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

Hitchabout Tucson Arizona to New Mexico

clouds, palms, Sonoran Desert

clouds and palms in the Sonoran Desert

Saguaro cactus , Tucson, Arizona

Saguaro cactus in Tucson, Arizona

I’ve been so absorbed with my new location that I haven’t had the opportunity to post my hitchabout highlights. Tucson sculptor Al Glann who has a studio in the Tucson Metalarts Village responded to my comment about his mastery in capturing the essence of creatures in his work, “the trick is to work quickly and to know when to stop”.

Al Glann, sculptor, Tucson, Metalarts Village

Al Glann sculptor at Tucson Metalarts Village

I enjoyed the arts of Tucson tremendously, yet my ambivalence peaked as new promises eviscerated. Final pushes lead to a pull towards New Mexico, where I’ve lived previously in several communities.

contrasts light and dark, Tucson, Arizona, New Mexico

contrasts in light and dark driving from Tucson, Arizona to New Mexico

 

flickr hitchabout tuscon arizon link to pics

flickr hitchabout tuscon arizon link to pics

Ambivalence and the fact that I hadn’t quite dived in to the town (except in the pool at the apt complex where I lived which was eerily empty most of the time) was pointing me elsewhere – the ‘universe’ directing me with a number of different innuendos and nudges…and I wasn’t sure exactly when or where. Then I remembered that I have friends not so far away in New Mexico, in several communities there.

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My intention, to hitch hike more or less 453 miles to Albuquerque, New Mexico from Tucson, Arizona, first stop.
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I had the most successful hitch hiking experience EVER; efficiently arriving at each destination which I visualized, right within the timing I anticipated.

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I had a great hitchhiking adventure with quick and easy rides. Just two, covering circa 500 miles.
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Waited no longer than 5 minutes walking from my apartment, which I physically moved out of that morning, August 1st – now an extra bag in tow. Within yards of my residence, a woman stopped to bring me to the Interstate 10 entrance/gas station by there at my request. After leaving the gas station to walk to the highway entrance, a guy driving to Illinois picked me up as I was arriving there.

 

 

 

 

 

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I arrived to my first planned destination that evening, to stay with a woman friend in Albuquerque.
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My driver opted to stay at a hotel and offered to drive me the next day to my next destination, Santa Fe. We had great fun discussing all sorts of things and talked non-stop until we were hoarse. He met both of my woman friends, and dropped me off at the door of my friend and former boss back when I lived in Taos, New Mexico. He’s a seasoned traveler himself. I listened to many stores. , It appears I was lined up to meet him and for us to influence one another. It seems that he’s brought me that much closer to wanting to simply trust traveling…even if I have no money.
Then to meet up with a friend and former boss in Santa Fe. Turns out she needed someone to cat sit for her and water her plants while she was making some road trips herself.new_mexico_skies_garth

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I’ve rolled into meeting a number of old and new friends who are moving me further towards collaborating and following my passions here. It’s gorgeous here. Bright blue skies, lots of fluffy clouds and also the rain storms.

And off for more art viewing.

Whitehawk Antique, Indian, Ethnographic Art Show

Whitehawk Antique Indian and Ethnographic Art Show

Love over Fear | Education over Insulation

Last evening, as it gets dark at 5:15 already, I was bicycling back from the neighboring town where I attended a heart-rhythm mediation group session. From this I have two blogs:

This one over my experience cycling by a family in a town I passed through, and the other having to do with a recognition about health.

Health is Circulation | Letting things Flow | Diarrhetic vs Constipative (made up that word !-)

I had just come from riding through darkness and fog, pretty cool. Then as automobiles are the most dangerous things to avoid, I chose to ride down an ally rather than along the main drag filled with traffic.

Turning into the ally I heard voices and saw some kids and several adults standing near a trailer. Out called a boy of 4 or so in his high-pitched voice. “What’s your name”. Delighted, I called back, “Carol, what’s yours?”. I paused instead of continuing on as if not really caring for the answer. I hadn’t heard his name correctly. I turned around. Then the boy came running to show me his miniature toy soldier in his hand. Pretty sure it was a figure with two rifles, automatic weapons, in its hands! Now the urgency in the tenor of his father’s voice was increasing.

I approached the boy deliberately getting closer to the father’s periphery so that he could see me in full view. “What’s wrong with talking?”, I asked. “I’m just trying to teach my kid a lesson.” he countered. He had cut off the contact that his child initiated and the interaction we could have had. Why?

Disappointed, I started riding away and then I decided to ride back to them. I said, “I just have to say this. I grew up as a child of his age in this town when my parent’s lived here. They taught me to be kind, loving and compassionate. I was always approaching people like your son when I was his age.” It’s a genuine curiosity and joy in interacting with strangers, with someone new. Gathering new information and exchanging information is how a child genuinely learns about the world around them.

education definition - process of imparting or acquiring information

Education is an exchange of information. It is what babies do as they are learning about the world around them. I expressed to the father, “I don’t know what kind of lesson you’re trying to give to your son, but I don’t think that it’s the right one. I bet you have guns too.” I rode away mildly disgusted and he called behind me, “ride safely”, which may or may not have been genuine.

I understand that kids do not have the same capacity to judge, because they haven’t had too much time on earth to learn through observing other peoples’ behavior to understand rationally or intuitively if there’s something amiss or not quite present in that person. But to block off all communication, especially when the parent is right there, seems inappropriate to me. So he’s protecting his family from the so-called enemy, a female bicycling by on her way home from a meditation group who responds to his child’s call.

People often have the same response when they pick me up hitchhiking. “Aren’t you afraid? It’s very dangerous!” Well, if you count yourself, do you find yourself dangerous? I’ve had rides with couples, straight and gay, coaches, teachers, farmers, students…Dangerous? Then wow, what are you thinking when you’re walking down a street populated with people? Are you scanning for danger? Or are you checking out this person’s shoes, noticing this person’s gait, that person’s dress style, the laughter coming from these kids over here, the snippet of conversation between a couple passing by.

My point, we, at least I, am not anticipating and expecting danger. Naturally, I’m not living under the circumstances of growing up in a war zone of 5 generations, or in an area where there’s a great deal of tension between the have’s and the have not’s, where extreme wealth borders shanty towns. I understand that there, one would learn not to trust and be wary of many more incidences of theft and kidnappings.

But generally, when you’re walking down the street, are you feeling that the world is full of dangerous people? Or are you happy to exchange a smile with someone you pass by or to make a passing comment to share in some kind of exchange? That is, if you’re looking up from your phone to notice someone passing by.

Reading some Einstein quotes the other day, this one impressed me.

