Hitchabout Nice – Antibes – Aix-en-Provence – Arles | back to Montpellier

I think it was the fastest I’ve ever gotten rides in my entire hitchhiking experience. Residing in Montpellier, France, I had decided to hitch to Nice, the day before. I had anticipated it, knowing that my sister and her British husband go there regularly to escape the York, England chill. It was these two who had visited Montpellier several years earlier on a regular basis. That put this town on the map for me. I liked the sound of it. When I’d googled the town back when I suddenly had the proposition to go to the East coast from Taos, New Mexico, I learned that it’s the fastest growing city in France, of which 25% are students that emerge during the academic year. I sort of made the decision to go there in particular, and base myself . I was actually still deliberating on whether Portugal might be a less expensive and lively place to live while I was purchasing the bus ticket from Paris for Montpellier. At some point I decided I wanted to be closer to other countries in Europe and also where I have a semblance of knowledge of the language.

Mont_Saint-Victoire Paul Cézanne

Mont Saint-Victoire notoriously painted by Paul Cézanne among others

Nice, didn’t appear to have any available couches to surf on. The weather which has been continually warm and sunny, dropped about 10 degrees with predicted rain. I decided to go anyway. My bicycle had just been stolen 4 days earlier in the middle of the day around the corner from the cafe I was working in. After the initial discovery, I decided it was a gift for whoever took it. They not only got bad karma, but also a bike that didn’t work. It was hurting my knees because the gears basically didn’t move and I had to get off frequently, to walk up hills. Montpellier is full of them. Many at gradients of 55ª angles.

When I’d arrived in Montpellier the first day I asked a woman sitting on the tram near me “where is the mont”? She discussed it with her friend and decided that she didn’t know. My guess is that the whole town is so hilly that they decided to call it Montpellier, which means mountain. So, the missing bike precluded transport into town outside of the tram TAM, so it was as good a time as any to check out some other places along the Mediterranean. Nice, France is really close to Italy and Switzerland. By the time I finally left the house after consulting google maps to know what destinations to write on a sign, it was going on 2pm. The drive is a little over 3 and a half hours.

I strolled to the end of these outdoor tables with people seated there where I spotted a large white clean piece of cardboard tossed on the ground beyond the tables. I was already steering myself towards this cafe to ask for cardboard. Nice start, I had markers. The entrance to the highway was basically right there. This area was a short walk from where I’d currently been living, conveniently on the edge of town. I noticed several cheap bus lines departing from there, Sabine. I incidentally had been told two days previously that I needed to move out by the end of the month, a day after the bike theft. I had two weeks to decide my next moves. That was another reason to make this trip, a few pairs of ears to discuss my options. I was now less convinced that I wanted to stay in Montpellier. The housing situations had been a challenge.

I watched traffic stopping and starting at a traffic light, and was standing right before an indentation in the road for busses, perfect for cars to pull over. I had written Nice on one side of the sign and was starting to write Aix-en Provence on the other, flipping it up for cars to read both sides, when the first small truck pulled over after only a few lights. I hadn’t been there more than 10 minutes. He’d been working in Montpellier for the day and was on his way to Aix. He’s an Albanian man from Kosovo, his name packed with consonants, Xhemil Iveseldaj.  He’s been living in Aix-en Provence among other members of his family, for 40 years. He was returning from his work week in Montpellier where he stays in a hotel. His boss pays for that, along with his tolls and I guess all travel expenses. He works in such a specialized field, that he’s been accustomed to these long commutes for years, sometimes sweeping countrywide. He’d previously commuted to Paris from Aix, and before that by plane to another town. I learned a fair amount about his life and his two sons. He is one of 7 siblings, five brothers and two sisters. He said in Albania the families tend to be even larger. He said he doesn’t believe in a ‘God’ but in nature. We agreed about that, ‘Nature’ is our ‘god’. I asked if he believes in climate change. We discussed it for quite a while along with other topics.

He had missed his turnoff and I was wondering if I was going to be dropped off in the middle of the highway at an inconvenient place, but he then went back through toll booths, and tracked back to the highway where we were now still heading towards Aix-en-Provence en route to Nice. He’d seen the Aix on my sign. Works every time to have a sign. Xhemil always seemed a bit impatient when coming to any toll, as if seconds shaved off his time were going to critically screw up his day. I guess he was simply in a big hurry to get back home at the end of his workweek. He brought me to a good place where all traffic was heading in the direction of Nice.

I was happy to find a bathroom next to an odd parking garage area where on one side there were buses, ironically, one on its way to Nice. I had covered half the distance already and didn’t bother to approach the bus to ask the driver, preferring to hitch. Someone saw my signs and was yelling out to me from the top story of this large round parking garage building. I ignored him/them. It took about 6 minutes, maybe less, for a car to stop. I heard the responses from above as I was getting into the vehicle. The driver was Olivier, a local who lived in a little town with a great view of this mountain outcropping Saint Vincent from one side. He was on his way to Cannes for the evening. Olivier is an engineer, specifically works on plane engines. He lived in Paris for a stint, said he learned a lot working for Air Bus. He still works for them, and was relieved to move back to his home ground.

Mont Saint-Victoire, Paul Cézanne

Olivier says this landmark outcropping of rock Mont Sainte-Victoire, changes color frequently and has been a feature of many painters.

