Turbulence. (#Algiers #Algeria)

Finally. It was time to go.

I booked this flight about 6 months before departure. Accommodation sorted. At least 1 tour sorted. Basic foundation was already set.

But since this is me we’re talking about, nothing goes smoothly. So of course, bulls*** started just a few hours before my flight. Money, of course, because why not. But I wouldn’t let it deter me. It’d been almost 2 years since my last proper vacation (and I still have to finish those blog posts from that trip… so ashamed of myself.). Yes, there have been a few short jaunts in between, but nothing as long and far away as this. So no matter what, I was leaving. I needed a break from work, from life.

From New York City to Paris, France; a 5 hour layover there; then from Paris to Algiers, Algeria. I know that going through customs in a different country is annoying, but it’s to be expected everywhere and I deal with it. However, I wasn’t expecting to be interrogated by Algerian police.

You read correctly. I was interrogated by Algerian police.

I handed over all of my travel documents at the customs desk and thought that all was well, until I was told to “hold on for a moment”. I knew that some bulls*** was bound to happen because again, that’s just my luck.

Here we f***ing go…

Along with being exhausted, tired/sleepy from limited sleep, and in some pain, I was also angry and kinda scared. My French language skills are very limited, despite my attempts to practice before I left for this trip, and I don’t have any Arabic language skills. So while an officer was telling me that I’d be fine, my face clearly showed that I knew otherwise.

(As an aside, it “helped” a bit that another American woman – a government worker at that! – was also being interrogated. She said to me, “This is terrible, isn’t it?” I nodded with a scowl on my face.)

They opted to interrogate me outside of the officers’ quarters. A female officer who spoke English interpreted & translated for her fellow officers, and asked surprisingly specific questions about why I was in Algeria, what I do for a living, who I see and the age range of the population, etc. ad nauseam. Thank goodness, I didn’t have any reason to lie and was also smart enough to have access to certain things on my mobile phone to prove myself.

TIP: if your mobile phone allows, store your most important documents on something like Google Drive, and make those documents available offline while traveling. It may make a big difference for you in case of emergency.

After what seemed like forever, they let me go. One of the officers hailed a taxi for me and I went to my hotel. But alas, as is my luck, there was more turbulence ahead.

To be continued…

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Algiers, Algeria. (#Algiers #Algeria)

View from above. And don’t worry, blog posts are coming…

In the bubble

Travel, sport, fun, and exercise? Can’t beat it. Check out this new venue in Houston, Texas.

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Gotta find a new place where the kids are hip? Done.

Ain’t your chiffon-dressed granny’s ballroom dance hall, and you’d better be able to kick it

Venue features:

  • Beer
  • Extreme sports competition for laughs accolades and glory
  • Exercise without a breaking a nail (but knee pads might be advisable)
  • Wardrobe protection provided: Wear your best without worry of rips or mud or smelly locker rooms.
  • Did I say beer? Over 100 taps of mostly craft beer and wine. (The cocktail crowd should toddle elsewhere for fancy drinks featuring umbrellas and such)

Bubble soccer. (Screenshot ch 26Houston) No, it’s not a science class demonstration of amoeba division. (Screenshot ch26 Houston)

Houston Dynamo legend Brian Ching opened the area’s wildest sports entertainment venue: Pitch 25

Oh, there’s the usual 40+ TV’s, and plenty of room for indoor four on four soccer matches. Great bar food (Try the The Brian Ching burger which includes pineapple and fried spam…

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Another First. Battle of Kings

This is a coincidental post. Just yesterday, saw a neighbor carrying a huge “rosca de reyes” cake and wondered what it was all about. Seeing this post made me put 2+2 together with the Three Kings celebrations, and there you have it.

Nice piece of history to bite on. Enjoy.

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

You can shove the gym memberships and Mediterranean diet aside a bit longer. The parties are not over.

Happy FMNY! (First Monday of the New Year). Oh, let the Kings Battle on!

Couples at diner. Woman despairing. Movie still from The Payment/The Moving Picture World/ USPD. artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org) “OMG. First she couldn’t eat the nachos because they weren’t on her diet, and now she’s broken her tooth on that darn baby in the cake.”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Nope, not all about football’s chosen champions out to uphold the reputation of their towns.

I had to grin at Seattle’s coach’s comment after gazing around Dallas Cowboy’s cathedral of sports AT&T stadium.

Said playing there “was like playing in a night club”.

Astute comment: so loud people can’t hold normal conversations, lots of colorful flashing lights, big screens showing games, expensive foods, pretty girls in attention attracting outfits, lots of drinking, some men falling down…

Sounds a lot like Mardi Gras

Starting with Jan. 6th, the battle of King…

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Happy 2019. (#Happy2019) (#HappyNewYear)

May you travel overseas, and move wherever you please.

As for me, already have 1 trip booked, and hoping for at least 1 more. Stay tuned.

Cheers.

Anchorage, Alaska. (#Anchorage #Alaska)

Alaska is a state I’d wanted to visit for a long time. So when I found out about a flight that was somewhat affordable, I figured I’d pounce on it while I had a couple extra coins. I went from October 4-9, 2018 (arriving home October 10) and frankly, I wish I’d stayed longer. The nature and the history alone took up more than enough of my time and I wanted more time to explore. But alas… real life and reality.

Anyway, here are a few photos from my mobile phone. I took most of my photos with my real camera so sorry, folks… without a proper computer/laptop, I can’t share those at the moment. Those photos are even more amazing. (NOTE: all or most of the following photos are unedited and unfiltered.) However, whether by mobile phone or regular camera, photos don’t do this state any justice in showcasing its incredible beauty.

