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    marye
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    By suggestion of TigerLilly, who's been doing some traveling of her own lately: a place to talk about one's travel adventures (in the physical world!). Great road trips, the time you got a gig crewing on a yacht, your years in the Peace Corps, the time you walked the Great Wall... You get the idea!

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  • gratefaldean
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    I was in a hotel
    In Switzerland (I think, could have been Germany, one of those trips that has blurred a bit in my memory) one time when a big racket broke out in the hallway. Like CB, I stuck my head out the door to find out what was happening...and saw a bunch of VERY large guys horsing around. I kind of pipsqueaked out a "Hi," got some American "Hi"s back -- it was one of those Euro American football teams. We all chimed in with where we were from, talked some sports -- most of the guys were quite happy to be talking with a civilian "from home." And then they went back to making a racket in the hallway. Pals or not, I wasn't going to tell them to keep it down... Next morning I took the elevator to the lobby with Lindsay Davenport. Without knowing, I'd apparently checked into the Jock Hotel for the evening...
  • marye
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    !!!!
    yes, I can see that a quiet retreat might be best.
  • cosmicbadger
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    dangerous territory
    I am staying in quite a nice hotel here in Tashkent...but at the same time as the World Muay Thai (kickboxing) championship is taking place here. The hotel is full of very scary looking wiry, muscly tatooed people.Yesterday evening there was a lot of thumping noises outside my room and I went out to complain. A bunch of kickboxers were practicing in the corridor amidst an overpowering smell of liniment! I wisely retreated to my room without comment. Not a good place to get into an argument right now.
  • cosmicbadger
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    back on the road
    my quest to listen to Dark Star in every country in the world re-started today. Today I have been in Serbia, Montenegro and wound up here in the city of Shkoder in Albania. Must be the worst roads in Europe. Took 3 hours to drive just 80km. Crazy world. Now. what's in the minibar???
  • Gr8fulTed
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    Happy Mother's Day TL ! I was just in Colorado, visiting my son(s) in Denver and in Ft Collins.My younger son and I drove a diesel guzzling Penske out last weekend to Ft C where' he'll start school at CSU next week. Young Willow is now 650 miles away from Gramma and grampa : - (
  • TigerLilly
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    Just found out
    that my brother drove from Denver to Chicago with his two dogs AND dad's ashes, for the Memorial picnic. Gotta think about it for a while, but there must be a short story in there-bout Dad going on a last road trip! I must have been delirious that I didn't notice he was there.********************************** I am not young enough to know everything. Oscar Wilde
  • marye
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    well
    spammer is now gone, but at least we got a story out of it... I have to say, I am less and less thrilled at the prospect of ever getting on a plane again.
  • TigerLilly
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    thanks spammer
    for pulling this thread up again! Had forgotten about it! Had an adventure on the plane on the way back from Chicago. Spent the night on a plane, jammed in between a 300 lb Lutheran pastor, on his way to Latvia to care for orphans, and Oleg the Russian mafioso (or my guess from his knuckle tattoos). Since Pastor Do-Gooder took up half my seat, I was sitting all cozy with Oleg the Gangster, who offered to be my new friend and "take very good care of my family." When I complained to a stewardess about only having half a seat, she said to me "But you are in United Economy Plus, and have 5 extra inches leg-room." I am not very tall, and didn't really need these extra inches for my legs, but could have used them better for my a$$. ********************************** I am not young enough to know everything. Oscar Wilde
  • ripple70
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    lithuaniam rap
    lol the mind bogles
  • luvstardreambaby
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    Help Really Needed
    ATTENTION ALL FAMILY: A great kid needs your help! I'm Mindy, my fiance Chris from Conneticut, one of the kindest realiest kids was popped on some old warrants on the way into Moe DOWN, Chris has had some very bad luck in his life. He has spent the past 2 years in the hospital, he has had 2 open heart surgerys, a heart attack and a stroke at 27, all caused by an abbcessed tooth. I thought because of his medical conditions they wouldn't keep him in jail, but they came down from a 9 month sentence or 5k fine to 90 days or 1k fine, but he isn't getting the medical attention he needs, I have to get him out. Fortunately for me some great family, Woodstock Ron from Utica took me in. but we haven't been able to come up with the bail money. I need to get him out as soon as possible and was hoping that if any of you kind dead folks here could help out with donations it would be gratefully appreciated. Any amount will help and would be payed forward. You can send donations to Mindy Riffle at 1610 Sunset ave. Utica Ny. 13502. I hope that we can get Chris out, get him to his many doctors,get him some rest and then see you all on November tour. Forever Grateful, Mindy
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By suggestion of TigerLilly, who's been doing some traveling of her own lately: a place to talk about one's travel adventures (in the physical world!). Great road trips, the time you got a gig crewing on a yacht, your years in the Peace Corps, the time you walked the Great Wall... You get the idea!