He and I had a nice rapport. We talked the entire time and really had a lot of similar points of view about the quality of simple things in life that give it value. He dropped me off at a very convenient location at the entrance to highways from Cannes. I was sorry to see him go.

My next ride was with a professional chauffeur, John Christopher. He had made sort of a precarious stop to pick me up. I guess as a local he knows what he can get away with. He was going to pick up his clients on this late afternoon to take them to a fundraiser gala event, hosted for wealthy families who were donating money to hurricane victims in Saint Martin, a French island in the Caribbean. He has worked for this same family exclusively for 15 years. He said that this event was perhaps at a hidden location. He knew that football stars, actors and actresses were going to be there among the very wealthy patrons. He described what these evenings could be like, and how he had to always be available for and and all things that might occur. He might have to make the commute over the bridge to pick up one item left behind, or drop off kids at different places. I enjoyed this little scope into the lives of the upper crust there, from the chauffeur’s point of view. A very gentle guy, he left me off before taking his route to the home of his employer. We left with smiles lingering.

Nice, France first shots - pastry and me

A bridge separated me between where I stood where everyone seemed to be racing to their next destination. I’m guessing I was at St.-Laurent du Var by this bridge. I wondered how long this ride would take, since now I was extraordinarily ‘out of place’. A hitchhiker with a backpack among demonstratively expensive cars and high income drivers. Surprisingly, a car stopped. It was Raphael a medical student in Nice, where he also was raised. He looked distinctively Spanish or Italian. He did me the courtesy of using his phone to dial my contact number and drop me off after crossing into Nice to a very familiar cement way lined with Palm trees before the beach. The Promenade des Anglais is where a demented man drove a truck moving down pedestrians on Bastille Day on the evening of 14 July 2016. The Nice attack killed 86 people and injured 458. Sound familiar? The whole area has since been reinforced to block vehicular traffic, involving bringing in full-grown palm trees with cranes.

historical Nice, France and cemetary

I wound up spending several days in Nice, endowed with lovely weather. Took various local rides ferried to different parts on cool excursions with family into the hills looking back down over the city. I had particularly wanted to see Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Nice page 1 of second group inlaid stones

Nice, France inlaid stones

When it came time to leave, I finally noticed a text message on my cheap French phone, an invitation from a friend I’d met years earlier, who had actually invited me to stay at her and her boyfriend’s place. I texted her back explaining I’d missed seeing her text. In a little while I made my way to make a start, found some cardboard and what appeared to be the entrance to highways. I stood there a short time up in the hills. I saw a dread-headed girl across the street who when she crossed, approached to tell me she’s hitched a lot, and if I’m going to Aix-en-Provence, I’d have better luck down standing down by the water – once again before the Promenade des Anglais. I thanked her and walked down the hill. When I turned the corner I saw a group of people waiting for a bus a hundred yards away. I thought to myself, they’re probably wondering about what I was doing. Within several minutes, my first ride stopped. A smartly dressed man in a nice car on his way to Aix-en-Provence. I laughed to myself at how easy I made it look for the people standing there waiting for a bus. He made a phone call to his wife indicating he was on his way. I mentioned that I’d come from Montpellier to Nice and still was trying to figure out where to land. He mentioned that for using English, Aix-en-Provence would have better opportunities than Montpellier due to its larger influx of British because of the nearby seaport. He convinced me in fact. He said forget Montpellier, it’s mostly a college town, whereas Aix has an English speaking presence and a sophisticated flair.

mazza

mazza

 

Manu

Manu

The text was from a woman whom I’d met with her boyfriend 5 years earlier in Krakow, Poland. I was now getting out of the car upon receiving the text, only half an hour or so from Nice and 100’s of km before where I thought I was going. That was a great timed text, minutes before the Antibes exit. I had a splendid visit with these friends and their wonderful feline creatures. It was the therapy I needed, the playful cats along with friendly and inspiring conversation and inclusion.

Edwige and Bernards in Antibes

Edwige and Bernards in Antibes

 

Edwige, Antibes

Edwige in Antibes

Edwige and Carol Antibes

Edwige and Carol Antibe

I departed from my friends and the kitties in Antibes who I was already missing. Once again I got fantastic rides, two rides from Antibes. A young baker, boulanger, who told me stories of his life and his wife and 2 kids. At the moment that I noticed a sign for a rest stop I asked him whether there was another like it prior to where he was going. He wound up immediately pulling over, because he in fact was getting off soon, where the town was so small he explained I’d probably have very fewer ride possibilities than here at this highway stop. I parted farewell from this sweet guy and was walking into the rest-stop restaurant and showed my signs to the people as I was walking by them. They were a couple, and happened to be driving to Montpellier. I said that that’s where I live, but am going to Aix-en-Provence. They said they could take me there, it’s on the way. I hung with them a bit at the outdoor tables after I returned. We had a few interesting exchanges before getting in the car. A huge lovely white dog accompanied by a man entered the picture. I said, ‘elle est belle’, and the girl laughed, saying she has exactly the same type of dog, whose name is Belle. It’s unusual for a couple to offer a ride, very rare. They have to be really confident with one another, and these two were. Thomas and Gwendoline were very animated. At one point I mentioned out of the blue that I’d like to go to Istanbul, and they laughed, saying they’re going there next Thursday. They each engaged in conversation the entire time. We really connected. He owns 2 businesses in (IT), one which he originally started doing web design and the other advising companies on how to work more efficiently. She isn’t currently working. We talked the whole time, They were on their way to Montpellier to visit his father, and in fact he drove me into the center of Aix-en-Provence which he loves, and Gwendoline had never been.

