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Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

If different tribes, cabals, ethnic groups, national groups, religious groups stick to apriori arguments then there will be no end to it.

It’s only when they agree to find common ground while they work together to solve a problem that they have any chance to learn to understand each other.


Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Having spent three months in Oregon and Las Vegas, I have become so much more aware of the cultural differences between the north American first world and Mexico.

The first Americans were independent and forward looking. They were looking to expand and were aggressive. Their primary value is freedom and personal space. Mexicans on the other hand were subjugated for hundreds of years by the Spanish. Their primary value is respect.

Whenever a person enters the space of a Mexican individual, for example getting into a taxi, unless you greet them they will feel you are rude. Instead of just jumping in and issuing an order you say “Buenas Tardes, Senor.”

While in a restaurant, any time you pass by a table you say “Buen Provecho.” Any time you want to walk through or pass by people you say “Con Permiso.” Needing a waiter to come to your table you call “Joven!” (Young man) or Senorita (young woman.)

The smiles you get are warm and welcoming. It’s a lovely way to live.

Salem Coffee House Easter

Sunday, April 5th, 2015
Three weeks has turned into three months in Oregon. Rain alternating with sun and hail. That's the NW. The CT scan, what I came up here for, showed esophageal varicies but the endoscopy didn’t. Hmmm. So more medical follow up. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Spirit Prayer

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
It was an amazing experience. I was in my familiar Governor's Cup coffee shop in Salem Oregon talking with my friend when I told her I didn’t know what to do with all the Indian rocks my father inadvertently dug ... [Continue reading this entry]

Am I Mexican? No I am Oaxacan!

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
I took a test on FB to see how Mexican I was. 100% Mexican? I guessed at half of them. Most of these questions have to do with northern Mexico or Mexicans who haven't been in the country for a ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, September 30th, 2013
OMG, it's almost been a year since my last RTW! I am planning my next trip back to Thailand to get some teeth in November and to see my sons in Thailand and Hong Kong. I am beginning ... [Continue reading this entry]

An American Mother in Mexico

Saturday, April 14th, 2012
I often encounter locals in Mexico who are quite shocked to hear that I have three in the U.S. one in Hong Kong and one in Thailand part of the year. To make it worse my husband is in ... [Continue reading this entry]

Dangers of Humor Across Cultures

Saturday, April 14th, 2012
A friend in a Couchsurfing forum observed that when he first moved to Malta he would try jokes, wry observations, and other kinds of humor I was used to back in New Hampshire and Boston. I'd usually receive blank stares, ... [Continue reading this entry]

In And Out Of Bangkok

Monday, March 17th, 2008
Have become familiar enough with Asia that the usual things you notice on the surface aren't so eye-catching now. Am learning to adapt to surface cultural differences with less frustration. But adapting for a traveler briefly passing through is ... [Continue reading this entry]

Contemplating Going “Home”

Friday, February 23rd, 2007
I was quickly stopped by a policeman. "Have you been drinking? Have you been smoking pot? Your eyes are all red! Then he made me stand, in high heels, on one foot and count to forty. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Late Saturday Night Out

Monday, October 23rd, 2006
Saturday afternoon, Gerardo and I went by collective taxi to Huayapam to take some cds full of Mike's pictures he had taken of the soccer game to Bardo's son Pavel. Returning to the city about 9pm we decided to stop ... [Continue reading this entry]

I Could Be In India

Monday, August 7th, 2006
I was reading through some of my blog entries about India the other day and then I came upon this article about India and laughed so hard I nearly cried. It's really good to laugh. Trying Really Hard To ... [Continue reading this entry]

One Oaxacan Migrant Family

Monday, June 26th, 2006
Yesterday I went to Tule...a small town of about 15,000 near Oaxaca City. What a charming place. Most of the men are gone up north, my driver said (as a huge brand new black diesel pickup backed up ... [Continue reading this entry]

Mexican Cumbia Dancing

Sunday, June 11th, 2006
I had forgotten how much fun it is to dance to Mexican music! I think I am a Mexican trapped in a gringo body! Last Friday, Gerardo and his mom, Socorroo, invited me, a few of her friends, Michael, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Emails From Leila

Saturday, April 15th, 2006
WOW what a city. BANGKOK is alive. It is New year for them amd they celebrate with water. The streets are alive with people walking arround with water pistols and clay. Everyome is om thr street. You goota srr it ... [Continue reading this entry]

Songkran Water Festival

Saturday, April 15th, 2006
Day before yesterday was New Years in Lao. Yesterday was New Years in Thailand, although the celebration continues for several days in these countries. We get it again! Leila took a cheap bus to Kao San Road while I ... [Continue reading this entry]

Sabaidee Pi Mai Lao!