Einstein Speak to everyone the same

Einstein Speak to everyone the same

This may seem completely off track, but behaviorally, it’s completely congruent. Earlier in the day on my way by bicycle, I went to visit a cat at a barn that I’m familiar with, ‘Goldie’. Goldie had always been quite friendly, launching towards me. Yesterday, for the first time I saw a new kitten there. The kitten appeared immediately. It approached me, full of curiosity and affection. Then Goldie appeared. Came towards me, but then sat down just out of reach. To my sadness, I realized that now Goldie, was ‘Grumpy’ or ‘Grouchy’. I had noticed before that he would hiss at ‘Gordo’, the fat friendly cat, but thought that this was out of competition. Now, when the kitten went up to Grumpy to nudge him, Grumpy hissed. Perhaps Grumpy was maintaining his dominance or leveraging his power, but really, he just was isolating himself. The kitten, I’ll call ’Giddy’ didn’t respond to Grumpy’s hiss. He just meandered away back over to me, where she affectionately jumped onto my legs and arms and purred and played.

I certainly think it’s much more fun to meet new people and explore new things, than sticking to the familiar and tried-out route. I’d rather learn and be exposed to new information than remaining insular and isolated.

Just sayin’.

I told the father that I don’t believe in weapons, nor in assuming that strangers are bad…I mean, get your priorities straight people. Is this anxiety or paranoia an American phenomenon, or is it a modern day one – driven by the news media? Does it reach across the western world, into Asia, Africa? I’m not sure.

I guess for sure there are differences between cities and rural areas. I’d love to hear comments about it. Do families in Russia, Denmark, Finland, England or Italy, freak out if their kids talk to strangers? Are strangers ‘bad’? Geez, it’s just sending a message of fear and distrust. Ouch!

I can remember when I lived in San Francisco and I’d walk to the Marina area – filled with yuppies and wannabes; a wealthier, upwardly mobile part of town. As a young woman I’d greet people walking by, male or female, with a friendly hello. A significant amount would either ignore me or look at me suspiciously. Whereas when I lived in the rural community of Taos, New Mexico, if you’d happen to be walking or bicycling on a dirt road outside of the town, the Spanish, Indian or Caucasian person driving by in their pickup truck (often the case) in the middle of nowhere, would wave. You, a stranger, would be greeted as a friend. I heard that the nomadic people, Ber Ber’s for example, would never ‘not let a stranger into their tent’ as they were passing by. This could be a life or death situation for that person or for oneself, if caught in the same circumstances – of being in a remote area without water or food. By the way, the guy who took the picture of us on Halloween in NYC is Algerian, of Ber Ber descent, he informed me. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berbers Interesting. I’ll have to ask him.

I really want to know if this is an American thing (guns, paranoia), European, Northern European, metropolitan or – in fact – more of a modern thing that is more economically and politically driven? The age of fear? Is it coming more from the media than people’s day to day experiences? Is everyone dangerous? When you’re walking down the street in your town, in a city, are you scanning around for danger? Or are you noticing interactions, laughter, someone’s clothing, what someone is doing, a smile or gentle eyes? I would hope that when you go out to a restaurant, to a game, a concert, an event… you are approaching the people not as ‘strangers’ – the enemy within – but as potential friends.

The image below links to an article about mindfulness 10 Easy Ways You Can Practice Mindfulness Every Day, presented by The Mind Unleashed

Practice Mindfulness

the Mind Unleashed – an article on Mindfulness

nYc hitchabout | City of Continuous Interactive Creativity

It’s not just my current economic situation that propels me to hitch, when I wish to visit a place without being prohibited by my lack of disposable income. It’s the fact that I learn things through the people I get rides with, who more often than not, are people whom I wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with and learn about the area that in some cases, is their hood. I had a nice nYc hitchabout visit to a city which always promises and delivers lots of energy and movement. I happened upon several open air festivals and demonstrations that reveal the creativity and spirit of involvement that all of the different cultures of people congealing in one city demonstrate. Here’s the flickr link to the pictures I took in progression.

New York City, flickr,  pics

New York City flickr link to pics

For a 2.5 hour trip by car, I received three rides to arrive in NY, and three to return home. Each a fairly quick connection; after having used google maps and directions to map out my route. The first gift upon the last ride, was with a man from Guiana, who brought me that last stretch right into Queens, where he introduced me to some local flavor on that Friday evening. A local bar filled with music and laughter of people, mostly men, from Guiana, Trinidad and Jamaica. I’d always heard of the fact that the borough of Queens in Manhattan has the highest concentration of languages of any place in the world, due to the fact that there’s a dense convergence of people of different cultures from all over the world living there.

I discovered barriers set up in the East Village for a Dance Parade which would happen later that day, in which various different cultures participated.

Dance Parade nYc, Village

Dance Parade nYc Village

This was passing from the West Village to the East Village by another event taking place, a Secret Walls Street Art competition at Cooper Sq. in Manhattan. The Secret Walls xnYc is part of the L.I.S.A. project | Little Italy Street Art

Secret Walls, Graffiti,  L.I.S.A project

Secret Walls Graffiti L.I.S.A project

Carol Keiter the bloggers contribution to the Wall

Carol Keiter the bloggers contribution to the Wall

Graffiti competition

Two Team Graffiti competition


Graffiti competition, Secret Walls, L.I.S.A. project, Little Italy Street Art

Graffiti competition Secret Walls L.I.S.A. project Little Italy Street Art

It just so happened that next to the Graffiti competition and interactive for the public to contribute to, were a bunch of chairs set up for people to take their ride, also an interactive event.

NYC X Design, chairs, Cooper Union Sq.

NYC X Design chairs at Cooper Union Sq.

Interactive chairs, NYC X Design

Interactive chairs NYC X Design

NYC X Design, interactive chairs

NYC X Design interactive chairs

The following day I happened upon an AIDS walkathon in Central Park, where I happened upon some live music there to perform for the event with drummers and dancers. Black & Gold Marching Elite band.

AIDS Walk Central Park NYC

AIDS Walk Central Park NYC


AIDS Walk, Central Park NYC

Approaching AIDS Walk Central Park NYC


Black & Gold Marching Elite band

Black & Gold Marching Elite band

That was after my friends who I had gone to meet up with and visit in the first place informed me of how fantastic the current Chinese Textile and Design exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – “Through the Looking Glass” is. When they informed me that one can “Pay What You Can” to enter, I was sold on going there to investigate. The exhibit was indeed splendid with its visual, texture and sound multimedia; beautifully created by the curators in which they use frames of metal and glass to reflect even more dramatically the color and intricate designs of traditional Chinese Royal Robes through the centuries juxtaposed next to modern Western designers works of this last century. One of the friendly workers in the museum suggested that I check out the roof top, which I’m glad I did, after trekking to the other end of the museum to catch the elevator up. There were lots of tourists, in fact, I heard so much French from passersby as I walked the streets of Manhattan that I approached one family and asked them. I told them that I’m hearing sooooo much French among people in the streets, do you live here? what is going on? They mentioned smiling that they’re on vacation, as is and eighth of the population of France 🙂 I also got to practice my German, taking a photograph of a family group on the MET rooftop, who were surprised and pretty stoked when I spoke to them in colloquial German, explaining that I’d lived in Berlin. Encountering all of the different cultures of people from around the world is certainly what makes New York so dynamic and engaging.