Eight weeks earlier I wouldn’t have been able to understand but a quarter of what they were saying, now 8/10th percent. She spoke some English cuz she lived a year in New Zealand doing a WWOOF with baby sheep! She visited Australia too. She joked that she’s probably more conservative politically than he. He described that he believed the French president Macron would have more possibility to take a center stage in the global political arena. As we were driving into Aix from the highway, I commented that I believe trees may be more conscious than we are. To my surprise, Thomas the computer guy, heartily agreed, saying that he despises that people believe that they’re at the top of the pyramid of life, when in fact all life forms have intelligence. Thomas so much admires the town, that I decided after walking around a bit that for my saturday night, I’ll stay in Aix-en-Provence, regardless of where I may or may not sleep.

Aix-en-Provence, France

On this late summer Saturday afternoon in the street of Aix-en-Provence  I came upon a group of woman doing a spontaneous dance exercise; an an all female dance troupe. They were doing an improvisation exercise in their practice. I sort of guessed that this is what they were doing. Later when they were less involved in any presentations, I asked a few. One woman with eye that met mine with a sparkle in her eyes and large smile approached me and handed me a flyer.

She was in fact the director who organized this theatrical dance art group. http://cie-mariehelenedesmaris.com

I had decided to stay there regardless of not having looked for couchsurfers. It was a Saturday evening, it’ll be fun. I asked the right couple on my walk, who described several different options, pointing to areas on a map I had of specific areas to find things going on.

I went to a cafe to catch up on writing and organizing my pictures, and wound up hanging there into the late hours, with co-workers and guests. As the evening progressed, I was invited not only to stay that evening, but for an extended length of time, if I was demonstrating that I was doing the work I needed to do. I could now stay at this apartment there in Aix-en-Provence with these two brothers. However that vanquished at the point that the one breached my trust, and caused me to launch myself out back into the streets of Aix with the approaching dawn. It seemed like it might have been the semblance of a good thing, if not for the immediate security violation. One of the brothers was already in bed, it appeared. I was ushered into a room, fine, ah, but wait, no lock on the door. I waited before getting into bed with my pully and pack on by the door. listening for a few moments, when suddenly the door swung open, with me standing right there. I’m sure it surprised him as much as it did me; bursting into the room allegedly having misplaced his cell phone. Not only did this maneuver make me feel quite uncomfortable with the thought of sleeping there, but it also immediately dissolved that opportunity. So, I was heading out from Aix that morning, and still not sure what would define my future. This town hadn’t particularly welcomed me; no couch surfers, no housing possibilities and no tolerance for an opening in a bachelor den that was the epitome of neglect.

 

Arles, France, Nice, hitchabout

I hitched to Arles from Aix-en-Provence that morning. Maybe I’d go to Nimes (Roman ruins in both towns) on the same day.  The two cities located in the Occitanie region of southern France, were an important outpost of the Roman Empire. Nimes is known for its well-preserved monuments such as the Arena of Nîmes, a double-tiered circa-70 A.D. amphitheater still in use for concerts and bullfights. Its Maison Carrée white limestone Roman temple and Pont du Gard tri-level aqueduct are around 2,000 years old. I wound up staying in Arles instead.

Shortly after arriving at a good departure point in Aix, a woman stopped in her sleek car. I assumed the boy of about 11 sitting in the passenger seat was her son. She was an attractive, well dressed, middle aged woman who appeared professional, everything intact.  She was on her way to Nimes. The song that was playing on the alternative rock station was fairly pop, and each of the songs became progressively more hard-edged. The music didn’t seem to go with her appearance at all. The volume was so high that it impeded the ability to talk. When I asked, she staccato answered that she lives in Aix. That was my first and last question in an attempt to engage them in conversation. Her son and she didn’t say a word to one another the entire time.  She drove very fast and agilely on the highway on her way to Nimes, maneuvering efficiently. I was surprised she picked me up at all.  I pictured that she was dropping her son off at a midway point in an agreement with her ex, as they trade time with the child since divorcing. I decided that she was annoyed to have to drive him there, the hour and a half, now wait, 3 hour journey altogether to drop him off in Nimes and return; an invasion on any other activities she might have wanted to do on that Sunday. I didn’t ask. I let them ‘not talk’ to one another or me. I felt sorry for the kid. The music was quite loud. The silence was fierce.

Michael Jackson T-shirt, Always Be Yourself

Michael Jackson T-shirt
Always Be Yourself

I’m sitting in a cafe putting these pages together, sitting near the bathroom entrance. Many people flow by. One guy was waiting in line, a tall Arab guy, I saw in between the edges of his jacket a skeleton, and I said pointing, “is that Michael Jackson”? He said, yes and opened his jacket. I said, trying as I could in French, after multiple plastic surgeries that destroyed his cartilage, he’s now a skeleton. He said, exactly. He and I were both laughing pretty hard at this point as he was now walking into the bathroom, since it wasn’t supposed to be that obvious. I asked him when he came out to get a shot of the shirt, which is even more hilarious, saying below the image ‘Always Be Yourself‘.

