Blog


Egyptian Market Mania

Prices are enticing in Egypt, especially since their pound devalued, doubling the power of the U.S. dollar to nearly 18 pounds per dollar.  I looked forward to scoring bunches of bargain Christmas gifts when we visited the souq.  My chance came at last in Luxor, and I ventured out from under our guide’s protective wing for an hour. It was seriously intimidating.  Vendors swarm the path and shout “shirts, scarves, camels, no hassle, just browsing, have a look, everything free, where you from?”  I can not shop with all that going on.  I walked several blocks to the end of the street without daring to stop to look at anything.  On the way back I saw a dress that […]


Tomb Raiders

  I’m about to spill some nefarious doings, so will offer no details that might finger a perp.  When the Egyptian government needs money, they sell exclusive viewings of exquisite tombs.  I was one of only three people in our tour group willing to shell out for this privilege.  The pricey entry fee buys just 10-minutes inside, but strings were pulled to allow us more time.  When another group arrived for a viewing, they were encouraged to visit nearby tombs until the tomb was not “full.” Every inch of every wall and ceiling was decorated, all of it inset into […]


Camel Caravan

When our tour guide asked whether anyone in our group preferred a truck trek in lieu of the planned camel tour, I said: “We came for the camels!” I was so excited I dubbed it “Hump Day,” but the camels didn’t seem as happy. The memory of their grumbling still makes me smile hysterically. The handlers made interesting noises as well. They urged the camels forward with an odd kiss/whistle, and when a rider wanted the camel to kneel, he made a gagging sound. The toughest part of the ride, I was told, is in leaning back and holding tight […]


Egyptian Donkey Ride 4

A donkey ride in the Valley of the Kings helped sell Mom and I on the tour we booked to see Egypt.  We both grew up riding horses on the family ranch, but neither of us has ridden much in the last 40 years or so.  Also, donkeys are small and quick and can easily turn out from under a rider.  Between those issues and that fact that Mom is under doctor’s orders not to re-break the collar-bone she shattered last year, I couldn’t help being leery about this ride. Our bus delivered us to New Gourna Village where we mounted up on the street with traffic passing by.  The donkeys were tall enough that […]


Dam Vendors

Pushy souvenir vendors can be a pain around popular tourist attractions, but on the Nile, they take an entertaining tack.  As our river cruise ship slowed to approach the locks between Aswan and Luxor, a bundle sailed over the heads of passengers sitting on the sun deck and splashed into the swimming pool.  Then a voice from the river, four decks below, shouted, “Hello?  Excuse me…” Peering over the rail, we found two men waiting in a row boat with piles of goods they hoped would tempt us.  More row boats made haste to join the first in bombarding us with tablecloths, towels, and garish gallabiyahs.  The ladies […]


Batty Bird

As I cooled my trail-weary feet in a mountain stream, I noticed a small creature flitting above the water about tree top height. A glut of recently hatched gnats no doubt inspired the critter’s erratic hover.  The flier was bat-sized, a little small for a bird, and its flight was bat-like as well.  Yet the evening seemed too early for bats.  I watched for several minutes trying to distinguish bat or bird and finally got the right angle to see that the head was bird-like. Shortly after that, as I sat beside our camper, something flew just over my head and apparently clung briefly to the side of […]


Speaking of Writing

I’ve been beating the bushes for almost three years searching for audiences willing to listen to me practice my sea talks.  Last week I drove to Denver to talk to two people because it’s better than talking to a mirror. So I was seriously blown away to be invited–out of the blue–to speak to a writers’ conference! The attendees (hopefully more than two) are even willing to listen to an excerpt of one of my presentations. I can’t wait to hear what else I have to say. Here’s the link in case you’re interested in attending or can’t quite believe it either: http://pueblowestwriters.wixsite.com/pwwg/conference-information.


Knitting Connections

This post is borrowed from my daughter Shawna Williams who lived in China for three years.  To read more of her exploits click on this link:  https://americaninchengdu.wordpress.com/ August 20, 2010 I’ve discovered that a good way to strike up conversations with Chinese strangers is to knit in public. I think this is because Chinese people assume that knitting is a Chinese thing, so they figure that a knitting foreigner must be picking up local habits. On a recent four-day trip from Chengdu to Beijing via Shanxi Province, a man in a bus station mimed knitting and gave me a thumbs-up, and a few […]


Stubborn Trees

Some trees just don’t know when to quit.   I have admired the tenacity of trees growing on rock cliffs and the walls of buildings.  We sometimes camp beside one that leans far out over a creek that undercut the bank that supported that side of the root system.  Tender new roots probe into the tiniest cracks then slowly bulk up to cleave rock and crumble cement.  Even metal pipes are no match for thirsty roots.  We can’t beat them, and the world will work way better if we join them already.  Sign me: Tree Hugger.