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In the beginning of the 80s i spent some time in Amsterdam.in fact i wanted to stay there,but the City was somehow beyond my weirdest dreams.The place where i was staying belonged to an english woman who spent 24 h a day in that hotels bar(really,she had a big chair where she even slept in),the guy at the bar had only 1 disc(K-tels Disco hits)which was played the whole 6 month i spent there.well,the sado-maso gay bar which was directly under my room started to mess with my sleepin regime and to be true i have to say that dutch candy is a very expensive habit.so after realizing that the only thing i got left was a free breakfast at my hotel,i decided to hit the road for France.as i was savoring my toast a pretty drunken guy set down beside me.giggling all the time he asked me what i was doing.i told him about my plans and got my last free coffee.he told me"hey man,i see you dont have any money,dont you"i nodded in approval as he got out his wallet and gave me 5OOguilders(250dollars).i was a little astonished and because i saw that he was really drunk,asked him if he was sure that he wanted to give me such an amount,..well,not only he was but he opened a big bag he had with him and took out a bottle of Bacardi gold and a carton of Camel-filt."so you will have a good journey i think"he said,and i deeply agreed.with a much better feeling than i had in the morning i went to the Highway.There was nobody there,no one guy was there.he was italian,looked like a real freak(me too,by the way)and was very strange.he carried with him 2 big plastic bags of stuff he had found in the streets,garbage cans etc.as presents for his friends in Naples.as i found out,he was completely broke.remembering how i got the fortune i was carrying with me i decided to travel with him.despite my doubts that ANYBODY would stop for us,we were lucky. after half an hour and a couple of shots a belgian driver stopped and took as pretty far.he let us off in Belgium in the middle of the night on some deserted road.as it was november,it began to get real cold.so we finished the bottle and hoped for another car,but there were none.after i realized that we would freeze to death if we had to spend the night there,i decided to stop the next car by any means.in fact i stood in the middle of the street and wouldnt move,so that guy stopped.he was a musician and we were half frozen.he told us that he was on his way to do a gig with his accordeon,and that after he would go to Lille.we came to the house were he should play and i asked him if we could stay inthe car,because it was really cold."oh,you wont stay in the car,you both come with me.i am playing at my sisters wedding!"as i mentioned before the italian guy and i,looked really..ehm freaky,but that didnt matter at all.as we arrived inside we were seated as honory guests at a table especially for us food,wine.etc was served and we felt like being in heaven.after partying for 3 hours,our driver hit the road again and to us to the highway to Paris.we had a little coffee with him and then went hitchhiking again.10 min.later we were on our way to Paris in a Big Mercedes and everything was cool.as we arrived in town the Guy let us out in front of a cemetary.The famous"Pere lachaise",and soon i realized that this was the place where Jim morrison is buried.so my italian "compagnon de route" and i went to see his grave.we met a lot of cool people there who told us where we could spent the night cheaply,so we partied a little and then went to look for a bed.my italian friend and i had a nice dinner,slept good and cheaply and when i opened my eyes in the morning,the bed beside me was empty and this dude,who didnt even tell me his name ,was gone..from a little paper on the table i read-to Naples.well to end this long story a short way,Paris was great.i spend the next 10yrs. of my life there,met my wife and our son was born in this wonderful city.and it all began with a free Breakfast and not a dime in my pocket...:-)(-:
