Don't do this! Break out the butter and milk!

Oh this Santa is a bad man you see, you switch the N and it’s Satan
This guy dresses red like hell, and so very far from zen
Whipping his reindeer so hard, all the time, they fly
Yet Satan worshippers everywhere welcome him by

He visits in the dead of winter as it is most pleasant for him
He comes from hell, and this is vacation to him
He also flies at night, which is not a surprise 
When else would you expect the devil to rise?

It is no secret he visits everyone in the world without rival
This bastard never knocks or announces his arrival
Slides his fat ass down your chimney assuring a mess
Not to mention the fact he expects a snack for all this

He comes from the North Pole, a resort from hell
Covered in ice, anyone who ventures never tell
Except Satan Clause and his kidnapped bad kids
He calls them his elves in his sweat shop off the grid

Satan Clause is getting rather lazy
Most his toys are just plain crazy
And furthermore stamped on his toys
Proof of outsourcing to overseas boys

Satan Clause is old school by hundreds of years
Bringing wants and greed and plenty of tears
Little kids tell of worse legends of Satan Clause
Like waking up to find him kissing their momma’s

We make fun of ol' Satan the best we can do
We stuff him up fat, and his karma is to balloon
As long as we continue to leave out the snack
Some day he will get stuck ass first, in a stack
One day in ancient Greece an acquaintance met with Socrates, the great philosopher, and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say, what I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"Well, no," the man said, "actually I just heard it..."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now, let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"

"Umm, no, on the contrary…"

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left—the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

Three filters...

There is a God who went by the name Thoth.  No one could say his name right, and if they did no way to know.  The only way to know is to ask him yourself. Thoth is a God of wisdom and he tells the most outrageous stories to those that don't comprehend.

Thoth did not gain his wisdom on this planet, it simply has not been around long enough. He was a high priest on Atlantis, but when it met it's doom he left toward the land of Egypt.  The barbarians of Egypt at the time lacked the same wisdom, or knowledge as Thoth. If he did not have a birds head at the time the men would have said he was crazy. Having a birds head helped convince these people that what he said was obviously just different, not crazy.

Thoth spoke honestly and openly to the barbarian natives. He told them about how he escaped Atlantis before it's demise in his spaceship then came down to Egypt and buried his spaceship under the Sphinx.  He had compassion on men. A few Gods said he was foolish for intervening with lower life forms, but admired his wisdom in the way he went about it. He knew a few of the other local Gods as well. Such as the Dagda in Ireland who built Newgrange, and others that landed on various areas of the world.

The Gods were just as different from each other as we are.  Dagda was seen as pure alpha male, he to was a God of wisdom, but all Gods were compared to us. Those in Ireland called him the "Good God", obviously having some experience dealing with others they thought not so good.  Gods all had mastered what they were and had power over life and death.  They also die as we do when incarnate on this earth. 

Each God that cared, tried to reason with the people to help them grow out of their innocence that would hold them back. They tried to comfort regarding death, each in their own way. Thoth build pyramids, and Dogda built Newgrange.  They were built out of such large stones people today are amazed and always guessing as to how they must have done it. 

Thoth lived on our planet just as we do in our form.  He is often depicted with various heads of animals in artwork.  This is because he manifested an appearance different from our own.  If he liked dogs, the next lifetime he would grow a dogs head.  He was wise in doing this.  Men all knew he was a God, and if he took the same form men would see themselves as the same. This would cause problems as Thoth wanted their attention.  Plus it looked rather striking, as men painted him often this way.

In his divine wisdom he laughed and drank beers with other men. Beer he taught them to make. One time one of the men ask him, "How come we look different than the other creatures around us?"

Thoth was always a comedian, and enjoyed his wise puns, "Because you see differently."

"Haha! But in all seriousness..", he continued. "A long time ago there was another rag tag group of Gods.  You might call them aliens, but they were wiser than you anyway."

Thoth continued, "They saw your world pop up rather quickly.  It looked volatile, like it would not last long you know. They were thinking something like 6000 years and it would be destroyed or blow itself up. Groups would show up here for awhile, stir shit, and leave. Some used the locals for sport and satisfaction. Some would terrorize the locals, cause floods, volcanoes, plagues, and false doctrines. Some Gods fell in love with the females and made love to them as only God's could do.  In wisdom, as well as love, they did this so there would be wiser beings among you to help you gain self awareness before you blow the world up out of torment."