In Arles I met a man whose eyes met mine from where he was perched on a balcony of this cloister.  I was like, what, are you WORKing there or what? Later we met on the stairs where he offered me an extra ticket to the last day of the photo exhibit there. He’s local. So, he’d waited until the last day of the exhibit to finally go see it. I had the impression that in this town that flowed regularly for most months of the year with tourists, that it was well stocked with woman accessories.  I wondered whether he took advantage of this, and lead a sort of double life. I was sort of expecting that we’d hang out together more, but he had other plans, probably a dinner gathering, or going home to dinner with his family. He bade his farewell and disappeared into the dusk, cutting through this building. Perhaps I seemed too risky, an American woman who happened into the town and didn’t know where she was going to sleep that night.  It was a nice exhibit. I wound up wandering away from the middle aged man who vanished to walk up a hill to find myself watching bats fluttering about and looking out over the valley, and instead talking to some young North African teenagers.

I had wandered around the periphery of the olympic Roman stadium and along streets in the town looking at the sites. I had gone into a lovely church where I learned some history. It was later, much later that my bed found me.  I was walking around a building and saw this little sort of fenced in courtyard that was merely following the contours of the rounded building. There was a low decorative iron fence around a small curved plot of soil, encasing a few bushes and a tree or two. I spotted large pieces of cardboard neatly wrapped up and tied together stacked vertically on the outside of this area. I learned years ago from a French (North African) truck driver that cardboard can be used to insulate from the cold. (Who I wound up driving with through Italy to Germany where during Ramadan, he’d chain smoke and start drinking his coffee before the sun came up or went down, and had packed a delightful gourmet assortment of foods home-made by his wife who packed them for his holiday fasting). I picked up the cardboard, pulled the pieces out, saw that they weren’t soiled and laid them out to form a platform to lay on. I had no sleeping bag. It wasn’t cold. I felt quite safe there and happy to not have to carry my backpack any more.  A pretty ‘sleepy’ town, I didn’t sense that anyone was going to look for me there. I didn’t sleep, but was comfortable. The night before in Aix-en-Provence I hadn’t slept at all.

I had already decided to stay in Arles that night. It was still pretty warm, September 25th, 2017. Later that evening, my resting place found me.

Arles rockin an auberge cardboard style at the hidden concave of a building

It was the last ride, Phillippe Lu, (great grandparents or grandmother came from China to Cambodia, where his parents were from. It was the intelligent conversation I had with him and his power of persuasion, which now convinced me after all that I should in fact plant myself in Montpellier; offering English courses with all the university separate buildings spreading over the north of town. He said I could make €15 to 20 per lesson. He texted his son to get the coordinates of an umbrella organization for all the universities called CROUS. He helped to give me some wording for a sign to put up. I since had looked up C.R.O.U.S. and gone there several times to get as much information as I could from what I’d written down while riding with him. They had info about housing, the university of lettres (languages) and basically I followed through and later wandered the labyrinthe of different buildings that a part of the university, that spreads across the north part of town that had been 50 years ago, fields. When I’d returned to Montpellier I was now homeless and searching through many different sources, mostly online, for housing. It was on the eve of the beginning of the month that one friend pointed out a site I’d already disregarded, judging that it was too expensive. I told him I’d already looked at that one, and it tends towards more expensive listings. I noticed that my friend had fr.fr in the beginning of the web address and mine us.fr, because I had first viewed it from the United States (I started viewing housing listings from the moment I booked an inexpensive flight). Turns out the subtle difference in the website made a huge difference in what was offered. The local listings offered a category unto themselves, anglophone families looking for English native speakers to live with them for reduced rent in exchange for some prerequisite time and activities. I’ve since found the most remarkably perfect situation, a win-win.

my signs for the return trip

my signs for the return trip

Montpellier Zoo, Jardin des Plantes

Montpellier Zoo Jardin des Plantes and street pics

It started, or rather was continuing a year ago in another desert, in the high desert of New Mexico, bordering Colorado. Luna was Bill Light’s dog, who built his home in the canyon 5,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico en route to the ski area. His wife had died a few years earlier. I stayed for several months in a cabin adjacent to his home which he built for his daughter. I lived there in the autumn of 2016.

I quickly became a fan of going on walks with his dog Luna. She was a fan of walks as well, and would actually come over to the cabin and tap on the door with her foot. Wow! She absolutely loved the excursion off the property and a long a path cutting through a narrow valley to the National Forest land. In the late summer twice with Luna, I was exposed to bears. It was because Luna discovered them, and barked them into submission.

 

Luna, Bill Light's, Santa Fe New Mexico 2015

Luna my friend at Bill Light’s cabin in Santa Fe New Mexico 2015

I lived in the cabin next to Bill Light’s home in my first months above Santa Fe, New Mexico where my nice landings began. Luna and I would cut through trails up to the National Forest land and then either move further into the canyon’s or launch up to the ridge. These became my sketching/water color excursions. Luna launched and climbed the hill with ease and I followed.

