Jan 8, 2018

Is it Possible to Find a Place on Earth that is Untouched?

Sapa Market...Sue Mae (oldest sister) and me (no bath, no hot water, no makeup)
There really are places you can go see the past. There may not be a McDonalds so you might not be able to get a burger. I am sure you will survive. But it is tricky. Did you see that 1000 people were lined up at base camp to climb Mt. Everest in the last few days of the climbing season? One thousand people dropping oxygen bottles and trash on the highest most remote mountain in the world! What was an adventure enjoyed by only a few has now become a tourist destination! It is getting hard to find places where the McDonalds culture has not evaded. But it can be done.

The New York Times featured at article in the Art and Design section about a region near Oaxaca, Mexico. A village close by has remained untouched by the modern world. The article was aptly titled The Past Has a Presence Here.
The past is visible in the landscape. The past casts a sharp shadow here, wherever you look. You see it on mountaintop plateaus, where the ruins of ancient pyramidal staircases and capital-I-shaped ball fields hint at mysterious rituals that disappeared over a millennium ago.
When you stand on a flattened hilltop above the village of Atzompa, some seven miles outside of Oaxaca, and look over at a nearby peak, you can glimpse the immense ruins of Monte Alb├ín, a pre-Columbian plaza of breathtaking expanse used for ceremonies and games. Below those ruins, where perhaps 25,000 people lived in the early part of the first millennium, you can make out faint remnants of terraced farming on the hillside. New York Times, June 15, 2012
The Times article pointed out that even in this place the stalls in the market feature Sponge Bob Square Pants t-shirts. And yes, McDonalds came to Oaxaca in 2002. In this case, you must travel the 7 miles from Oazaca to Atzompa to escape the omni-present fast food business. The truth is, in order for a person to get a glimpse of what was, most humans must be left behind...a distant hill or village has to be the destination.

H'mong woman



When my husband and I visited Sapa, Vietnam this last winter, we could not believe our good fortune. The food was authentic and the only tourists we saw were trekkers. There was not a McDonalds in sight. We shopped in markets run by H'mong people that did not call Vietnam nor China home. They belonged to a culture of their own.  The H'mong women that were sent to town each week for a few days followed us relentlessly asking us to buy their trinkets. I was adopted by a woman named Jan. She trailed behind us like a puppy for a whole day. She could not read nor write. Western culture had not ruined her true nature. The face she showed us was one of a childlike innocence. She let us know that all the women talked about our family. My husband and I were a rarity because of our age.

When we were in Hanoi, the real Vietnam was still very much in evidence. Vendors began crowding the street to set up stalls at 5:30 a.m. so people that lived in that neighborhood could do their daily shopping. They brought the produce on their shoulders to the street balanced like a scale while riding bicycles. A loud speaker outside our bedroom window woke the neighborhood at 7:00 am with daily announcements. (Shades of Good Morning Vietnam with Robin Williams)
French Villa style setting.
Here again, the difficulty of getting to the place determined how authentic the places would be. We flew into Hanoi from Shanghai on a Vietnamese airline that was actually held together with duct tape on the interior.  The trip to Sapa required an overnight train ride and a bus ride north to a place at the foot of the Himalayas 40 kilometers from the Chinese border.  

Night Train...open windows?  WOW!
Cat Cat Village, Vietnam

A few French villas left from the times of the French colonization dotted the hillsides. The people in the country side lived as they has been living since heaven knows when.  But, in order for us to see that, we walked down stairs and paths that made the adrenaline rush as the thought that, if you fell, you would die flashed through the mind.  It was only then that we saw the H'mong people  living much like generations before.  

I suppose the lesson here is that the real cultures of the world are disappearing at the speed of light and, if we want to see something authentic, we need to dress in suitable clothes, bring a helmet in case you fall and wear good walking shoes.  It is not physically easy.

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I recommend you read Seth Kugel, of the NYT.  I especially recommend this article he wrote about Mexico.  

Picking a Spot, Any (Undiscovered) Spot, in Mexico



Dec 22, 2017

Did I Really Say that?

This is an updated post from 2014. It keeps getting better and better! 


I have to admit it. I can swear but I try to keep it a secret. I am a total fraud and Google knows it. I found that out after I wrote this article. Now I find out that Dame Judith Dench thinks my choice of words shows courage. Plus Rubber Shoes in Hell is not setting a good example for me. Wow!

I know, the word cussing is old fashioned but just work with me here. Cussing is what we called it back in the day. In fact, cussed (cuss-said) was a swear word back then. We would call mean old men those cussed old guys or a dog that bit that cussed dog.

I didn't hear many really bad words in my day. My mother said dang once in a while. But I must have heard some bad words somewhere. My mother claimed I said dammit over and over while I jumped up and down on the bed. I was in trouble for jumping and cussing. It was not a good day in my world. Then I claimed that my Auntie Ardella said it all the time. My Auntie was a saint and I am sure she never used a bad word in her entire life. I probably was guilty of lying too. I don't remember doing any of that very clearly.

Cover of "Phooey!"
Cover of Phooey!
My father always cussed in the basement when he hit his thumb with a hammer or cut a board too short twice. However, he was out of earshot at least as far as understanding the words were concerned. I did hear him call his bosses SOBs a time or two but since I could not spell it didn't matter.  That was as bad as it got. I don't think he would have been a "real man" back in those days if he had  not done that.

I was a teacher and the "f" word was never allowed. Student would be surprised when the parents were called but still, they did get a call. I can understand why they needed to spout off occasionally. But still.

I discovered that sometime things went wrong, I was frustrated. That was when I learned a few bad words...fiddlesticks, dog-gone-it, shoot, phooey and later what in the Sam Hill? 

