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  • hardie karges 1:59 pm on January 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corriverton, Georgtetown, Guyana   

    Welcome To Guyana & A Wet Wet Christmas In The Caribbean 

    Hey, Rastaman

    Hey, Rastaman

    Guyana the last link in a circum-Caribbean semi-circle of British intrigue that starts in Jamaica and the Cayman islands… largest of the lot… probably the poorest also… perfect picture of a colonial capital going down on itself… anything but Jonestown: thirty years ago some nine hundred US citizens committed mass suicide in Guyana under the influence of a bad Elvis impersonator.

    Imagine a bus terminal and a market sharing the same space, accompanied by the sounds of barkers barking and horns honking… accents pretty thick here too.  You could almost imagine you’re speaking Creole.  You almost are.  (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:33 pm on January 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      How you make a common statement into something outstanding. As fpr me, I was in Jamaica once – in Montego Bay For hours yesterday, I got carried away with listing all my trips – and forgot a couple of important ones – a cruise in Hawaii and a cruise in Alaska. How could I forget?

    • hardie karges 3:43 pm on January 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Actually a cruise is something I’ve never done. It’s too late for the /Caribbean, I guess, but fjords somewhere sound nice… thx for your comment

  • hardie karges 3:22 pm on January 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Trinidad   

    Dreams Of Congo Square & The Taco That Ate Trinidad 

    Bring on the night..

    Bring on the night..

    …to Barbados from Jamaica by Air Jamaica, spend the night, then continue on to Trinidad by Liat Airlines… Guyana by Christmas… no air connections amongst the Guyanas… I’ve schemed on Suriname for years, even if their language IS called “Taki Taki.”  I’m battle-hardened linguistically now…

    Welcome to Trinidad.  Super Burritos Gigantes, look out!  You have competition: roti dhal puree: lentils, spinach, chickpeas, mango chutney, two kinds of chicken complete with bone, and of course “pepper” (salsa)… ladled over bread instead of rice.  (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:01 pm on January 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Early food for thought this morning, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
      Quiet here.

  • hardie karges 2:49 pm on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jamaica, Montego Bay   

    Montego Bay: Friendly Natives, Soul Food, & The Quest For Wi-Fi 

    Surfin' to Jamaica

    Surfin’ to Jamaica

    December 2008

    Caribbean ain’t cheap… picture-postcard-perfect swimming-pool-to-the-gods only half a day from approximately one-billion North Americans and Europeans… $50 “budget” hotels… means different things in different countries…. qualities peculiarly Jamaican: reggae, Rastafarians, and rum, the “3R’s” of Jamaican experience…

    …reality on the ground in Montego Bay a bit different… MoBay a veritable cold bed of activity, which is good… Negril the hipper tourist alternative, Ocho Rios the slick uptown cousin… MoBay still manages to rock on weekends and cruise-ship days… functions as an airport terminus far more user-friendly than funky Trenchtown; I mean Kingston. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:39 pm on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Been there – no problem. No “Jamaica Natural,”. No Kingston. Just the Western Caribbean cruise (twice.) Interesting to say the least.

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:49 pm on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I liked Montego Bay best of all about our Western Caribbean cruise – and remember that everything was ‘no problem.’ Fun. Second cruise in 2004, my Christmas gift to 14 of my family members. Also cruised in Hawaii, Alaska and Nova Scotia.

      Nothing compared to your travels all over the world!


    • hardie karges 3:52 pm on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I ended up spending all my Jamaican time in Mo’ Bay, so what can I say? Oops, think I gave away the ending… Caribbean is one place where cruise is very cost-effective…

  • hardie karges 3:19 pm on January 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Filipino, Iran, Kish Island   

    Warm Cheesy Kish: Iran Lite 

    Iran Light: Smoke 'em if you got 'em

    Iran Light: Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

    December 2009

    So when I’m going through security check in Dubai, bound for Kish Island, Iran, they call me over for further scrutiny.

    “You have Caesar’s…” the nice lady says.

    I have Caesar’s what…face…bearing…sex appeal? “Excuse me?”

    “You have Caesar’s…” she repeats. The security lady starts making a cutting motion with her fingers.

    Hey, now, don’t start cutting anything. We just met, and I haven’t said anything the slightest bit inappropriate. You want to have a baby by Caesarian section, is that it? Ohhh…  “Scissors? Yes, I have scissors, but they’re blunt ones, not sharp.”