Thursday, April 13th, 2006
Lao New Year (and in Thailand) is a time to encourage young people to absorb the spirit of cleaning their temples, houses, stupas of their ancestors and apparently the bodies of anyone, especially the foreigners they come across. The purpose ... [Continue reading this entry]

Culture Shock

Monday, April 3rd, 2006
as my mother would have said.): Am taking the liberty of posting Bob's April 3 email describing homecoming culture shock after arriving home in Oregon from Asia...very succinct.
good morning; On Comcast internet--- and it's fast. What a pleasure. The air is fresh. It's brisk. Everything green. No ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tha Ton Thailand

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006
gatQye8keZlS3vpnwrOvxg-2006186163905868.gif Supuat drove me to Tha Tan...right on the Thai-Burma border directly north of Chiang Mai to see several minority groups, Lisu, Lahu, Akha and Longnecks, that live there. Last year in southern Yunnan China, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Reverent Inquiry

Friday, March 10th, 2006
In spite of my petty but honest day-to-day frustration with bureaucratic silliness while traveling in most developing countries, I treasure the lives of the people who ironically seem to have integrity...congruity. The way they live is understandable in relation ... [Continue reading this entry]

The World A Playground?

Saturday, March 4th, 2006
A friend recently emailed me asking what it is like to have all the world as my "playground." This was my very brief answer: Well, the best thing about traveling in developing countries like SE Asia, Africa and China ... [Continue reading this entry]

International Night On Koh Samui

Saturday, February 25th, 2006
We're back on Samui and I have rented a brand new furnished one bedroom house for $12.00 a night at "Solitude Resort" on a mountainside about a mile from Doug and Luk's bungalow. The first evening we were welcomed by our ... [Continue reading this entry]

Now…Not Later

Sunday, February 5th, 2006
It is typical for Thais to think only about what to do now...not some time in the future. So when Doug was showing me houses to buy next year, we asked Luk where she wanted to go next...her answer ... [Continue reading this entry]


Friday, February 3rd, 2006
I have learned a new ethnic slur..."eurotrash"...which apparently refers to the white Europeans who come to third world countries claiming to be somebody big back home but selfishly feeding off the local generosity...the word, I think, usually used by the ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Meaning of Riaproy

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006
Some friends that spent a year in Thailand with the Peace Corps have said there is an additional Thai value that is called "riaproy." "It means polite and well-mannered; neat. It also means orderly; ready-to-go. Rarely do you see ... [Continue reading this entry]

Bar Girls

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006
Bar Girls Waiting For Customers To Buy Them A Beer And Whatever... Bar Girls Bar Girls 2

Teach The Children What?

Thursday, January 19th, 2006
On National Children's Day in Thailand, it is a tradition for the Prime Minister to deliver a positive "motto." This year the wealthy PM Thaksin who owns Thai Air and other assets said that children should read more and ... [Continue reading this entry]

Babies Take Manhattan

Monday, December 5th, 2005
Nanny's pushing babies in strollers are everywhere in Brooklyn, we noticed soon after arriving here, so it was no surprise when the New York Times ran a story December 1 called "The Children Are Back" ... "Babies Take Manhattan" a ... [Continue reading this entry]


Tuesday, November 1st, 2005
We had been years since we saw Odetta so when Bob read that she would be performing in a Village club we jumped at the chance to get tickets. She walked in dressed in a dramatic multi-colored red and ... [Continue reading this entry]

New York Style

Monday, October 24th, 2005
Most everyone in New York is interested in looking stylish. The definition is different, however depending on the neighborhood you are in...whether on the affluent Upper West Side or on the Lower East Side. It also makes a difference ... [Continue reading this entry]

Strangers in the “hood”

Monday, October 24th, 2005
I've never been in a city that has such diverse but tight little neighborhoods. The first question asked by anyone you meet, after what do you do, is where do you live. Soon you know the tenant ... [Continue reading this entry]

The New York Attitude

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005
The New York attitude is a lot more complicated than simple rudeness. According to a local, it's a mixture of being tough, brave, on your toes, jaded, overworked and intensely focused. Who needs to be pulled into a ... [Continue reading this entry]

Third Culture Kids

Monday, October 17th, 2005
Third Culture Kids are children of expatriate families who live for a significant proportion of their lives in a culture other than their own, where they travel to many countries other than their own passport country. This results in ... [Continue reading this entry]

Thainess And The West

Sunday, July 17th, 2005
The July 2005 edition of the slick upscale magazine for English-speaking foreigners called The Big Chilli ran an article with interviews of prominent Bangkok residents to get their views of what constitutes Thai culture. Two were Thai and two ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Harley in Viet Nam

