Carol Keiter’s P o r t r a i t s – D r a w i n g s – P a i n t i n g s – P i c s

I just organized my Faber-Castell watercolor paintings that I’ve done over the last few years. This prompted me to update my  Collection and put it out in cyberspace.

I love doing portraits of people and animals which are penci,  charcoal and pastels.


art, creativity, Carol Keiter, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, Carol Keiter, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, collection, drawings, paints

art, creativity, Carol Keiter, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, collection, drawings, paints

art, creativity, Carol Keiter, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, Carol Keiter, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, Carol Keiter, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

art, creativity, portraits, drawings, paintings, sketches, pastels

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

The PayPal donation button functions in Safari and Firefox, however is broken in Chrome.

PayPal Donate Button

carol Keiter, bass guitar

carol Keiter, bass guitar practice

Carol Keiter contact card

Carol Keiter contact card

Accelerating Extinction Rates | Intergovernmental Science-Policy on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services | Soiling the Earth | Soil not Oil

A few days ago I had one after another article pop up in my Facebook feed talking about the same UN report that had just been released. I decided to compile these and simply let the pictures and headlines speak for themselves.

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES, Media Release, Nature’s Dangerous Decline, Unprecedented Loss of Species, Species Extinction Rates Accelerating

Media Release: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’

1,000,000 species threatened with extinction

The recently released IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) of November 2018, was widely distributed in news channels internationally. It was talking about the serious consequences for humanity for global warming of 1.5º C.

This is to me, more devastating.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Report (IPBES) states that

“Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely.

The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

“The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals.”

UN Report, Warns Human Activity Has Pushed One Million Plant and Animal Species, Brink of Extinction


Scientists, 1 million species at risk of extinction, UN report, Human Society Urgent Threat UN Report, The Guardian

Human Society Urgent Threat UN Report The Guardian

The article, Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life

states “The biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction. Two in five amphibian species are at risk of extinction, as are one-third of reef-forming corals, and close to one-third of other marine species.” The populations of insects have been crashing as wll.

It is time to do something, isn’t?

What can we do together?

Keynote – Dr. Vandana Shiva, Soil Not Oil International Conference 2017


Joel Sartore, photographer, has created this Gallery, The Photo Ark, documenting all species of bird, amphibian and animal.

Joel Sartore, photographer, has created this Gallery: The Photo Ark, documenting all species of bird, amphibian and animal.

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

The PayPal donation button functions in Safari and Firefox, however is broken in Chrome.

PayPal Donate Button

Carol Keiter, blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

Photo Reorganizing | flickr fuckd | reducing 12,000 + 100’s to 1,000

Here’s the 8th page of screen grab pics among the 120 new google photo albums I’ve created and documented during this transfer and documentation process.

New google albums created in the process of removing albums and downsizing photos from flickr.

April Spring Santa Fe, New Mexico clouds, flowers, light-sheet

April Spring Santa Fe, New Mexico clouds, flowers, light-sheet

The new owners of flickr announced several months ago that all of their customers who had been provided with unlimited photo storage, were now going to have to pay fees to upgrade, or reduce any photos or videos to 1,000. Prior to using flickr, I had reached the maximum of photo storage using DropBox, where I still have thousands of photos.



Goldie, Gordo and Groucho were 3 cats I would visit at a farm Hershey Estates

Flickr’s deadline was a couple months, around Feb. 8th. Enough people must have raised complaints, because Flickr extended this a month to March 12th.  

I had a several hundred photos more than 12,000. I had to decide – pay the upgrade fee, or. I didn’t have to think too hard. I find the tactics of the new owner’s of flickr annoying. 

At first I perused different ‘free’ photo host sites. Some were really quite grueling to negotiate: not user friendly whatsoever. Others, even worse, had all of these ads popping up with continuous distracting video playing. 

I used PhotoBucket a bit, then decided to move most to google photos. I created a system in which I documented with word documents as well as new file folders in Pictures, tracking the original photos, then creating an alias folder and a running count of the new albums I was creating. 

As I systematically created new albums, I removed albums (at times tedius to actually to find the original photos in flickr) because the photos are located in a separate reservoir than the albums. In other words, in flickr, even if one deletes an album, this does not delete the photos. It’s a tedious, multistep process, finding the original photos within the “organizer” of flickr, in order to delete the photos. 

I had 3 ‘pages’ of albums.




