The first sign of things finally going well in a very un-American way was when the airline (based in my destination country) handed out free breakfasts. No $10 meal charge. Sure, the mealettes were…


On my way again

After being stranded all night in the airport, I was among the first in line when the ticket counter opened this morning. Got a confirmed seat number, so I guess my stand-by status is safely removed. Zipped through TSA at 5:00 a.m., this time without a bit of patting, pawing, swabbing, or questioning, despite having a Deadly Comb in my carry-on. (They still have posters up here showing tweezers, nail clippers, and certain types of combs as “dangerous weapons”; I’m actually not sure my all-plastic comb counts among the forbidden. I thought much of that silliness had been done away…