A Wandering American Indian Traveler

Native American cultural interpreter traveling, wandering, observing, wondering.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Soon to be on the road again

I'm packing tonight for an early departure tomorrow.
I don't understand where all this gear comes from.
I swear I pack light.
And then, my bags are so heavy.
I buy books, magazines, a shirt or two, pants, socks.
Oh, a hat for the tropical sun.
Oh, yeah, I bought a laptop .
Ooh, a digital camera. And the accessories, the manuals, the
cords, power cords, the connectors.
oh, and a cell phone.
My kids sure feel that I travel safer with the cell phone.
I do delete some old files so the laptop is lighter for just a while.
But I always add more material to my documents and pictures.
How heavy are electrons, and magnetic patterns laid down onto media?
I opted for first class Amtrak this time.
I just couldn't face the torture of coach seats, and
sleeping two nights in a coach seat.
This is an experiment, and I'll find out if the triple total
is worth the cost.
Yes, I know the meals in the dining room are included.
But the major factor will be if I sleep well, and
arrive on the west coast rested and not-in-pain.
Oh, for a good night's sleep. Oh, for no pain.
Safe journeys,

Amtrak travel, 2004

In January, 2004, I bought a 30 day Amtrak pass.
I started in Seattle,
went to Jack London Square, Oakland, CA.
Then to Chicago,
Then to Los Angeles,
then on to Orlando.
From there
to Washington, D.C.
Back to Chicago,
Back to Los angeles,
north to Oakland, and Seattle.
Adventures, and I used an excellent
rail guide, just as I do when I travel into Central or South America.
Most of my miles are traveled on Amtrak or Greyhound.
I seldom fly.
Except like this time to Puerto Rico.
Whoa, I'm tired.
Safe journeys.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Post Thanksgiving Day

I had my now usual holiday.
I spend the day alone, no special event.
When possible I go to a community dinner sponsored
by a group such as the Salvation Army.
But that depends on if city transit is running.
And in most urban areas, the buses don't run.
And the dinner locations are tens of miles from my location.
In, Juneau, when I stayed at the Alaskan Hotel, the Salvation Army
dinner was just a few blocks away.
It snowed here, and I waited until the afternoon to
walk to Kroeger's for people contact and my dinner.
I opted for brown rice, canned salmon, and canned yams.
It had that from the past nostalgia flavor, and the
now-today nutrition.
Today the buses run.
I'll go downtown for a Starbucks coffe, visit the local Borders bookstore,
and check out Chinese food.
Until later,

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Useless piece of junk

Well, I'm back in the States, and going through my gear.
I bought a Scrabble game on the west coast, planning to enjoy my self
as I traveled east.
Surprise, surprise.
I put the cd into my laptop, expecting to play the game.
But registration is required!
I try the different ways to register-sure-
I can't do it online as I'm on a train in the middle of the Rockies.
I can't print and mail it-I'm on a train in the middle of the Rockies-no
printer.
I can't do it over the phone-I'm on a train in the middle of the Rockies.
It's useless to me.
It's a piece of junk-the definiton of junk.
Sure taught me a lesson about Scrabble.
And the company who put it out.
Beware , world.
Until later,

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It's early morning, still dark outside.

Puerto Rico doesn't change time with the other States.
So with the one hour switch, I was an hour ahead of family, and five hours ahead
of other family.
Sure makes for thinking ahead when phoning.
I'm up at four am, and family is just going to bed.
I'm crashing at nine pm and they're just having dinner.
Or not even.
So, here I sit in the dark, everyone else asleep.
I am flexing with the flow again.
No definite plans for times or directions for travel.
Generally west and north.
A former Glacier Bay co-worker has invited to visit.
And, and, I found a letter from a friend from long ago.
I'd lost the address when I went to South America.
I just may visit Menominee.
Or Texas, I saw an article about Dead Sea Scrolls on display there.
Penultimate destination will be the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle area.
I want to do some research at the UW libraries, and museums.
I do not go the way the wind blows.
It is my own drum.
Until later,