My priority was to be sure that my links to flickr from each of my blogs were not broken. My blogs go back a decade, however the use of flickr only about 5 or 6 years. I had to find which of my blogs had links to flickr photo albums, then create that same album in google photos and update the links.  I went into the HTML code of wordpress to transfer and replace links with the new ones from google photos. It’s actually quite user friendly with a Mac. It’s pretty easy to use the find tool for a specific link, which will keep the link you search for highlighted, and then you can paste the new link, exactly within the brackets of the html. It’s really quite user-friendly. It helps that I document everything in word (Pages) documents, so that I can play around with html code within a document and then paste it back into the wordpress blog and update it. 

I also wanted to be sure that all of my paintings and portrait art were available for viewing. 

I created 120 new photo albums once I decided upon Google Photos. I watched as the numbers of photos within the reservoir of flickr reduced > to 12,000, to 8,000 something, several weeks ago to 5,593, when google announced that the account was now 99% full or I’d have to upgrade. 

I gave it a break. Then had a new idea: to take screen grabs of particular photo albums in Flickr that I chose to delete from there, and made sure that I knew where to find the originals.

It’s been tedious, but quite interesting to find and recall all these memories looking at various photos from all sorts of re-locations, most of which date back 2 to 6 years.

Images from a third wordpress blog – deliciousmedicinalfood

My objective:

Not to let FCKR (deliberate misspelling) force me to pay them because of the new owner’s decision to suddenly charge for storage.

And, not to let them choose which photo(s) album(s) they would delete, since the new rule is nothing over 1,000.

4 days ago I had brought the amount down to 3,332 by 3am, with 35 folders I created to track each of these albums and screen shots of all the photos in the albums. Yesterday, early morning today,  March 11th 2:15am, I had technically 24 hours till March 12th, with 1,992 items > only 992 to go.

Now I’m taking precious time to write this, when in fact, I still have 1,992 “items”. Still almost a thousand  to go. 

mpl_jardindesplantes_2019-01-12 at 11.17.23 PM_treemakeawish

I’m proud of my diligence. Others would perhaps find it an abysmal waste of time, and would just pay the fee for the upgrade. Not me.

Here are some of the 120 new photo albums in google. Now I have to get back to taking care of the last thousand photos – down to hours remaining before March 12th.

Sunsets Swans & Clouds

Photographs of Sunsets Swans & Clouds Providence, Rhode Island July 2018

Sunsets Swans & Clouds Providence Rhode Island July 2018

Sunsets Swans & Clouds
Providence Rhode Island July 2018

I ride bicycle but also have been slowing down to walk, particularly along streets with really old majestic trees, properties that value their foliage, and light up the graceful branches of bushes and trees, because obviously they are of HUGE value. I slow down to take it all in, and love especially to here the cricket chorus.

I’ve found a few places that I just absolutely love the trees that the people have kept in their grandiose properties. So glad that I listen and smell and pay attention to details.

So glad that I tune in to this, rather than a phone.

Intention Without a Plan, Evolves a Path of Action

I’m going to do something unprecedented, write with extreme brevity.

mountains ring the valley


pink adobe










Couldn’t resist a shot of the classic pink adobe.

Not one, but at least two resident iguanas.

Not one, but at least two resident iguanas.





Though this adobe isn’t my new home, these are some of my new apt flatmates.





There really couldn’t have been more of a circuitous way of arriving in this community. My head said simply, head south, plan B was to head to northern France to help with the refugees along the coastline facing Great Britain.

a hazardous bridge is far better than a wall :-)

a hazardous bridge is far better than a wall 🙂

I’ve since learned that French speaking skills will come in handy here because among a large number of refugees from all over the world coming to Tucson because of its low cost of living, there is a significant African population.

I’ve contacted several refugee resettlement groups here in Tucson, the IRC and the Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest-Refugee Focus program to volunteer in various capacities such as being assigned to a family to maintain continuity and build trust. I will also volunteer at the

The Tucson Wildlife center is a Sanctuary just east of the city, which also borders the Saguaro National Forest

The Tucson Wildlife center is a Sanctuary just east of the city, which also borders the Saguaro National Forest

Tucson Wildlife center. In the meantime looking for ways of employing my skills in a variety of different ways.

I’ve discovered that there’s a substantial number of writers, artists and musicians living in this town. I had to bypass an ultimate frisbee hat tournament (on a sort of stormy day) to attend the Spring Arts Open House festival Heart of Tucson Art. There I met with a number of artists in the intimacy of their own homes, checking out their art and chatting. Among my bicycle mode of transportation to go from here to there, I’ve amassed some photos. cactus man

My path to arrive here may appear completely haphazard, as I had mentally crossed off all communities not lying on the coasts, and yet I’m finding many of the things that a city can offer, as well as complete wilderness in a matter of an hour bike ride; yes, pleasantly surprised.