I always felt a little guilty when I lost control but lose control I did! And my vocabulary became more colorful as time passed. I have spent a lifetime trying to overcome this very bad habit.  But, a bad word or phrase will slip out in normal everyday conversation. I am generally on the golf course. Dear me, I sound like a sailor or a person that was raised by wolves.

Now Dame Judith Dench, age 80+ says that maturity gives us the courage to say what is on our mind. Interesting I think. I'm not sure if it is courage or lack of self control. Sigh!

Rubber Shoes in Hell, one of my favorite blogs, uses phrases like,  "Oh dear god. Fucking hell."  the same way I say "Oh my. Darn". Same meaning, different generations.

As I age I want to become more of a lady not less. I really do. I think that dignity and modeling of good manners never goes out of style.  Oh My (smile) how I wish it were easy. But it is not.

I tell myself often that I do NOT suffer from a disorder that leaves me unable to control my language. I cannot decide if I should fight it or just embrace it. After all, if Judith says it is okay, who am I to disagree.

Unfortunately Google sees right through me. I was a little taken aback when I saw that they suggested f*__k as a label option.

Any thoughts

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Dec 20, 2017

How Do They Know or When the Gas Man Cometh

Life here at my house continues to be a little wonky! Nothing has changed...ever. That my lovelies is why I am NEVER surprised.

See the thing is we just sold our Park Model and the money was passed to us this morning. We scheduled the event day before yesterday. That was the day that we received notice that our new electric fireplace would be delivered before 8:00 pm today. Money and a new fireplace can add up to some pretty ominous stuff.

I should have felt the universe lining up all it's little balls and putting them in it's cannon. It knew something was up for sure.

I woke this morning feeling so cozy and warm in my bed and could only think how wonderful a hot cup of coffee would be and wandered into the kitchen to get a cup. As I passed the thermostat I noticed that is was only 65 in the house. A bit chilly but if my husband forgot to turn the furnace up, perfectly normal.

It is really cold in here,  I announced softly in my morning voice. No kidding he replied sarcastically. That's when I realized that the universe had taken it's best shot. Our furnace was not working. The temp was in the 30's, very cold for us here in Arizona.
Snow on the Catalina Mt. Tucson AZ

A new fireplace...hmm...the furnace stops...hmmm. Why am I not surprised.

There was a lot of thermostat wiggling and outdoor breaker panel fanegalling and then a long ladder was placed against the side of the house. Discoveries were made and the conclusion was that when the gas man came yesterday he did not turn on the gas...he turned it off! (He will be here sometime today to turn it back on we are hoping.)

Why am I not surprised? Did I tell you about the time that the stove unplugged itself in the middle of a party...?

Hope you are warm. We live in Tucson so we will not freeze but still!

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Dec 14, 2017

News Flash: Moose Eats 3 lb. Pork Roast

Moose

New Flash: Moose Eats 3 lb. Pork Roast

Moose is a very big dog...counter height, extremely strong and sweet. He can do what he wants pretty much but the fact that he want to please his humans keeps him from getting in all the trouble could.

They went rafting, I went for a drage
behind Moose.
The fact that he really is in control is something I know from personal experience. Last summer I did  "Moose Sitter" duty while my family went white water rafting. Moose and I were left in a park by the river where there were barbeques and lots of people. The restroom was far away. I wanted to use the restroom, Moose wanted to eat barbeque. It was a tough day for both of us. We were both relieved when his people came back. 

So the news that Moose had eaten his family's dinner really came as no surprise. I knew from experience that his stomach can win out over reason.

That is why he ate the roast the other night...3 lbs. of pork loin possibly in one gulp. There were no witnesses and I think he would blame his people for leaving him alone with all that deliciousness. He left the wrapper and Styrofoam tray behind so there is that. The good thing, my daughter tells me, is that the 3 lb roasts were on a two for one sale...I suppose Moose thought that meant one for him and one for his humans. 

He didn't bet his kibbles last night because he was a "bad dog". 

His tummy hurt today and apparently he is constipated. 

Oh  Moose what did you do?

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PS: My younger son has a very small pug names Bodie...he is a tiny little pup. He came to stay with us last summer. What a easy little puppy his is. Thankfully!




Dec 12, 2017

Moving Around the Corner


We moved a short distance from our park model in an RV resort. The park model had about 380n sq. ft. Our newer home has over 1000 sq. ft. Here are the pictures of the interior now. We love it.





Dec 8, 2017

How much do you care?

It has come to me recently that what readers want is to be entertained...they really aren't so much interested in my sleep habits or even my health. They are usually very nice but care? I wonder.

We sold our park model today...that made my husband and I very "do the happy dance" happy. We played golf with two very nice people, ate Mexican and drove home.

Beautiful Tucson Winter!
Tucson showed us that side of itself that makes us wonder why we ever  leave. The colors on the rocks over in Tucson Estates are as glorious as any we have see anywhere in the world. I shared on Swarm with a picture.

So there you have it...I feel better because my day was perfect and I just wanted to tell you. But, the question is "Do you care?" We will see.

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Dec 5, 2017

When the Jehovahs Witness Come to Call...

"No, I'm not interested in salvation... but 
can I interest you in a glass of wine?"
I know I am living in the real world. The Jehovah's Witness ladies came to call this morning...before I was even dressed. It has been so long since that has happened that I was surprised they still did that! We exchanged a very few words and we were done. It was kinda nice!

See, I have lived in upscale condos, 55+ neighborhoods and even an RV resort with a guard. The Witness people don't usually visit in those places.

Now we live in a middle class neighborhood with townhouses and people, young and old, that work hard. There are no gates or any upscale anything. It is just real people living in a real place.

I like that a lot. The real world works for me...even when the Jehovah's Witness get me out of bed. I probably sleep too much anyway.

Where do you live?

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