Through the Looking Glass, Chinese Textile and Design, MET Metropolitan Museum of Art

Through the Looking Glass Chinese Textile and Design exhibit MET Metropolitan Museum of Art


Through the Looking Glass, Chinese Textile and Design exhibit, MET, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Through the Looking Glass Chinese Textile and Design exhibit MET Metropolitan Museum of Art

After happening upon the demonstration after the Museum following discovering a mid-town street fair in the process of being set up, I made my way down to SoHo, to Canal street, where there was already a solid wall of cars on Sunday late afternoon inching their way towards the Holland Tunnel to exit the city going West. There, after seeing mostly New Jersey license plates, yet with my sign that said on one side Route # 78 and the other PA Pennsylvania, a car of a Mother and her two daughters were driving back from there to a town within 17 miles of where I’m presently residing in PA. The one daughter just celebrated her Associates degree of Art at the Pratt Institute of Art. Because of the recent commuter train wreck in Philadelphia, there were no trains, and the airlines’ gracious response was to jack up the fairs 200% or so.

It was a wonderful trip visiting my Native New Mexico family of friends, a Mother and her two daughters, Dana, Aria and Colette whom I know from Taos, New Mexico when I worked for Dana at ‘Caffe Tazza’. There meeting in NY is what brought me to visit the city in the first place, while the three converged there for the weekend.

Dana and her daughters Aria and Colette Manhattan

Dana and her daughters Aria and Colette Manhattan

I was fortunate to join them and their friends for a meal at a Ukrainian and Polish restaurant Veselka in the East Village, after which we went to an Italian place for coffee and desert.

carol_aria_dana_colette_caroline_vera_nyc_2015_2

carol_aria_dana_colette_caroline_vera_nyc_2015_2

Bar Harbor, Maine hitchabout via Massachusetts | Plum Island, MA | Acadia Nat’l Park, ME

At the edge of autumn, September 2014, I planned a visit with friends and family in New England in the northeastern United States. I would be hitching from Pennsylvania.

So I googled to get directions, and tweaked them with my sister Barb's route suggestions.

So I googled to get directions, and tweaked them with my sister Barb’s route suggestions. 

opted to follow my sister's suggestion to take route 81 in PA through to 84 in NY

opted to follow my sister’s suggestion to take route 81 in PA through to 84 in NY

 

The reason for my ‘hitchabout’ to Bar Harbor, Maine was to visit family friends who lived in the same hometown, Palmyra, Pennsylvania. Visiting Byrne and Bill Erb was a warm and first class visit with fine homemade meals, lots of art and inspiration. It was a fine introduction to this lovely seaside island town in southeastern Maine and Acadia National Park located on Mt. Desert island.

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hitch_description

trip_booklet

The entire trip was in essence; wisdom, positivity, education and enlightenment of the heart from the rides to my stop with my sister in Massachusetts en route and the time visiting with friends in Maine. We worked out the time convenient for my hosts. I was happier to go during the warm days, stoked to go for a swim.

 

One of the rides I had with a woman from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts was mind bending, mind opening that is. I felt that the information exchanged was in itself, worth the trip. She was articulate and educated. It was a 2.5 hour ride with a psychologist turned policy maker at the Veteran Administration hospital region of NJ and part of Manhattan. It was a life-changing interchange. We talked of her work and all that veterans face. She was warm and intelligent. In response to mentioning to her that I’m writing a grant proposal for my book, (which I was about to send) she had much to offer. She explained (as a person who has written several grants and reviewed them) that you must ‘cut to the chase’ in the 1st 3 lines, or you’ll lose them. “They’re sitting on a plane on their way to the meeting with a pile of grants on their lap”. The grant will go to that material demonstrating that the person is finely tuned, showing competency and already demonstrating that they’ve worked through the recesses of their plan.

She made it irrevocably clear that one must be very detailed about the entire process. “Not that you plan to find appropriate translators to translate the text into the other languages…but describe the process of deciding upon them and who the translators are – you’ve identified them already.

She mentioned several times that you’ve got to think of the ‘we’ factor, the village. The more people you bring in, to introduce your material for them to critique and contribute, the more depth this interconnected fiber will be. Certainly it depends on the context of the type of proposal you’re writing. Her savvy lead me to realize that you have to communicate to the grantor as completed of a worked-through plan as possible. She said that if it’s not you, it’s someone else who is going to be deserving. The village factor is in the direction of transparency, the more open-sourced and openness of the plan, the better.

She asked “What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?” Leading me in to recognizing how important it is to clearly delineate one’s plans, if one is going to reach and actualize even a portion of what one sets out to do. She offered the information that those who are successful, often map out in detail – in writing – specifically what they can imagine for themselves. It’s not so important whether it takes place in exactly the way that you imagined these steps to go, just let them fall into place. But aim high. Even if you don’t reach your goal, you’re going to get closer than if you’d done nothing at all.

It was like having a session with a life coach. She offered information for me to contemplate and digest, as mentor or advisor. She chose to direct her questions to subjects that caused me to think differently, see things from a different perspective; which she has encountered in her experience. It was certainly invaluable information for me to be exposed to. She mentioned the gap between vision and reality, that one is continually arching over, as an idea becomes executed. I came out of that ride realizing I have a lot of work ahead of me, and really feeling very grateful for having had this intelligent and genuine conversation with someone who reached out. She also mentioned the value of each of us to reach out to exchange ideas with people who are more successful in whatever it is that you wish to accomplish. These people can act as mentors, and will be happy and honored to share their successes and habits as productive and fulfilled people.

After I was dropped off by her at a rest-stop where I figured I’d be staying for the evening, I went inside to orient myself, borrowing a map in the shop to identify where I was on it.

the woman behind the counter let me take a photo  documenting where i was

the woman behind the counter let me take a photo documenting where i was


The peeps behind the counter at the rest-stop let me do this (open up a map and take a picture of where I was). I had pretty much concluded in my mind that any further rides would probably not be too probable. Yet I approached one man whom I’d seen pass me as he was getting into his car. I mentioned that I was going to a small town on the northeastern tip of Massachusetts. As I was saying this a woman approached the passenger door. I know as a hitchhiker that couples rarely pick up hitchhikers. It turned out that these two were colleagues, not a couple. When she heard me repeat the name Georgetown, she said immediately as she walked to the trunk to move things around, “Put your things in the car”. I asked incredulously, do you KnoW where Georgetown is? He answered, it backs-up to the town we’re going to. It’s literally another small town next to my sister’s town. They were environmental engineers, something I’m very keen on, as a growing environmental activist myself.

I needed to return from the Maine hitchabout to attend the Climate March in New York city the following weekend, September 21st, 2014. Right on! good hitching Karma!