Bill who had an earlier bought with cancer which had gone into recess, got it again, and died from pneumonia since I had moved out. It’s a strange thing that he was there and actively doing all sorts of things, and now gone. I don’t know what happened with Luna, certainly she was completely at home in the mountains. I hope a neighbor took her in. Besides seeing lots of deer in the late summer and the few incidences with Luna barking a bear and her cubs up a tree, I would mt. bike into town from there, regularly. I cycled 7 miles up 5,000 feet to get to the property. I never used any bike lights or reflectors, despite the fact that there were no street lamps. My eyes would adjust whether it was a new or full moon. i figured it was a good way to balance out staring into a computer screen. I find a bike wherever I go and also animals that I love. Now there are stray cats where I am, and I’ve just landed, with muscle and sweat and help with several bike mechanics, a bike that I am delighted to ride.

Now there’s no dog present like in Santa Fe and the ones I affectionately grew acquainted with and loved immediately in Taos, New Mexico the following spring. There are a bunch of stray cats however here in Montpellier. It occurred to me to look for a used bike at this place I’d become a member of months earlier. Le Vieux Biclou. After asking a guy in the street when I knew I was in the vicinity of the bike shop if he knew of where it’s located, it turned out he was on his way there. There I spotted the mt. bike I wanted, and the following day during opening hours learned of its one major obstacle; a seat post jammed all the way down that wouldn’t budge. Several technicians, pounding and myself instructed to scrape off the rust of the now ejected post, and a day later going to another bike shop to get a lock appropriate for the rampant bike thievery in this town, I purchased bolts to replace the quick release wheels and seat, and was assisted in mounting the lock to the frame. After riding it the second time i realized that this bike runs flawlessly, enabling me to climb any steep slope with ease. Stoked!

I’ve since made my signs and printed them and edited my contact cards. I wanted to get this blog out, put up the signs in various excursions, and begin today on a singular path to complete my book between my father and mother’s birthdays. That’s pretty immediate. The difference, no noose around my neck to pay a rent that squelches my time and psyche.

And as is typical, I ask for donations. Thanks! PayPal Donate Button  Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

carol keiter, blogger, Nice

blogger in Nice

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Hitchabout to a casting call for a political satire TV show filmed in Albuquerque, NM

It was a remarkably successful hitchhiking journey to ABQ and back to Taos, with the generous help of friends, who made my sojourn to Albuquerque to answer a casting call job for a day. I write about it because I learned a lot from talking with each of the drivers. Props for hitchhiking, in which one comes across locals who more than likely are delighted to share information about their own region and its history, as well as stories about their own family. The driver’s were white and various shades of brown; Native American and Spanish, representing each race that live together in this region.

Pueblos of the Southwest

Pueblos of the Southwest

I turned down the first 3 rides, intuitively, and took a fourth to the edge of town, to a better place for people to stop.

While in the process of doing the final research, edits and writing and illustrating of my eBook in the final countdown, I received a phone call. It was from a casting company I had registered with a couple months ago, knowing that both of my sources of employment were going to end with the season: in this case, ski and school. I accepted the job, even though with a slight disappointment, it wasn’t going to take place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a one hour and a half drive, but Albuquerque, NM, adding another hour; a 133 mile drive.

My only choice to get there, hitch. Upon speaking with the representative of the casting company about the potential call time, I realized that I would have to hitch there the day prior, and figure out how to get to the TV shooting site (yet to be announced), by 6am, or earlier.

Turns out that by contacting my friend living there, who was out of town visiting her home town, she responded immediately, gave me the phone number of her husband who then responded and gratuitously and generously gave me his time and the transport and shelter that I needed.

I only wanted to mention the hitches:

It is the second time in my life that I have turned down rides. Both times occurred in New Mexico. Typically, I feel quite comfortable with those who have stopped to offer a ride. I turned down the first 3 rides, trusting my instincts. Another I trusted to give me a lift to a better departing place with more room for a car to pull over. Within a minute of that ride which was welcomed, a man stopped with whom I had a great conversation the entire time. It was my Albuquerque sign in the early afternoon in Taos, that drew his attention, since he was returning to there after coming to Taos to do mold testing on a structure. As I’ve said before, typically the people who do stop for hitchhikers, are as interested in telling their stories as they are in hearing yours. So we chatted about many topics. I learned about his sons, their projects and several fun stories about their characters, among all sorts of things that we discussed.

Turns out the filming of a political satire TV show, Graves went from 5:45am to 10:30pm, lots of waiting time and repeated filming of the same scenes. Regarding takes, I almost felt I could have been a stand-in after several hours, having heard the lines so often. I opted to stay again in ABQ that night and join my host and his son, driving to Santa Fe the following morning to go to Meow Wolf.

drought, southwest, wikipedia

drought southwest wikipedia

On the ride back, I had one after another great ride. First, a gentle, soft-spoken Native American man who is a jeweler who presents his crafts among other Native American artists 5 days a week in the Santa Fe playa. He explained that he was born in Northern Arizona, and I assume that he is Navaho. He said that his parents moved from there, because there was no work. Several times he mentioned the fact that there is no water. He said that one makes a presumption about water coming out of a faucet. They didn’t have that luxury. He said he attended 7 different schools between his junior and senior high school years, because his parents kept having to move to find employment; from Arizona to California to New Mexico. Each of them are deserts which have experienced droughts. He emphatically stated when I asked if he was coming from work, “no, I work for himself, making jewelry. He says he lives behind the hill of Pojoaque where he let me off, happily with his Pug.

