Morocco

Looking at the world through the sunset in your eyes
Traveling the train through clear Moroccan skies
Ducks and pigs and chickens call
Animal carpet wall to wall
American ladies five-foot tall in blue
~Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Marrakesh Express

One of the reasons I love travel is to be kicked in the nads….metaphorically speaking, of course…sending me stumbling, teary eyed into a new reality where I am overwhelmed by the unexpected, shocking my consciousness into a state of acute awareness forcing me to take in my surroundings with all the wonder of a newborn laying eyes upon its mother’s smile for the first time. I find joy in being unsure what I will experience when stepping off the plane in a new country. I enjoy having to walk off balance, breathing in new aromas, being slapped in the face by new weather patterns, hearing a new language with rhythms that confound my ears, immersing in a confusing culture that redefine my notions of the way things are ‘supposed’ to be.

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Posted in Africa, Casablanca, Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech, Merzouga (Sahara), Morocco, Rabat | Leave a comment

Angkor Wat Days 2 & 3

Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen. ~Benjamin Disraeli

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Monks @ Angkor Wat

Angkor Sunrise

I woke up on day 2 of our Angkor Wat adventure feeling a hell of a lot better than I did the day before. Gone was the exhaustion and pain I experienced from walking for hours in extreme heat and humidity the day before. On this second day, I dressed much more sensibly allowing ample locations for the heat to escape and packing a few extra shirts for when the ones I was wearing were soaked with sweat.

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Weeping Nostalgic

The only things I own which are still worth what they cost me are my travel memories…the mind-pictures of the places which I have been hoarding like a happy miser. ~Burton Homes

Typical India Street Scene

Typical India Street Scene

This past Saturday, my wife and I sat on our newly purchased double recliner, love seat  (I love recliners for their comfort and their unique ability to adjust to my many levels of laziness from seated to almost flat out prone), glasses of Pinot Noir in our hands while watching the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. It’s a fun movie about a group of British retirees who decide to outsource their retirement to exotic India. The fact that my wife and I had both been to India heavily influenced our choice to watch the movie.

For me, the movie had many predictable elements. The people ‘find’ themselves or ‘rediscover’ themselves against the back drop of the chaos known as India. The predictability actually enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

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Swimming Thru Ancient Temples (A Holiday in Cambodia)

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Me (soaked) in front of Angkor Wat

We arrived in Siem Reap Cambodia late in the evening and hopped into a tuk-tuk for a ride to the hotel. A Cambodian tuk-tuk is reminiscent of a covered rickshaw but with the runner replaced by a motorcycle and the carriage with two sets of facing bench seats. All seemed perfect. The streets were relatively empty, a light breeze from the ride added a cooling touch to the warmth and humidity.

The tuk-tuk passed a long line of hotels filled to the brim with cars and tour busses then left the main road and headed down a side street before eventually turning onto an unlit, unpaved road that looked more than a bit ominous.  My wife and I looked at each other nervously both flashing back to an unpleasant experience we had with a bicycle carriage driver in India.

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Kissing Rocks

Oh Edward Abbey
You spoke with such wisdom
Opened up new worlds to me
So many times I’ve been down in the red rocks
Never even bothered so see
~ Lyrics From Escalante by RJ Garn
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Delicate Arch at Sunset

There are few physical locations as dear to my heart as the greater Moab area of South Eastern Utah. It is for this reason, upon arrival in Arches National Park, I exited my car, got on my hands and knees, and kissed the red rock that transfixes my gaze, transforms my heart, transubstantiate my soul into living breathing earth. For me, kissing the red rock is akin to a Catholic kissing the Papal ring, a symbolic gesture of respect to the office and submission to authority. For me the office is this amazing land of red rock and the authority figure is Mother Earth. Continue reading

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Sharpened Thoughts

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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Seeking Solitude

If I had to choose one word to describe Death Valley National Park, it would be sharp. The sharpness of the light piercing skin like thousands of tiny needles until all exposed flesh oozes pink. The sharp heat reaching in through the pores and sucking away all life sustaining moisture. The sharp edges of mountain ridges, a serrated knife cleaving the earth’s crust as it slices toward the sky. The cutting spines of volcanic rocks scattered over a landscape that has more strewn rocks than plants capable of grasping a tenuous foothold in the slivers between the stones. The sharpness of  silence that, given time, cuts through all internal noise until one is flayed and able hear your blood roiling in the veins. The sharp focus obtained while lying still on a sand dune, the only softness available for miles save the wispy clouds floating silently overhead.

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Come Travel with Me (2014 in Review)

Musings of a Middle Aged Man

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot

IMG_7453 (Year End)My travels in 2014 are now but fleeting images, memories that exist only in closed eyes, cherished remembrances and more than 10,000 photos. I want to make the memories more tangible. I want something I can hold to remind me of all of them. For this reason, I am wearing a 108 bead, bone white, mandala, also know as the Buddhist Rosary, that I picked up in Kathmandu. I wearing it in the traditional way on my left wrist. Buddhists wear these to aid in their meditation life. I wear it to trigger meditative thoughts on my travel life. I’m also wearing a saffron colored scarf I negotiated to purchase at a little shop in Bodh Gaya, India.

Mandala and Scarf Mandala and Scarf

The mandala isn’t…

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