Therefore I was able to make it to stop in Georgetown, about 5 miles from the New Hampshire border. I visited my sister’s home there. She lives close to the Interstate highway 95 that continues into Maine through New Hampshire.

 

They were environmental engineers returning from a conference that day in Philadelphia, PA. Their company purchases thermoplastic pipesthermoplastic composite pipe from manufacturers in Germany and the United States. They talked of these as being much more ‘green’, in that they don’t have seams that can crack with pressure or become unsealed at their joints, risking leaking deleterious toxins. They also spoke of the technique of directing storm water runoffs into pipes channeling the water into the ground where it can be naturally filtered, and out of streams that would be carrying all the toxins and garbage that heavy rain water floods can sweep along with them. Here’s a link from Ohio State University in which the US Environmental Protection Agency further explains the subject; “Stormwater runoff has two major adverse impacts. One is related to quantity. Uncontrolled stormwater runoff entering sewers, lakes, rivers, and streams may cause flooding. Second, stormwater runoff often carries pollutants that may severely impact water quality. These discharges can result in fish kills, the destruction of spawning habitats, loss in aesthetic value, and contamination of drinking water supplies and recreational waterways that can threaten public health (USEPA, 1999).” Let’s not even START to talk about the deleterious effects of the impact of fracking on groundwater. In an article written for the Rolling Stone, “The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind Aubrey McClendon’s Gas Boom“. Jeff Goodell states that “McClendon dominates America’s supply of natural gas the same way the Tea Party-financing Koch brothers control the nation’s pipelines and refineries.

I offered what I know of a hotel in Taos, New Mexico that treats its own sewage into becoming grey water that is further used on the property. They do this through a system that includes a lovely terrarium type room ‘biolarium‘ where water filters over rocks. The Living Machine, is the “El Monte Sagrado” resort in Taos, New Mexico. The building is a recycling machine; collects rainwater, has energy independent heating and cooling systems, utilizes an ecological treatment of sewage to reuse wastewater, has environmentally friendly water disinfection, composts and re-uses organic waste material, which feeds their onsite food production and use of earth-based building materials.

the biolarium of the  El Monte Sagrado resort in Taos, NM

the biolarium of the El Monte Sagrado resort in Taos, NM

We met my sister at their office, in the next town around midnight. The following day she and I visited Plum Island, a lovely protected wilderness area off the seaside town of Newburyport.

Newburyport, Maine

Newburyport to Plum Island MA

Newburyport to Plum Island MA

Plum Island is a nature reserve that my sister Barbara drove us to where we walked around among tempestuous waters during the high tide and moody skies.

These pictures Plum IslandIMG_0013
IMG_0015 It was at the tail end of our walk that we came upon this fence there.
fence Plum Island

There was a reddish hued sand on the beach. red hued sand Plum Island

Later I took pictures of my sister’s home, particularly her art work displayed in different rooms.

artwork created by Barb Keiter

artwork created by Barb Keiter

Barb Keiter's illustrations

Barb Keiter’s illustrations

and her Hearth with a hand painted cloud mural behind.

Among her painted furniture is this mural painted by Barb Keiter

Among her painted furniture is this mural painted by Barb Keiter

More pictures of the entire trip are here. The shots are chronological;from the beginning of my trip with pictures of the sunset in Pennsylvania

sunset in the Pennsylvania skies on the eve of my departure.

sunset in the Pennsylvania skies on the eve of my departure.

then the trip heading northeast through Pennsylvania via New York state to Massachusetts.

After being dropped off at a rest-stop along I95, I noticed this bus, and wound up riding in it.

my ride through New Hampshire to Bangor, Maine.

my ride through New Hampshire to Bangor, Maine.

The bus is to transport the two piece band, the Hornitz. This was a great ride with the driver of the Hornitz bus, coming from a musical festival where he left the band behind in Massachusettes, and was preparing for an upcoming music festival in Maine.

Bar Harbor hitch sign

the magic bus of the Hornitz

the magic bus of the Hornitz

sketch with ink of shade coming through trees while driving on the bus

sketch with ink of shade coming through trees while driving on the bus

My ultimate destination was to visit family friends from Pennsylvania who now live in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Bar Harbor - Mt. Desert Island - Maine Notheast US

Bar Harbor – Mt. Desert Island – Maine Notheast US

Bar Harbor - Mt. Desert Island - Maine Bay Fundy

Bar Harbor – Mt. Desert Island – Maine Bay Fundy

Bar Harbor - Mt. Desert Island - Maine

Bar Harbor – Mt. Desert Island – Maine

The town of Bar Harbor is located on an island named Mt. Desert.

Mt. Desert Island, Maine

Mt. Desert Island, Maine

I was treated graciously by my friends and hosts with wonderfully prepared meals from breakfast

beautifully prepared scones and fruit

beautifully prepared scones and fruit

to dinner

dinner in Bar Harbor, Maine

dinner in Bar Harbor, Maine

in lovely ambiences.

The protected land of Acadia National Park stretches over most of Mt. Desert Island, of which Bar Harbor is just on one corner.

Here’s a photo of a map of Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Mt. Desert Island

The area was originally inhabited by the Wabanaki people.

Acadia National Park reaches over most of the island, preserving the beauty of the wilderness.

Acadia National Park free shuttles

Acadia National Park offering free shuttles throughout the park.

Here’s a wiki link regarding more details and history of Acadia National Park.


from  the town of Bar Harbor
sandy beach in Acadia Nat'l Park

Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island

Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island

rocky cliff Acadia
rock ledges Acadia Natl. Park
water through pines Acadia Natl. Park
rock water  Acadia Natl. Park

 Acadia Natl. Park

Acadia Natl. Park

rock ledges Acadia Natl. Park

rock ledges Acadia Natl. Park

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

geological coolness

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

I swam by this beach, verrrrrryyyy cold water.

scattering from the rocks everywhere I looked were these tiny black spiders sunbathing. I swam by this beach, balancing on the rocks and in verrrrrryyyy cold water, even colder (in September) than the waters by San Francisco.

It was just a great time!

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

Acadia Natl. Park, Maine

more pics of the entire trip as the link above indicated.

Return sign towards Hartford from BarHarbor to Pennsylvania

Return sign towards Hartford from BarHarbor to Pennsylvania

I encountered police en route a number of times. All were pretty chill. The first actually rescued me, after a driver had left me at an inopportune spot at dusk next to the highway. It was along the correct route, but literally in the middle of nowhere along the highway, with the next gas station 10 miles away. Two highway patrol officers helped me out by delivering me to the next restaurant/truckstop. However, they had to handcuff me to do this, because they were driving with an automatic weapon between them and no glass between their passenger and themselves. I was grateful. That’s where I got the excellent ride with the psychologist policy maker. The other time was being transported to a ‘more appropriate location’ a ‘non-private’ gas station, with a cordial and interested police officer. On the way home at an odd place a police officer was alerted to the dangers of stray cats walking into a place late at night, another all night gas station. That’s the one I walked to along this unlit road through a field that was lit by fog rising throughout, before the sun had risen. It could have been spooky, yet it was hauntingly beautiful. Somewhere in Massachusetts, I watched the fog snuggled against a field as the sun rose.