The next ride was with a man and his 11 year old son. Anglo, mixed ethnic (Mexican mother) son, he mentioned all of the different pueblos in the area.

He was driving an exceptionally beat-up Suburu, still running like a charm. I went with them on a few errands on their way home. I accompanied them to the Pojoaque

Pojoaque Pueblo, New Mexico

Pojoaque Pueblo New Mexico

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pojoaque,_New_Mexico . There, the son enthusiastically bound into the library to pick up the books he ordered, several pounds of these slender Japanese hardcover Manga (漫画? Manga) books, part of a series, whose storyline just keeps going.
Considering the fact that I’m in the final edits of my own eBook geared towards kids and young (and any age adults), it is quite impressive to see this enthusiasm bordering obsession with this genre. Having taught in more than 2 dozen schools this past year in the Santa Fe public school system, I saw middle and high school students both embracing anime books (pronounced an i mae).

Anime charicters with tattoos

Anime charicters with tattoos

As the father smilingly responded, you have to have a story that the kids are interested in reading! He spoke about how miserable he was working at a local Casino, and that he makes far better wages and engages with all sorts of people who are friendly and kind, in the hotel in which he now works in Santa Fe.

The third ride was with a young Spanish man, who is 3rd or 4th generation Taoseño. He described the struggle that his great grandparents had when prior to New Mexico being declared a territory in the early part of this century, that previously in the late 19th century, the United States came in and basically just kicked people off of their land, who had been living there prior to the discovery by Columbus. Perhaps this coincided or was subsequent to Mexico territory becoming that of the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Cession His great grandfather and a group of others pulled their finances together to purchase acres by land they valued very much, by El Salto. This they did not to develop, but to protect it from development, to preserve the wilderness, beauty and the habitat of animals there, for all to enjoy. We talked continuously. I learned that with his carpentry skills, he is widening doors and making his home wheel chair accessible for his step son, who has cerebral palsy. I said, so you must indeed have made the commitment in this relationship. He is happy to do this, loves his son and is proud of his daughter by his first marriage, who will now work as a dentil hygienist for a female dentist entrepreneur who rolled into Taos, an eccentric and imaginative woman, who has resurrected and improved a number of local dental practices by incorporating state-of-the-art technology. The dentist woman rides a harley apparently. The technology they use, rather than exposing patients to potentially harmful x-rays, is audio sound technology, so that one can image the cavities and so forth through sound waves. Pretty interesting. It’s called ultrasound technology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23706922

As I said at the beginning, the neat thing about hitchhiking, is that one comes across locals who more than likely are delighted to share information about their own region and its history, as well as stories about their own family.

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz ~ As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously and unabashedly to please donate, if you are able. !-))

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Marketing my own eBook > Thinking it appropriate as an auxiliary learning tool for Charter High Schools

I believe this eBook will build enthusiasm and intrigue for multiple subjects, It is a science reference book, cloaked in a science fantasy adventure; replete with real science and resplendent illustrations; with graphs, charts and links for further investigation.

Entitled,“Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion”, it is best suited for high school students and accelerated middle schoolers. I believe it will entice kids to learn about a multitude of different subjects, augment the schools academic curriculum.

Here’ s the trailer: https://spinonmatter.carbonmade.com/projects/4800092

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion

I just decided to post this letter of introduction which I’m sending to Charter Schools, to each of my blogs, since perhaps someone who’s involved in education, eBook marketing and publishing, with an affiliation with Charter Schools or knows-how in marketing an educational eBook, to provide me with advice or send someone my way!

It’s not finished, but I thought I’d start with the back-end, or front-end, getting it out there.

…I’m looking for the appropriate person/department (academic materials, material acquisition) to market my eBook, which I believe will be of interest to students as an auxiliary learning tool.

This science fantasy adventure involves a spiritual quest (no religious affiliation), full of art and science. The adventure involves the quest of a young woman and the characters she meets in her journey, into an upside-down world. Not really upside down, but a place affected by electromagnetism that has lower gravity levels as one climbs to this place. The people there, where the main character is journeying to, have a correspondingly intrinsic capacity of transparent thought. They are conscious of each others’ thoughts and consequently incapable of telling lies. Yet most of the story takes place as Adora journeys there – as there could be sequels!

Frankly, as of June 1st (almost two weeks since posting this), after editing and moving around information as well as researching and editing bibliography sources, the information below has been updated, and still is no longer current! Nevertheless, you get the gist of the contents! I’ve been working hard within a strict time limit – a really good thing.

Here are the first two pages of the Table of Contents (subject to change) but giving you a gist of the contents.

1st page Table of Contents

1st page Table of Contents

2nd page Table of Contents

2nd page Table of Contents

The approximately 150 page eBook (Completion end of June, 2017), is designed to be read from beginning to end, or to be read in segments. Almost every page introduces a particular subject; including graphs, charts and links to further investigation of that topic. The online Table of Contents and Bibliography allow the reader to choose from various educational subjects, ranging from biology, climatology, and geography to physics, These scientific topics of inquiry are introduced as they arise in the story; with the inference that these hypothetical events in a fantastical environment, could actually transpire.

Here are a few pages of the bibliography, also subject to change. I’m using google docs in order to also alphabetize the bibliography by subject.

Bibliography created in google docs to feature alphabetical listing by subject.

Bibliography created in google docs to feature alphabetical listing by subject

Bibliography created in google docs to feature alphabetical listing by subject.

