How To Get To The Root Of Any Matter? Try Wordsmithing! Try Punning!

March 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We all know that Puns are the lowest form of humor. Right? But, aren’t they fun? The weightier the matter, the faster the flow of great puns! It’s simply our creativity trying to get our attention and to show us around-and-about the most solemn of subjects.

These are to be read simply as single headlines. I’m not trying to make a story here, though some subjects come in clusters (pun intended, I guess). And to get any sense out of this you do need to be somewhat informed about the Secret War of Laos, which is where I am traveling at the moment; and uncovering the SCOOP of the century! It’s a perpetual scoop, apparently, because “much” has already been written about it. Ish! Meaning that we, Americans, still haven’t heard of it. Check it out on Google and YouTube and then, do what you can to spread this shameful news. This egg on the American Face. Fifty years and counting!

I stumbled across the story in the COPE Center, here in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, while touristing through Southeast Asia. COPE is dedicated to clearing the UXO, unexploded ordinances, which kill and maim Laotians constantly as they work and walk the countryside. COPE makes prosthetics that allow them to survive. They need our support, primarily in the shape of money. They are not begging for it. I am!

When the oh so serious subject of America’s Secret War in Laos (see my previous blog) came to my attention; I found myself suddenly creating headlines and playing with words. I’ll share the pun-worthy results here, in order to give you full permission to slide gleefully down this slippery slope; even if you have a speech to the United Nations to prepare. Just try to imagine the subjects you could weave around each headline. And, there you will have it! Profundity! Keep paper and pen handy! These smarty-pants reproduce uncontrollably!

AMERICA’S TACTICAL TRAVESTY!

WOMBS OR BOMBS?  TOMBS OR ROOMS? BOOMS CREATE GLOOMS!

LIVE or spelled backwards EVIL?

UNEXPLODED CLUSTER BOMBS – A BLAST FROM THE PAST!

BOMBIES – BLASTS THAT LAST!

LAOS OR LOSS? LOUSED OR LOST?

YOUR SONS, OUR SONS, MY SON!

SECRET WARS ARE NOT CIVIL! LET’S BE CIVIL TO EACH OTHER!

IF CIVILIANS ARE NOT SOLDIERS, THEN, WHY DID WE BOMB THEM? ‘SPLAIN THAT TO ME AGAIN?

WHERE WERE THE NO-FLY-ZONES OVER LAOS?

THEY ARE NOT ASKING FOR HAND-HOLDING! MANY LAOTIANS DON’T HAVE THOSE ANY MORE!

BUT, THEY DO NEED A HANDS-UP!

LET’S JOIN HANDS AND HEARTS AND HELP THEM HEAL!

A CLUSTER BOMB FELL, LIKE A NUT, ON THE HEAD OF HENNY-PENNY. SHE RAN TO TELL THE KING BUT NOBODY LISTENED!

WHO WAS HENNY-PENNY, ANYWAY? THE BUSY BODY WHO THOUGHT THE SKY WAS FALLING!

BUCK, BUCK, BUCK! IF THE SKY FELL, THOSE PLANES WOULDN’T BE OVERHEAD! EVERYTHING’S NORMAL, YOU SILLY HEN!

RELAX, HENNY! IT’S ONLY CLUSTER BOMBS; JUST LIKE EVERYDAY, FOR THE PAST NINE YEARS!

CHICKEN LITTLE SAYS THAT IT’S A BIGGER WAR THAN YOU THOUGHT POSSIBLE! LAOS IS THE MOST-BOMBED COUNTRY, EVER IN HISTORY!  THANKS TO THE U.S! GUESS WHO GOOSEY-LOOSEY IS!

LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS! AND LOTS OF OTHER THINGS, AS WELL.

WHO’S MINDING THE ROOST, ANYWAY?

DON’T ASK FOR WHOM THE COCK CROWS! IT CROWS FOR ALL OF US…. EVENTUALLY!

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE DAWN! COFFEE AND ROTTING CARCASSES!

SPILL YOUR GUTS, AMERICA! CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL!

AMERICA! YOU BIG BULLY! LOOK WHAT YOU DID!

LOOK THE OTHER WAY! WHAT BALLS? THESE ARE OBVIOUSLY FOR TENNIS!