Now I have a bicycle, not the one pictured here which I used to move from Plan B, in which less is indeed more.

Small back pack and messenger bag.

Small back pack and messenger bag.

The desert is full of extremes.



And within minutes, one can leave the outskirts of the mostly one and two storied homes to reach the wilderness. Biking and hiking are common extracurricular activities around this plain surrounded by mountains.

artful mail boxes

artful mail boxes

the quirky, Skipper riding his bicycle several times across the country who was passing through

Skipper bicycling across country and stopping in Tucson

Skipper bicycling across country and stopping in Tucson

whom I met where I was fixing my bicycle at BICAS

BICAS bicycle inter-community art and salvage

BICAS bicycle inter-community art and salvage

desert palms

Coronado National Forest foothills

And where one’s bicycle can easily deliver them to wilderness.
moon flower desert cliffs

foothills of mountains

about to hike after biking to the trailhead
cactus flower
sunlit saguaro cactus
path to finger rockdesert
waxing moon
flowering moondelicate survival

Yet the culture is far from a desert…beam cloud

another glorious sunset

family walking cat to park


















If you look closely, these people are not walking a dog, but their cat. The cat was actually boldly prancing toward a poodle. What? Fantastic!













And its humor.stickers_fab_gun_lawoh woof license plate

WHAT | Seeking Artist Residency /\ Sustainable Community | WHERE Europe | WHEN Yesterday

WHAT: Ideally, I’d like to find a place where artists, musicians, writers and creatives can live and exchange their board and meals with work on sustainable green projects and the commitment to adhering to a weekly or bi-weekly series of scheduled benchmarks of deliverables: what they’ve achieved in that period in terms of their own work projects. This achievement report would correspond with a meeting involving all of the residents; to offer each other advise, critique and possibilities of collaboration.

WHERE: I prefer to be based in Europe, though I’m always open to ideas and travel. Does anyone in the world, know of something of this nature that exists?

WHEN: Once again I find myself almost homeless, after a ‘workaway’ gig in Brooklyn that I had applied for and been accepted 3 months in advance, hadn’t worked out after the first week.

pic James and Lois Keiter

Pic a few years ago of my parents in the yard they planted. father James deceased 2013.

Here’s a drawing I just did of this photograph> a Christmas present for my mother Lois. Framed it after the final retouches!

sketch by Carol, daughter of James and Lois Keiter

Framed after final touches an illustration of my parents James and Lois Keiter

I’ve changed it a couple times before framing it, and this photograph of the framed one is the final version.

Carol's drawing of mother and dad, Lois and James Keiter

Carol’s drawing of mother and dad, Lois and James Keiter

My drawing of my parents James and Lois Keiter

My drawing of my parents James and Lois Keiter

In the meantime, I have dozens of articles to write, a book to complete, music to practice and compose and illustrations that I wish to continue to create. My requirements in order to deliver: time, shelter, nutrition and a positive & safe environment with electricity and internet access. As I am not savvy with my own marketing or google adware and the like – in order to monetize my blogs – I fall into the same quandary.

One thing I excel at, is approaching people whom I’ve never met before. I love to converse, exchange ideas, listen to peoples’ stories and further research and communicate subjects. I do this no matter where I am; interacting in public places and as a seasoned hitchhiker. Often the drivers who pick people up are those who like to converse, hear stories and tell their own. I’ve traveled to and lived in several countries (have barely begun to travel as extensively as I would like) and hosted people as well as surfed on peoples’ couches through I love to communicate: verbally, in writing, illustration and photographs.

An option of mine is to couchsurf, associated with furthering my own project. I met a French girl at the PlacetoB in Paris who has been living for the past year and a half exclusively couchsurfing throughout France. She has had success. I could offer on my own youtube channel a video of the projects I’m involved in, and regularly reveal what I’m achieving on a bi-weekly basis. I would reveal my work in various media, adhering to benchmarks of what I deliver on a bi-weekly basis. In exchange for the couchsurfing hosts, I would offer cooking, cleaning, piano & bass guitar lessons, computer software music & graphic design training, language instruction, portraits of the family, health & fitness training, etc.

Why? >
>I thought that my blogging should pause while I seek out monetized income by delivering this same material – in the form of dozens of articles – querying environmental publications. Upon investigating a dozen or so publications. As someone unknown and low on the totem pole, though each have their own rules of submission, all say that there will be a 3 to 4 month time period before they can respond, if they do at all.