    “Let me see.”

    So I show them to her and she takes them over to her supe. He shakes his head, “Not allowed.”

    “But I pass security with these all the time; they’ve been approved,” I whine, but to no avail. They confiscate my Caesars… scissors. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:24 pm on January 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I always wonder if this is current – like, happening now?
      Enjoyed. We have an Iranian who built a mansion on Trickhambridge Rd., Brandon.

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:25 pm on January 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I read this post on Facebook – and made a comment. Very interesting.

  • hardie karges 2:37 pm on January 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Muscat, Oman,   

    O, man: not-so-Jitterbug in Muscat Land… 

    Muscat, Oman, by the sea...

    Muscat, Oman, by the sea…

    December 2009

    Muscat is like many other white-washed Mediterranean cities; only one difference—it’s not in the Mediterranean. These Arabians sailed the Seven Seas, and once ruled East Africa, and not so long ago either.

    Muscat is one sprawled-out city, a hemmed-in port eternally looking for leibenschraum, and able to leap tall mountains at a single bound: ancient city tucked away in a little corner; the slightly newer Mutrah right around the rocks down the beach, sliding up the hill and over the ridge until it finds a valley and becomes Ruwi, right before it spreads out to infinity.

    Muscat past perfect

    Muscat past perfect

    There are distinct parts to Arabia. If Yemen is the poor but pure descendant of ancient Arabia, and UAE the Arabia of a sci-fi future, then Oman is somewhere in between, and something totally distinct. Africans, Pakistanis, and Baluchis here go way back with Oman; also ancient connections with other parts of the peninsula, including Yemen, with which it shares a border.

    The Muscat souq is certainly atmospheric, frankincense and all that rap, but other than that there is little on offer, and what there is, is expensive: hundred-dollar city tour, etc… Muscat may be a bit cheaper than the oil-rich Gulf States, but not by much, and nobody’s giving away Wi-Fi with the rooms, available for purchase only. Much of Oman is simply generic Arab and international Muslim, interesting enough if you don’t need any anti-freeze in your system.

    Muscat souq

    Muscat souq

    …the big travel news is a bit beyond my control, the British Airways pending strike that got suddenly called off… guess I’ll spend New Year’s Day with my wife after all…catch the ONTC bus from Muscat back to Dubai, walking the mile or so to the bus station as the sun also rises…. get into Dubai after a seven-hour drive and border-crossing, go straight to the four-buck Indian buffet close by and proceed to pig out…

    …walk over to the Kish Airline office and get the ticket for the flight I’ve booked to Iran… seems like that’s a visa run for Emirati ex-pats, particularly Russians, one of whom shows me how to cheat the local telecom there for sending SMS’s free. She also cautions me not to trust any local Iranians there. The fact that a Russian is saying this to me is a fact not lost on me…

    Men make up the rooms in the Dubai hotel where I stay, for reasons that I can easily surmise. I’m starting to get slightly antsy about the trip to Kish Island, not that I suspect anything weird about it, mostly that I just don’t know anything about it. I don’t have much to lose, though, since the flight and my shared accommodation is no more than what I would pay anywhere in Dubai. If you don’t go, then you don’t know…ไม่ลอง ไม่รู้

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:20 pm on January 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Is this current? Sounds quite mysterious. But always interesting.

      • hardie karges 3:38 pm on January 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        2009 still, distant past, as will everything be for the foreseeable future… :-)

  • hardie karges 2:21 pm on December 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Burj Khalifa, Doha, , Qatar,   

    Qatar’s Emerald City and Dubai’s Stairway to Heaven 

    New Doha

    New Doha

    December 2009

    …anxious to catch my early morning flight on Air Arabia from Yemen to Dubai; even pay a couple guys baksheesh to move my bags through the security scan ahead of others…

    …now I understand.  We’re leaving ten minutes early!  Now there’s a switch.  The serving crew doesn’t even speak Arabic… freelancers from Russia and the Far East.  I’m heading into a different part of Arabia, where locals comprise barely twenty-five percent of the population of their own countries and English is as much the lingua franca as Arabic.

