Happy New Year Everybody. In Chinese astrology It is The Year of the Rabbit, which is apropos to all things desert including a hare or two. I will continue to create what is fun magical and somewhat sustainable out here in San Bernardino county. The list is short but extensive. I desire an amphitheater, race track and batting cage. I want to have rock band playing from day to night and be able to sway off highway vehicle enthusiasts to stay on site during King of Hammers as an alternative to Hammer Town. Translucent canopies and campfires under midnight blue sky. A girl can dream, 2023 is for you and Me!
Take me BAC
Bonaire Aruba and Curaçao are the ports of call on a poker cruise. Islands on the tip of South America, just enough to confuse me. I was here 20 years ago and Aruba’s gone high end. All the best boyfriends are here. Louis V. and Michael Kors. More buildings and hotels. Didn’t meet any locals to ask if everyone is still speaking Papiamentu? Is the desalination plant still working?. Bonaire is a territory of the Netherlands and the written sign at the laundromat confirms it but I also heard Spanish at the bodega. Salt beds is the natural resource of Bonaire and everything else is shipped in which explains the super high prices . 6 dollars to wash 6 bucks to dry. some say was tourist price. Ganda from Sumatra says same price in the Bahamas. The path less traveled is filled with little delights. Got caught trying to help a guy asking for a slim Jim . The convenience store clerk rendered goggle translate without luck. I said “beef stick” with a jerky pulling at teeth level gesture. Lame ethnocentrism at its best I think not but a longing homesick feel for Bubba.
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.
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
A 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
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
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.
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
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?