Massachusetts dawn

Massachusetts dawn

Great trip.

New Moon | New Horizons | I had a dream

I almost titled this blog “Now that I blew it, I might as well blow it some more!” which is pretty self defeating itnit?

I’m talking about the last blog that I wrote. Because I just had my expectations raised to a new crescendo, after sending an application for a job as a ‘resident blogger’. They appeared to have perused all around my blogs. However, rather hastily – faster than most German businesses ever contact a person with a followup –  responded with a rejection. Saying, with respect to the FLOOD of people applying for this position, I have not made the cut. It occurred to me, that perhaps proposing a spiritual and economic revolution in the blog I wrote just days prior, might have deterred them.

The other night when i was returning home and perhaps feeling a bit sorry for myself, a young woman was getting off her tricycle with her crutches attached as I arrived at my door. Ahem, so I was quickly reminded to NOT dwell on what I don’t have, but rather on what I do have. A topic I had just written about in a recent blog; sip my own medicine!

The last blog is probably the reason why I was quickly dis missed from this job. A spiritual and particularly economic revolution won’t sit well in the world of internet startups, with a company who wants to crank in money and popularity to sell their product.

That’s what I meant when I said I blew it, might as well blow it some more…I therefore better just concentrate on my book, and go COMPLETELY underground. It might be too late for some of the things that I may have wanted in life, but there’s still time to learn and grow and reap from the benefits of ‘the road less traveled‘.

Below is a description I put together about the dream – two dreams – one while sleeping, one while awake.

dream crowded with robots

dream crowded with robots

The movie I saw years after the earlier ‘waking day dream’ images of virtual reality is “Strange Days“. Reading the headlines a day after posting this, this New York Times article talks about the Google headquarters in Palo Alto, California putting its efforts into producing robots.”Google Puts Money on Robots, Using the Man Behind Android”

So, if Berlin rejects me, I’ll just hone into my own path. Recently one of my sister’s planted the seed of Chopra and Opra’s meditation challenge, on finding one’s real essential self and following this path.

I create my reality

11th meditation Chopra 7 Opra 11/21/2013
I create my reality


The same sister catapulted me into investigating recently the “hippy trail”.

Earlier in the week I posted pictures of a friend’s website that he does with pics from his ultralight back in Taos, New Mexico. His website shows pictures he has taken from his ultralight; Chris Dahl-bredine’s website – pics from the ultralight air craft.

Chris Dahl-bredine flying his ultralight over Taos, New Mexico

Chris Dahl-bredine flying his ultralight over Taos, New Mexico

I had been thinking about Taos a few hours earlier in Berlin, prior to seeing his pics posted on Facebook. These pictures taken by Chris Dahl-bredine are so breathtaking. We knew one another when we both worked for the mountain, Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico. His commitment and years of dedication to learn how to pilot his ultralight, allows him to fly over this gorgeous terrain and make these photographs possible. I walked away from this area and the promise of a lovely, giving person, to now hover in uncertainty, in a quite gritty (at times) part of the world; where I am alone, no dogs, cats, kids, partner…all which i seem to desire now. There are ravenously fabulous aspects of Berlin, that have drawn me back along with thousands of other artists and musicians from all over the globe. Just to be in this cosmopolitan metropolis where one can draw ‘histories’ from the insights of people one crosses paths with is fascinating; lots of stories and history. The choices I have made are what caused me to think about Taos.

desktop Chris Dahl-bredine's photo of El Salto above Taos, New Mexico

desktop Chris Dahl-bredine’s photo of El Salto above Taos, New Mexico

Yet, I would never have discovered Taos, if I hadn’t moved from Pennsylvania, to Washington D.C. and then west to the rockies and high desert and several years later, further west to the chilly Pacific. First stop was San Diego where I better crafted my skateboarding skills and learned to surf, after having skied and snow boarded in the mountains. However, it was later in San Francisco where I gathered momentum to acquire some business acumen and skills towards using the computer as a tool for multimedia. I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco. My heart seems to pull me further along. I don’t know whether Berlin will welcome me or beckon me to take flight to further discoveries. I may have just nudged myself out of the writing job market with the last blog I uploaded, talking about our need for a spiritual and economic revolution. ‘-)o)

I merely need to focus on gratitude, as most of the messages pouring into my inbox on Thanksgiving Day 2013 are emphasizing, rather than being a ‘hater’ or just feeling dis appointed.

There’s so much beauty in this world, and I have a unique ability of traveling alone and approaching ‘strangers’ by listening and conversing. So if Berlin rejects me, there’s always the possibility of starting to hitchhike around the world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/opinion/sunday/a-stroll-around-the-world.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131124&_r=5& ‘the

By Carol Keiter the blogger below.

singer Skunk Anansie Clitorally Speaking

singer Skunk Anansie Clitorally Speaking

carol the blogger 2013-12-01 desktop adventure planning

carol the blogger 2013-12-01 desktop adventure planning

European Hitchgathering Liptovská Mara, Slovakia | August 8, 2013 | my hitchabout

This blog has been far too long ‘on hold’, mostly because I’ve been busy since my return to Berlin, Germany with relocation procedures, updating resumes with new contact info and searching for work. August 24th dates one month since my arrival in Berlin. The day after my arrival, July 25th, was the MayanDay Out of Time”, with the following day starting the new Lunar year. I realized this only in retrospect, though did feel on the day following my overnight sleepless flight as if I was in a zone without time.

My arrival intentionally coincided with the beginning of an event which tipped the scale, in terms of drawing me ‘Back to Berlin’, a couchsurfing event.

In between acclimating to my new location, time-zone and preparing for a short but sweet dj debut at the Saturday night party of the CS event, I began to map out how I would hitch to the ‘European Hitchhiking Gathering 2013’ in Slovakia, which I’d been introduced to through a Facebook group while still back in the United States.

European Hitchgathering Slovakia 2013

European Hitchgathering Slovakia 2013

I decided that there couldn’t be a better way to seriously start exploring Europe, on not a low, but no budget, than by continuing my hitchhiking tradition. As always, I began looking at google maps and ‘get directions’, to plan my route.

google_map_slovakia_location_hitch_aug3

I also consulted ‘hitchwiki‘ in which people share their experiences and recommend the best routes.

Hitchwiki resource for finding gas stations adjacent to cities along highways and their 'hitchability'.

Hitchwiki resource for finding gas stations adjacent to cities along highways and their ‘hitchability’.

And used bvg.de to figure out which stop to get off the train to just exit Berlin, after consulting the Berlin S & U Bahn transit maps. Hitchwiki is an excellent source to see where gas stations near cities are located, with recommendations provided by other hitchers about the hitchability of a place.