TENNIS ANYONE? LET’S GO BAT A FEW BALLS AROUND BEFORE BREAKFAST. THEN, WHEN THE EGGS FALL, WE’LL EAT!

OH GOODY! RATTLES FOR THE BABY!

TALK ABOUT BURIED TREASURE!

ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES, GALS! WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BARE ARMS!

CIVIL WAR=EVIL WAR!

MOM, UPSIDE DOWN, SPELLS WOW! AND DAD, WITH AN E, (enemy) IN THE MIDDLE, SPELLS DEAD!

WARFARE OR CARFARE?

LET’S LOVE LAOS, AMERICA!

AMERICA’S MURDEROUS EGGS – CLUSTER BOMBS

AMERICA HAS LAID AN EGG THAT WON’T GO AWAY, UNTIL WE EAT CROW AND MAN UP TO OUR RESPONSIBILITIES! DOES THAT NEED MANSPLAINING, ANYONE?

ORGASM NOT WARGASM! MAKE LOVE NOT WAR! PEACE, NOT PIECES! (Not mine, originally.)

AMERICA’S SECRET WAR, OUR NEST OF BOMBIES!

WHAT DOES ONE DO ON THE WAY HOME FROM A BOMBING RUN? YOU DUMP YOUR LEFTOVER BOMBIES ON BABIES IN LAOS!

WE’VE JUST FOUND THE CAUSE OF PTSD! THE ONLY CURE IS TO LOSE YOUR MIND….ER, MEMORY! OTHERWISE, THE BRAIN-BOMBING IS NIGHTLY. EVERY EIGHT MINUTES!

BOMBIES FOR BREAKFAST? THEY LOOK JUST LIKE GIGANTIC RICE KRISPIES!

U.S. PILOTS BOMBED LAOS EVERY EIGHT MINUTES FOR NINE YEARS ON THEIR WAY BACK FROM VIETNAM…. IN ORDER TO LAND WITH NO DEADLY CARGO. MIGHT BLOW THEMSELVES UP, YA KNOW! OR THE CARRIER. CAN’T HAVE THAT, NOW CAN WE? THEY’D COURT-MARSHALL YOU!

NORTH VIETNAM INCONVENIENT? BOMB LAOS INSTEAD!

THERE’S NO DECLARED WAR WITH LAOS, BUT WE STILL KILL AND MAIM THE INNOCENT EVERYDAY! FIFTY-FOUR YEARS AND COUNTING. WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR LIFETIME IS THAT?

AMERICA IS GUILTY OF THIS! WAKE UP, AMERICANS, AND SEE WHAT YOUR MILITARY HAS DONE!

MAMA HENS UNITE! LAOS HAS STUMPS TO FIX! THEY NEED PROSTHETICS!

THINGS FALL AND HIT US!  SOMETIMES, BOMBS! SOMETIMES, TREES! SOMETIMES, TRUCKS!

HOW DOES ONE CELEBRATE WINNING A SECRET WAR? HOW DOES ONE WIN AN UNDECLARED WAR? HOW DOES ONE SILENCE THE NOSY, NOISY NEIGHBORS, WHO PRY INTO YOUR CLOSEST SECRETS? YOUR SHAMEFUL, CLOSET SECRETS? BUT WHAT IF YOUR NOISY FAMILY GETS NOSY? STARTS ASKING PRYING QUESTIONS? GETS OUT OF CONTROL? CAN YOU SILENCE THEM? DOES YOUR GUN HAVE A SILENCER? WHAT IF IT’S NOT IN YOUR CONSTITUTION? WHAT IF EVERYTHING YOU WERE FIGHTING FOR IN VIETNAM IS NOW HELD HOSTAGE IN YOUR SECRET LOCKER? HAVE THE COWS COME HOME? IS THERE FREEDOM IN YOUR HEART? AND IN YOUR SPEECH? DO YOU DO UNTO OTHERS? WHAT DID YOU DO, THAT THEY ARE SO AFRAID TO SPEAK UP….. OR MORE LIKELY, ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL?

OUT WITH IT NOW, CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL, UNCLE SAM!

Happy Punning, Punsters of the world!       www.copelaos.org.

Fellow Americans! I’ve Discovered A Terrible Secret, Out Here On The RTW Trail! Help Me, Please!