I have begun investigating cooperative sustainable communities and eco villages with the idea of living in a community and sharing the various activities and work needed to be done – growing food, cooking, repairing, child-care, entertainment – yet until one physically meets the people, it is hard to blindly commit to any length of time until one has visited the group in person.

I know that there are artist grants & residencies out there, however I don’t have 3 months or even 3 weeks to research these, for which most require scouting the contact people and apply within a particular time period and waiting in a potentially long line of people for positions.

photos of I.DoT – Italian design exhibition in Berlin

i was surprised and delighted enough with this exhibit i randomly came across one day when i stopped in after riding by it on my bicycle, that i had to go grab my camera and return to grab the images…

parcel of my portfolio

Here’s a C o l l e c t i o n o f D r a w i n g s a n d P a i n t i n g s

collection drawings and paintings various mediums, Carol Keiter, art, progressions, painting, Faber Castell watercolor pencils, graphite, portraits, animal portraits, trees

C o l l e c t i o n o f D r a w i n g s a n d P a i n t i n g s – Portraits of people & animals, Faber Castell watercolor pencil paintings in Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico and Providence, RI in Roger Williams Park and the Swan Point cemetery

And a general c o l l e c t i o n o f a r t & p h o t o g r a p h y

art, photography, Carol Keiter, paintings, portraits

c o l l e c t i o n o f a r t & p h o t o g r a p h y

Here are several paintings, showing the progression from the first sitting and then completed in the next. Below is a google photo link to paintings done with (watercolor) colored-pencils 1,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico elevation 7,198 feet, in the National Forest – where I’ve gone on walks with Luna, the owner’s dog where I’ve been staying. Luna has twice alerted me to a mother bear with cubs, which we’ve seen on two separate occasions – two different mother’s, one with two cubs that Luna barked up a tree, and the other was a larger cub up a tree and the mother bear nearly running in my direction due to the dog’s barks, until I called out and she turned the other way.

Carol Keiter, paintings, Santa Fe National Forest

flickr link to paintings done with (watercolor) colored-pencils 1,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico elevation 7,198 feet, in the National Forest – where I’ve gone on walks with Luna, the owner’s dog.

Carol Keiter paintings Santa Fe National Forest New Mexico

Here are several paintings, showing the progression from the first sitting and then completed in the next. Below is a flickr link to paintings done with (watercolor) colored-pencils 1,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico elevation 7,198 feet, in the National Forest – where I’ve gone on walks with Luna, the owner’s dog

These several paintings done walking in the Santa Fe National Forest at about 8,500 feet with the dog Luna.

(watercolor) colored-pencils 1,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico elevation 7,198 feet, in the National Forest

(watercolor) colored-pencils 1,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico elevation 7,198 feet, in the National Forest


(watercolor) colored-pencils 1,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico elevation 7,198 feet, in the National Forest

(watercolor) colored-pencils 1,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico elevation 7,198 feet, in the National Forest

space spiraling

My contribution created with spiraling motion – which is how I believe space is interwoven.

I sense that even the rock feels organic and alive.

I sense that even the rock feels organic and alive. I’m not quite finished with this one!


Following are some of the first colored pencil watercolors I did during the summer of 2014 when I was living once again in Pennsylvania  in the home in which I was raised and on the East Coast. I was fortunate to live in the home and grounds my parent’s created, together with my parents in the last year of each of their lives.

several of Carol Keiter's framed artworks

several of Carol Keiter’s framed artworks

ocean colors

the dramatic colors of the water just before sunset on the Super Moon rise

ocean colors at sunset framed

ocean colors at sunset framed

Colored pencil watercolor looking through window

Colored pencil watercolor looking through window

Photograph of the window I was looking at to make the image above.



photo of the window which was the source of my watercolor penciled painting.

photo of the window which was the source of my watercolor penciled painting.

a collage created at a workshop




angel drawn on card

T-shirt design for a local ‘ultimate frisbee’ league

Front side of shirt

Ultimately, All Things that Matter, Spin - Front Side

Ultimately, All Things that Matter, Spin – Front Side
















Back side of shirt

The Ultimate Spin - back side

The Ultimate Spin – back side
















Water Dragon pencil water color

water dragon ocean

water dragon ocean drawing 5.5.12 in Taos, New Mexico – a friend’s birthday drawing tribute

And a quick pencil sketch in my travel book.