Having no accessible printer available, I began drawing my maps, which I prefer to do anyway.

Map of route Berlin to Slovakia

Map of route Berlin to Slovakia

Hand-drawn route map Berlin, Germany to Krakow, Poland.

Hand-drawn route map Berlin, Germany to Krakow, Poland.

Word-of-mouth as well as the hitchwiki site suggested that I begin my journey at a highway rest-stop southwest of Berlin near Michendorf in the Potsdam district. I was pleased to find a busy gas station and other hitchhikers there.

Five hours later, I’d met some of these other hitchhikers, particularly two guys who I learned were from Estland (found out later that is Estonia). They were having similar luck to mine. By the sixth hour I was offered a swig of Vodka from their bottle after we talked a bit. By the seventh hour, I decided to alter my route. Instead of heading to the destinations in Poland that I had already penned out, grabbing some bakery paper at the train station in Berlin (where I met an Israeli guy who observed that I was probably hitching, congratulated me and gave me some fruit & chocolate and wrote down my blog addresses).

European_Hitchgathering_Slovakia_sign_Wroclaw

European_Hitchgathering_Slovakia_sign_Krakow

I now decided to head to this outdoor music festival that was beginning that evening in Poland, just over the German border directly east of Berlin.

Woodstock  An open-air music festival in Poland

Woodstock
An open-air music festival in Poland

I had already thought of heading to this festival perhaps on my way back from Slovakia, so already had looked over the route. I realized that it would be probably be over by the time I got there, so decided to head there first, since it appeared that other hitchers with signs for this festival, had been picked up.

Kuestrin, Poland, Kostryzn is the Polish name of the town.

Kuestrin, Poland, Kostryzn is the Polish name of the town.

Now I held up the sign to go there, with the Polish name of the town.

Kostrzyn Poland

Kostrzyn Poland

Within minutes of making a new sign for Küstrin, Polan (Kostrzyn, Polska) the Woodstock fest, and approaching one car with 3 guys, I learned that they were on their way to Woodstock from Leipzig. They took me along. They were friendly and compatible the whole drive. They offered that I sleep in their car while they slept in their tents, sounded good. Once we arrived to the grounds, they proceeded to unpack their car and set up a table and chairs. I stayed with them, talked, hung out, laughed and we decided eventually to head over towards the festival grounds. Yet as we were about to leave after I’d put my pack in their car, something occurred that caused me to feel uneasy about leaving it there. I grabbed it out of their car and started walking with them as we left. I felt that it was painfully obvious that I was taking it with me. Yet something about the amicable tone had started to morph, I don’t remember exactly what.

Once we started walking, I realized how cumbersome carrying my pack would be. They quickly agreed that I should just leave it in the car. I laughed timidly, confiding that I had had a tinge of not trusting them, as we walked back to lock it inside the car. However, once we started walking again, pretty quickly the tone changed. Two of them walked a few paces ahead of the rest of us, talking quietly to each other. Something about their behavior made me once again feel uncomfortable, as though they were hiding something.

Within the first hours of this 4 day festival, already the parked cars in the fields began mushrooming into a big maze. After walking a quarter mile and getting more and more of a sense that something felt wrong about the situation, we approached a cross-roads. As I was contemplating what to do, suddenly one of the two talking turned around and said, “So, what are you going to do now?” After having wandered through fields of cars and now getting into a thicker crowd, I wondered if I would remember their car if we were separated. I had no phone. Explaining that I’d have to stick by them because my stuff was in their car, the same guy who was no longer smiling but rather short and almost hostile, was confronting me. I had to make a decision fast, we were approaching the gate with a mass of Polish police officers standing in a barricade. I walked away from them and approached a policeman. He didn’t understand German nor English, and acted confused and actually as if I was the person who was the problem. I then turned towards these guys again and said that I wanted to get my bag from their car. Without the slightest hesitation, the friendlier one promptly said he’d walk with me there, while the others stayed behind. I think they were nervous about my action and wanted to get rid of me. Strangely, the guy who had been friendly the whole time, was once again warm and talkative. We wandered through all of the separate car parking lots, and as we approached theirs he asked if I had a lot of money with me. I still wasn’t sure what to expect, thinking that he could even here ‘lose’ me and disappear, but he didn’t. He opened the car and I grabbed my bag without incident. Then instead of just dissing me, he engaged in conversation and we walked back to the same place where his friends waited near this entrance way. I was pretty surprised that he was as friendly and talkative as he was, and actually saying that I should join them, when in fact, I thought that they had been planning to leave me behind and rob me. Ten minutes later we were back by the cops and crowd, where his friends were waiting. I walking about three or four steps with them and within seconds, the friendly guy who was walking and talking with me immediately changed his tone, and was now once again walking side-by-side with the other ring-leader guy. He changed back to being sly and furtive, now that he was back with this other guy who was more of a leader. I was so happy that this drama was over and that I had read their strange behavior and intuited that something strange was happening. And I listening to my gut response and acting quickly. I was now off on my own at this massive gathering, sporting my pack and realizing that I would have to really be alert at a festival with probably already several hundred thousand people, since the combination leaned towards getting ripped off.

Happy to have divested myself from that troubled vibe, I was more than content to come upon the first tent with good sounding beats, where I danced for a while. Later I found a place to sleep under trees and as the sun rose, moved my location to shadows from trees holding off the hot sun. In the morning I wandered towards where the nearby stream was to have a little swim before heading back to negotiate which direction to take towards Krakow.

It was clear that I would miss the pre-gathering in Krakow.

Facebook pre-meet hitchgathering in Krakow

Facebook pre-meet hitchgathering in Krakow

Which I researched closer.

Krakow pre-hitchgathering

Krakow pre-hitchgathering

and made one of my own maps to figure out how to get to this place once arriving in Krakow.
Hand-drawn location of pre-gathering in Krakow.

Hand-drawn location of pre-gathering in Krakow.

Obviously, I missed this Thursday event, since it was Friday already. Once I figured out which direction to go in from the festival, I stood by the road. Across the road I saw two young guys standing and asked them if they were hitching as well, mentioning that I intend to hitch to Krakow. The one explained that they were waiting for his Grandfather to pick them up to have lunch. Confirming my direction, a few minutes later I was just off the road and heard someone call out. I looked up and it was one of these guys holding a map. As I got to the road I saw it was a map of Poland. He not only offered me a ride with his Grandfather, but also I was invited to join them for lunch. I was delighted. We went to a restaurant not far down the road. The two are studying biotechnology in Warsaw. They each spoke fairly good English. We had nice conversation and the Grandfather was very gracious in wanting to treat me to various Polish dishes. It was a very pleasant introduction to warmth of the people of Poland. The grandson firmly stood by his biotechnology choice of study, saying that it gets a bad rap because of the alleged dangers of bio-agriculture. He assured me that this was not true. (I’m one of the people believing that genetic engineering of seeds is by no means proven to be harmless.) After the meal, they let me off at a place along the road where I could begin my hitch to Krakow. The grandson, once again revealing his helpful and proactive nature, came over to talk to the driver of the next car who had stopped immediately. While he spoke with the man, I realized that I’d left my sleeping bag in their car. It was a huge relief to have realized this before they took off and to get it back. When I returned to the other car, as he continued to talk in Polish oblivious to the fact that I couldn’t understand a word, I decided not to drive with him. Thanking him, I got out of the car before he had even began. The two kids and grandfather were already gone. I was unsure of whether to bother making this long trip and stepped off the road. As I walked away, I heard a yell. I approached the van as one guy said he had seen my Krakow sign. The other guy was facing nearby trees taking a leak. When the one said that they were going all the way to – and beyond – Krakow, it was clear that my decision had been made for me.