March 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Friday, March 16, 2018 – Vientiane, Laos: A quote from my journal:

“My life has changed! I’m hopping off the Tour instead of continuing south through Laos with the Stray Group, as I had intended. The clincher came at our visit today to the COPE Center, a museum detailing the atrocities caused by cluster bombing of this innocent country, Laos, by AMERICA during the Vietnam War. I feel a new sort of glint in my eye that tells me that I am really very mad all of a sudden!  You might well get that impression about me if you will allow me to rant for a moment. Or, two! I am staying awhile in this capital city to volunteer at this center, or to help with the disabled…. and to learn all I can about this horrible atrocity. What can I do after half a century has passed? I have no idea, but I will find out!

There was a shameful secret here in Laos, with cluster bombs being dropped by OUR country upon this totally uninvolved and innocent nation, every eight minutes for nine full years, between 1964 and 1973! This is now referred to as The Secret War. Look it up on YouTube! Not that any of us have ever heard about this…. even now! You Tube, or not! I just looked it up there. What was the map on the Center’s wall showing American attack flights and bombings in bright red, if it truly was a Laotian Civil War as some stories on YouTube imply? And some stories say that Laos is a Communist country!? There is not a shred or a clue, over here, feet-on-the-ground, that it ever was!

And I spent eighteen months, altogether, between 1990 – 1994, giving grassroots, two-week-long, Citizen Diplomacy Tours twice a month, through Russia, Siberia, and the Eastern Bloc nations, before the USSR dissolved In fact, I was in Kiev, Ukraine, the day that it did. I should know what Communism and post-Communism looks and feels like! Laos does not fit in that company! It is one of the most peaceful, spiritual, and loving countries I have ever been in! And I sure have been in a whole lot of countries; including Communist ones. Well, okay, I see that its full country name is Laos PDR, which stands for Peoples Democratic Republic, which may be a hint at this type of politics. But, that’s the only tipoff that I can see. Belatedly, at that.

Buddhist! Ohmigosh, yes! So, so Buddhist! Not Communist! Ye Gods! I had to read You Tube to hear that claim!

Anyway, what were those nine years worth of constant American bombing runs over Laos, every eight minutes around the clock, all about? And, why were they using ammunition built by USA’s own Honeywell Company, where cluster bombs used to be produced until constant protest demonstrations made them discontinue? I wonder if cluster bombs were the product being manufactured at the Honeywell plant near my home in Clearwater, Florida, during those very same years that I spent at home, birthing and raising my two babies?

You see, these are the sudden questions that crowd the mind as one tries to assimilate shocking new information.

They told me yesterday at the COPE Center, that Laos is the most heavily-bombed country in the history of the world and Google does agree with that! And, that it was all America’s doing! I sure have a few questions for the American Embassy here. That should be interesting next Monday, day after tomorrow; unless I have popped onto their Suspicious Persons list by that time, and they won’t speak to me. You bet! I AM suspicious about all this! I’m mad, too! But, I want to give my government a chance to explain.

Sure, I knew about the Vietnam War and believed what I was told at the time: That it was to “stop the spread of Communism and make the world safe for Democracy!” Right vs Might, and all that stuff! My male contemporaries were serving over there! And dying. Some came home with PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder! I’ll bet they were the pilots that flew those airplanes, who even had orders to dump their remaining payload if they were returning from a bombing mission over Vietnam; so that they wouldn’t risk the aircraft carrier or landing strip, themselves included, while trying to land. Nightmare worthy, to say the least! I’m feeling it right now and I wasn’t watching or doing the dumping.

A cluster bomb is a whole bunch of explosives that look like metal tennis balls, contained in a bigger bomb which pops open as it nears the earth. These deadly pellets then scatter everywhere and explode on contact. Rather than destroying buildings, they are specifically designed to kill people, as the ball’s lead pellets penetrate every surface and do fatal damage. Seventy percent of these bombs performed as expected, and intended, by the U.S. Government during those Vietnam War years, probably with the brilliant military strategy of messing with the enemy’s Ho Chi Minh supply trail that curved through much of Southern Laos as well as South Vietnam. What will I find when I arrive there on this same trip?

