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Down Time In Chiang Mai

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Down time is lovely…and necessary. Ensconsed in my Thai style guesthouse by the Ping Rver, I connected my little bluetooth speakers… listening to Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” and of course Leonard Cohen who always puts me in a reflective mood.

There is a song…”you take the weather with you.” You are already “home.” The place doesn’t matter. You just have to put yourself somewhere. But I can’t imagine being in one place year round without getting out periodically and meeting strangers on the road who are on the same wavelength and who I’d never meet otherwise. Intimacy is anywhere there are people. And people tend to share more personal with people who they think they probably won’t see ever again. However I’ve had more than my share of serendipity coincidences meeting people again in another country.

Requires a little travel money. And mobility. With a little heart thrown in. But even in a wheelchair airports are manageable.  Give a little tip to the employee who whisks you right through security and immigration and to the gate. And to the restroom or ATM and whatever else.  Even to the next terminal. Even up to the plane in a hydaulic lift if you need it. Along with all the ancient and infirm Chinese ladies!

One of the most inspirational experiences I’ve ever had was meeting an 80 year old Russian Jew from NYC with a cane in the mountains of southern China visiting the Miao people who nearly fell getting out of the van.  Said once a year he goes somewhere. I blessed his heart.

Who Do We Trust?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Trust is a double edged sword. It may slay us on the outside. But too much caution may slay us on the inside. Keeping our lens clear is how we know the difference between the two at any one moment. I think. For me, meditation is what clears my lens.

One of my favorite former Couchsurfers posted this reflective piece on Facebook this morning. It not only relates to reading between the lines of a Couchsurfng profile but the whole host/surfing experience…not only to pre and post hosting/surfing communication but in deciding who to vouch.

I think in the matter of trust it also illustrates that it is not only good for surfers to have hosted but that it is good for hosts to have traveled.

And I thought it worth sharing in the interest of knowing who to trust, especially when we are traveling solo, and in life generally.

Who Do You Trust?
[read on]

Thinking of becoming an expat?

Friday, September 12th, 2014
I have been living in Oaxaca for the last 8 years. I now have a permanent resident card. I still have a home in Oregon that is rented out to excellent renters for just enough money to cover the mortgage ... [Continue reading this entry]

Sex And Couchsurfing

Monday, September 1st, 2014
A recent discussion in a group on Couchsurfing went like this: A guy: What's lost in all this talk of "open intentions" is: girls do not usually get into situations saying "I'm looking to bang!" There needs to be... plausible deniability. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Expats Take Care

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Well, my friend Jayson Heckler who drove down to Oaxaca from the States to Oaxaca with me in 2010 was the next one. Fell and injured his leg and hip. Doc said to go home and stay down. He did. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Do You Follow Travel Warnings

Thursday, August 26th, 2010
I read travel warnings and take them into consideration. They are useful if detailed, recent and taken together with other sources of information. But in my opinion they are primarily a cover-your-ass thing. They are used by tour companies ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Village of Two Houses

Saturday, December 19th, 2009
I got "home" late last night from a day trip to a "village" just off highway 304 in Chachoengsao Province about two hours east of Bangkok.  This visit had several advantages. I got to see my friends Dave and Syy again ... [Continue reading this entry]

Prescription Numbers To Consider

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
While you are pointing fingers at our health care, consider this: 1/3 of all prescriptions by a doctor ever get filled...which means that 2/3 of all people who get prescriptions never even go to the pharmacy Of the 1/3 of people who get ... [Continue reading this entry]

Turn Off The TV

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
My weekly newsletter from Casa de las Amigas, the Quaker guesthouse in Mexico City where I stayed in 2007, has this to say about the current flu going around:
You are invited to turn off the TV, especially those of you ... [Continue reading this entry]

Speaking About Toilets

Friday, March 20th, 2009
When I was hitch-hiking in Europe in 1965, I came across the bidet...couldn't figure it out.  Somebody had to explain it to me. It's an extra "toilet" in the bathroom that looks like a toilet except that it has no ... [Continue reading this entry]

I Used To Make Fun Of Rick Steves

Friday, March 20th, 2009
 I used to make fun of Rick Steves.  No more! Here are a few gems from a interview just in case you don't want to read to the end:
Salon: "Steves wants Americans to get over themselves. He wants us to ... [Continue reading this entry]

Just Hanging Out

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Yesterday an older woman from Ireland and I tried to find the Night Market at the end of the bridge over the Mekong River where you used to be able to get great BBQ meat cooked over coal fires. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Almost Didn’t Make The Plane To Kunming

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Hard to believe I was in Beijing for two weeks. But you know what they say about stinking guests if they stay too long. So today I flew to Kunming in Yunnan Province in the south ... [Continue reading this entry]


Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Arrived in Guangzhou (pronounced guan-jo) from Hong Kong yesterday on a sleek new train. I had no idea where the baggage area was. Had paid as much for the baggage as I did my ticket! Then, as I emerged from ... [Continue reading this entry]

Saigon Could Be Mexico

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Or one of many other countries I have been in! How to be a Taxi Driver in Saigon - Vietnam, Asia By: Graham Price Positions Available: Applicants Sought Job Title: Taxi Driver Location: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Qualifications Required: Driving license or some previous experience ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, April 30th, 2007
May Day is coming up. An op-ed piece was printed in the Oaxaca Noticias daily newspaper criticizing the employment practices of WalMart and VIPS. I and many expats here usually tip 20% to help make up for their ... [Continue reading this entry]

Dual Pricing

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007
Found a hilarious travel article on Bootnall today about the luxury tax...or dual pricing for foreigners as it is called: The Luxury Tax - Asia, Europe, South America By: Adam Jeffries Schwartz The following is a guide to how the luxury tax is ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, April 10th, 2006
Never come to Northern Thailand or Lao during the dry season which is now. Slash and burn fires send smoke against the mountains and beyond. You won't see anything and the Mekong River will be down to a trickle.

Bumrungrad Hospital

Thursday, January 19th, 2006
Nearly as diverse as New York, sitting in a Bumrungrad waiting room is a show of national and ethnic costume...many from the middle east...burkas, jalabas and Arabic head wear...males greeting each other by touching noses...or foreheads...I couldn't tell. The ... [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]

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]

Yangshau & Shanghai

Monday, November 15th, 2004
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171171225701.gif To Bob When I sent e-mail had not seen your messages. Your place sounds great--will spend a couple more days here before moving on--would like to access your place. gonna run back to ... [Continue reading this entry]

Young Czech Prime Minister

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004
NikaFEAe66TwIiJDaeZZ7w-2006198180634090.gif The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Stanislav Gross, is 32 years old and looks 20! We are realizing how little information we have gotten in the US in the last ... [Continue reading this entry]

Ripped Off In Prague

Friday, August 13th, 2004
NikaFEAe66TwIiJDaeZZ7w-2006198180634090.gif My medications, that had gotten held up in Custums in Frankfurt, finally arrived in Berlin via fedex. We had planned on taking the train through Austria and Hungary but now we are ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chinese Mysteries

Monday, December 16th, 2002
The Chinese have incredible confidence in themselves...and consider themselves unquestionably the most superior people in the world...mostly due to their long history. We Westerners are the barbarians. (So we don't need to think we are "all that" as my ... [Continue reading this entry]

Beach Boys In Zanzibar

Wednesday, May 15th, 2002
PZmR20gwby0cg19rXgklIw-2006197125025738.gif Beach Boy Answer to Poverty Beach Boys are a pain in the arse. They don't want to work because they can get more money wearing flip-flops. smoking hash and hustling tourists, the smart young ... [Continue reading this entry]

Images of Egypt

Friday, April 26th, 2002
All we have to offer regarding Egypt are images.Very little understanding. We were open; wanted to understand, feeling generous and happy. Smiling. Saying hello to everyone. Thinking we were making we have only flashes of ambiguous feeling... When Americans ... [Continue reading this entry]

Cairo Egypt

Sunday, April 21st, 2002
gvSQ2vhpltKkixr9PjGld0-2006186175750571.gif On April 21, 2002 while waiting for our flight from Athens to Cairo, we visited briefly with a gentleman sitting next to us who was on his way to Alexandria for what we thought ... [Continue reading this entry]

Stuck In A Train In Napflion

Wednesday, April 10th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172105126681.gif Train Trip to Nafplion The next morning we walked to Syntagma Plaza to took the metro to the port at Piraeus for departure to some of the Greek islands by ferry. But we had just ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chunnel Tickets in London

Tuesday, February 19th, 2002
When Bob went to the train station in London to buy a train ticket through the chunnel to France, they did not bother to tell him that if he had a Eurostar ticket for travel through Europe his chunnel ticket ... [Continue reading this entry]

Rafting The Grand Canyon

Wednesday, September 30th, 1992
After two years on a waiting list my husband and I were finally able to spend 18 days paddle rafting the Grand Canyon...putting in above Flagstaff Arizona. We went with a company called "Azra"...not a cadillac company...but with knowledgeable ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hitching-Hiking Europe In 1965

Thursday, September 16th, 1965
The summer of 1965, the summer I turned 21, a friend and former roommate, Barbara Stamper and I arranged to meet in London in June. She, a teacher, found an economical route to New York going by train across ... [Continue reading this entry]