Both in their mid-thirties, the passenger extended most of the conversation. I felt completely comfortable with them and certainly could communicate better than with the older worker guy whose car I exited. About 40 minutes into this ride that would take about 4 hours, I kept hearing the driver say the same thing. I thought he was saying curve, as he sped along the 2 lane highway, cutting into the middle lane to pass. Oh, there is no real ‘middle lane’, but the Polish style of driving, in which like Russian Roulette, you go for making a pass, hoping that someone in the opposite direction has not also decided to overtake the vehicles in the middle lane from their direction. The center of the high-way of two lanes, becomes the passing lane, literally – splitting the lanes – with some cars driving on to the shoulder to let you pass, and others not. A while into the drive I asked in German what ‘curve (coor vaa) meant. The passenger who was the most talkative, explained that it meant ‘f*$#’ fuck. Not the German word for curve at all. The driver had been swearing about every 6 words.

We were making time, and I was white knuckling it most of the way. It was a fantastically good ride, fast and direct to just outside of Krakow. Despite nervousness about the status-quo Polish driving habits, I felt very comfortable with the two.

Now evening, my last ride from a gas station just on the outskirts of Krakow, was with a polished and professional man who without question gave me a ride. He was dressed very business-like. He works for his mother’s successful hand-painted and hand-blown Christmas ornament business. She had worked for this kind of business during WWII and had lead a strike in her factory against the Russian owners. She was fired, yet wanted to contribute income to her family in addition to her husband. Getting advice and council from her uncle who managed his own similar business, she started out on her own. Her good business skills paid off, with an international business which he and his brother now have taken over. He spoke excellent English and was quite diplomatic.

More to come!! as the evening in Krakow turned out to be delightful…

hitchabout San Francisco | Expeditionary Learning |

If this appears to be a drastic left turn from plasma cosmology theory, you’re right. However, one of the first rides that I had on my journey was quite familiar with the concept, working at the same laboratories which I’d linked to in my blog on the subject, Los Alamos National Labs. After flying to the Denver airport from Pennsylvania, and promptly starting my hitching journey to Taos, New Mexico from the airport – level 4, I was soon on my way. Though getting out of the airport took some investigating and leaving Denver was not so easy. The first driver described how he had reinforced this nesting place of an owl from the year before in the pine tree next to his house, because 3 of its babies fell out and died. Frank reinforced branches and placed a large deep basket there, explaining that owls find places to nest in things that already have a structure, they don’t build them. He showed me a picture on his phone of the present nest, with several baby owls’ eyes peering over the rim. Adorable! What a worthwhile investment of time and love! The next was a female nurse, Kerri, leaving her shift at the hospital, picking me up in her jeep with the top down, no, for the 1st time this year. It was something ridiculous like 82 degrees in Denver! The following, an IT network engineer who produces switches for different pods in East coast regions. Rob has a family and two young sons into baseball. He was on his way to meet up with a friend and his brother. Was told me the names of the more distinctive mountains that we drove by. Has a commitment to try to climb one mountain, somewhere each year. Described this ‘keyhole’ on Long’s Peak, a big mtn near Denver. Said that years ago he got his sister to go on a climb with him. They had to get to the base by 4am or something, because the rangers would not allow anyone to remain on the peak after noon. He described climbing through the keyhole, which is cylindrical hole cut out of rock on the face of the mountain, about the size of a 21 wheel truck (ha, now i have new analogies in my repertoire). The wind moves so swiftly through this hole in the rock, with a tremendous howl, that it was a powerful experience that they will never forget. And that he was really proud of his sister. He pointed out the Air Force Academy stadium and grounds as we were passing Colorado Springs. I fortunately scored a long ride with this guy! He pointed out the Air Force Academy stadium and grounds as we were passing Colorado Springs (where Pike’s Peak is). I fortunately scored a long ride with this guy! He pointed out NORAD, which the air defense built into the Cheyenne mountain, housing radar. He mentioned that they built it so deeply, as a defense against the Russian’s gaining any knowledge about it. Said that his dad was very intrigued with this and introduced him to it as a child. Funny thing, as I’m sitting here editing this story, i have to once in a while pause writing to clap, because i’m sitting in Caffe Trieste in North Beach which is at the moment ‘leider’ practically empty, yet with a jazz duo who set up and started playing a little while ago, with me tucked kind uv behind the piano player. I feel like I should be singing back up vocals sitting here. Hit’s hysterical, i’m laughing out loud. It’s this free entertainment, swing jazz kinda sound. ha! MTUNE is the name of the song that i recorded, the name of the African percussionist i believe circa 1973 ‘miles electric band’, conga drum player.

After, a young couple picked me up, precisely because they weren’t a ‘couple’. I’ve learned from experience that couples typically do NOT pick people up. Yet, because each were sort of colleagues with their joint interest and each had their significant other within reach of their cell phones, giving me a ride wasn’t going to impinge on their intimate drive home. Tim is a 30 something guy who works at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Amanda is a geologist also 30 something, I’m guessing. She had a lot to contribute, fueled by curiosity and capability in wrapping her head around the concepts. They were returning from an all day conference in Denver, back to the same New Mexico town. Each are on the school board, educating themselves in order to present to the rest of the community this new approach in education. They along with a few others, have the intention of opening a school, specifically modeled after the EL approach. Expeditionary learning integrates different subjects into the same learning scenario context. Adding some dimension to learning outside of the dry regurgitation of facts, expeditionary learning is an organic approach which incorporates different subjects, presented together within the framework of a situation ‘problem to be solved/puzzled calculated’. It involves more of the senses and is more of a localized, rather than abstracted approach, by incorporating different subjects. They both were impressed with the conference they attended national conference about expeditionary learning in Denver, and were driving right through Taos. They left me off at my request, in front of the Taos Inn, my meeting place, since it was en route to their destination. We had an enjoyable time and tremendously rich conversation covering an array of subjects; mostly segues from talks on the subject of EL – the need to bring a person’s local history and community into relevant scenarios to make learning more meaningful – and plenty of conversation about the nature of plasma, electronic systems, subatomic experiments… and a mention of how a lightning bolt (plasma phenomenon) can in one strike, erase all of the geological history that is coded into the layers of rock (from different alignments with the ‘north’ pole over different ages as this magnetically shifts) in one instant. This is a bit of a description from http://elschools.org/our-approach/what-we-do. We all talked pretty animatedly, discussing different subjects, along with descriptions of some experiments the driver does at the labs (without divulging any top-secret information). I’ll add more content to this blog, elaborating on the subjects. Come to think of it, my hitch-abouts are often a kind of ‘expeditionary learning’ experience, since I often come across all sorts of subjects, introduced to me through conversations with drivers’ who know a lot about the subjects they have the most experience or interest in, such as; geography, history, economics, anthropology, business, science… However, before I go into more depth on some of the information I came across and which I want to investigate more, in haste to post some pictures, I’m skipping the travels and information along the way, to the most recent pics taken on the streets of San Francisco, another intended stop off/visiting point.

