Yukon

In March I flew to Whitehorse to mush at Sky High Wilderness Ranch. The trip requires a timely Covid clearance coming into Whitehorse then onto the event. The owner took us to liquor store to pick up libations before heading to camp. A Propane running cabin and self starting sauna, I could hear the dogs howling and yelping from afar. After a short introduction a group was leaving and brief hello was “Goodbye’. Chewy, Zia, Dudley and Koala managed to pull me around river’s edge and windy mountains. Every day was a series of getting to know your fellow mates and guide. Having mushed before I was just as scared (the picture above is from the first time) given the experience of dogs in heat and fighting. “more like wolves” as Visa the guide explained. Harnesses lessons and a quick point to a board which listed who was skinny and who had frostbite on their you know what. Lead dog gets two bowls of meat soup that when it’s was served looks like a crime scene, as you placed it directly on the ice. What remains remarkable in my thoughts is the men and women who do the Iditarod. 938 miles and the record 8 days 3 hours 40 minutes and thirteen seconds. I saw through the window a women who came looking for her dogs. Big Denali truck with all her dogs in tow minus the ones she was looking for. Michelle Phillips is her name and she is an Iditarod participant who was introduced by a boyfriend to the sport. She is also a former figure skater. I took notice of her shape. Strong and compact she is probably one of the most bravest people I’ve never met. Our Guide Christina was similar to most people who make the Yukon their home. She did the most work, having to be our motley crew guide then at the end of the day cook for all of us. I gave her a good tip and a hug. There was a music professor, a computer geek and a newly wed couple who were teachers in B.C. And none of them drank or went to sauna after the end of each day. The last night was games and drinks and the owner had so much fun but I think he came to eat. Gary is good sport and I’d love to go back and talk to Michelle. It’s a beautiful sport and thank you Cynthia for all that you do for us.

Galapag…post


READING ABOUT THIS PLACE AND WATCHING JACQUES COUSTEAU AS A LITTLE KID IS A DREAM FULFILLED. CLEAR OCEAN WATER NO MATTER WHERE YOU DIVE.  MORA, THE WELCOME  DRINK MADE FROM RASPBERRIES  BUT THE DRINKING WATER HAS A BIT OF A SULFUR TASTE WITH A SALINE FINISH WHICH CAN EITHER QUENCH YOUR THIRST OR GIVE YOU THE “WILLIES”.  DARWIN’S FINCHES SURPRISINGLY DO NOT CHIRP. AND THE  VOLCANIC LANDSCAPE IS RICH WITH SIENNA AND BLACK HUES.  CRATERS CREATED BY MAGNA CAN BE SEEN ONLY WITH A GUIDE.  AS YOU WALK ALONG TO SECRET SWIMMING ADVENTURES THE GROUND CHANGES FROM COARSE SAND TO SALT BEDS TO CRUNCHY VOLCANIC ROCKS.  SEASCAPES AND SOUNDS PROMOTE A BLISSFUL SLUMBER LIKE NO OTHER.  FOOD FROM THE SEA IS PLENTIFUL AND LOBSTERS CAN BE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.  DIVERS REPORT SEA TURTLES, LARGE STARFISH AND HAMMERHEAD SHARKS.  AND THE ONLY TRAGEDY I WITTNESSED, WAS A TRUCK CARRYING PILSNER BEER WHICH LOST SOME ITS CARGO. 

TE ME CU LA.  

600 BALLOONS IN NEW MEXICO. JUST 3 OR 4 HERE TODAY.  ROWS OF GREEN STUFF THAT EVENTUALLY TURNS INTO RED WHITE AND CHARDONNAY. SENSE OF  EXCITEMENT IN THE AIR UNTIL I READ “INCLUDING DEATH” ON THE WAIVER FORM.  ONCE ELEVATED SO PEACEFUL. MY BALLOONIST BUDDY HAS BEEN OUT UP UP AND AWAY A FEW TIMES  SO SHE APPRECIATES THE SMOOTH LANDING. I APPRECIATE THE TECATE BCUZ I WAS A LITTLE SCARED. XIE XIE MARILYNN. ZIAJIAN

You Can’t Go Home

20160109_163610.jpgA few months ago I heard from a friend ” Hey its me …My brother has been divorced about a year and a half you should give him a call”.  As I write this I realized you can’t go back and He was just being nice.  Asking to be put in the friendship category and hang out is bullshit and unreasonable.  Better to write it out as a cautionary tale and accept you can’t go home.   Real estate of the heart can be a millimeter or acre but its there.  I was doing so good on my own playing poker, working and traveling.  Situations like these caused a skid mark in my life…then a flood (emotions) then back out to the desert where I  belong.  It doesn’t matter that Ive been with someone the past 12 years, there was life I lived that proceeded my my life now and it was filled with freedoms, adventures and significantly less obligations.  I tied this into thinking what was and what could have been.  I choose not to see this as a danger zone but a beautiful walk down memory lane.  For This I am grateful. Ziajian

Oops Forgot Malaysia

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There is debate in Malaysia. This country conveys that religion is freedom of choice  and it’s people can choose. Someone else said “if you are born here you are Muslim” I would agree that Penang is Asia’s equivalent to Silicon Valley. High rises million dollar condos and a stream of Ferrari cars race past me while I’m on the bus.  Lush jungle rain forest landscape makes me jealous. Motorbike madness is here too. A bright pink building compound looked benign but alas the barb coiled wire confirmed it’s a prison. The locals say it’s rough too and prisoners in The Americas are in hotels compared to here.  The straits of Malacca is one of the most important trade routes. My penangite  guide made me homesick “you know the song ‘When I’m sixty four’?” “Well its gonna be my birthday” He started singing and I started crying, happy tears of course. All the same things are shared that make us happy. I am grateful for this month long journey and realize I still have so much to feel hear and taste. Thank you Asia for all your gifts. Ziajian