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It was the second flight of the day and I had been up since 3am. I stumbled onto the 737 and slumped in my window seat. Boarding was nearly complete and the two seats next to me were thankfully empty. I closed my eyes for a moment, only to be interrupted by someone moving into the seat next to me. I opened my eyes. A young mother with a toddler and a babe in arms and a pile of bags was struggling to install herself alongside me. Likely a Romanian migrant worker returning home. Inwardly I groaned...small kids normally mean screaming noise for the next 2 hours. A stewardess appeared and started interrogating the young mother and I idly listened while pretending to sleep. At 18 months the toddler was apparently too small to sit in a seat by herself. The woman struggled to understand. I missed the next bit of the argument as I dozed off, only to be tapped firmly on the shoulder by the stewardess and told in no uncertain terms. ‘Sir you have to hold your child’, as the young mother thrust a tiny baby towards me. ‘Uh’ I said quite loudly‘ that’s NOT my child’ The stewardess looked annoyed and confused. People in other seats were looking. Who was this irresponsible parent? ‘That’s not my child’ I repeated. And the stewardess realised her mistake and went red with embarrassment. But she persisted. ‘Well someone has to hold the child during take-off and landing or I will have to remove these people from the flight. Those are our rules’. The young mother looked at me pleadingly, so I caved in and the tiny newborn, just a couple of weeks old, was passed to me and she proceeded to breast-feed the toddler. What a quaint family scene. ‘You must hold it tight’ the bossy stewardess instructed as she headed off up the aisle to do her safety demonstration. So I nervously held the tiny sleeping bundle till we climbed to cruising altitude, terrified that something would happen while the cute infant was in my care. After a bit of sleep my duties recommenced as we descended. Twenty five years simply vanished away as I recognised that tensing of muscles and gurgling vibration as junior emptied his bowels. As we disembarked the woman thanked me profusely, the stewardess was also quite gracious, but several other passengers stared at me accusingly! Not to reinforce any stereotypes or anything, but you have one guess as to the airline!
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Thanks for the tales my friends. If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. William Blake
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The new photo story :-) In Sevilla every April there is a big fair called Feria. Some of you have heard of this, I know, as have been discussing with with a couple of our friends here on site. Anyhow, for the uninformed, is a week long giant fair, full of little (or quite huge) tent-like structures called "casetas", where the Sevillians (plus tourists, plus people from the surrounding countryside) go to meet their friends, eat alot of fried fish, drink beer and manzanilla, and generally have a riotous good time, as Sevillians are so good at that. Is also required to dance "Sevillianas" with dozens of before unknown partners, AND is highly recommended to attend the Feria in traditional flamenco attire. Before Feria, was alot of fun to discuss this flamenco attire with Sunshine Daydream, who was alot more informed about Feria than I was, and also with Hal, who is interested in Flamenco music. Bob made the brilliant suggestion that I needed a tie-dyed flamenco dress, which was not to be this year, sigh! And now on to the photo explanation. A co-worker invited me to lunch the Saturday afternoon right before Feria started. Spent a good hour or so right after lunch, trying on a lovely blue flamenco dress that his wife´s mother had sewn for her. Rocio (the wife) dressed me from head to foot in authentic flamenco get-up, which was a whole lot of fun. Then we went into town to drink a coffee, and spent alot of time window shopping other flamenco dresses. One shop we actually entered, and the next thing I knew, an over-eager shopkeeper had be kitted out AGAIN in classic flamenco style. Tried on two