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  • hardie karges 12:55 pm on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Balkans, , , Herzegovina, Serbia, Tito, Yugoslavia   

    Serbia: War is Over (if you want it)… 

    Hey, it’s not easy being Serb, or any southern Slav, showing up on the southern gates of Europe post-Rome and looking for a place at the table, a table already pre-set by Dacians, Thracians, Illyrians and Celts to boot, remove your shoes at the door, please… (More …)

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    • davekingsbury 10:34 pm on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nice stream-of-consciousness piece, Hardie …

      • hardie karges 12:59 am on October 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thx, Dave! Hmm, maybe this should be the s-o-c blog, wouldn’t be hard if it’s a country I’ve already visited, just random access assorted memories travels travails and frustrations, toss them in a hot skillet, stir quickly at high temps, season to taste… hmmm, not bad flavor… good idea, Dave!

  • hardie karges 1:19 pm on October 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Asmara, Eritrea, , human rights, Isaias Afewerki, Italy,   

    Eritrea: North Korea in Africa? You Decide… 

    Though Eritrea may have an ancient history, as a modern country they’ve only been independent since MY BIRTHDAY, 1993, and that only after a long hard war fought with neighboring Ethiopia, its big brother and modern nemesis… (More …)

     
    • Kelly 11:33 am on October 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I love the colours, everything is so lush and bright. I never knew that different music can influence on people so much…

      • hardie karges 12:13 pm on October 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Language, music and art are the best expressions of a culture, IMO, and music is easily the most accessible, no prior training required. Ethiopia is definitely my favorite country in Africa, and I think Eritrea would be almost as good. Thanks for your comment, Kelly…

  • hardie karges 12:33 pm on September 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Indian Ocean, islands, Mahe, Seychelles, Victoria,   

    Seychelles: Seashells by the Sea Shore 

    Tourist mags and online rags usually start any article on the Seychelles islands with something like: “Welcome to Paradise–Lucky You!” and then proceed to talk about the various suns of beaches that define the place, with scarce mention of the various sons-of-bitches that threaten it… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 2:04 pm on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , corruption, Equatorial Guinea, , Obiang, oil, petroleum, poverty, wealth   

    Equatorial Guinea: No Equator, lots of oil… 

    Equatorial Guinea is an anomaly, in more ways than one, it the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, thus defying the Pope-sponsored Treaty of Tordesillas (or was it tortillas?) that divided the New World into spheres of influence between Spain and Portugal, which must have been the kiss of death, since both declined not long afterwards, leaving the seas to the likes of the Netherlands, France and that United Kingdom of World Cup fame.. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 1:52 pm on September 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Freetown, Geechee, Gullah, Kissi, Mende, , Sierra Leone, Temne, tribe,   

    Sierra Leone: You’ll Never Be Alone… 

    Sierra Leone is something similar to the UK as Liberia is to the US, the place where they resettled the slaves that they had just liberated from the high seas and holding pens of West Africa, this after slavery had been abolished in the UK… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 12:50 pm on September 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aztec, Cumbia, El Salvador, , Mexica, , Nahuatl, Nawat, Pipil, refajo, skirt,   

    El Salvador: Rescuing the past… 

    El Salvador is not necessarily the first country to come to mind when you talk about indigenous cultures in Central America, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there, either. There are. And if the indigenous language is the mark of that culture, then it’s been looking pretty grim, with only some two hundred Nawat (Nahuatl) speakers left in a culture that calls itself ‘Pipil’… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 1:42 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Chinese, , Malay, , shoegaze, Singapore, Tamil   

    Singapore: singin’ no blues in four languages… 

    Singapore has always had an image–I mean identity–problem. I mean: what do you do when you’re a tiny city-state slash ex-Malaysia cast-off slash Chinese immigrant magnet slash ex-Straits settlement British crown colony commonwealth cultural mash-up without comparison in the modern world? For starters, you speak English, boldly and proudly, and hope for the best. After all, what choice do you have? (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 10:01 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Manglish is a new one to me, like it … always stimulating to hear dialect versions of one’s own language, as these nice clips show.