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Singaporeans

You won’t find any one else but a native driving the taxi. Taxi cab drivers are the gateway to the world. They see and hear everything then drive you there. ” “that driver drives like a Singaporean”,  “I miss the old Singapore less crowded less vehicles” his grumpy grumble was endearing. “You are better off dying in Singapore than getting sick…it’s cheaper” most taxis had little altars or symbols. All of them  smell  good and the sheen from the interior makes me want to polish something.  Prostitution is legal and health monitored. Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian and Filipino can all be Singaporeans. I heard at least 11 languages spoken here and if I didn’t recognize a certain language I’d ask. “Pashtu”.  Every Girl’s boyfriend is here. Louis,  Gucci and Levi.  Skin care and treatments places are quite numerous which explains all the beautiful flawless young faces passing me by. They wear hose and proper shoes. Smokers pick their butts   and if not you sweep for a week without pay. This country is Clean. I met a girl who works here and she represents this country. Beautiful in a special way,  smart and interesting. May I be lucky enough to return to see my new acquaintance.

Singapore

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781 point something square miles. People who knew I was coming here said “you’ll love it, it’s one of the most beautiful places you will ever visit”.  0300 arrival did not match the times I booked the hotel. The couch in the lobby was offered and I gladly accepted. I learned quickly taxi surcharge after midnight are 50%. And  driving on the right is correct. I saw a 24 hr cafe open, an opportunity to people watch.  Immediately I notice some most Singaporeans eat with two utensils spoon and fork simultaneously fork places morsel in spoon. Like a skip loader and dirt.  Drank a singapore sling at the hotel where Ngiam Tong Boon created it so that females could enjoy Gin with their counterparts. Found the two casinos and went to both. One  game called “Sic Bo” or Dar shou (big little)3 dice game is just that Sick!  All that has ever been said or shared about this precious part of the globe is true. “Mind the Gap and Telly TV”  give historical reference to past  British colonization. You wanna own car.. good luck over 200% tax is added along with a bunch of other rules. Foodies delight in the realm of infinite choices. Booze, housing and some  transportation are pricey the rest is great. I love Singapore.  It’s beauty, tolerance and structure provide comfort to those who visit and those who stay.

GOT YOUR GOAT

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I’m halfway thru my nursing assignment and I am grateful for this never ending learning curve, lots to take in (mentally) and I mean not just working in a busy hospital on a busy surgery floor.  I have been given a subtle lesson in both livestock, agriculture and people  (my most favorite subject)  Saanen and Alpine are breeds of goat and a hectare is 4.27 acres.  I learned if your kid (lol) has milk allergies goat milk products may be an alternative. There are seasons for pistachios and oranges and everyone here knows the calendar of fruits nuts berries and cherries just  like I know the alphabet. People here in Porterville live two lives.  They drive home to their hectares to farm, feed and tend to the flocks, herds and stables. At the end of my shift I am completely exhausted but these hearty souls have spouses they speak fondly of and together they are farmers of all types of industries.  A wonderful nurse shared a story that translates nicely. One of her goats who had  essentially been isolated by the others because of her beauty,  is now keeping company of one of the new billy goats brought to procreate. She was often seen alone and isolated and now she is on a pedestal. Not sure of the metaphor or lesson behind this but it just sounds nice doesn’t it?

I Think I Want To Ikea Myself

 Long time ago when someone would ask what is your house furnished like.  I replied ” Early IKEA” not mid century modern or  contemporary style because I was just out of college when I bought my first condo.  All 427 square feet of it.  So today a youngster (anyone born in the 90’s) had an apartment with  majority of the substantial pieces being from that store.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going in the store and getting trapped  both in body and mind, something takes over and you have  convinced yourself you need a 4 X 6 mural of New York Iron building  somewhere in your house.   Taking apart an Ivar system is one thing but putting back together requires history with it.  I felt vindicated when the driver told the shipper that items from this store are meant to be put together but probably never moved again.  We are in the business of moving “Liatorp” and 175 pieces, pegs, and  thinga majigs later we  are expected to put it back together.  IKEA has single handedly separated the Americans from the Scandinavians.  “Ouch damn it I just stepped on a peg”.  I just wanna Ikea myself

Relax It’s Just Poker

Women’s Queen of Hearts 10:00 am 70.00 buy in. My favorite since I won long long time ago. You got your picture taken with a nice crystal trophy and bragging rights for about a week. 92 women this time and no Jose Canseco.  He once claimed reverse discrimination and then was  allowed to play.  There was a standing ovation for the gal who knocked him out. But I heard he made it into the money.  Anyways  today one gal complained the hour was too early and her drive was too long (40 miles). She whined about “how everyone thinks she is Filipino”. Or Hispanic, I guessed Guam.  She reacted as if  I said she was cyclops with  psoriasis. I tried guessing, given the 40 mile hint but gave up…why because it was none of my business and she was not EVER gonna tell me. I liked her play, a little textbook but unlike me if she knew she was  beaten she fold. I like to  chase too much and then wonder why I’m short stacked. My mom owed me 5 bucks because whoever gets knock out first pays the other one. I realize with such a small buy in it was just best to enjoy the company.  I raise with pocket pair got reraised. And an Ace came I was out. Oh well.

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