Small bound book which accompanied on my hitchabout to Bar Harbor Maine

Small bound book which accompanied on my hitchabout to Bar Harbor Maine

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

these are charcoal and pencil sketches, water colors, drawings on Flash and other computer programs…

Decided to add a few picks of my flower arrangements that were created during the spring/summer of 2014, credit to the lovely flowers planted by my parents in the gardens!















Hitchabout Budapest

These were pictures i took when i did this hitchabout from Berlin to the Eastern side of the Czech Republic to visit Czech guys i met back when they were living in Taos, New Mexico… then on to Budapest to catch the tail end of the Sziget Music Festival and back to Berlin. Another positive testimony to humanity – the great people i met and stories i gathered…sometimes even when we barely had a common thread of language, yet could communicate nevertheless…

another hitch-about | Berlin > Zurich

Yet another hitch-about, albeit with specific destinations in mind. From Berlin I would go to Mössingen in southern Germany to visit my beau, then to Zürich – a small hop away relatively speaking – to meet a person for the first time who had responded to my ad as a ‘bass guitarist looking for musicians’ on craigslist. We had had a number of email correspondences and telephone conversations regarding the possibility of forming a band together. Craigslist is more typically used by Americans, Germans and probably many Europeans haven’t quite caught on. The timing was right to go to Zürich following my first stop, since it was a mere 191 km, as opposed to close to about 693 km from Berlin to Mössingen.

It was the morning of the 17th of August, 2010. I set my alarm and woke up at 7am, anticipating being on the road at 9. That was without considering the fact that I still hadn’t thoroughly packed. It was 11:30 when I was approaching the location of my starting point – one which I’ve used several times, adjacent to the Messe/Exhibition center in Berlin. There, at the entrance to the road that leads to the A9, people have less than a minute pause for a traffic light signal to: see me, decide if they want to bother to stop and whether they can negotiate around the other traffic to do so, with not much of a shoulder on the road to pull over.

My first ride appeared without me even noticing, I heard a honk and turned around to see this big white van had pulled over. I opened the door, scanned the surprisingly young and handsome guy, and hopped in while there was a wake of no cars. Within 40 seconds or so, he distinguished my English accent in the German I was speaking, and blurted out, “I’m American”! He was in fact a dual citizen – US & European passport. His American father had been stationed in Germany during the 1st Gulf War, where he met his German mother. They had lived for a while in the States until he was six or so, and the rest of the time he has lived with his family in various towns in Germany.

Currently he lives in Berlin, and works as a body guard, and on this particular occasion – a driver and escort. He was on his way to Nürnberg to pick up a Japanese film crew from the airport there, who were attending a film festival. He was going to be their personal chauffeur for a week. He spoke of having been the personal bodyguard for a year for Kate Winslett, while she was shooting the film “The Reader” in Berlin. He dropped names of various different film stars, and had stories to tell about a number of them. He also mentioned that Kate had requested him personally when she had returned to Berlin to attend the Berlinale film festival.

We slid into the topic of what it must be like to be famous, and barely ever having the chance to just openly walk in public, or go anywhere with freedom. He mentioned that one time during an event at the Berlinale, he and Kate and her entourage had managed to walk out the front door of Hotel Adlon, adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate (where Michael Jackson had dangled his infant child out the window to receive lots of bad press), without any press or paparazzi hovering at the door recognizing who they were. They wandered to the Brandenburg Tor/Gate, where she commented on how wonderful it was to be so liberated to just walk out the door.

He had done some training with a Police academy in Berlin, and had started out in leadership positions pretty young, getting ‘boy scout’ points for good behavior and responsibilities he took on. He explained that being a body guard also require being able to use a weapon, so it was relevant to the skills he had already been developing. I was again and again amazed that I was sitting there speaking English with this guy, and delighted that he was so communicative, fun to talk to and quite attractive. I enjoyed his company, and discovered upon asking, that he lives with a girlfriend, and has a great cat. Ahhh, the endless glimpses into other peoples lives and comparisons – between healthy, happy relationships, and the one that I’ve been in. What I hadn’t realized as I was first getting in the van, is that he was going to be driving three quarters of the length of my trip – wow! I hadn’t realized just how far south Nürnberg actually is.