Is that really an acceptable excuse, America? For the fact that these bombs are still going off, fifty-four years later? Now killing the children and grandchildren of those who were children at the time? I  don’t think so! In the cold light of day…. and the passage of time…. no war is acceptable! But, bombing a country outside of the war zone and protected by the United Nations, covered by accords and agreements… and not, to this day, either admitted to, or “reparated,” by the good old U.S. of A…. is simply NOT ACCEPTABLE in my book!

How about yours? Stand tall, my fellow Americans!

You see, thirty percent of those small, scattered cluster bombs failed to detonate upon landing and they are still suspended in tree branches or buried under farm soil or the squishy mud of rice paddies, waiting to be stepped upon by  water buffalo or  humans, including me. Because, just the other day, I drove a plow behind a buffalo in a demonstration paddy of knee-deep mud. It could happen! Without warning! And it does all the time. Maiming or killing, in the blink of an eye!

I was the only American in my tour group and was filled with horror, guilt and shame and such a need for immediate action. But, the COPE Center does not need volunteers to manage, unless you are a member of an NGO, and thus, already under sponsorship. So, I have changed my goal to one of spreading this information just as far as possible. I thus, am turning to you, Dear Reader, to respond and forward this news to all of your friends to forward to theirs…. ad infinitum. This secret cannot remain so sacrosanct as it has been for so long. Yes, President and Mrs. Obama were here recently. I’m sure that helped; but we still don’t know about this travesty, as a nation. And we simply must find out so that we can help fix this lurking leftover of a ghastly problem that we caused in the first place!

All COPE needs is enough money to keep treating the amputees by supplying prosthetics; job training; continuing medical care, and always: searching the country with metal detectors and carrying out controlled removal and/or detonation. That’s not too much to ask and they are not begging for our assistance. Who can set up a GoFundMe account for them? Who can raise some money for that? Please do your part to help these Laotians, the most cheerful, smiling, philosophical and unblaming people. Is it Buddhism or living through the bombing?

Be prepared to read more about this subject, including a tribute to my departed firstborn, Randy. My son, Douglas Randolph Brown, died at age 48 in 2011, after living all of his life with Dejerine-Sottas Disease, a very rare neurological disorder. He wore leg braces; he used crutches, and finally, a full-time wheelchair. But, he could still drive that disability-adapted van of his! And, he could still live alone in his studio apartment attached to my bigger house. He had a happy and full life as a very talented artist.

With an incurable, progressive, almost-unknown condition, not unsimilar to Stephen Hawking’s ALS wasting disease, Randy was a brilliant, cheerful, wonderful painter, who was very accepting and low-key about his shrinking skills. He was also a long-time Buddhist and I lived with him as caretaker for his last eight years. I am sure he is why I take this story so very personally and I can sense him covering it from The Other Side. All of us are parents of some sort, and Grandparents and most of us have the luxury of living in health and peace. Let’s share the wealth!

And, dear, dear, dearest StephenHawking died just a few days ago, on Wednesday, March 14, Pi Day, and Einstein’s birthday, the day before I discovered these unbelievable details of America’s Secret War while I am right here in Laos on the very ground where that war took place! I like to think that Stephen Hawking and Randy Brown have quite a bit in common!

Please, somebody! Set up a GoFundMe presence to benefit COPE! I can’t manage it. Can they? Maybe, they already have one? I haven’t researched this online, hardly at all. Heck, I haven’t even checked my email for three days. I’m still out here on the round-the-world trail where wi-fi is spotty… if I’m lucky! But, I’ve got a lot more blogs on this subject. Be prepared for puns and Wordsmithing! Somebody, Upstairs, is a wiseacre! Or would that be wisecracker? Or whipcracker? Or whippersnapper???

COPE – Helping People Move On               www.copelaos.org

COPE – Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise

Back to Europe From The Holy Land. I’ve Landed in Barcelona, Spain!

December 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Almost two weeks ago, I flew from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Barcelona, Spain, and have been staying in the St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel here. Christmas passed quietly and I’m looking forward to the same sort of New Year’s holiday, where I’m enjoying the balmy, sunny weather and getting some of my neglected writing work accomplished.

Entry to the Barcelona Hostel

Entry to the Barcelona Hostel

I took the Free City Walking Tour on one of my first days here. It's hard to tell Barcelona from Jerusalem!

