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  • hardie karges 9:53 pm on November 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , visa   

    TRAVEL ALERT: INDIA SURRENDERS! (Visa-runners exhale now) 

    No, mercenaries have not overrun the Chinese lines, and there are no boys from the Mersey or the Thames or the Thyme.  No bombs have been launched; no shots have been fired.  No casualties have been reported; the hospitals are not full.  And if any negotiations have taken place, it’s been within tourist (and drinking) circles, not political ones.  You see, we’re not talking about normal society here.  We’re talking about an alien life form—visa runners.

    US passport: Visa runner broke my heart

    US passport: Visa runner broke my heart

    For those of you who don’t know what a ‘visa-runner’ is (all ex-pats do) we’re talking about the practice of some expats—residents in a foreign country—of simply crossing the nearest border to renew their visas and/or time allowances in such country rather than going through the time-consuming and finance-consuming but requisite paperwork that the law strictly requires and which is normally associated with such residence.  Oftentimes it is simply easier to add another thirty days… until hell freezes over.

    Hell froze over in India in 2013.  (More …)

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  • hardie karges 5:40 pm on November 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , New Orleans   

    Congo Square Revisited: Halloween in the Big Easy, and Other Nearby Attractions 

    Procession in Congo Suare

    Procession in Congo Suare

    As I prepare for my inevitable Never-Ending Tour and the inescapable expatriation that that will likely involve, I find myself standing at the crossroads (again) and taking inventory of my life and environs—particularly the USA—to see what’s left to do here and what’s worth keeping here . And even though I’ve been to some 150-odd (as you know, some very odd!) countries, there are still some gaping gaps in my knowledge of people and places that I’ve often been very close to, but never actually experienced. So when a friend asked if I wanted to meet up at the family digs on the Mississippi gulf coast, I checked my calendar and my frequent flyer accounts. Yeah, that works. Even though I grew up in central Mississippi, I’d never been to the coast. Can you believe that?

    Gulf Coast beach house

    Gulf Coast beach house

    So for almost a week I’ve prowled the Gulf of Mexico coast in and around Mississippi—Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport, and all the rest. In general “all the rest” are nicer—than the Big Three, that is. Growing up north of here, those three are all I ever heard much about. I didn’t miss much. Even with the casinos now here, there isn’t that much to see or do, their traditional centers now in decay with the gravity now shifted beach-ward toward the slots and tables, just sparsely occupied commercial strips and even sparser shopping centers and malls.  I only wish I could have seen it before Hurricane Katrina, to have a better comparison of life and its living before and after that singular catastrophic event.

    Strangely enough, much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast—the actual sandy strand—is single-family residential, many stately mansions and temporary beach homes separated from pure white sand only by the perambulations and peregrinations of US Highway 90 in its making a mockery of county lines and state borders east to west. Apparently there were many more before the deluge, the beach now left with a gap-tooth sorta-happy smile and many ‘Land for Sale’ signs. Except in the gambling centers, there isn’t much commercial development or amenities, either, just miles of beach. Admittedly, in the Mississippi Sound and intra-coastal waterway the water isn’t quite as azure as your true gulf beaches, much less your Caribbean, but still it’s nice… and relatively cheap. (More …)

     
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