different dresses, gorgeous, but with nauseating numbers on the price tags. Trying on experience developed into a huge shop animation, with all other customers watching and commenting on my appearance. Ended up with being offered a job to model these dresses next year before Feria-evenings and weekends, which absolutely cracked us all up! And there is photographic evidence of this adventure (all dresses and get up) and new photo here is one of them. Was a grate adventure, so story belongs here, I think! ********************************** Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you will still exist, but you have ceased to live. Samuel Clemens
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Great adventure My story invloves my Boy Scout troop backpacking for two weeks in New Mexico at the Philmont Ranch in the mountains around Taos. I got my youngest son David involved in scouting to keep off the couch playing video games. My older boys were jocks and rock musicians and David being 8 years younger was kind of langushing. If you know anything about Philmont it is an adventure-it is fun but also meant to test young men. There are no cellphones, no electronics allowed on the trail. You carry everything on your back. The boys are in control they choose and rotate squad leadership. It can also be exhausting as you are hiking about 9,000 feet and coming from Miami thats a challenge. We had been on the trail about 7 days. The dads were having the hardest time being in their late 40's up to 60 years old. On this particular day we started at 4 am because 1. the sun comes up very early out west and two we had a long hike ahead. The day went well we stopped at an old hunters camp so the boys could shoot muskets with a 'Mountain Man" to teach them how. By 4 pm we noticed something was wrong. We were no where near our destination. One of the boys had made a mistake and read the map wrong. We were going to have to back track about 5 miles and hile another 7 miles. There was some grumbingly and apologizing however we pushed on. David pushed his way to the front and stated he wanted to be the lead man. He is very tall and walks fast -psychologically he "pulls" the squad. The views were stunning because we were on top of Mt Phillps and it is !1,900 feet high. By 7 pm it was dark we were down to 3 quarts of water for 12 people and still about 5 miles away. now it was starting to get hairy. All you could see was the person in ftont of you and one misstep and you were off a cliff with a 3-4000 foot drop. Some boys started to whimper and David started telling jokes. Laughter broke out. At 11 pm we got to camp-the rangers were aghast at what happened they put us up for the night in real beds instead of sleeping bags. The next day spirits were high and the boys were proud they survived. My son and his friends still talk about it. And the road goes on forever.... BobbaLee
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Tiger Lilly I knew there was a very interesting story to your photo. Usually when I see someone’s photo on this site I always try to imagine ones story of the photo which is pasted to ones words. I always look at the photo and think who is this person or what does this represent etc. I first posted my daughters photo, but then I started challenging the State, so then I decided I had to show at least my face and protect my daughter, so I decided to show my family, but then the State became too angry, so I put my photo up there for the day and thought fuck, why should a caption of me from a time that only I can explain shield the State. So I eventually put up the backdrop of my last photo. The hills and the pool. Anyway, you have had 3 photos posted so far. The first one if I can remember was a young girl with blonde hair. Maybe my memory is off a bit. Anyway, it looks as if you enjoyed the moment and let’s see more of these photos. Sexy, intelligent, intangible, and in a room full of mirrors reflecting on time. That’s what I think of when I see that photo.
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the more the better..thanks TL and Bobbalee!