I took the Free City Walking Tour on one of my first days here. It’s hard to tell Barcelona, Spain  from Jerusalem, Israel!

A Church In Barcelona.

A Church In Barcelona.

Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The ladder under the window is historical and can't ever be moved.

Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The ladder under the window is historical and can’t ever be moved.

The nine Christian sects controlling the church can't agree to move the ladder some ancient workman left. It's wooden and has been replaced over time, but it's always there. History!The nine Christian sects controlling the church can’t agree to move the ladder some ancient workman left. The tiny Coptic group insists that it stay there because “nothing can be changed!” But, I’m sure that they simply enjoy exercising that kind of control over the more powerful churches of Christianity. The ladder is wooden and has been replaced over time, but it’s always there. History Rules!

Gargoyles peer down from a Spanish building.

Gargoyles peer down from a Spanish building. Guess they can’t be moved either!?

But, there's only one Wailing Wall and that's in Jerusalem.

But, there’s only one Wailing Wall and that’s in Jerusalem.

Barcelona's beautiful, pristine white university, which no graffiti artists touch!

Barcelona’s beautiful, pristine white university, which no graffiti artists touch!

The Barcelona University Culture Museum's initials are written in the architecture - CCCB

The Barcelona University Culture Museum’s initials are written in the architecture – CCCB

This is Spain, but it could well be Israel.

This is Spain, but it could well be Israel.

Same here. The Spanish Old Town is a warren of tiny streets.

Same here. The Spanish Old Town is a warren of tiny streets.

And other Old Towns are stacked in layers upon each other - Jerusalem.

And other Old Towns are stacked in layers upon each other – Jerusalem.

And, some Oldies are merely Stacked!!! What can we say?

And, some Oldies are merely Stacked!!! What can we say?

 

 

Leaving A Legacy Of Jitterbug In Tel Aviv, Israel

December 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Last night, for the second time on this solo, around-the-world jaunt, I taught some fellow-hostelers how to Jitterbug! That’s the fast, Rock & Roll Dance that I used to do in The Fifties, when I was in high school. Unfortunately, our favorite teen dance has practically disappeared from the planet these days and nobody has even heard about it. I discovered this fact at the Hostel Euphoria in Tallinn, Estonia, when I heard their band playing all of my old favorites. The only way I could conjure up some dance partners was to teach them the steps. We all loved the results and I vowed to find other teaching opportunities.

That was last August and I didn’t pursue it until the chance happened, almost accidentally, here at the lovely Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv, just before I fly to Barcelona, Spain, tomorrow morning. I must get my videotaping act going, though. I came completely prepared to film this class; but got so wound up in selecting the music and setting up my computer, I didn’t even get the cameras out. When will I start recording this trip?

Me and my Jitterbug class in Tel Aviv, Israel. Hostel Abraham.

Me and my Jitterbug class in Tel Aviv, Israel. Hostel Abraham. Fluorescent feet always help. There were about eight students, altogether. They all caught on, quickly, to this sixty-year-old, vintage dance.

 

Our Sox don't show for our Sock Hop in this shot. We danced to Bill Haley & The Comets.

Our Sox don’t show for our Sock Hop in this shot. We danced to Bill Haley & The Comets. The three gals on the left are from Russia. Benny, the hostel bartender, is on the right.

This dance was the last fast-dancing, Ballroom Touch Dance where the man leads the woman. In 1960, Chubbie Checkers introduced The Twist, where the partners faced each other and wiggled to the music, with no spins or even steps. Kaboom! That was that!

Dance Liberation! No more touching or Leading!

Much less fun, though the same amount of exercise! Boogie-Woogie is coming back in style, but it’s a strange conglomeration of the Lindy and some athletic show pieces, with women being thrown overhead and underfoot for the international competitions. You’ll find it all on YouTube. At least, I’ll do my part to bring a little authenticity to this modern-day interpretation of dancing. No problem that mycontemporaries who also danced this in high school, are pushing eighty. Let’s get out there all you 1950s graduates and set the record right! It’s great exercise!

 

 

Make Friends! Not Art!