In the interim, after being left off at the last Autobahnraststätte/highway rest-stop before my driver was heading off towards his destination, I walked around, approaching people to ask If they’re going in the direction of the sign I was gesturing to in my hand. It was there that this little mini antique camper truck with a round man inside, said he was going my way. He was a jolly old guy – like an incarnation of Santa Claus – with long white hair, minus the beard. Wolfgang was his name. He was putzing along in comparison to the majority of traffic, which isn’t to say that it was that slow. He was traveling around on a big loop through different areas, as he does several times during the warmer months. Just stops where he feels like it, and enjoys nature. Said he has a wife at home who won’t travel further than a 14 km radius from her home, if she goes out at all. He doesn’t make his trips in the winter months. He was so jolly that I felt very warm and comfortable in his presence, in the passenger seat. We chatted in German about languages and their various roots and evolution & movement to different cultures. He spoke a remarkably clear German, with seemingly no particularly strong accent or dialect. He explained to me that he had been raised in a rural area where the various local villages had no schools, and he was a student at a boarding school, where the only solution to all the different dialects was for the students to learn high German, to have a common ground. He was going further along in my direction, but I had to step out at one point because I wasn’t making good time.

The next driver who came after quite a pause, was an outdoorsy, cowboy type guy, now that I think about it. Without ceremony, he answered that he could take me as far as Heilbrunn. He was driving a sleek, black automobile. He had a quiet, serious demeanor. As we drove, I learned that he was coming from a horse show in Nürnberg, that was still going to be taking place till that Sunday. People who work for him would be transporting the horses in trailers back to his ranch after the show. He wasn’t riding this time, but selling paraphernalia, among them handmade cowboy hats and saddles, which he showed to me in his trunk when I was leaving his company. These leather saddles were beautifully crafted with hand sown chamois interiors. He buys these hand-made goods at horse ranches several times a year; primarily in Idaho, Oklahoma and Montana. He’s been many times to Texas and California, and has visited both Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico numerous times. I had mentioned to him that I’ve lived in both of these towns. And when I mentioned that I’d also lived in San Francisco, he lit up, saying that his favorite restaurant there is “the Stinking Rose“. I love garlic too, I commented ‘-) He said he loves Lake Tahoe in California, particularly in the summer. He has had a ranch for years where he teaches riding and has 3 stallions which he breeds. People bring their mares and he trains the offspring, not before they reach 3 years old. These young colts have already been bought upon their inception.

The restaurant where he left me off, was a bit remote and felt more like a place where locals were hitting a sandwich shop. After asking a few people which way was the entrance to the road towards Stuttgart, I proceeded to walk to it. The first place was the wrong entrance, and no sooner had I walked back to the other yielding turn lane, did someone almost immediately stop to give me a lift. Most of the other traffic appeared to be local, but Michael was a chauffeur with his own car service, on his way to the Stuttgart airport. Ironic that I was getting rides with professional drivers! He says he drives mostly politicians and managers! Ha, high-end driving, don’t mess around with the small stuff 😉 At one point he was on the phone with someone, and when he got off, explained that this conversation just assured him a big amount of cash for later in the winter. He had just received confirmation that two ski trips for December in Austria had been booked, in which he would be driving the German local skiers on a bus to the ski resort, stay there and have the chance to ski himself and have free lodging. Booking this early, in August, gave the people much better rates. He said he has a lot of connections with hotels….

It was still light outside when my last driver gave saw my sign and offered a lift to close to my destination. I had practically reached my ending point. This was a young guy, Jens, who’s an architect and musician. He said he has several projects presently, two Kindergarten schools and a ‘mobile’ church. huh? I didn’t quite get it, sounds like something you’d find in Texas or Alabama, a rolling Baptist church on wheels that shows up at the rodeo on Sundays ‘-) Jens also is a drummer who plays in one cover band and another who play their own music and also percussion in a local orchestra. Wow, busy guy! He said he’d been stuck in traffic for almost 2 hours, within the short distance of commuting home after his work day. I discovered that his live-in girlfriend also plays in the orchestra, so I guess they have a lot of time together with their various extracurricular activities.

These were just the rides that brought me to Mössingen, in the South of Germany, in about 9 hours. Driving oneself, one could make this trip in 6.

I can’t find my notes at the moment to even remember all the rides I had when I departed from Mössingen to go to Zürich, but I made quite good timing, and as most of the time, had pleasant rides with people whom I enjoyed talking to. I often ask a lot of questions and offer information. Here in Germany I like to point out that where I’m from in Pennsylvania, there’s such a resemblance in the land and climate, that many Germans had immigrated there 200 years ago, and stayed. And that there are a lot of family and town names in Pennsylvania which are German.

