subject: greetings from the holy land!
from the new city... welcome to JERUSALEM! looks like this place will be interesting, seeing people who are very passionate and practically dead - will report more later. made it thru syria and into jordan (boring yet you can get things done...petra is cool but not worth $30 (i bought a used ticket :-) ISRAEL is quite a bit more unrestful from lebanon but im in jeru. more later but allís well now and i have 30 msgs to reply to
subject: jerusalem #2 - the longer message...
ok - im back again with only 20 messages to answer and a pretty good connection (ie, i will write a bit...)
am still in JERUSALEM and itís a very interesting place. no doubt youve seen the news abt fights, etc over this place for 000ís of years and itís b/c everyone thinks that it is theirs. these various factions have good reason, since the most holy jewish site (the wailing wall) is next to the dome of the rock (the 3rd muslim site after mecca/medina) and the christians generally lay claim to whereever jesus slept (this is the problem - everyone thought this guy was important but that they own his actions, territory, words, etc. i guess that the modern folks have lost the message (we are all the children of god) in favor of i am the child of god and bugger all the others....
the israeis are quite a friendly people and very open to controversy vs the other mid-east places (ie, 6 million people with 6 million opinions...) i enjoy that aspect and they will not think you are crazy if you dont agree (as did a man on the bus in jordan who couldnt believe that i wasnt either christian, muslim or jew...) the israelis and lebanese will be terrified to find out how similar they are - the pursuit of money, brights and telephoninos are all present in the two places, incl. the (sort of) tolerance of others and the beautiful mixtures of blood that come into this part of the world - a x-roads... i expect to spend a bit of time here (for those in a logistical mood - you can get in and out without a sign on your passport, by flying or coming/going by land from jordan over the king hussein/allenby bridge; good for me when i move along...) i went to jerusalem and got 27 letters from the email-challenged and that made me happy (the folks will not be so happy to find that i have to scribble them back instead of on the lovely, error-keyed, email :-( for them...
the weather has gone into the toilet in the past 2 days - constant rain and my tan will have to wait for sinai...
itís quite expensive here for transport ($1 for the bus), foods (western stuff at 2x us prices and coffee at $2/shot) but i get by on felafel and pasta at $15/day (god blessed the jews as the chosen people but the cost of living is cheaper for the arabs :-)
sorted my $ matters this am with my bank(s) and found that someoneí liberated my credit card in lebanon for $5.500 - i am happy to say that i am not going to pay that charge... more later but this should tide yíall over
Subject: dont get dropped!
warning to all: if you havent replied to my mail in over 3 months (or as long as i can remember) than you will be cut off - sorry, but itís that time again.
just send a quickie (appreciative, etc) and iíll keep you on.
subject: now ive got news for you....
the real news is this: after several years of bachlorhood and a singular lifestyle (double endendre?), i have decided to make a big step: have gotten committed (not to an institution - they wouldnt have me!)
sandra, 23, of croatia (met while traveling)is the girl that i have declared to be the only woman in my life (romantically). many of you are familiar with my out-loud thoughts about where to go/what to do abt her. i have decided to reserve all my attentions for her and her alone. (this surely sounds pompous but forgive me a bit)
to all of the other ex-girlfriends who are on this list, i hope to retain the friendship that we have and to sandra, i hope that our time together works out and that we get married as planned after traveling thru africa for a bit. for the record, i havent actually asked sandra to marry me, but i have never committed to a woman in the same way as i am now. too bad that ill be in dahab and taken. i guess those swedish women will just have to look elsewhere... :-)
you will be posted on further developments in this area. i hope that sandra and i work out as well as we have to date and you will certainly have a peek in to the boudoir in the future.
what a surreal message, eh?
god - im weird hee hee
subject: that long-expected newsletter
to all and sundry
forgive the long delay
but we have been climbing up and down pyramids all the long day
we went to KARNACK, LUXOR AND ABU SIMBAL
the last in a rush 'fore the road went mal
(there was a rumor of construction you see
not as true as many things ď'tween you and meĒ).
sandra and i have had quite a good time
drifting on the NILE felucca
doing the DAHAB thing 'tween land mine(s),
trying to keep stoned - not puke-a
we havenít had too many problems - just a few to mention:
people double the price because tourists are so nice.
they follow you about: whatís your name? which papyrus can i tout?
the groping hands of the lovely men have been kept in reserve
more because of my guard than their lack of nerve.
we're back here after trips on camels thru the desert
and wish we were off to the next country's seaport.
we have to wait for visas and the croatian embassy
double the fun with two bureaucracy!