December 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Amit Netzer, an Israeli hostel developer

Amit Netzer, of Eliat, an Israeli hostel developer. Anytime you need a long-term, solo, experienced, RTW hosteler to tell you what we want in a hostel…I’m your gal! I’m already getting some good ideas for you!

Hey, It' an art to make friends!

Hey, It’s an art to make friends!

Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv, Israel. The construction is the new underground metro, to be finished in six years. Boy, will that be convenient.

The Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv, Israel, where I am now. That construction work in front is the new underground metro, to be finished in six years. Boy, will that be convenient!

On the free Jerusalem Tour.

On the free Jerusalem Tour.

We meet; then we eat! What a great way to bond! Make Food; Then Friends!

We meet; then we eat! What a great way to bond! Make Food; Then Friends!

Me and Debbie from Thailand

Me and Debbie from Thailand

Some of my hostel mates from the Citadel Hostel in Old Jerusalem.

Some of my hostel mates from the Citadel Hostel in Old Jerusalem.

These guys saved my life, helping me get up on time and drag my heavy suitcases a long way to catch the taxi to travel to Tel Aviv. Couldn't have done it without them!

These guys saved my life, helping me get up on time and drag my heavy suitcases a long way to catch the taxi to travel to Tel Aviv. Couldn’t have done it without them!

I inadvertently cut off the M on the last word. But, this way, it makes sense too! Hmmmmm!

Okaaaaaaaaay!  But, this is the same graffiti artist who advocates making art, not friends. How will he manage this?  Maybe he’ll Picket Parliament? Peter picked a peck of pickled peckers…..? Um, Peppers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Antiquity In Jerusalem This December!

December 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I’ve just moved a mile or so down the road, but it’s like traveling back in time through many Millennia. My new Old Town, Jerusalem Hostel is called The Citadel and is just inside the Jaffa Gate, one of the few entrances to this ancient walled city.  These pictures are not exactly in the order I would have liked them to appear. But, you will get the idea. It feels slightly like being in prison. But, everyone is very, very nice.

There are wee stairs connecting the five stories to the rooftop.

There are wee stairs connecting the five stories to the rooftop.

Somebody else hefted my luggage to the third floor.

Somebody else hefted my luggage to the third floor.

My bed is on the right.

My bed is on the right.

The tiny lobby of The Citadel Youth Hostel in Jerusalem

The tiny lobby of The Citadel Youth Hostel in Jerusalem

Looking towards the tiny kitchen

Looking towards the tiny kitchen

The front desk of my new hostel, The Citadel in Jerusalem

The front desk of my new hostel, The Citadel in Jerusalem

Approaching my hostel

Approaching my hostel

The kitchen is the teeny size you would expect in an 800 year old building

The kitchen is the teeny size you would expect in an 800 year old building

I Have A Big Family, So Our Jerusalem Thanksgiving Dinner Was Spaghetti Casserole Bake

November 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

At the lovely Stay Inn Hostel in the Holy City of Jerusalem, we ate a most beautiful communal dinner to celebrate the American Thanksgiving Day. We were from all over the world and a few of us were Americans. This is such a happy bunch of friends here; and so bonded, that it was truly a “Family Dinner!” Everybody pitched in! I made the casserole. I do love hostel life!

Haven’t done my exploring and touristing here yet; because I still have a bad cold (my voice is totally gone now) and it is windy out. But, this city will wait for me to come and find it. Meanwhile, I’m thankful just to be here, surrounded by such welcoming friends.

Others added veggies.

Others added veggies. Some brought wine….

Spaghetti Bake and Fried Bananas! A delicious Thanksgiving Day Meal.

Spaghetti Bake and Fried Bananas! A delicious Thanksgiving Day Meal.

My roommates. Winnie, on right, is an Ear,Nose,&Throat Physician.

My roommates. Winnie, on right, is an Ear,Nose,&Throat Physician.

These guys run the hostel.

These guys run the hostel.

Me & Winnie. She's from Kenya but now lives in Germany.

Me & Winnie. She’s from Kenya but now lives in Germany.

My new family from Germany, also. Mateo, 12, is to be a brilliant photographer, and now has my GoPro Equipment to use more brilliantly than I did.

My new family from Germany, also. Mateo, 12, is to be a brilliant photographer, and now has my GoPro Equipment to use more brilliantly than I did.