"All you bare skinned animals are hybrids of one of us, you are children of light as myself. That is why you can deny your instincts, that is why you can evolve in so many ways now."

There was no mistaking Thoth.  He made known to men his control over both matter and energy. He built the pyramids himself.  Men are still trying to figure out how other men made them, but it is quite simple if you know how. If you are a God.  When I was young I was taught that they had found no soot in the tunnels, so obviously there had to be slaves working in the dark. Recently, men have obviously started to only accept as truth what they can accomplish with their own works.

Thoth's wisdom speaks through the ages.  He had men paint descriptions of everything they did.  "Document it in rock", he said.  "The more solid rock, the longer it will last." In one description he had them paint the light tubes they would walk around with in the dark catacombs.  Way before Tesla's tower - the pyramids, being buried so deep and sticking up high, covered with metal which has long since weathered away, focused the earths own electrons in such a way that Egyptians just walked around with glass tubes that worked much like fluorescent lightbulbs. The pyramids themselves acting like wireless batteries. The Gods could charge this light themselves as they had direction over their natural electricity. Men could not do so unless they were enlightened. Thus we now call it being enlightened.  If one was not, they would have a hard time navigating the pyramids, pretty much impossible.  One guy tried to light a torch and go in, but at the time there was a build up of methane gases and he shot out, ass first, on fire as if through a cannon.

Thoth  lived several times on this planet and also in Europe as Hermes the thrice. He spread his wisdom upon men so they may live as they are supposed to, as they truly are, as themselves.

Thoth gave men hope.  He reasoned with them rather simply.  In fact he repeated himself verse, after verse, after verse.  To read his writing translated is fascinating as it is the same truths described with the same words, many different ways. Smart men believe it is hocus-pocus, they believe it is hypnotic propaganda set to confuse and separate the mind. This is why Thoth had his words recorded on a set of emerald tablets.  They were not made out of normal emerald.  It was a green substance that looked like emerald, but was impermeable to oxidization and corrosion. There are stories of other famous people seeing these tablets like Isaac Newton, but since then no one knows where they are at.  I would love to say I have seen them, but only read a supposed interpretation of them on the internet.

His message was simple.  He said we are all children of light, we are infant Gods. To believe you are not is to believe you are of this earth, are no more than dirt. In a material world where there is an illusion of absolute, accomplishment, progress; ego is born. If we grow too fast we marvel in ourselves so we lose our footing through pride. It is because we lack wisdom we think we should resort to power, but without wisdom, we have no power, only illusion.

So he told of these halls through which you pass when you die.  He called them the Halls of Amenti. If you had no ego, you would pass through with ease, and remember the lessons of your past lives, continuing to grow.  If you have ego, you will be reborn again, but your memory of lessons wiped clean by a god of forgetfulness and mercy so you may get it right. It is the nature of the spirit to share and the nature of the ego to take. The hell is waking up to swallow illusion and not grow, then die to relive the same torments, addictions, and weaknesses until finally waking the fuck up.

So enlightenment as it is, is simply the mastery of your own energies.  It can span lifetimes if that is your journey. All of us are children of light, he repeats this a lot.

We are all growing or dissipating. When we are dissipating we do not mind. When we are growing nothing can stop us.  Fear paralyzes our growth. Guilt and shame create karmic debts which may take more than one lifetime to pay off. We should not be sorry, because we should not do things we would be sorry for.  When we are growing we seek balance and harmony, once we have mastered one thing, we move to another, or may rest.

The hell is to believe that this world is all there is to it.  It negates a simple truth in oneself that they are something more than just material decaying. It makes desperate and greedy souls out of men.  Men collect riches, then foolishly save them for another life. The very joke is that this ego, that they may start ahead of others in the next life, will cause them to forget where they buried their treasure. They will begin again until they get this right.  It works with everything.  If you grow ego from anything it will surely destroy the whole, whether it be love, money, power, lust, or pleasures. With wisdom all things easily come, without it you toil for promised treasure. Treasure you promised yourself. Treasure you comfort your own fears with, telling yourself your earthly accomplishments will somehow benefit you in the next life.  Growth does not happen through material alone, it requires energy.  Do you believe you are matter or energy, or both?