CAIRO is hot and full of 20 million people
they've just had fun killing sheep for a muslim steeple.
bairam is noise and crowds and aggravation
nothing open you want and people-count inflation.
we are doing that cultural thing, you know
and wondering when this ďafrica thingĒ will ever go.
there are good times and memories in this (mostly) square place
but we are happy to vacate at good pace.
not yet, just now. weíve got that wait
so you can write me (and sandra) yet a few weeks - 'fore its too late!
appreciated the 56 msgs i had waiting but a few more still
everyday while the wheels turn, will give something to to thrill!
as outside connections lead to sanity
(its been a tough few days, excuse me...)
for all those who have inquired, our relationship is quite well
sandra and i are still together in this small hell.
it's the heavens in-between that makes it worth it
to find peace in those times you want to throw a fit.
by the way - it's the 2nd anniversary of my trip and those betting less-then-2 years have lost
care to bet the next 4 on cost?
if youíre coming near this place even - donít hesitate to ask
i'll write lots of suggestions, enough for 2 months of task.
cheers and good bye for now
will have to take my bow;
for tho' the bard is dead his memory lives on
in tacky rhymes and typos too far gone.
subj: last one for awhile....
logistix: i should be here approx 5 more days and then will be gone for approx 2 moths (on the way to nairobi) donít lose heart. but if you havenít replied to any msgs for awhile (ie 3+ months) iíll be cleaning house - you have been warned!)
now - the mailing list has been split in 2 - sorry if the header traffic is worse...
have some more important news, however, and that is that sandra and i have split, or specifically, i have broken off with her. i have found that solo travel is the type of travel i like and that no matter how good she was, it didnít matter. we have had a difficult week (i had dysentery and she has some mysterious maladies) but have worked thru some issues. she and i will remain very close but the blame rests on me as to being unrealistic and selfish here. iím quite sad abt it (as is sandra) but hopefully we will do well in the future - separately and perhaps together later.
she is going to a kibbutz in israel and i am going to eritrea (i also just found that americans are denied sudanese visas on security issues and must wait much longer - oh well...) via saudi arabia and thereafter to south africa via abt 8 countries.
we just spent a time away from crazed cairo in ALEXANDRIA and its slightly better (as far as cappuccino goes!) just a few visas and iíll be off, so write quickly! ;-)
now for a quote (those who are not familiar will note that this was once called the quote of the week and i used to write long, boring (according to tanya) passages from what i was reading. perhaps this will get your attention)
from the status of women in islam (islamic home press, state press in cairo): ďas to those women on whose part you see iíll conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse them to share bed, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not means against them(of annoyance). surely, allah is ever most high, most great.Ē
surah 4:34, the koran. [the () are comments from the editorsÖ]
remember that the koran improved womens rights in arabic countries.
more to say for now
subject: i'm going mad!!
just got back from MADAGASCAR. interesting place, to be sure...
its half asia (indonesians settled 5000 yrs ago) and half africa in people, culture, etc... - weird to see so close to mozambique
the sex scene is really big - the local girls think its fun and the euro guys think theyíre lucky. price is free (if she likes you or is pleased to be with a vahdza - foreigner) or 5$ tops. i got rushed but suddenly felt quite faithful to sandra...
the french colonized the place so there was wine and cheese and citroen cars. the people speak 1 language - malagasy as well as french..
no democracy - typical in africa - and the prez and his boyz divide up all the biz and leave many very poor (breakfast at a local spot ďhotelyĒ is 0.10$ for coffee/donut. at a tourist spot, itís $1... the taxi to airport is 8$, the local bus (which i took and was happy to arrive in i hr, vs 30 min is 0.20$)
travel is slow - avg 20 kph and distances gr8. the record for me is 36 hrs from one town to another... got excellent grass (for those who care) and that made those bus rides bearable...
saw the lemurs - theyíre very cool.
its like the south pacific and , if you want to go, donít stay for less than 2 months - its too big and varied...
im back in NAIROBI, the riots are scheduled for tomorrow and i fly out wednesday. for those who have followed the soap opera with sandra and i, weíre back together again (i hope - we talk on the phone tonight. you know me - broadcast the latest in my underwear cleanliness but this is important) anyway - this means that iíll be in europe for a bit and then: back in the ie us(sr??) - florida is the destination.
so - you wont hear from me for awhile and can take bets as to what happens...
subject: wow - a permanent (?) address...
im here, sandra and i are doing well and iím going to try to stay in one place for an entire 6 months (ZAGREB, the capital of croatia and a very pretty and expensive city) iíll prob teach english or something illegal and easy to do (ie, time to learn croat and read books...)