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Liked your airplane/infant adventure too! ;-) Have a new one about basic human kindness, so will share. The apartment building I live in here is basically all older people and me. Building has 3 floors, European (4 American), with 3 apartments on each floor-so are not too many of us altogether. When I first moved in, these older people (mostly widows living alone, from what I can tell) were friendly enough, but were obviously curious and wary of the new "Guiri" (foreigner) so strange and alone. Would catch bits and pieces of their conversation in the hall that would stop suddenly when I passed by-but suspect that this phenomena is normal in every corner of the world. One little old fiesty gal, with two bad hips who has to be pushing 90 was especially penetrating in her staring after me. One evening even had a small discussion with her in the hall on the stairs, she was trying to block me climbing the stairs, with her crutches, because I "do not belong here". One evening, I encountered her one evening coming home from work. She was trying to toddle up the stairs on her apparantely quite painful hips, carry her crutches, AND a bag of shopping. I did what every normal person should do, under the circumstances, and very politely asked her whether I could not carry her bags for her. She agreed, so we climbed the stairs together, at the pace of a snail, until we reached her apartment on the 2nd floor of the house. At the door, she invited me in, so I went with her. This woman was talking a mile a minute to me by this point-very proudly showing me her home, and that she was a good Catholic who had the required crucifix in every room of her home. Her rapid-fire Sevillian dialect was somewhat difficult to understand, but got enough of it to at least follow her general themes. She was asking me questions as well, where I came from, what I was doing here, etc etc. So I told her bits and pieces. Told her had moved from Germany to work, and that my children were still there, not too much, but the basics. "Chatted" with her for 20 minutes or so, then made my escape, telling her to phone up on the phone for the front door lock, if she ever needed help with carrying things again and fled. WELL, the next few days, noticed a very obvious new warmth in the greetings I got on the stairs, from everyone else in the building. Was suddenly "hija" (daughter) and "mi vida" and was getting genuinly warm smiles. Seems that the scouting mission of the older woman had been successful. Was no longer the "friki Guiri" but a woman with children, just like them. Greetings had always been polite enough, but never that warm before. (For a while they all thought I was a woman of "loose morals at best" but is another story :-) And then I was coming home from work the other day, and encountered the woman with the crutches in her doorway. She started her machine gun dialogue at me again, and what was coming out was this: She told me she had decided that when she is cooking for herself each day, she could cook for me as well- as"cooking for two is no more work than cooking for one", and that I "am so alone, and go off every day to work for my children, and am way way way too thin, and have such beautiful sad eyes". She said that I could knock every day to pick up my dinner, and either take it up with me, or even occasionally eat with her. I told her that this was not necessary, but was so touched that I sniffled my way up to my place, when I left her. As soon I was up the level to my floor, I encountered my immediate next door neighbor in her doorway, who told me that she noticed that I leave early in the morning, which must make it difficult to meet the gas delivery truck, when my bottle is empty (here the water is heated by a gas bottle, and a truck comes Monday mornings with new ones-when mine is empty, shout out the window to the guy that I need a bottle, and he brings it up, very archaic but very funny!!!) Anhow this neighbor told me that when I need a new bottle, I should put my old out outside the door, put the money for the new one underneath the bottle, and when the gas man came, she would take care of it for me. Moral of the story: Just a tiny bit of sharing personal information can go a long way to change wariness to acceptance, and the right basic fact being shared can turn total strangers into just another human. ********************************** Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you will still exist, but you have ceased to live. Samuel Clemens
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Heartwarming. Further proof that most people are decent, and the few who are scoundrels shouldn't get the rest of us down. Thanks for sharing! Conversation is always more interesting than recitation, so speak your mind and not someone else's.
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In my little learn-all-about Spain for foreigners "In the Garlic" guiri is spelled like that, with gu. ********************************** Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you will still exist, but you have ceased to live. Samuel Clemens
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i never knew how to spell it, just spell it like it sounds. They can probably understand someone working to send money back to their family. So many Andalucians worked abroad for that reason, around here it was mostly Germany and Andorra as well as Barcelona. There is no work here. Bob - - - - - - - - - - - - - - http://spanishsunshinedaydream.blogspot.com/ http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=633338979 Spanish Jam
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greetings to all the old ladies! I got home yesterday after being out of town for a few days to learn that one of my favorite neighbors had a heart attack and died while I was gone. This is going to leave a huge hole in the neighborhood.