Ego is thinking you have a secret shortcut to salvation when it's really unnecessary, or that you may gain wisdom without understanding foolishness, that you may win without first losing, or live without dying.

Thoth obviously moved on to other things eventually.  I don't know what kind of God he is now, but if you call on him for wisdom he has now mastered it.

I suppose really.. your ego is the hell of it all.                 

- ๐Ÿ‰ LKL
You never really hear a lot of legends of the Dragon world.  These legends are only partially remembered, filtered through rebirth, as their spirits have found their way to other lands as other beings. Some people say that the world moves through the universe and during a specified time every 12 years you will find spirits born of the Dragon realm. Although not everyone is a dragon that is born during this time, repeatedly you will welcome men and women you will only know, if you knew dragons.

In time, as we know it, the dragon realm existed many thousands of years before, and exist no more. It was destroyed in a violent event that we only hear partial reports about.  The ones we do know of report fires, rocks burning, huge canyons of fire opening up, and their loved ones burned or crushed before them. Even dragons are not sure what destroyed their world.  What they are sure of, is that it had nothing to do with nuclear war, pollution, or technological advances as we know of them today.

This world was far beyond lush, every living thing lived in bounty until it's very own existence balanced living in harmony with everything else. When survival became strained for a living thing it adapted slowly over time, it found it's prey very selectively, and the world bowed to the conquest of the strongest beings.

This world was not unlike our own, but only when we have seen it in it's natural nutrient rich state.  The air was more humid and rich in nitrogen. It smelled like a fertile greenhouse. It had seas, lakes, rivers, lands, deserts, and ice caps. There were cycles of change, but this world was far older than our own.  The mountains lost their sharp edges, life naturally developed and interacted with everything else of all life types. The planets rotation after tens of thousands of years had slowed to a 36 hour day.  Dragons usually only slept 7 hours a day. There was more than one sun and the darker hours were limited so dragons simply rested when they were tired. The days and nights cycled through various colored sunsets and rises from different colored suns. The contrasting light spectrums, and angles brought out the brightest colors.  Colors we can not imagine with only one spectrum of light. There was not just light and dark.  There were creatures that would only come out when the light was deep blue. Their color reacted with the light in such a magical way that it's prey never regretted it's last dinner. They appeared to glow with a pink light of their own. They looked delicious, as if you could taste a color. To view such spectrum is spectacular and it is only wisdom that can protect you from it's beauty. It enchants through desire and pleasure, yet is not evil.  It has adapted.

The planet had more land, less water, and less salt. Storms were not as fierce as the planet had lived a lot longer and was no longer building.

There was one, and only one large being that could fly.  This being was the Dragon. The dragon is one of the oldest living creatures ever, having seen thousands of years of evolution and being incredibly intelligent they were the supreme guardians of the planet. They did not fight crime, it did not exist, justice is not needed.  Life happens regardless of what you think, and there is no need to judge it. The guardians ruled with supreme passion and dedication for the planet. Dragons never developed opposable thumbs. There was no need to develop anything anyway. Every weapon a creature had developed through necessity and had been earned. So using it was just.  It's needs became such a necessity that thousands of years rewarded each with their own tools for it.

Dragons are incredibly wise because there is no fear, no evil force to be afraid of.  In fact this very thing led to the dragons enlightenment.  This world had no language as we know it. They had not needed it. Dragons are passionate, but physical intimacy as we know it does not happen there.  Dragons are scaled to protect them and physical contact and chemistry do not exist as it does for us. Reproduction could be said to be divine, but is a result of asexual fertilization upon unseen electrical or magnetic connection between two. A charge of spirit not unlike our orgasm, but involving the entire being.

Dragons, like lobsters, lived as long as they willed it, considering how well they used their manifestation, and of course, considering physical limitations. The dragons time was not destined or planned, but just as we know we will fall when we lose our footing, the dragon knows when it is time to go.  They did not believe in re-incarnation as we speak of it.  They never really thought of it. However, generation after generation of them continued to become wiser. There were no interplanetary threats that ever lived without adapting to the planet.  I suppose you could say it was darwinian in nature.  The Dragons would always warn, but that is all they could do.

