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Author: Claire

Monday Miscellany (and a small quiz)

HOME! Waking up in the tropics, then struggling home through a blinding snowstorm 26 hours later is not fair! Not fair at all! But thank heaven for heroically dedicated friends; I didn’t have to drive myself that last crazy six hours. Why is every mainstream media article about the census a propaganda piece that could have been written by flacks at the Census Bureau? And why does every one of them repeat the lie about “just 10 questions”? Sure, there are merely 10 questions for people who live alone, but there are seven additional questions for each other resident —…


“Help” the census!

An anonymous correspondent chides me: You’re WRONG, Claire! You shouldn’t be slyly urging readers to resist the census. Instead, we should be helping the census, just as all the ads and promos say. I live in a rural area in [state deleted] and I noticed that dedicated census workers had hung forms in big white baggies on the doorknobs of dozens of places I knew to be either abandoned or mere weekend or vacation cabins for people who live in cities. You don’t think all that effort should go to waste, do you? I sure don’t! So I helped the…


More on free-market medicine

Travlin’ … Sorry for the “lite” posting the last few days. I will have more soon. But fact is that lazing, shopping, and basking in the sun don’t make exciting blog material, alas. Neither does routine traveling (even when you’re wedged into a strange little jumpseat next to a lavatory that has no water and whose door keeps flopping open every time the bus hits a bump). Ah well. In the meantime, I see that James Dunlap has an article on about free-market medicine outside the U.S. His piece is different from, but reflects the same values as, my…


Hotel dogs

8:00 this morning. A polite “knock” on our hotel room door. Okay, more like a polite scratch, repeated when we failed to respond. When we opened the door, in strolled one of our new friends: We’ve met this girl previously in the hotel lobby, where she and her much older companion, a lab, reign in pampered splendor. Rotties seem to be the most popular local breed. We offered doggie delicacies. Like nearly all the pets in these parts, she was deeply suspicious of cheese. She finally took a slice, but spat it back out. (My dogs back home would be…


Playing tourist (4WD style)

Today in our travels, we thought we’d just play tourist. So we signed on for an expedition into the cloud forests. Things got a tad adventurous when our wonderful guide (the young guy in the backwards hat in the photo) decided to take us off-roading. The vehicle — a 1979 Toyota Land Cruiser — was certainly equipped for it. (And oh boy, do I know a young man who’s going to be very envious of that Toyota.) This particular Land Cruiser has more than 2.5 million kilometers on its engine! To explain the picture above, I could make up a…


More un-American acts

Lorri, my traveling companion, speaks scarcely a word of the local Furrin. But this morning she was able to walk into a pharmacy, raise her glasses, display an allergy-swollen eye, and walk out with a cream that would have required an $80 doctor visit in the U.S. Testing the system, I went into two pharmacies and showed a card on which I had written (courtesy of a request for a certain other pharmaceutical. I gave its generic name and all the brand names I could find online. In both cases, women behind the counter identified the drug by its…


A travel day for tourists

Today was a travel day. We left one semi-civilized area (where we were staying as guests of a kind American friend in his very cool, very tiny rented house) and traveled 300 miles to a remote — but this time not primitive — part of the country. Travel days usually feel like lost time, and we expected this one to be no exception. We also had to change transport three times, all the while navigating in places we didn’t know and a language we barely understand. Kinda scary, that. I spent hours rehearsing ways of saying, “Please tell us and…


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?