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So I arrive at Cluj airport in provincial Romania for a Lufthansa regional flight to Munich then home. But when I arrive the flight is cancelled as those pesky Lufthansa pilots are striking. The poor staff in the tiny airport can hardly cope with this but I manage to get myself rerouted via Madrid. Soon I am on the bus out to the plane, but suddenly we come to a halt. This is what we see. A Romanian Airlines 737 is trying to leave but has to squeeze itself between two other parked planes (the only other planes on the apron: one of them mine). Everyone has parked badly so It’s a tight squeeze and the pilot comes to a halt. Soon ten ground crew are running about, some waving him this way, some waving him that, some saying go, some shouting to stop and one just shrugging his shoulders. The pilot creeps forward another six feet. His right wingtip is now above the nosecone of an MD80, 6 feet from the windscreen, and his left wingtip is about to take out the side of another Romanian airlines 737. Some ground crew are still waving him forward, but he shuts the engines and we have airplane gridlock. By now it’s way too hot on the bus and someone bangs on the drivers cab to open the doors, which he does. We all jump out onto the tarmac to cool down and watch the show. Security what security? The obvious solution would be to get a tractor and push one of the planes back a bit…but one of them is on the edge of the grass, and it would be hard to fit a tractor between the other two. And ... they don’t seem to have a tractor anyway. Meanwhile another plane lands, taxis to the apron and is about to block in all the other planes. As ground crew run around waving, at the last moment the pilot realizes what is going on, executes a tight U turn close to the three stranded planes and parks elsewhere. So how do they fix it..Yes! 20 ground crew put their shoulders to the landing wheels and manage after 5 minutes heaving to roll a fully fuelled 737 back 10 feet, so the wedged plane is able to squeeze through and leave. 30 minutes later my flight follows and I am now telling this story from Madrid airport! The joys of modern travel! If you saw it in a film you wouldn’t believe it.
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Incredible, Badger!********************************** Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you will still exist, but you have ceased to live. Samuel Clemens
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I'm certainly glad you got through that one safely!
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I think it was 11 years ago my dog and I backpacked from Crescent City, CA. to Mt. Shasta,CA. It was about a 230 mile hike. From the ocean we went right into the redwoods at Jedidiah Smith St. Park, and then up into the Siskiyou Wilderness Area. Down Clear Creek to the Klamath River. Up the Klamath to the town of Happy Camp, CA. From there up to the Marble Mt. Wilderness area where we hit the Pacific Crest Trail. Stayed on that through the Russian Peak and Trinity Alps Wilderness Areas. Then at Mt. Eddy we turned off onto the Sisson-Callahan Trail and down to Lake Siskiyou and into Mt. Shasta. 90% ot the hike was on trails and about 10% on dirt roads with one eight mile stretch of paved Hwy.96 from Clear Creek to Happy Camp. Would have liked to see this hike become a real trail. You could start or end at the top of 14,162 ft. Mt. Shasta. or the Sierra Club cabin at 8,000 ft. level on Shasta. It took us 3 unforgettable weeks. Awesome!
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just to say I am off to Indonesia for a couple of weeks. I will report back with any good stories. Maybe its good to take break from here 'cause I am told I am not funny enough these days (even though most of my secret invisible friends disagree :-P ) Take care everyone and I hope you all get the tickets you want in the great rush. And I hope you get the rush you want too ;-)
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My parents were there in '69 when we were living in the Phillipines and this xmas they got all the photo slides digitalized and we have enjoying them. It is a beautiful country and a very interesting culture. Have a great time. peace,pk
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Ok not sure where to post this but I have been wondering about the deads stage and how they put it up and down with the crew roadies etcs. On this tour and maybe other longer tours are there 2 stages that are the same and they leap frog around or do they break it down one night get to next location and rebuild it???Not sure who can answer but guesses are welcome thanks see ya in the lot! Nuthin left to do ....
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I think you want the In Search of Info topic.
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For shure there's only one ``rig``. Load in and load out the same day. Techs travel by night to the next venue and do it again. Don't worry, could and should be a lot of fun. these guys just love their job. Thanks them if you have a chance. Share the Love! Richard.
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and a great time at the Gorge! Did get a little toasted sitting in the free parking lot all day. Missed the Doobies and most of the Allmans before it got cool enough to leave the doggie in the car.. God bless the Grateful Dead for keeping the dream alive, they were smokin! Phil even stared me in the binoculars for like 3 seconds and flicked me a note! Dark Star, Eyes, I loved it. Got up real close and got one of the four drumsticks the stage crew guy gave out after the show. Drove 2,600 miles in 12 days and saw a little of every state that borders Oregon.(Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California) Saw Sahallie Falls, Painted Hills, John Day and Grande Rhonde rivers, crossed the Blue Mts., Paloose Falls, before the show. After saw the Wallawa's, Stawberries, Steens Mt., Hart Mt., and home through the redwoods of California. One day went from Mickey Hot Springs on the east side of Steens Mt. to Hart Mt. Hot Springs the next day in Hart Mt. National Antelope Refuge. I've named this drive the "Mickey-Hart Hot Springs Highway" and on a beautiful day in May with snow on the higher peaks it's one of the nicest anywhere. Got my Ratdog ticket for August and can't wait!