    …good time to be in the Gulf, though, what with the world economy in a slump… hotels seventy-eighty bucks mere weeks ago, now forty-fifty…  You gotta’ be flexible.  (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:37 pm on December 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for dating the post – all very interesting indeed. Happy New Year!

  • hardie karges 3:13 pm on December 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sanaa, Yemen   

    Yemen: There are some things you can’t cover up with burkhas and chadors… 

    Yemen: Arabian Nights

    Yemen: Arabian Nights

    …circle the airport more than once coming down into Sana’a, but I don’t know why, since there’s no traffic at all… weather is beautiful; so is the scenery… cross between the Bolivian altiplano and the Grand Canyon.  Immigration formalities… no problem… but sixty buck visa not cheap…

    Arabian Nights are alive and well in Sana’a… apparently God said, “Yep, pretty much like I remember it…” fairy-tale architecture…like icing on the cake, an Arab-style cake… swoops and swirls and extra sugar on the side.  Sana’a is to architecture what halwa is to sweets.  (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:38 pm on December 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reading this at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 27, 2015 – a good way to start the day. I enjoy reading on Facebook where I can enlarge the print and see the pictures. Happy New Year!

  • hardie karges 1:41 pm on December 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Luxor, Thebes   

    Luxor, Egypt: Down South Up River 

    Ruins at Luxor, Egypt

    Ruins at Luxor, Egypt

    Cairo has largely missed the boat to modernity that its sister oil-rich states are riding into the sunset… faded glory, historical standard bearer for Arab and Muslim worlds… glorious past, but future very sketchy… so I kill time peacefully until time to board train, disgustingly filthy and hardly worth the cost… but I persevere, next stop Luxor.

    …hustle hassle starts before the train even gets into the station… nice Australian lady touting for her hotel on the train, claiming discrimination on the home front, (not Australia), claims locals diss her as a whore… she’s dissing them, of course… when train gets in, touts right at the door, following hot on my heels… hard to be polite in situations like these. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:24 pm on December 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You never cease to amaze me with your descriptive power.

      • hardie karges 3:38 pm on December 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thx, I think a visual style is what makes the re-mix interesting, like reverse applique’ textiles, cutting through layers and only leaving certain patterns…

  • hardie karges 6:36 pm on December 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dahab, , , Jordan, , Petra   

    Crossing Jordan: the Bitter Tears Of Petra 


    Ruins at Petra, Jordan

    December 2009

    …try to travel again next day… loose stools… don’t worry much if nothing in there… haven’t eaten much this week… wonder what I weigh now?  …get a taxi far out to the edge of Damascus… just to catch another taxi, “service taxi,” long-distance collective ones, to neighboring countries… easier waiting for a taxi to fill than a bus or even a van, as in Africa.

    At least drivers here not absolute maniacs as in Egypt… nice to see some old-fashioned excitement at the presence of a foreigner… Arabs can be loud and belligerent, but also very sweet and helpful… but I’m a man.  It could be very different if you’re a woman, especially if you’re traveling alone… after an hour or so, taxis start filling up and we’re on our way to Jordan.  (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 7:41 pm on December 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Very entertaining, to be sure – but how do you do it!!!

    • hardie karges 10:36 pm on December 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is fun, and easy too, 100% editing, since I wrote it five years ago in wordier style. Compare to your hard copy and that’s what I was working with last night… hence: ‘re-mix’…. interesting lesson in editing…

  • hardie karges 8:38 pm on December 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beirut, , Lebanon, , Syria   

    Beirut Runaround & Road To Damascus: Will That Be Visa? 

    Sunrise over Damascus

    Sunrise over Damascus

    November 2009

    …catch flight from Cairo to Beirut, not cheap at $240 OW, but if I can get the visa to Syria for pocket change, then that’ll save me $100 or so… made hotel reservation for Beirut without clear directions to where it was… turns out Jal el Dib is way north of town on the road to Tripoli…great.  After blowing off the hacks, I get some info from the tourist office on how to get there by bus… complicated, but better than a fifty dollar taxi ride…

    Third time’s a charm.  After two botched attempts and a long ride up the Christian casino coast—Slavic go-go dancers and whores I hear—I finally get off at the right place… $7 total from the airport, and the last $4 was optional if I’d wanted to walk the hill… real hotel, too, full-fledge, though the room is a “standard” one in the “annex,” sounds ominous… (More …)

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