 

ChugachChugach
Potter MarshPotter Marsh
City view across Cook Inlet.City view across Cook Inlet.
Earthquake ParkEarthquake Park

 

 

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Brown bear.Brown bear.

The state has some good food.

The state has some good food.

Like this spot.Like this spot.
Reindeer sausage.Reindeer sausage.
Halibut tacos.Halibut tacos.

 

I look forward to visiting again, hopefully sooner rather than later. And I hope you enjoyed this short post. May you soar into 2019.

This Sign Made Me Laugh!

Pure comedy.

Piglet in Portugal

We are plagued by wild campers who have no respect for the countryside. This sign near Praia da Amoreira made me laugh, and inspired me to write a poem which is also about crap!

Please Scoop Your Poop

Wild campers, (PLEASE) scoop your poop or dig a hole
we don’t want your faeces on our soles
nor your toilet paper strewn far and wide
PLEASE, I beg, respect our countryside.

Your pitch is priceless but we like to share
just leave no trace of your existence there.
And why take six parking lots when two would do?
Others also want to enjoy the view.

Indie Campers - Please Scoop Your Poop!

Check out Weekly Signs Meme at signs2.blogspot.com/ and/or why not join me and create your own fun A-Z of Pet Peeves.

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Portland, Maine.

So nice, I visited twice… in 5 months. First time was in March of this year for my birthday, but I was sick and couldn’t fully enjoy it as planned. The 2nd time was in August and I definitely enjoyed myself. Here are a few photos from August.

 

One of the hostel pets.

One of the hostel pets.

 

P.S. I prefer Portland, Maine over Portland, Oregon.

P.P.S. Until I get a proper computer or laptop, I’ll stick to short posts like this to showcase my jaunts. I have a few more in my drafts that are well overdue; stay tuned.

Jolly good time – (2nd) home sweet home.

Last month, I visited England for a wedding. I was there less than a week.

Because of the nature in which I left England 4 years ago, I wasn’t sure what feelings would come up for me. England was my 2nd home. I’d begun building some semblance of a life there – building my career, traveling, visiting my 1st home at least twice yearly, trying to obtain dual citizenship, possibly venturing into the world of (British) dating, slowly growing friendships, etc. – when it was snatched from under me faster than the time it took for me to move there in the first place.

I was left reeling. That shit hurt. It hurt so bad. I had dreams, plans, wishes… and on August 8, 2013, everything fell apart. I cried almost daily. My landlord became a scumbag soon after. Support from work? Yeah… right. On the day I moved out of my flat (I think it was October 2 or 3, 2013), I sobbed the whole time. I left England for good 3 weeks later – October 22, 2013.

To this day, I can’t forget it. And oftentimes, since I left there, the months of August through October are sometimes hard for me because I remember the sequence of events that happened once I got the Home Office letter stating that I was an over-stayer. Time kinda froze.

So with that in mind as I flew to England for the wedding, I expected my emotions to be on the negative side. I got some advice before leaving to go there, from a few people in my small circle, to go with no expectations and cross bridges whenever I got to them. So I tried to do that. And to my surprise, I succeeded.

I had a very nice time.

I recently had medical issues and probably shouldn’t have traveled when I did; therefore, I couldn’t see everyone who wanted to see me, nor could I get around how I wished. But all in all, I truly enjoyed myself. I actually thought about moving back there again… almost. Hell, I won’t even lie… I’m still thinking about it on & off…

Anyway, while there I stocked up on cheese, tea and crumpets.

 

Although I couldn’t see everyone, I saw a few people whom I was meant to see. I won’t show their faces, but I’ll show some of what we ate. 😐

 

I had proper henna done for the first time ever, as part of the wedding.


 

I visited my old neighborhood, twice. The first time, I took a friend there who – believe it or not – just moved to England 2 months ago and wanted to explore a different neighborhood and borough. I took her to the local market I used to frequent.

Vadasz Deli. http://vadaszdeli.co.uk/
Vadasz Deli. http://vadaszdeli.co.uk/

 

And the second time was to visit my old flat. My downstairs neighbors still live there – as a matter-of-fact, they took over my old flat and the home is now fully theirs. After my departure, they didn’t want to risk any troublesome tenants moving in, so they took it for themselves. That humbled me then, and still humbles me now. Anyway, approaching my old door – as well as the street and neighborhood – was emotional.

(That’s a new door, by the way. It used to be a red door.)

 

I ate and conversed with them for a couple hours. Afterwards, I visited my old self-defense class and instructor. I couldn’t participate, but I enjoyed living vicariously through the students. Side note – only 1 of the original students from my class is still there.

 

Urban Krav Maga London. http://urbankravmaga.london/
Urban Krav Maga London. http://urbankravmaga.london/


(I miss class. It’s just not the same over here.)

 

And of course, I attended the wedding. I won’t show faces, but it was a nice one.

I appreciate the family inviting me. They’re like a 2nd family to me; I’ve discussed them here once or twice before.
Looking back, the visit was better than I expected. I saw a few loved ones, nervously returned to my old neighborhood, got my hair done, and brought home some very-missed British cheese, tea and crumpets. I couldn’t handle all of the business I wanted, but the major stuff was done and brought back. I’ll handle the other business (hopefully) next year.

I planned to never return to England again because although most of the time there was alright, the ending was horrible. But now, I’m glad I went, and I plan to return again. To visit or to live? That remains to be seen.

(P.S. By the time you read this, it’ll be 4 years since I left England. I scheduled this post like that on purpose.)

 

Rainbow over London, United Kingdom.