When they played they were performing their biggest service to the planet. They looked upon the world with compassion. When little else was going on they would witness births, death, pain, and suffering.  Whatever dragons purpose was it was mercy. Mercy for suffering, and it was always completed with divine wisdom and love for the planet.  Dragons protect that which they value. They are smart, wise, and particularly different.  A dragon will very much do what he says. You will find it easy to talk to a dragon, but very hard to connect.

Dragons spirits are old to the dragon world and new to any other world they appear on.  Just as the eyes have a moment of blindness as they move from dark to light, so does the soul experience confusion upon awakening.  They never forget what they see, can be foolishly determined, stubborn, and difficult to communicate with.  Their intelligence generally can promote increased compassion for people, or if twisted, disgust and contempt, but then they lose their magic.  They let it go. A suicide of their creativity. Dragons know illusion, many life forms use it for protection, including dragons.

Dragons are independent creatures, naturally gregarious with other life forms. If cornered or controlled they will attempt to fight or flee as every wild thing.   They are extreme in their actions often leading to their early demise in this world. They have a strong tendency to seek adrenaline and dopamine to help nurture a void for quantities of energy they once experienced flying from mountain tops and chasing leopards across the desert.  In the Dragon world you inherently knew your boundaries. You could fly with molecular precision. Dragons have developed a sense of speed and direction that could only be gained with centuries of playful practice. Dragon spirits in other realms are often pilots, very good pilots as that. They have a knack for this dimension, and feel free when they do.  Fear of high places is not a fear a dragon avoids.  It is exciting as hell when you master it, and charges your spirit.  Dragon spirits in other realms often have dreams of flying they can not explain.

Dragons are trustworthy at a very deep, eternal level.  They always believed what they saw in other realms and are always looking for truth in worlds where everything seems strange.

Please remember that not every dragon is new to a realm.  Occasionally they will stay more than one lifetime.  That is if their first experience is not a fucking shitstorm. They may return a lifetime if they find love or compassion for others. Otherwise, to hell with your planet, a dragon will sleep ten thousand years to find a place he loves.

You ask about why the dragon world was destroyed? Nobody knows, they were just living their lives when they witnessed its end.  Maybe we ought to start asking better questions, stop trying to procrastinate, and extend the future. Start living in the now. If we make each moment the best we can, we do not need to worry about the past or the future.

Wednesday September 13th, 2017
Hiked 2.9 miles

4:03 AM

 I am glad to have made it safely home. Our landing had me wondering. We were about to touch down and suddenly the engines go full throttle and we shoot up at a 45 degree angle. After about 1500 feet the pilot banked right into his flight pattern and came on the radio. "We were lined up on wrong runway .. direction, ATC came on and said to pull up so we will fly around 5 or 10 min and come back... sorry folks."

I was surprised that the only people that were concerned was one flight attendant that I could see looking around like she was hoping for the best outcome, or praying. Everyone else looked like this was just normal and had complete faith in the pilot. Thankfully we made two more right turns and were apparently lined up on the correct runway, because we landed safely.

1130 pm

Well I have organized my post and pasted my journal entries into the appropriate days they happened.  During my trip I slept when I was tired and saw various people around the world at various times of day.  It seems like six months since I went to Thailand. This trip was incredibly fast paced, and if I didn't pay attention to what was going on all the time I would have missed it. It was uncomfortable at times to be surrounded by no one that spoke English. It was difficult to communicate in Asian countries where you have no knowledge of their language and pointing is considered rude.

Along the trip I realized the risk I was taking if I was to get sick.  That exhausting schedule could have become a nightmare in a heartbeat. Regardless of how skilled your doctor is, if you can not communicate with him you remain oblivious to your diagnosis.

I learned little things along the way, far too many to mention in this post. It is the details and similarities, the differences and contrast. The shock of doing the entire world so quickly gave me a worldwide snapshot.  Rather than vacation then return, grow older, mature, then visit another place.  I saw it all at once, taking it all in relatively in a very short amount of time. Smelling the warm air in south Asia, and then going to bed in the chill air of Ireland.  It was the mind-melt of taking off from Iceland at 6:30pm and landing in San Francisco after a 9 hour flight, two hours later at 8:30pm.  It was being tired enough that you can recognize the kind European man on the flight with you to ask you if you were alright.