Back in the States/China Express Buffet

Arrived Detroit airport yesterday.
Staying with my daughter and her family for a few days.
Last night she baked a pumpkin pie cake.
I sure feel good being back.
I'm having some cake for desert.
Which brings me to food.
My last full day in Old San Juan,
I discovered my favorite restaurant.
I had passed the China Express several times,
had decided to try it later.
I did.
I walked in for the lunch buffet.
And instant reassurance.
There were Filipinos taking up several tables,
eating, talking, laughing.
I figure they were crew members off the cruise ships.
The moment I saw them, heard them,
I knew this was a good place.
Remember, this is best restaurant for me.
I enjoyed the Puerto Rican restaurants (and the China Express is one also).
I did not go to restaurants that ship passengers seemed to look for.
Restaurants that had clippings of magazine articles about them,
or reccomendations from famous reviewers.
Way out of my price range.
I asked the manager of the guest house I stayed at, and he recommended
places where locals go.
For me, the China Express is comfort food, with a
Puerto Rican twist.
It is "Chinese" food, but it is Puerto Rican.
And in passing,
there was an economic study done in Juneau.
It reported that crew members spent more per person, in port,
than the cruise ship passengers.
Much more.
I am so glad to be back.
I suffered a little "culture shock" after I'd been in Old San Juan about
ten days.
I called family and cried out, "I want to go back."
Then I took a nap, rested a bit, and ate.
And I was better.
That reminds me.
HALT.
Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired
If I am any one of these I have to be aware of myself.
If I am two or more, I really have to be careful.
Like decisions are not made well when in these states of mind.
I learned that from a small circle of friends years ago.
Still helps me now.
Until later,


Friday, November 19, 2004

Departing Old San Juan

Well, I'm in my fourth week here in Puerto Rico.
As I've written elsewhere, this is the US and this is
another country.
I've gotten acquainted with the neighborhood.
My Spanish is just good enough for me to be overwhelmed
when I shop, or talk to locals, or make my way through this beautiful commonwealth.
The local paper, in English, the San Juan Star, had an article about
local, as in here, Puerto Ricans going to Iraq.
They can't vote for the president, but they can die for the US.
Has anyone estimated a date when the number of Americans killed
in Iraq will equal the number of Americans killed 9/11?
The whole situation reminds me of when my grandfather used to tell me,"
Grandson, I remember when American soldiers stood my father against a wall and shot him."
I never heard the rest of the story, but my take on it is, they were bringing the American way of life to my grandfathers country.
Or, when the US shelled, as in cannon, my grandmothers village, for a crime they didn't commit.
Wow, I sure got started on this.
Access is expensive here, Vancouver, B.C. is cheaper, and more locations available.
Did I mention the cyber access spot that charges, $4.00 for fifteen minutes?
So, check out the cybercafe on Calle San Francisco.
Until later,
from the States,
May you all have safe journeys.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Benn here for a week now.
Found a cheap room, share kitchen, bathroom.
Like government seasonal housing.
Warm, warm, warm.
Love the tropics. Well , here, anyway.
Visited the two forts in the NPS.
Three big goals for now are:
Taino-the local indienous people
El Yunque, Caribbean National Forest
Arecibo-the radio telescope.
The challenge for me is to come into an area
and not have reserved a room beforehand.
I have read at least one guide book, but
never a reservation until I step on the ground.
Bus/train station or airport.
That is when I scramble.
Only in the US have I booked ahead.
Breakfst can be as low as 2.10 dollars.
If I go to the Mallorca it costs 5.65 dollars.
Lunch can be a 99 cents sandwich, or real meal.
Coffee runs from 60 cents to 1.50.
Puerto Rican coffee.
I'll be here for at least a month, maybe longer.
I want to visit some archaeologicol site, learn about
the first peoples, before Columbus people.
Then go to the Arecibo radio telescope.
Maybe even some touristy stuff.
Until later,