Saturday, June 18th, 2005
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171162818157.gif June 10, 2004 While I was in Bangkok Bob flew to Vietnam. He wrote to say he had difficulties accessing the web today and spent most of the day traveling. His emails: Now in Da lat ... [Continue reading this entry]

Inconsistent Thai Values

Thursday, April 28th, 2005
After nearly a dozen visits and about six months time in the city, over the last several years, we have gotten to know Bangkok a little. In this city with a population of over 9 million people we can ... [Continue reading this entry]

Trekking Northern Thailand

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005
gatQye8keZlS3vpnwrOvxg-2006186163905868.gif As soon as we returned to Bangkok from Bali Bob took a train to Chiang Mai for a trek in northern Thailand near Mae Son Hong. I stayed in Bangkok to have some ... [Continue reading this entry]

Sights And Ceremonies

Thursday, March 31st, 2005
The Balinese are Hindu...but a Hinduism that is overlaid by ancient animist beliefs...a world away from the Hinduism as practised in India. To the Balinese, spirits are everywhere and offerings are put out in shrines in every field and on ... [Continue reading this entry]

Vibrant Bangkok

Friday, March 11th, 2005
Bangkok Air From Koh Samui to Bangkok again. Not a pretty city but it's vibrant. The populace, as with much of Asia, lives outdoors-almost all 10 million of them. It is increasingly cosmopolitan and this year seems ... [Continue reading this entry]

Miao Village In Guizhou

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171171225701.gif In Shanghai, exploring the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree web site, I noticed a query from a young woman from Kaili in Guizhou Province who was offering to arrange a homestay in a Miao minority ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, December 6th, 2004
East China.gif Currently in a delightful city (Yangshau) that is on the Yangtze River about 100 miles north of Shanghai. China's autumn has been fantastic, the people interesting (and challanging) and the food tasty (most of ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tai Shan Sacred Mountain

Sunday, November 14th, 2004
East China.gif Located midway between Beijing and Shanghai, "Tai Shan" is probably the most famous of the five sacred mountains of China. According to legend Tai Shan represents the head of Pan Gu, who ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lao Shan Mountain Climb

Sunday, October 31st, 2004
East China.gif Spent 3 days in Quin in new part of town, one in old town and one on a mountain north of town called Lao Shan--subsequently took train to Tai'an and climbed Tai ... [Continue reading this entry]

Kindred Spirits in Quindao

Saturday, October 30th, 2004
East China.gif Walking by the Foreign Language Bookstore in Quindao, just up the street from my comfy clean hotel room that a tout from the railroad station led me to...80 yuan she says..that's about ... [Continue reading this entry]

Overnight Train to Xuindao

Sunday, October 24th, 2004
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171174607989.gif Xuindao is also spelled Quindao From Beijing, I take an overnight train alone to Quindao. Quindao is a weekend getaway for well-to-do Communist party cadres and the train is brand spanking shiny new. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Coffee Taxis & New Friends

Saturday, October 23rd, 2004
East China.gif I take a taxi to the upscale Lufthansa shopping center in Beijing to see if a bookstore had the Lonely Planet "Shanghai." They didn't of course...there were a few Lonely Planets ... [Continue reading this entry]

Last Leg Through Mongolia

Thursday, October 14th, 2004
GyTjn0QZP9l6Qu21TubskM-2006198062551304.gif Out of the train window, just before departure from Ulaan Bataar to Beijing on the last leg of our trans-siberian train trip, we watch about 30 Mongolians...brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents and who ... [Continue reading this entry]

Message from Ulaan Bataar

Saturday, October 9th, 2004
GyTjn0QZP9l6Qu21TubskM-2006198062551304.gif Greetings- Have been in Mongolia for the past week--initial few days in a ger bordering on a national park--lazy, relaxing days with hiking and Mongolian pony riding (when on the horse my feet nearly reach ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lingering Images of Russia

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004
7yBXvp82X2gVlMeZe25DiM-2006198051115673.gif Siberian countryside with endless kilometers of grassland and golden pine and white birch trees... small wooden, weathered, unpainted, picturesque, single story bungalows throughout Sibera with blue painted shutters-the banya (toilet and shower) in ... [Continue reading this entry]

Queuing In Russia

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004
Urr0g6ZfQ7ttYL19duYJfg-2006170133924757.gif Back in Irkutsk we watch women walking swiftly always carrying a plastic shopping sack or two (ovoiska from the Russian 'ovois' meaning 'just in case') of varying brands that have to be purchased)...a hold-over ... [Continue reading this entry]