Monthly Archives: September 2014

Next Up Okavango Delta

Most posts just going to Check there.



Scott and his kids are checking out ‘the scene’ up on main street Melville, Steven the Elder is in his room, and here I am after a trip to the bookstore, happy though still a bit hung-over from two and one-half wines at Lucky Bean for our final Joburg lunch.

I’m still on my nostalgia trip. The bookstore. Love that bookstore. Knowing I may not stay in Melville again because when I return in three or four years even downtown will be user-friendly for visitors. Or Malema will have come to power and everything will have gone to complete hell.

Steven E. turned in early. Hope he’s having fun. Hope everyone is happy for having had an African time. Hope I did not lure them here under false pretenses—that they would love this place like I do.

Intended to write a whole post about food but I’m too tired. Went…

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Old person's selfie. Old person’s selfie.

Back in South Africa. We arrived around 10pm last night but given Sunday evening airport staffing didn’t get to Thulani Lodge until nearly midnight. It’s the end of winter here and from my bedroom window the grounds I usually think of as pretty lush and green have that early spring slightly bedraggled look.

It feels so strange to be here without dance, dance friends, dance performances to anticipate. The last time I was here, fall 2012, I saw some of the best dance pieces of my presenting career, all my favorite friends were here and I became ill and depressed and knew it was the appropriate end of ‘dance time’ for me. It was, needless to say, the oddest of Joburg sojourns in many ways because I knew the loveliest passage of my life was over—by my choice—at the right time—never to be revisited. Sad happy relieved…

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My favorite photo from 'field trip'... bird with Lake Kivu as background. My favorite photo from ‘field trip’… bird with Lake Kivu as background.

The Rwandan countryside is a bucolic paradise with endless banana plantations and the tiny garden plots and small houses nestled among them. Slick goats tied all along the roadsides munch away and the country people go to and fro along the highway to school, from the store, maybe just visiting the neighbor or for a church gathering or village meeting. It is most picturesque. Of course it is not paradise inside those small concrete or mud houses where there is no heat or lights for the most part, and people are living on pretty meager rations. Still, from what everyone says, life has vastly improved even away from the bustle of Kigali. The President has guaranteed each family a cow and peace reigns. So it’s good to ride along enjoying the view and not feeling like you’re…

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RWANDA: The New Africa Lite


Our front yard series #1 Our front yard series #1

South Africa is sometimes called Africa Light because, with its generally good physical, organizational and governmental infrastructure, it’s not as heavy of a burden to live life as in some other parts of the continent. Now there’s some competition I think for the Africa Light title—Rwanda.

We arrived yesterday into this absolutely gorgeous country of red soil, green mountains, blue haze, tree-lined streets, sturdy (if not exactly beautiful) buildings, seriously good-looking people and a friendly calm environment. I am someone who bristles when people return from trips abroad and use cleanliness as one of their value judgments about countries visited. However, I must admit it does make a rather nice impression when a place is as neat and tidy as Kigali. I did read an article some time ago that included a criticism of even this because it seems the government is paying people otherwise…

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10:25PM: Jetlag 1, Me 0. Short sleeps then nights of wakefulness. A slightly dopey state of daytime being. It rained this evening. Addis Ababa is chilly damp green place. About 7,500 feet high and between three and four million people.

Addis seems a dark city. Our fourth floor ceiling to floor windows look out on the city skyline offering up a mere scattering of lights. Where’s the neon gaudiness of night time in the metroplex as we know it? In fact in the whole panorama before me I see exactly one red sign, too distant to know what it might entice me to buy. The short distance between that city skyline and me is densely suburban but there’s an absence of street lights also. I know from all my previous visits to this continent that every few streets there’s the tiny, tin or other found-material-built shack with shelves of crackers…

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A Mall is a Mall is a Mall is a Mall…



Day number one in tourist/traveler land. Been to THE MALL—well actually BOTH MALLS. Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates for those of you who aren’t knowledgeable about the the Mall-Lands of the World).

 My grandson and I are a little drunk. We’ve had a little beer and wine and talked economics and politics and should damn well be elected to run the world or at least a country or two.


 Okay, so if you come to downtown or wherever town in Dubai the malls are the thing. I was expecting something quite special. Not being a usual mall person, except for Christmas with granddaughters and an occasional Cinnibon, still I was anticipating something more than Winrock or Coronado. And my expectations were met. The Dubai Malls are at least as good as the Mall of America. In fact, on our way out, we heard…

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Flying the Slightly Friendlier Skies on Emirates Airlines


The Three Musketeers Go To Dubai. The Three Musketeers Go To Dubai.

When last we spoke it was Thursday morning, now it’s just after noon on Friday the 12th in Albuquerque and 10PM Friday here—at the Novotel Mall of the Emirates NEXT to the Skiing Slopes of Dubai.

An excellent trip has been had by all so far. Flight to LA, then on to our Emirates flight which was pretty much great. Granted it would have been greater had we been UPSTAIRS in business/first class which according to a woman in line with us would have been a mere $7,000 a ticket. So next time…

Up up and away... Up up and away…

In terms of seating comfort Emirates seems about average for one of the big intercontinental guys. Maybe a little better than average or that’s just my imagination because several people had already been really nice.

This is a 16 hour flight so we went through several life…

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Stages of Withdrawal—from Life. But Not in a Bad Way


This photo has nothing to do with anything in this post really. But it's a very nice little wooden carving from Mozambique (I think). Enjoy it. This photo has nothing to do with anything in this post really. But it’s a very nice little wooden carving from Mozambique (I think). Enjoy it.

Not To Be Considered a Depressing Post but it might be more interesting if you are in a ‘stage’ of life where age is rearing its annoying head. And it is about travel…eventually.

I worked in nursing homes as a resident advocate and as a social worker before returning to Albuquerque in 2000. In the Masters program at Augsburg College in Minneapolis and San Diego State University I partially focused on issues of the frail elderly. During my mom’s last years, I spent a lot of time with her at the nursing home. AND. I. am. getting. old.

Just establishing my credentials to talk about aging.

The first stage for me was when I realized I was strolling down, not up, a mountain…

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Icelandic Crime Fiction. Icelanders love books and writers. According to Eric Weiner in "The Geography of Bliss" there is a famous Icelandic saying, "Better to go barefoot than without a book." Icelandic Crime Fiction. Icelanders love books and writers. According to Eric Weiner in “The Geography of Bliss” there is a famous Icelandic saying, “Better to go barefoot than without a book.”

The intent was to have a blog where I just wrote about everything related to WORDS. But especially about books. I read and I read and I read—since sleeping has become a bit iffy. But to talk about books without giving the essay or review some thought is not fair or even interesting. Over the next few days there will be at least one post about the eclectic assortment keeping me company on partially sleepless nights. Many definitely worth a plug.

 Meanwhile just finished my second UCLA Creative Writing class. “Found Text.” Developing fiction or non-fiction pieces based on a ‘found’ piece of writing: instruction; surveys, etc; social media; recipes/menus; photos or other visual media; diaries/journals; technology. It was…

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