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion has a plethora of art accompanying the science links, providing the reader with the capability to further investigate a topic. It is a colorful and refreshing learning tool for students and adults. The eBook is a stepping stone of intrigue for subsequent exploration into a multitude of scientific topics.

character name meanings and association with elements

character name meanings and association with elements

I’m an independent contractor who has been writing two blogs since 2009, I’m particularly interested in environmental sustainability, renewable energy, (DIY) do-it-yourself practices to reduce one’s carbon footprint, reinvesting in the community and especially the topics of wildlife and animal habitat preservation. I participated in a 2 week educational forum about the environment in Paris, during the COP21 Climate Talks in Paris, http://www.placetob.org/en/ As a writer, artist, musician and composer, I have no umbrella organization presently supporting me financially. I welcome any suggestions you may have regarding the eBook world of publishing, as I have yet to approach any publishers. I can provide you with additional sections of the book to view its layout and presentation.

carolkeiter@gmail.com
(520) 891 1466
PayPal: carolkeiter@gmail.com

ebook trailer:
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/final-metamorphosis-of-the-ebook-trailer-for-adora-vitali-a-spin-on-the-matter-of-motion/

http://spinonmatter.carbonmade.com/projects/4800092#1

blogs:
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/
http://digesthis.wordpress.com/

podcast:
https://deliciousmedicinalfood.wordpress.com

art portfolio:
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/parcel-of-my-portfolio
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/carols-artwork-discovered-in-sketchbooks-journals/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/21261638@N03/albums/72157673189438823
https://www.flickr.com/photos/21261638@N03/albums/72157681167409025

music composition:
https://soundcloud.com/you/collection
http://www.reverbnation.com/nomadbeatz

Carol Keiter Contact card

Carol Keiter Contact card

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition!

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Factory Outlet by George Monbiot posted in the Guardian | Expeditionary Learning

Mass conformism through propaganda. George Monbiot’s words continue to pierce me with his insights.

http://www.monbiot.com/2017/02/16/factory-outlet/

Posted in the Guardian 16th of February, 2017

He talks of the educational conformism that drains teacher’s and students of creativity, and speaks of several systems that move away from the old model, that was designed to produce workers in the 19th century industrialist cultures we lived in.

One educational model that stood out to me, the Reggio Emilia approach, is only because I happened to visit there when I hitchhiked from Berlin to southern Germany, destination Rome.

It was just today that I took a picture of this Expeditionary Learning description on the wall of an 8th grade bi-lingual school science class here in Santa fe.

Expeditionary Learning, hands-on learning, all senses on

Expeditionary – hands and all senses on – Learning

Reminding me of a blog I wrote, after discovering the concept on a hitchhiking journey in which two teachers coming from a conference picked me up and informed me about it.

Why kids need to move, touch, experience to learn, Expeditionary Learning

Why kids need to move, touch and experience to learn Expeditionary Learning

Carol the blogger, Italians, Reggio Emilia, Italian Hitchabout

Carol the blogger among Italians in Reggio Emilia on Italian Hitchabout


Carol Keiter, aka nomadbeatz, welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

Carol the blogger's contact card while residing here in the southwest for the time being.

Carol the blogger’s contact card while residing here in the southwest for the time being.

Carol Keiter the blogger back in Tucson, Arizona summer '16

Carol Keiter the blogger back in Tucson, Arizona summer ’16

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ArT WorK and PlaY in Santa fe, New Mexico

It’s sat night and I came back from skiing all day starting with an 8am ski clinic to teach instructors how better to shape their craft. I had worked at an elementary school 5 days last week which I discovered in the online (absence management) substitute teacher coordination and booked it last Sunday. I’m really impressed with a number of their teachers; their skill and devotion. I had a blast, loved the kids, loved learning with them and participating in other activities like PE, music and art classes.

contemporary art, ethnic artifacts, art galleries,Santa fe

contemporary art and ethnic artifacts art galleries in Santa fe


I just checked the online site where I can coordinate work half an hour ago or so and after days of no new opportunities, there were suddenly 2 multi-day jobs. This is what pays my rent, so i’m delighted. I worked out the bike routes and schedule now, because I’m working at the ski area for the 3 day weekend holiday of Martin Luther King day.

I love skiing. I enjoy teaching. Life is good. 

I went to several gallery openings (every Friday typically at least a couple or 4 galleries have ‘open house’. I saw good art, inspiring stuff, new and old, met some nice people and took pics. 

Tucson ‘Christmas Lights’ Illuminated Year Round

lantern_lizard

lantern_lizard

lantern_quail

lantern_quail

light_color_storyline_cactus_cactus

light_color_storyline_cactus_cactus

Tucson Christmas lights flickr link

Tucson Christmas lights flickr link

tucson illuminated

lit_sailboat_george_washington_painting_2

Here’s the link to a bunch of pictures.