I have so many friends from everywhere. Like Bulgaria.

I have so many friends from everywhere. Like Bulgaria.

Rennie, of Bulgaria, just turned 80, as I will next September. So, we're sistras.

Rennie, of Bulgaria, just turned 80, as I will next September. So, we’re sistras.

The bunks in Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem.

The bunks in Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem.

I have a big, world family! Every day is Thanksgiving Day!

I have a big, world family! Every day is Thanksgiving Day!

I always curtain mine with sarongs to make it dark.

I always curtain mine with sarongs to make it dark.

The big dining room at Abraham Hostel

The big dining room at Abraham Hostel

Such a fine family we are!

Such a fine family we are!

And, of course, I eat out a lot, too!

And, of course, I eat out a lot, too!

After Europe, I’m in Israel For A Month

November 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

My story is the same as it was a month ago, except that I’ve covered different ground. I flew from Paris, France to Tel Aviv, Israel on October 29 and it feels as if I’ve been here far longer than just three weeks. Maybe, TIME just expands here, or something that mysterious? Maybe, it’s because I caught a cold during my midnight layover in the Cairo, Egypt airport on the way, and I haven’t shaken it yet? Still coughing, hacking and feeling lazy with it, though I have stayed on the move, spending a week in each of the three major cities.

The first week, I stayed in the Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv, enjoying the warm weather of my new latitude. Paris was definitely showing signs of Fall. Then, I took a Sheroot (a small bus/large taxi) for two hours to Haifa, up on the northern coast, where I stayed for ten days in the Port Inn and enjoyed wandering about in the city of Mt. Carmel. It felt wonderful to have chosen a hostel that was still in the flat, port area; as the mountain rises very steeply, just a few blocks from the water. Then, a few days ago, I took the bus to Jerusalem and am staying in another Abraham chain hostel. Next week, I’ll shift over to the Stay Inn Hostel, which is closer to the Old Town. I’ll blame my cold on the lack of photography but here are some few that I have taken this month. In my walking explorations in this hostel’s neighborhood, I discovered the nearby Marketplace, or Souk, which bustles with life and interesting activity; plus piles of merchandise, fruit, vegetables, meats and tiny restaurants.

Here are some miscellaneous shots of some curious things I’ve seen lately.

Have you ever wondered about the new conversion to electronic cigarettes?

It’s only his safer smoke! Have you ever wondered about the new conversion to electronic cigarettes?

He really seems to love it! Sort of sucks on it like a pacifier! What is MANkind coming to?

This guy really seems to love his new and healthier gadget! He sort of sucks on it like a pacifier! What is MANkind coming to? So, let’s call a spade a spade…. it’s a “MANCIFIER”…. A man’s afire?

I think that they must get a whole lot more smoke from them.

Oh no! Is he actually on fire? Could be! He walks around in a real cloud of smoke. What’s cool about this?

Have you ever played Beer Pong? Obviously, I hadn't because I thought these cups were for us to fill and drink water from. Later, I learned that they toss ping-pong balls into them (like tennis). Those balls are all over the floor and in many hands. Maybe that's where this "cold" came from?

Have you ever played Beer Pong? Obviously, I hadn’t because I thought these cups were for us to fill and drink water from. Later, I learned that they toss ping-pong balls into them (like tennis). Those balls are all over the floor and in many hands. Maybe that’s where this “cold” came from?

This is a ship on a Paris canal that serves the neighborhood as a library.

This is a ship on a Paris canal that serves the neighborhood as a library.

Here is the floating library's interior.

Here is the floating library’s interior.

Somebody lives aboard this Paris converted canal barge.

Maybe somebody lives aboard this Paris converted canal barge?

OHHHH! It's a restaurant!

OHHHH! It’s a restaurant!

In Israel, I visited the ancient fortress city of Akka, near Haifa.

In Israel, I visited the ancient fortress city of Akka, near Haifa.

Here is a Souk, (market) not far from my hostel in Jerusalem.

Here is a Souk, (market) not far from my hostel in Jerusalem.

The Souk's glass roof protects us from the weather and gives a lovely light throughout.

The Souk’s glass roof protects us from the weather and gives a lovely light throughout.

