Category Archives: Travel

Travels with Two Ducks (The Continuing Saga of Little Duck, Episode 5)

(To see the commentary and photo details, you need to click on the first photo and on each photo as you follow the arrows.)

As promised yesterday, we brought Little Duck along with us in our northward journey to Des Moines to visit my nephew and then to St. Paul to visit my sister, niece, her husband and grand nieces. So far it has been quite a trip, as these photos will bear witness to:

Unfortunately, in our rush to get registered in the hotel and to get to my nephew’s house on time, Little Duck was forgotten in the car and so is regrettably spending a night in solitaire.  No doubt he’ll have plenty to relate to us in the morning.  In the meantime, we are having a peaceful rest all on our own!!

The prompt word today is “Pretend.”

Inelegant Obsession

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/elegant/

Inelegant Obsession

I’d love to be elegant while I’m obsessing,
but if I told you how, I’d only be guessing.
The man at the counter said yoga’s the answer
to two hour waits, and smart cars and cancer.

I told him that yoga’s more easily done
in my pool or on mats spread out in the sun––
Not two hours before midnight when you’re feeling sad
’cause the car you pre-rented is not to be had

and instead you’re confronted with a Jeep Cherokee
with all bells and whistles included for free!
Yet each feature they’ve added is cryptic and puzzling.
Screen like a space ship and gasoline-guzzling.

I can’t find the lighter to plug in my Nuvi.
The radio screen is showing a movie,
but I can’t find a plug to plug in my phone
and I’m out in this parking lot, stressed and alone.

After one hour of standing and waiting to rent it
and one more in the parking lot, how I repent it!
I go on the road in the inky black dark
with no place to stop and no place to park.

My GPS empty of power and knowledge,
to find the right route would take training in college.
No route numbers have I, I can’t see the map.
My phone out of power sits limp on my lap.

The screen gives me options for stations galore,
but no arrow to choose them, just one button more
for feature after feature that I cannot use.
I wish I had knowledge.  I wish I had booze!!!

When I try to turn on the overhead light,
the moonroof zips open and try as I might,
I can’t get it closed but just open it more,
so the wind whips my hair with a terrible roar.

I’ve always loved traveling wild and free,
but it now seems travel’s evolved beyond me.
Where is my confidence and my elan?
That air of achievement, that air of “I can?”

When I get to the motel two hours in arrears,
when the clerk asks how are you, I explode in tears.
I tell him my story, like a silly old fool––
but he doesn’t snicker and he isn’t cruel.

“See that?” he said, waving a hand at my phone.
He shook his gray head and gave a small moan.
“Don’t know how to use one–not me nor my wife.
It seems like technology’s plaguing our life.”

He dished out a Kleenex and almost at once,
I found I was feeling much less of a dunce.
I may be a fool and an old one at that,
but it’s so reassuring to share that coned hat!

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This control board of the plane I flew from Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia on is slightly less daunting than the dashboard of the Jeep Cherokee they pawned off on me as a replacement for the simple economy car I requested. The flight took one half hour. Renting the car (even though I’d filled out all the paperwork on the internet) and figuring out how to operate the monstrosity they gave me took two hours!!!

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The beast!!! I still haven’t figured out how to turn on the radio and tremble at the thought of mistakenly turning on the four wheel drive.

I later snapped a photo that better illustrates the size of this car.  See that photo HERE.

The prompt word today was “Elegant.” This was stretching the prompt, but I had my own agenda.

Home Traveler

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Home Traveler

A journey’s long, a trip is short.
You trip on the stairs or tennis court,
but you journey into foreign places–
encounter unfamiliar faces.
So when I finally go to bed,
I journey far within my head,
those trips to town forgotten while
I journey mile after mile.
Eschewing trips to foreign places,
I journey into inner spaces.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/a-journey/

Timely Tourism

How handy that the prompt for today is “tourist” just as I am starting out on three weeks of travel.  Do you think WordPress has spies? Here is what I see as I spin around on my stool at Johnny Rocket’s (Juan Pablo Hamburgers here) in the Guadalajara airport, right by my departure gate, where I’ve just tried to choke down 130 pesos worth of undercooked fries. (Two nights ago I spent 150 pesos for a gourmet meal and margarita at Viva Mexico in San Juan Cosala.)

So, after two weeks of exhausting preparations to get ready, here I am ready for a few weeks of leisure. Every year it takes me longer to get ready to leave, either because my life gets more complicated or because I get slower. My internet was out again today, so I’m availing myself of airport wifi to post this.  More to come if I can find wifi in any of the U.S. airports.  Denver bound!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tourist/

Forked!

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1967–Off  on the SS Ryndam on a four month around-the-world study adventure. Ga Ga Dowd was the oldest student aboard. She seemed ancient, but was actually one year older than I am now.  The other two girls, whom I had just met, were to be my best friends on the journey.  They are Susan (in polka dots), who was also a U. of Wyoming student whom I had never met before and Pamn, from Berkeley. I don’t know why the wind chose to blow only my hair.  Perhaps I had invested in less hairspray?

“The Zoad In The Road”
                                                          by Dr. Seuss 

Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad?
Who came to a sign at the fork of the road?
He looked one way and the other way too –
the Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.
Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants.
And he said to himself, “I’ll be taking a chance.
If I go to Place One, that place may be hot
So how will I know if I like it or not.
On the other hand, though, I’ll feel such a fool
If I go to Place Two and find it’s too cool
In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue.
So Place One may be best and not Place Two.
Play safe,” cried the Zoad, “I’ll play safe, I’m no dunce.
I’ll simply start off to both places at once.”
And that’s how the Zoad who would not take a chance
Went no place at all with a split in his pants.