Bare with me in terms of the quality of the photographs. Some have managed to capture the essence, whereas others fall way short of what my eyes were seeing, because of the equipment (and lack of it) that I’m using. I mainly want to reveal that here in Tucson the ‘Christmas lights’ that I saw perusing around streets on my bicycle all over town in February, are still here in July. Tucson citizens and businesses have this creative decorative flair for their homes and businesses and downtown areas that are lit up, all year round. I love it. The most enchanting thing I found one evening, was a huge tree that looked like a fairyland with green laser pointed lights shining onto all of its branches. My camera just can not capture this, too bad. I’m using a Canon camera that is holding on and doing its best. And I’m doing my best without a tripod and all of the functionality of a fully working camera, with no special lenses. So I wince when I see a shot, take it, and it just barely captures in the darkness, what my eyes are seeing. In fact, I notice that in the viewfinder of the camera, the lights look more bright and then upon snapping the photo, it promptly dims. I’m also using an android phone for some shots that seems to function better for the dark shots, yet is obviously much grainier in texture, less dpi than the Canon.

illuminated_tree_branches_closeup

illuminated_tree_branches_closeup

giraffe_sculpture

giraffe_sculpture

courtyard before Sinbad restaurant off University, Tucson, Arizona

courtyard before Sinbad restaurant off University

illuminated_tree

illuminated_tree

restaurant column lights, Tucson, Arizona

restaurant_light_column

lantern_closeup

lantern_closeup

light_color_storyline_cactus_1

light_color_storyline_cactus_1

light_color_storyline_shotting_star_planets

light_color_storyline_shotting_star_planets

Carol Keiter blogger and photographer shiny in the above 100º temperatures

Carol Keiter blogger and photographer shiny in the above 100º temperatures

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

Happiness & Healing Oneself | Your Choice of Mind & Heart

It’s another one of those times when I’ve come across a subject that I feel is of such import that I post it on both blogs simultaneously.

In the last days I read and viewed this information, which is one small extract of many peoples experiences of either making themselves ill or healing themselves, through their own attitude and what they anticipate. If you think that someone is going to react in a certain way or something is going to happen in the way that you expect, good or bad, typically, because this is the window you’re looking through and the way that you approach the situation, it more than likely will.

http://truththeory.com/2014/04/27/is-there-scientific-proof-we-can-heal-ourselves/

Here is the youtube video of Lissa Rankin, MD’s TED talk – a presentation of the results of her research. YES, she researched and found her proof. Rankin addressed in her TED talk a group of health care professionals talking about how much their caring intention influences the health and healing of their patients.

happiness shot holding up arms Lissa Rankin talk

happiness shot holding up arms Lissa Rankin talk

I’ve written plenty of times about the subject of happiness.

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/pursuit-of-happiness-the-happy-movie-my-stroke-of-insight/ The giggling Guru and the insights of the writer’s book, “My Stroke of Happiness”.

the giggling guru Madan_Kataria

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/new-year-resolutions-happiness-through-action-one-mini-habit-at-a-time/ Talking about the satisfaction of accomplishing things through adopting mini habits that are manageable.

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/the-science-of-happiness-an-experiment-in-gratitude-soulpancake-upworthy-things-that-matter/ about the importance of gratitude.

laughing buddha

laughing buddha

…and a few times about healing…

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/marijuana-out-of-the-closet-the-cannabis-cure-cbd-tincture/ The Cannabis Cure, by Charlie Bayliss and Amelia Powers “The Powers of the Mind” regarding her ability to overcome a brain tumor not with chemotherapy (which hadn’t been working) but through the decision to employ optimism, dancing and CBD tinctures – extracted from marijuana.

There may be all sorts of incidences that occur throughout the day which may trigger a stress response. Regardless of the source of the stress, our body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. The body responds to stress by producing hormones that are ingrained into the ‘fight or flight’ response which is genetically built-in, from the times when humans actually did have to be prepared to promptly face or flee a threat such as a wild animal or severe weather condition. Yet, it is us who decide how to respond emotionally to interpret a situation as something inducing stress; a perception of monetary, marital, social problems, work conflicts, situational discomforts or environmental hazards etc. Our body doesn’t distinguish between the source of our stress, it simply responds to our emotional response by chemically producing hormones to interpret our emotional reaction.

You basically do have a choice in how you respond to circumstances.

The point is to actively pursue experiences that lead to feeling happier and to alleviate the stress. Making a conscious choice to allow oneself to relax, enjoy one’s environment, to enjoy simple things, engage in activities like meditation and other practices that facilitate a deeper conscious breathing, physical exercise, participating in experiences that engage with nature, eating healthy foods, spending time in the company of positive people and interacting with all sorts of animals; therapy dogs specifically elicit happy hormones because of their unconditionally loving nature. Make a point of acknowledging with gratitude what you appreciate, attune to all of the different wonderful life forms (animals and plants in our world) that are here around you, and recognize that by participating in creative activities and doing tasks that involve achieving little goals, all lead to developing more insights and a sense of accomplishment. All of these different activities that are coming through the heart, instead of through the head, will lead to the release of hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin, which the body produces in association with feelings of happiness and contentment and a sense of well-being. Laugh! Go out and play!

Yes, it’s a choice.

improveverywhere | this ain’t no joke | no pants subway ride

thanks to

Improv Everywhere,  We Cause Scenes

Improv Everywhere
We Cause Scenes

http://improveverywhere.com

no pants subway ride,improveverywhere

no pants subway ride improveverywhere nYc

improveverywhere, no pants subway rid, nYc

improv everywhere no pants subway ride nYc

Because having fun, playing and joy is a great thing!

no pants subway ride improveverywhere nYc

no pants subway ride improveverywhere nYc