the government here isnít very good at publicity. life is very casual and well-conducted. the political rights are outa touch with liberal principles and the money (kuna) is overvalued by about 30% (ie, its too expensive for what you get...) i donít know if iíll get paid to tell people this stuff or just sent outa the country but it will be interesting in contrast lb the ol usa...
certainly a change from africa to see guys with take-that haircuts and girls
with very tight clothes and very high ďfuck-meĒ shoes... ;-)
any way, if you want to send me lovely mail via the snail, try:
sandra and i plan to get a small flat but this (her parentsí) address will work. if you call, try your croatian or get her brother ivan on the phone. if youíre a cute girl, iím sure heíll give you special attention (yeah - heís a cute guy, for those of you in the mood...)
crossed 7 countries in 7 days to get here and there were some crazy things to happen to someone who was in africa and the mideast for 10 months. i can tell you that the transvestites in the stuttgart train station with pierced folds of skin and heels and eye shadow were quite a change from the masai and fisherman of east africa.
of course i canít slow down so quick. sandra and i are off to sarajevo for the u2 concert and then to italia per parlare italiano e bebere cappuccino. nema problema!!
hope that you can stand this brief interlude but the private concerns call to me. the trip will continue in the spring, if all goes to plan for s an d i stay tuned for destination and time info
subject: back from the war-zone
ok folks - hereís the last ďtravelingĒ notes for a while. its time to hibernate here in zagreb...
(sandra and i ) went to SARAJEVO for the concert - u2 but we took some time to
see bosnia i herzegovina (bill) to put it briefly - there are very many signs of
the war and especially of ethnic cleansing:
everyone on the other, with the (general) exception of the muslims; they were to weak to dense if they had wanted... in MOSTAR - a very beautiful medieval town now divided like jerusalem and blown up like beirut - the muslims and croats are not on good terms. we saw pictures on the wall of a hot dog stand named after the ustashe (the gestapo of the croats) was a photo of the man who cooperated with hitler in ww2 next to a picture of the virgin mary - these folks had the images down. sandra was sick to be a croat and we were glad to return to the muslim side where we had a room... the landlordsí memories of the war made her cry. there are plainly people who still are fighting the war bin spite of sfor/un efforts. the reunification of bih will take years if at all - the nationalist elements are very destructive, we met people who represented the ethnic groups and didnít give a shit and others who didnít want to serve coffee to the ďenemyĒ it was enough to make you sick, no matter your origin.
my personal opinion is that the croats, normally a very ďcivilizedĒ group of europeans, are being held back by the nationalist elements who live in the dark ages. it is very sad to run into neo-nazis who are a big force in this country. serbia is, of course, worse off and the muslims are trying to scrape by.
by all means, go and visit these places. the accommodation is scare and expensive (40dm/double in sarajevo, 30 in mostar and into much in terms of budget accommodation/camping) but the people are very friendly and fun and we hitched from end-to-end. excellent trip...
we are searching for an apartment now so we can have some freedom from family politix. plans are tbd after the next 6 months here (with trips to ??).
if you plan to visit near here, broadcast and letís have a coffee (ill buy - itís expensive here!!)
subject: tempus fugit
this forward comes from my cousin dave whoís doing even more wild things than me and will act as surrogate adventurer for those of you who want to read about real action. [deleted...]
i am rather boring here: reading, doing semi-work, swimming and throwing parties (well - some. we had a halloween party with real pumpkin, home baked (by me!) choc chip cookies (and pb, oatmeal and brownies) orange and black streamers but no candy corn!!! arg - how can they call this culture?? it was fun and we now have enough coke and red wine for the next party (stay tuned...)
in terms of living and learning, i still canít spell (as you have ample proof) and sandra and i have a good time yelling at each other (actually talking rapidly, thanks god in english; our last ďdiscussionĒ was about how hurt i was that she didnít want to use my accounting method. we compromised by keeping my form and using croatian words. ahh - to be a couple...)
just read a lovely book by evelyn waugh (a handful of dust) and yall should check him out if possible... (no quotes - iíll spare you...) the weather has eased form the last bad report but i expect it to get bad in a little while (how big is a little while??)
the holiday of note here is all-saints day (nov l) or day of the dead if you are familiar with central american belief everyone here goes to the cemetery to visit the graves of ancestors. it occurred to me that this wouldnt work in the us since everyone moves away from dead relatives and - who cares about the dead anyway - we have windows 98 and the 98 oldsmobile...!
hope that yall havenít lost any teeth over the weekend. we have one visitor scheduled for december (mickie!) and yall are welcome to drop in (24 hrs notice please!)
(as they say here)