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greetings from Syktyvkar in the Komi Republic in Northern Russia. Here for a few days then heading towards the arctic circle by helicopter. What fun. As ever GD on the Ipod. Listened to DP 12 on the flight up, to take my mind off the 40 year old Tupolev 134 jet swaying around in the night sky. It even had a glass nose for the navigator/bomb aimer. ain't wifi great!

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Safe travels Mr. Badger, I sure hope you're enjoyin' the ride in that old Tu-134... Did you know that plane's NATO codename is 'Crusty'? Hurry back to the comforts of your badger sett. (Badgers live together in large extensive systems of underground tunnels or catacombs and nesting chambers called "setts", that are huge tunnel systems, in some cases, actually centuries old.) P.S. I enjoyed reading your suggestion to return defective Winterland '77 discs to the Rhinos, with the $5,000 valuation. Give them a taste of their own medicine... HAHAHAHA
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have the 4 winds take care of you.
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Just back from 3 days in Paris-a combination work/show new company owner Paris trip. On Friday night we were in this most bizarre restaurant I have ever seen. A combination of old fanshioned oppulence, (gold filagree on the ornate doors, chandaliers, red velvet tapestries, marble floors) and utter tackiness-snakeskin toilet and sink, AND an 8 foot tall onyx black rhinocerous statue in the foyer. I took a photo of this rhino for all you guys, but sadly did not come out too well. Today & tomorrow at home, and then Wed-Sunday in Essen, Germany, then Mon-Wed home, and Thursday-Sunday at Lucca in Italy. My first time ever in Italy.********************************** Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge. Mark Twain
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We climbed into the ancient battered MI-8 helicopter and with a deafening, vibrating roar lifted off into the grey skies of the Russian North. For 4 hours we flew over endless forest without a sign of people, vast, magnificent tracts with an occasional huge winding river. The first snows of winter had arrived and the trees looked like someone had shaken icing sugar over them. We were in the 500foot space between the clouds and the trees, dodging snow flurries, but it was so beautiful out there I forgot to be scared. Three times we tried to climb above the clouds to see the peaks of the Ural Mountains, but three times we were had to retreat because of bad visibility. Eventually we stopped at a remote mining camp and drank vodka and ate smoked reindeer meat with the owners until our pilot urged us to leave as more snow was coming in. We dashed to the chopper and flew the last ½ hour to the city of Inta as the light was fading. In order to avoid paying landing fees at the airport the pilot dropped us on the top of the spoil heap from the city coal fired power station. We jumped out with our bags and the chopper vanished into the snow, while we stood there freezing, phoning for someone to pick us up from town. It was a fifteen minute wait for a taxi to appear so we kept warm with a couple of shots of vodka. Inta city was founded in the 1930s in the Stalinist era as a Gulag, a camp for political prisoners 50 miles from the arctic circle, and grew rapidly when coal was found there. At its peak there were 27000 prisoners there, men and women forced to work as slaves in the coal mines, on road and railway construction, in brick kilns and on constructing the city. They were given a diet of 550 grammes of bread and soup a day, even in winter when the temperature drops to 40 or 50 C below zero. For the most part their crime was to come from a bourgeois family, to have said or written something wrong or just to be related to someone who had done such a thing. People died in their thousands, but ironically the coal they dug probably saved Russia in WW2,as the other coal and oil fields were in the war zone. When the camps closed in the 1950s many stayed on (they had nowhere else to go) and built the city and worked the mines (this time with a wage). The city museum has a very moving exhibition on the Gulag. Many prisoners hid messages in the walls of the buildings they constructed and now they are on display. Desperate attempts to be remembered amidst the nightmare of their forgotten lives. Like the Nazis and the Khmer rouge, the Stalinists kept meticulous records. Lists of transportees, the living and the dead. Photos of gaunt broken people. The city is not beautiful, but the people there, mainly the descendants of the prisoners (and their guards) have an amazing spirit of community and a deep love of the home they built in the frozen wastes. Each year they celebrate 'Victims of Repression' day. But now nobody wants their dirty coal, the next generation is leaving and the city is dying. A determined group of local leaders is trying to find new ways revive their city, as a centre for wilderness adventures and arctic tourism. But walking the streets at night in the biting cold, the smell of coal smoke stinging my nostrils, I was walking with the ghosts of the Gulag. We are so lucky.