Shamelessly copied from my FB account below:

I have to point out that the last two truck drivers, now wait, i better not broadcast this, oh well. they were very nice, but clearly revealed symptoms of having ingested way too many methamphetamines during their driving lifetimes. The last guy’s entire body seemed to be inadvertently going into spasms, and the 2nd last one talked so fast, jumping from one subject to another, that I was exhausted just by trying to actively pay attention and maintain his wavelength. I was frankly, by this time over, riding in a truck. ‘-)) one of them pointed out that formerly in the 80’s, 90’s (?) when working in the cattle industry for a trucking companies, the dispatcher would tell 7 trucks to go to such and such a cattle farm to pick up a load, and wouldn’t let each of them know that 6 other trucks were also vying for the same load. that would push them (through this inhumane work environment) to compete on a (1st come 1st serve) basis, to get the job. Then if they’d arrive and it was gone, they’d have to bail to reach the next possibility. he blatantly said that they would have to do drugs to stay awake. Since then, the rules and regulations have changed. Now they are so strictly regulated by having everything electronically recorded from their truck computer. Their boss’s know each time that they turn the truck on, move it, know its position, etc, and they are authorized to drive maximum 14 hrs/day and no more than 70 hrs/wk. They’re fined if they break the rules. It certainly helps them out, but the reforms hurt them in other ways. Oh yeah, one of the truckers referred to the ‘rag heads’, mostly Pakistani (excuse me but these were his words) who acquire grants from the US Govt, to easily obtain a loan, work for a trucking firm for way below the going rate; consequently taking the jobs of other truckers.

I caught a bus after the last truck, to make it to the Howweird Street fair on time to see old friends. It was the bus ride from “de light”! Suddenly I was among several fun people, and we all had fun hanging out! I have never had such an oddly enjoyable bus ride. It was from a county that had to transfer in Los Angeles and was heading to points north.

More to come!

Guess i have to plug some art: http://carolkeiter.artistswanted.org/atts2012

a new chapter of de.light at the end of the tunnel

After being so exhilarated with my recent quest and adventure, and wanting nothing more than to devote my full attention, time and energy to describing and adding to it, ultimately, life got in the way. My present only source of income, after having been cut off from an earlier employer who had subsidized my housing – which afforded me the luxury of time to devote to my own writings – I have had to throw all of my time and attention into making my living. That is, I do business writing, on the topic of consulting. I learn a great deal through the subject matter which I write about, however, I’ve calculated that since my aim is quality rather than quantity, and I am paid per page, my income works out to about 4.50 euro/hour. In other words, it relegates very little time for me to concentrate on any of my other pursuits; of doing outdoor physical sports, writing my blog(s), my children’s book, playing bass guitar and composing music; all which in a perfect world, would and should have priority!

Part of de.light at the end of the tunnel, was the awakening recognition of how I was robbing myself – through the relationship I was devoted to – of celebrating myself & the pleasure of living life devoted to creativity to the fullest. I have realized during this process of awakening, that in fact, I am the only person responsible for the choices that I have made, which have lead to me continually being beaten down and not valued. I have therefore decided to share this letter I wrote, which in itself, is part of my process, of trying to understand, why I chose to commit myself to a person who didn’t value me. I am trying to finally resolve, a series of unfulfilling and unsupportive relationships, with the attempt to break the trend and my own tendency, to keep jumping back into the fire. As my dear father says: I’m like a moth attracted to the flame. Maybe some of this is the adventure of a conquest, but it is rather, a thinly disguised self-loathing, of never feeling that I’m good enough. It’s about time to resolve it and move on, and to start shining the light from within. I share this very personal letter to my ex-flame ha! the irony in that choice of words! I promise to once again continue with stories of my last adventure, and more to come. It appears that Carol the ex-patriot, is about to return from Berlin, Germany to the States, to continue my adventures from there. And if I play the cards right, I will be bounding on even wider adventures – with the help of financial security through grants and sponsors – to assist and support my ability to devote 111% of my precious life’s time towards doing what I passionately love to do the most, and which I do best.

the end of the last chapter:

To the ex-flame,

As usual, I wrote a long email to you, but decided to rewrite this instead. I have already told you many times the things that gratify ‘you’ and what I loved about what we shared. However, there are many things that I did not like, and which I tolerated. I mostly felt very alone, isolated and neglected during our relationship. There was a part of you that I completely respected, a voice that spoke with authority….But that’s not the point here, this isn’t about you, it is about me.

I have not loved and adored ‘myself’. Deep within myself, I have never felt that I deserved love, or that anyone could love me. That’s why I got together with you, and returned again and again, for you to mirror this self-loathing, right back to me! You reflected with your behavior, anger, disappointment, criticism, disrespect, annoyance and disgust with me, exACTly what I felt about myself and what I felt I deserved in life.

At times you may have thought that you saw someone who is confident & arrogant, who appears to know it all, who is fearless and adventurous,
but the other side of this
is a woman highly critical of herself, not confident, and feeling replaceable by anyone.

I was like an object on the periphery from the start when you were together with K. and even when you were ‘together’ with me. You rarely included me in your life or wished for me to know you, or wanted to get to know me. You didn’t value me, support and appreciate who I am and what I do, rarely wanted to spend time with me alone; to go swimming, hiking, traveling together, go on adventures, to go ‘out’ to art & music events, dancing, or even to take time to talk about life.

Hidden there, barely visible, is me, who at times feels attractive, graceful, intelligent, talented, patient, creative, devoted, faithful, compassionate, loving… Every once in a while you would see this part of me, and I think you hated seeing me confident; assuming that I act like I know everything and only want to take advantage of everyone.

It’s true that I am selfish, fearful & not very generous, believe me, I know my negative attributes! I have an addictive personality and such feeble self esteem burning beneath the flicker of confidence and superiority, that I chose to be with you, as you beat me up emotionally and physically.

I have to forgive myself, for incessantly giving all of my power and devotion to you, instead of honoring myself.

all the best,

carol