I always find it interesting to learn about a person and his/her life, and often the people who have picked me up give a lot of information about historical or relevant insights into the locality I’m in…

The rides to Zürich over a period of several hours were also informative and pleasant. Each were comfortable. The last ride was with a couple who were Spanish speaking, from South America. That was funny. I started to speak with them in Spanish and they got a kick out of it. They were a couple who live in the suburbs of Zürich. The woman passenger gave me their phone number and said I was welcome to visit them if I’d get the chance.

I felt slightly uncomfortable only once, when I’d accepted an offer to take a ‘return’ ride from Zürich over the border to Germany, with the same businessman, who has houses both in Switzerland and Germany, by Bodensee. That was the first time I’ve ever arranged to have an additional ride with someone, and I guess that I should have had my antenna up. He mentioned that he would be in Zürich the following Wednesday, and that he could drive me on this first leg of my trip back, that he has a house near this lovely town Konstance, by this large lake Bodensee….Well, he phoned me as promised, and I decided to take him up on his offer. However, within minutes of him picking me up, I started to think that maybe he had anticipated or expected something more from me, ’cause I saw in my peripheral vision him scanning my body. At that point, I made it as clear as I could without blurting out something rude, that this was not my intention. He wound up dropping me off at a place on the outskirts of this town Constance (English spelling) that I thought wasn’t such a great starting point, but hey, I made it all the way back to the middle of Germany. At one point, I was still on my way back to Berlin, but then received a call from my beau who was now in the North of Germany, and I made the decision within minutes of the conversation to just continue to where he was, rather than returning to Berlin, because I was equidistant at that point from both regions. I’m sure that the guy who overheard the conversation and observed this spontaneous change of plans, was pretty amused.

I have even received a facebook event invitation from one of the other drivers on my return trip, to attend his birthday party in Köln/Cologne in October. And with another driver who’s a lawyer, I discussed the economic melt-down in the United States. He assured me that by no means were the US investment banks the exclusive culprits in this scandal, but that various European and other international entities also contributed to this incident as they also invested in the surge and with the aim of milking large profits.

Here are the mileage details:

Berlin to Mössingen is approx = 693 km

Mössingen, Germany to Zürich, Switzerland is approx = 191 km

Zürich Swiss to Lubeck De, approx = 953 km

Lubeck to Berlin germany approx = 313 km

2150 km total = 1335.95 miles

I have to say at this point that I have too much happening presently to embellish any more details about the hitch back.

I can say that I found Zürich to be charming. First of all, the New Yorker who I went there to meet, asked me via sms, when exACTly I would be arriving at the Haupt Bahn Hof/ Main train station? Huh, I reiterated via sms, I am hitchhiking, and I can guestimate, that I’ll be there by no later than 1:30pm. I did arrive in time. It was lovely weather, and I asked if in between the meeting of musicians and the festival that we’d all be going to that day “Zürcher Theater Spektakel”, if there would be anywhere near there to swim. Wow, was I naive! As we got off the tram and entered the grounds where the festival was taking place, looming out before me was this immense lake. It was rather ridiculous, and I think that I felt a bit embarrassed for even having asked the question, not having realized that the most obvious association to Zürich, is the fact that the city is nestled around this huge banana shaped lake that is visible from many points. ha! So, as it was a warm, lovely, sunny Sunday afternoon with loads of people out on the grass and sand, I was in the water swimming within minutes. Ahhh, was that fantastic, out beyond the docked sailboats and looking along the coastlines.

I had had some nice conversations over the next days with different locals. One man whom I spoke to, when I saw a Jewish man across the street dressed in fundamental attire, told me that there was a significant population of Jewish people living here, four separate groups in fact. I was thinking about the large numbers I’d seen in Brooklyn, and then was wondering about what other cities in the world are populated by the Jewish Diaspora. This same man also informed me about the general location of the spread of the different Swiss populations, the German, French, Italian and Romansh. Romansh descended from a form of Latin from Roman era occupiers of that region, and is spoken by residents of the canton of Graubünden. Someone told me about Julia Pass, named after Julias Caesar, as we talked about the Alps. Around 221 BC Hannibel, a Carthaginian military leader, crossed it with elephants. I was told that the water that runs down the south side of the pass goes to the Danube, and from the north, flows into the Rhine. I’m not exactly sure why we got onto that topic, but it’s a good story!