It was a chance to understand a very clear difference and similarity in all people around the world when you look or act differently than they do.

I remember reading that the guest sees more in an hour than the host sees all year.  That could not be more true.  I learned this summer that when you visit a place there is a honeymoon that can vary from place to place.  The Grand Canyon had a honeymoon of about an hour, and then I was ready to go.

After awhile you feel the sun, see the bugs, smell the horse-shit and are ready to go.  The honeymoon is over.

When I went to Phi Phi I expected a long passionate honeymoon that made me long for the return, but that was not the case. The trip was exhausting, but you won't hear me complaining.  A truth dawned on me on the long drive home from the airport last night. If you look for the beauty in things, pretty soon you will see everything's beautiful. Beauty can be replaced with interest, amazement, and can refer to people and things. How you look at things is the most important thing we can pay attention to.  Take a walk-about on the tourist trail of the world.  Listen to the 23 year old kid from Germany impressing the French girls at the breakfast table with his knowledge of America from a 2 day visit he had to Atlanta and getting every fact wrong.  He was not wrong to his experience.  His experience taught him what he spoke of was real, and even though what he said was completely ridiculous and full of generalizations, stereotypes, and colored by Hollywood. I knew his story would inspire 4 more tickets to the great USA to be bought with Euros at a discounted exchange rate.

My trip has inspired so many stories and I have only documented a handful of my experiences in my journal. Every smell of every food in 7 countries was delightfully different. I recognized companies from home everywhere.  My debit card worked at any ATM without a problem, and most merchants that accepted a major credit card.

Cash was easily used everywhere.  It is not an efficient way to travel so many countries.  There are exchange rates, and you pay when you re-exchange what you don't spend.  It can get expensive quickly as it is all % based, or wrapped up into their posted conversion, which may differ slightly from the actual or change daily. It is great to do if you want to check out the cool and very different currencies around the world.  You can carry many coins in a small bag and it might be worth it to you to come back home with coins as token gifts to your friends and family from around the world.

 Every experience I had overseas was valuable. I will always remember every person I met and every look in their eyes.  The world is a huge fucking place. There are thousands of miles with people stacked up five high, and thousands of miles of barren unused land. Just as different as everything you see, you are a ambassador to everything you are. Everyone sees your country in your eyes and if you stick around long enough you can see their country in theirs.

Nobody anywhere means you anymore harm than anyone else. They will know about you very quickly and remember your name.  Everyone will have a copy of your passport because you are on their soil.  The locals will know more about you than you know of any of them.  Especially if you are an American that has a blog.  They could find out so much more about you because in their country they feel like they can not speak freely so they will most likely not have a blog.  You will not feel like you can speak freely either, if you know the laws overseas. Travel over there, and feel what it is like to read a newspaper and notice that there is no CSI, crime scene investigations, due process, or forensic autopsies going on.  What you will find quickly is that the people are the law.  If you step out of line many of them will carry you to the police station where the Royal Police will impose monarchy laws upon you swiftly and effectively.

You do not have to be a lawless man either to be a criminal in another place.  You can legally smoke a joint here in California, fly on a plane to Thailand, have a legal bucket of booze, act like a fool, get carried to the police station, ordered to take a drug test, and become a criminal without breaking a single law.  You will pay the local consequences wherever you are at.  It does not matter how good your American lawyer is if they do not speak the language or know the legal processes.  Your local lawyer may be very good, but you will pay dearly and hope he understands you.

When you go to Europe they see you walking around just like in our country.  There are cameras all over the place, and even security officers wear cameras.  It is so effective the local police don't even worry about carrying firearms.  They are all friendly and have a baton, maybe pepper spray, and handcuffs.

I am pretty sure Russia knew of my trek through their airport, even before I got off the plane they knew the contents of my bag, and interrogated be with their beautiful blue eyes before I got to enter the terminal.