      • hardie karges 1:18 am on August 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Hey, you gotta’ keep up with the provinces; that’s the cutting edge of language and culture–sometimes…

        • davekingsbury 5:59 pm on August 30, 2017 Permalink

          The border is always more interesting than the capital …

  • hardie karges 1:56 pm on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , insurance, , kidney stones, , Obamacare, , ,   

    Hooray for Travel Insurance! Just keep traveling, fellow Americans… 

    IMG_1302

    Author’s Note: Medical issues of a sensitive nature discussed here…

    Well, I never thought I’d see the day when I’d write a post lauding the insurance industry, but since I once wrote a ‘sh*t-list’ post on the bad ethics of bad bizniz, here, then I guess it’s only fair that I write a special post for one of the good guys, in this case Aon Travel Insurance, who just wrote me a check for almost $2222 (I’m too lazy to look up the actual number), for what was hopefully the last of a series of ‘pee gravel’ episodes in my ‘Year of the Kidney Stones’. I almost didn’t even file the claim, I was so skeptical…

    Back story: I’ve traveled to some 155 countries, but almost NEVER got the suggested shots, much less purchased travel insurance. After all, some of the shots seemed worse than the disease itself, and travel insurance was only as good as the doctor, and the hospital, and the country, and the policy, AND… (More …)

     
    • Esther S. Fabbricante 4:22 pm on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, my! What a life – and Godspeed.

    • jgf 12:50 am on August 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Keep on truckin’, old man. Love and Bliss from Joketown!

    • davekingsbury 11:34 pm on August 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Studying is a sort of travelling … what’s that line from TS Eliot? I read much of the night and go south for the winter. Or something. Anyhow, best wishes for the next phase …

  • hardie karges 10:39 am on July 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blues, , , Dos Lobos, , , Los Lobos, , , religion   

    Leaving LA in the Not-so-Broad Daylight… 

    IMG_2509I’ve been accused of writing country music songs in my spare time, to make ends meet and to fulfill other sporadic random urges, apparently, so maybe I should. Here goes another attempt, one more time, so how’s that howling coyote go? Wa-ooo, wuff wuff wa-ooo, get along little doggies…

    Except that the LA in this case is Los Angeles, not Louisiana, and the time in question is midnight, not daylight, BUT: Hey, it’s better than ‘LA in the Rear-view Mirror, US in the Gutter’, which is how I really feel. Don’t you just love it when happy coincidences converge in real life? (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 11:04 pm on September 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The admirable sub-text here is a plea for less commercialism and more community. You do end on a hopeful note, however. I guess the task is to paint a picture of the way it should be – much easier said than done, alas!

  • hardie karges 6:04 pm on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amtrak, , , ,   

    LA at Midnight, Tucson by Morning… 

    IMG_2475Thumpity thump thump thumpity thump thump thumpity thumpity thumpity thump thump, thumpity thump thump thumpity thump thump thumpity thumpity thumpity thump thump, thumpity thumpity thumpity thump thump thumpity thumpity thumpity thump thump…

    “Man with a plan don’t play with no band just me and these hands and a few hundred fans who never hesitate to step up and donate, so please don’t wait, I get off at the next gate…”

    The guy on the Metro ‘Red Line’ is playing a tune, using only his hands, and the long metal walls of the subway car, in a style probably best described as rap, early style, long before hip-hop, long before the progeny and the misogyny and the world-wide knock-offs as appropriate to local milieu… (More …)

     
    • esther Fabbricante 9:40 pm on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Too deep for me.

    • hardie karges 10:00 pm on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Okay, no more deep stuff, I promise…

    • davekingsbury 10:21 pm on June 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh I like deep … travel writing with a free-wheeling Kerouac style spiritual dimension still has a way to go – surface not even scratched – and is always up my alley, done v well here, keep up the g work!!!

      • hardie karges 8:14 pm on June 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, sir, thank you thank you thank you… there is no higher compliment than Jack K…

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