The one thing I wanted to say also, is my delight in strolling up this narrow street to a park that the architect friend of the New Yorker, who became my second host, pointed out. I arrived at this park on a high perch, and then glanced along one side wondering why these two men were standing there with such a peculiar posture, facing one another, their legs spread apart and their elbows out and hands on their hips. I moved closer to get a shot, and then realized that there in between their stances, were inlaid chess boards! I then wandered over to find a corner busy with activity, banter, discussion where at least a dozen men were seated at the periphery of this corner chess board. They were for the most part, well-dressed, active observers. After about 20 minutes, when the two who I originally noticed had finished their game, I approached this group and asked in German if anyone was interested in playing? I’m sure that most were bewildered with the fact that I even had the audacity to ask them, or with my German…but one younger guy sitting there perked up and said, sure, he’d play.

I couldn’t have found a better chess opponent, because he was so keen on the game, that he started from the beginning to inform and educate me about different strategies, that there are a number of different ‘first moves’ that have certain names. He said that a person needs to move the pieces to occupy and control the center, and basically just gave me a lot of education throughout our play. I actually held my game and played a good match that was fairly equal. He said at the end, that what was more impressive than my chess playing, is that I had the courage to approach these strangers and even ask to play. And he said that he was sure that most of these men wouldn’t have the courage to play with a woman opponent, because if they would lose, they’d lose face among their group, and would have a difficult time playing that down! That was encouraging that he pointed that out to me. In fact, last evening, I just had a young kid say to me after I had gone over and jokingly said to him that it must be a good book that he’s reading, if he’s so absorbed in it in the middle of a crowd … He wound up joining and talking to me and an Irish guy for a bit about different things, until his friend arrived. He said that it was refreshing to know that people could still approach ‘strangers’ and converse, and not be just isolated in their separate groups, and that he really appreciated it!

Back to Zürich, the only other things to add, is the picture I took of this elderly woman in her leopard dress suit which was uncanny, in the luxury department store, Jelmolí. It was a nice salesperson in this music store who helped me decipher where I needed to go to meet people there. And not far away in the same neighborhood, I discovered a cool internet cafe, that is, restaurant/cafe with WiFi internet access. It was called “Z am park”. I glanced out the window from my seat and saw why it was named this, from the street sign. One street was named Zypressen and the other Zurlinden Strasse – both referring to trees – Cypress and Linden. The street the cafe was on dead-ended at the gate of a huge cemetery, before the low wooded hills on the periphery of the city. Oh yeah, among the pictures is also a local community place called the Xenix, by the Kanzlei neighborhood. There’s an old school house, still a grade school during the school hours, and then the place transforms to a huge community bocce playing area, with different groups spread all over the pebbled area playing this ball game. There are also ping-pong tables, which I played briefly. This is all takes place on the school grounds, next to the Xenix Cafe and Theater. The place has a good community feel.

Now frankly, I have to attend to some other pressing things…such as whether I’m going to leave my residence within two weeks to join in on a hitch-hiking ‘race’.

And if so, I can’t afford to pay my rent and not be present living in the house. So, I need to investigate storage units, the top 5 ski resorts in Switzerland to apply for work to potentially live there over the winter – just found one that catches my interest in particular and also put in some bids for an artist residency following the winter months, such as this one that DJ Spooky, aka Paul Miller is setting up so that I can completely dive into writing, illustrating and composing the music for the children’s e-book that I wish to write for example, through a host site like this one
…. yeah, lots going on, lots of planning and casting out the wide net for all the different things that I’d like to accomplish, all of which require a lot of administrative details; applications within certain time deadlines and so forth…and still somehow remain afloat financially.

The neat thing is that the hitch-hiking race, is much more planned out than I’d thought. I received an email back from the guy organizing it, saying that he needed contact details, because he’s organizing insurance for all of the participants. And then he corresponded that he’s also investigating accommodation for the various pairs of hitchers (male/female) in all of the cities en route: Belgrade, Sofia, Skopje, Thessaloniki, Xanthi to Istanbul.

I’ve been intrigued with Istanbul for a while now, and an emphatic MUST for me, is to research and get my head around more of the history – over the ages – of this town which was Constantinople during the Greek and then Ottoman empire – before it was then named Istanbul, within an area later defined as the country Turkey. I have a lot to research, and also have notes that I’ve gathered from people about neighborhoods to visit, an underwater cistern that looks magical and one of the oldest church’s ever built. Hey, I’m sure that my naiveté about the history is already becoming apparent, just by the way I’ve phrased my sentence. I just wikied Constantinople and found this: the imperial capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe’s largest and wealthiest city. Okay, so, I’ve only got several thousand years of history to read up on ‘-)