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17 years
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thanks for the travelogue. Stay safe...
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17 years
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cool shit, as always badger. stay safe, mate. cheers.
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Our friend Frankly is today heading from the Czech Republic to swinging London for a great adventure into the unknown. I think he knows already that the streets are not paved with gold, but lots of good things can happen in that city. Here's wishing him a safe, happy and productive time.
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i love to read your travelogues... you write so well and your destinations are interesting and unique. safe travels, sir-caroline
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16 years 6 months
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Frankly Conversation is always more interesting than recitation, so speak your mind and not someone else's.
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to Frankly! I love London, not that I've been there for 30 years.
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I am in the city of Kavardaci in the south of the Republic of Macedonia in the Balkans. It is a famous wine area and today the local grape growers started a direct action against the low prices being offered for their grapes this year by the big wine producers. The low prices are because of over production last year, the warehouses are full and the retail prices at rock bottom. The growers have now blockaded all roads in and out of the city with their tractors and are not letting anyone in or out! So here I am, stranded for an indeterminate period in a city full of cheap (and delicious) wine! What a dilemma!!!
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16 years 6 months
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quit wineing... Conversation is always more interesting than recitation, so speak your mind and not someone else's.
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16 years 11 months
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Breaks my heart to read that sad, distressing post. And a strike! You must feel like you're right at home.********************************** By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another man's I mean. Mark Twain
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after 3 days we escaped the blockade of Kavadarci thanks to the intervention of 2 mayors, 2 police chiefs and the United Nations and a long long wait while negotiations took place. Eventually the tractors were moved and we were allowed to leave. SHorlty afterwards the growers got a price hike for their grapes and the dispute was settled. So its back in Skopje, away from the wine lake and on to the BEER FESTIVAL. Great fun last night with some fine brews and loud gypsy-punk-ska bands. I do work on these trips too...honest
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I am trying to wrap my brain around gypsy-punk-ska. Clearly I have led a sheltered life.
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16 years 11 months
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How about Lithuanian rap? :) Saw that live at a festival this summer.********************************** By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another man's I mean. Mark Twain
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13 years 9 months
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ATTENTION ALL FAMILY: A great kid needs your help! I'm Mindy, my fiance Chris from Conneticut, one of the kindest realiest kids was popped on some old warrants on the way into Moe DOWN, Chris has had some very bad luck in his life. He has spent the past 2 years in the hospital, he has had 2 open heart surgerys, a heart attack and a stroke at 27, all caused by an abbcessed tooth. I thought because of his medical conditions they wouldn't keep him in jail, but they came down from a 9 month sentence or 5k fine to 90 days or 1k fine, but he isn't getting the medical attention he needs, I have to get him out. Fortunately for me some great family, Woodstock Ron from Utica took me in. but we haven't been able to come up with the bail money. I need to get him out as soon as possible and was hoping that if any of you kind dead folks here could help out with donations it would be gratefully appreciated. Any amount will help and would be payed forward. You can send donations to Mindy Riffle at 1610 Sunset ave. Utica Ny. 13502. I hope that we can get Chris out, get him to his many doctors,get him some rest and then see you all on November tour. Forever Grateful, Mindy