Born in a time before television and the internet and even private telephone lines, (we shared ours with two other households), periodicals took on a special importance. We subscribed to three newspapers: The Murdo Coyote (my hometown rag), The Mitchell Daily Republic  and Grit–a newsy national weekly newspaper. My dad subscribed to Saga, Real West, True West, Argosy and probably a few others; and my Mom got Saturday Evening Post, Journal, McCall’s and Redbook.

One special feature of Redbook  over the years I was growing up was that they published the poetry of Dr.Seuss. I don’t know if the poem above was ever published anywhere else, but it was one of my family’s favorites, and I think I still have it out in a plastic storage case with other old letters and paper memorabilia. It is well-worn and wrinkled and yellowed, glued to a piece of cardboard to aid in its preservation.  I think I had used it as one of the poems I chose to memorize (along with “Out to Old Aunt  Mary’s,” ” The Wreck of the Hesperus” and “The Children’s Hour”) when I was in grade school.

I don’t know how much I actually listened to the messages of poems back then, but I do know that something prompted me not to just dream of those forks in the road but to make a decision and to take a chance.  Perhaps it was this poem.  Perhaps it was the fact that my parents rarely held me back when I had a chance to travel or experience something different.  Well, no, they didn’t let me take the Seventeen trip to Europe when I was eleven, but short of that, they encouraged me to reach out and experience life away from the town of 700 where I lived.

When I was a teenager, I traveled all over the state for district meetings for my MYF.  I attended church camps in the Black Hills and Lake Poinsett and traveled by bus to a U.N. Seminar when I was a junior in high school.

When it came time to go to college, I was quick to choose an out-of-state college and in my junior year again chose to travel–this time around the world on the U.S.S. Ryndaam as a student on World Camput Afloat––a university extension of Chapman College in Orange, CA.  We traveled for four months, stopping in countries around the world, studying their cultures, taking practicum side trips and in some cases taking off on our own.  The first country I did this in was in Kenya, where my newly met friend Pamn and I rented a little Fiat and took off on our own to have a few adventures.

My sister told me afterwards that she had been the one to encourage my folks to let me go, telling them it would get the travel bug out of my system, but if you’ve been following my blog for long, you know that just didn’t happen.  Immediatley after college, I emigrated to Australia and after a few years there, I traveled overland as much as possible to Africa, where I stayed for two years. After that travel was a summer and vacation experience until I moved to California thirty-five years ago and then Mexico fifteen years ago.  At each of these junctures, there was a fork in the road of my ife and each time, I made the decision and took it. Nine times, by my own counting, and in that time, although I’ve split a few pants seams, it was more due to local cuisine than to indecision.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fork/

Foreign Tongues

I wrote this poem that answers this prompt so long ago that few who are now following me have ever read it.  If you have read it, perhaps you have forgotten it, as I had..

Foreign Tongues

When I was a child, I thought as a child.
In short, I didn’t think.
My faulty reasonings were piled
like dishes in a sink.

While other children responded to
“What do you want to be?”
with “Cowboy! Teacher!” (right on cue),
these answers weren’t me.

When it came to having career talks,
I fear I was a purist.
My answer was less orthodox.
My aim? To be a tourist!!

I thought tourists then to be
a sort of gypsy pack.
Jobless, they were wild and free,
their luggage on their back.

Or in their cars, packed front and back,
traveling evermore––
a footloose, wandering, feckless pack
unsettled to the core.

I saw them passing on the road
just one block south of where
my family hunched in their abode
year after passing year.

I had to wait for 19 years
to earn my traveling shoes––
to assuage my parents’ groundless fears,
abate their travel blues.

I took off on a sailing ship
to visit foreign lands.
When foreign words evaded lip,
I merely used my hands!

Back home, the English seemed to me
common––sorta dowdy.
Instead of “Moshi, moshi”
I had to murmur, “Howdy.”

As soon as school was over,
I hopped upon a plane.
I’d pass my life a rover.
Inertia was inane!

I packed up my regalia
with neither tear nor sob
to head out to Australia
for my first teaching job.

I thought that English I would teach.
It was our common tongue.
Enunciation would I preach.
Oh Lord, I was so young!

My first day there, I heard the word
“Did-ja-‘ave-a guh-die-mite?”*
I found it all to be absurd.
They were joking. Right?

Don’t come the raw prahn on my, mite”**
was next to meet my ear.
What foreign language did they cite?
It puzzled me, I fear.

I rode, I walked, I sailed the seas
and ended up in Bali.
Said my “Terimakasih’s”
And then, “Selamat Pagi.”

My move to Africa was one
that some folks found quixotic,
but “amasaganalu
was a word I found exotic.

After two years, I went home.
Wyoming was the next
place that I agreed to roam,
though I was sorely vexed.

For though the words were all the same
I’d learned at my mom’s knee––
(I’m sure that I was all to blame)
they all seemed Greek to me!

California was where I hung
my hat for many-a-year.
There Español was half the tongue
that fell upon my ear.

I liked its cadence, liked its ring.
The words ran fluid and
their foreignness was just my thing
in this bilingual land.

So Mexico is where I’m bound.
I’ve reasons numbering cien.
The main one is, I like the sound
of “Que le via bien.”

 * The American accent version is “Did you have a good day, mate?”

**  “Don’t come the raw prawn on me, Mate!”  This strange retort is similar in meaning to: “Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes.” Many Australians have told me they’ve never heard this phrase, but I swear I did–more than once.

The Prompt: Futures Past: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?