A meat seller and Orthodox customer

A meat seller and Orthodox customer

Have you EVER seen such convoluted and gigantic eggplants?

Have you EVER seen such convoluted and gigantic eggplants? Like small, purple pumpkins!

More giant Aubergine and their tremendous cabbage cousins.

More giant Aubergine and their tremendous cabbage cousins…or are those cauliflowers?

Fancy cakes, anyone?

Fancy cakes, anyone?

This is a one-stop-shop that just doesn't stop. It takes up blocks!

This is a one-stop-shop that just doesn’t stop. It takes up blocks!

Isn't this just plain pretty?

Isn’t this just plain pretty?

You can probably find anything in here.... nuts & spices, cell phones.

You can probably find anything here…. nuts & spices, cell phones.

Where, Oh Where, Is The White Sea? Near The Arctic Circle….In Russia!

October 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Here's how I spent my 79th Birthday, beachwalking along the White Sea.

The White Sea is serene, cold, and beautiful.

The White Sea is serene, cold, and beautiful.

 

There were lovely forests along the shore. But, there were also fancy hotels and apartment buildings. Just like Miami. Well, not quite....

There were lovely forests along the shore. But, there were also fancy hotels and apartment buildings. Just like Miami. Well, not quite….

 

On my 79th Birthday, September 10, I came north in Russia to walk along the White Sea in Archangelsk….  The name commemorates the Archangel Michael. Who better to ring in my 80th year? It was a gorgeous, warm day, and my friend Karina   from my Hostel Troika,  suggested we take a walk along the White Sea Beach.

Karina took the shots

Karina took the shots …..

....and, so did it!

….and, so did I!

Then, we had a great dinner at the Hostel Troika in Archangelsk.

Then, we had a great dinner at the Hostel Troika in Archangelsk.

More of my Russian Family in the Troika Hostel.

More of my Russian Family in the Troika Hostel.

My Arkangelsk Friends are bright, warm, and beautiful.

My Archangelsk Friends are bright, warm, and beautiful. And, I miss them already!

And so, I can truly say that it's perfectly safe and highly-recommended to walk into unknown forests and seascapes with brand-new friends, you simply haven't met yet. AT ANY AGE!!!!

And so, I can truly say that it’s perfectly safe and highly-recommended to walk into unknown forests and seascapes with brand-new friends, you simply haven’t met yet.  AT ANY AGE!!!!

So Many New Moscow Friends…… But I Had To Travel On To Riga, Latvia

September 22, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

On the Moscow Subway. I got lost when I tried it myself.

On the Moscow Subway. I got lost when I tried it all by myself.

They liked my new book....so I gave Edu an inscribed copy.

They liked my new book….so I gave Edu an inscribed copy.

Victor and I "blew up the world" just as everyone expected the Russians and Americans to do. It's my inflatable globe....the only way to pack!

Victor and I “blew up the world” just as everyone expected the Russians and Americans to do. It’s my inflatable globe….the only way to pack!

I made lots of friends from Jakarta, Indonesia.

I made lots of friends from Jakarta, Indonesia. That’s me in middle back row.

I couldn't find Karina! Probably, because I stood at the wrong subway entrance!

I couldn’t find Karina! Probably, because I stood at the wrong subway entrance!

At last! Reunited for lunch!

At last! Reunited for lunch!

Can you believe that I met all of these dear people within a six-day period? Then, I came to Riga, Latvia, only to nurse a very bad cold. I'm heading to Rome, Italy next, simply to warm up!

Can you believe that I met all of these dear people within a six-day period? Then, I came to Riga, Latvia, only to nurse a very bad cold. I’m heading to Rome, Italy next, simply to warm up!

dscn4738

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Total Trust, Safety, And Honesty Is Here In Luang Prabang, Laos, Southeast Asia!
Fellow Americans! I’ve Discovered A Terrible Secret, Out Here On The RTW Trail! Help Me, Please!
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Open Letter To My Dearest Friend, Fawn Germer, And All Woman’s Leadership Groups Who Work Together to Change The World and Their Own Lives!
Wet Hens Unite! America’s Secret War In Laos!
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I’m Breaking Some Habits And Following Others In My Not Always Solo Around The World Trip
With Liberty and Justice For ALL! That’s What America Stands For!
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