Korea had really fancy facial recognition software.  They had to calibrate it since my facial hair was a different than my passport.  Once I walked passed the robot cleaning the airport floor, very slowly and thoroughly,  I realized they will know how many times I go to the bathroom after I long forgot.  In fact privacy was incredibly different to Koreans as I noticed when the young Korean woman took a picture of what I was writing on my keyboard.

Hong Kong is like New York city.  There was a diversity I have never seen in California, perhaps maybe in Los Angeles. People from everywhere speaking every language were in a hurry to continue their business at their next meetings.  They all looked very tired, like they couldn't give a flying fuck what the Hong Kong dollar looked like.  It is very decorative and I suggest you check it out.  They cut their coins like flowers. I don't think they are worry about you in Hong Kong.  Like any big city, they hope for the best, and sort out the rest.

I stuck out so bad in Wuhan, China that there was no way I was going to do anything questionable.  Everyone in the world had an eye on me.  I know this because none of them showed the slightest care of letting me know they noticed me.  I could have walked through a crowd and it would part without anyone making eye contact with me.

I learned that security is so relative to the perceived threat.  I left with my favorite small pocket knife.  I knew you could fly legally with it out of the US, but had no idea how far I would get.  It is small enough that I could do no harm with it, but I do use it for small repairs, trimming my fingernails, cutting tape, and cutting tags off clothes. I made it out of San Francisco, through Wuhan China, on a domestic flight in Thailand, and it was not confiscated until I was leaving Thailand. It was a shame because it was my favorite pocket knife, but I can get another on Amazon. I was kind of glad I got it confiscated when I got to Ireland.  I ask if you could have a pocket knife and an young local exclaimed, "Aye, what does anyone need with a knife, you'll go straight to the slammer for that for sure. No way, you can't have a pocket knife in Dublin!"  I didn't look it up to be true or not because Thailand security disarmed me long before.

I learned that you can fit in better along the tourist route in Asia.  Unless you can speak the local language forget it.  Start walking through the countryside and people will see you coming a mile away from their porch and do a drive by on their scooter just to get a closer look at the lost tourist.  I fit in pretty well in Ireland.  Well enough that people ask me if I was local before I left.  I just wore European sandals, tight pants, and a sweat top from the local Penney's and grunted for communication.  I learned quickly that when you go into a bar and want a Guinness, you must say exactly, and in your best Irish accent, "I'll have a pint of Guinness Ale."  It is not beer, not just Guinness. Guinness makes a lot of different beers and I don't see that Ale is one of them, but when you say that you are always given a correctly poured cold glass of their delicious chocolate beer with thirty million bubbles in each glass, poured with precision, patiently enough to wait for the last step, and placed correctly on the bar with the Golden Harp facing you.

Not used or needed shit I lugged around the world..
  • personal dosimeter (im a nerd)
  • neck pillow (wrap up your sweater, works better)
  • military heavy duty poncho (if I would have needed it, it is most valuable)

The most important thing I learned was how we are different from other countries.  I am comfortable with being American, as it is all I have ever really known.  This trip was one of the single most important vacations I have ever had.  It was long, it was tiring, it was quick. There is no impression like the first impression though.  Every interaction, every purchase, every ticket counter, and every immigration line I stood in was a chance to see the culture and people.  To see our similarities and differences.  To see how far we have come as a country, and how far we have to go. To understand the world is a very large place with millions of people all trying to do it right.  Right for there family, right for their country, and right for themselves.  Everyone has very different interpretations of every concept, every word, every tone of voice.

The most important appreciation I got from being overseas is the simple fact that in America no one is worried that what they might share with the world will come back to hurt them. That free speech thing is an amazing concept. Everyday we post public messages to social media without giving them very much thought. There is very little chance that one mans rantings will mean anything at all and so no one worries about what we say.  We like things that may be posted by extremist groups, we share them, and comment on them without worry that we will simply disappear into the night.  There are no dead laying on the side of our roads, and when someone goes missing we have a complex and developed network of communication to locate them.  

Furthermore our free speech means that those in our office need to be strong. A king with no criticism never really knows how his people feel.

Tuesday September 12th, 2017
Hiked 3.8 miles

8:47 am

I am at the airport.  I had that Big Irish Breakfast and it was really big.  It was the sort of breakfast you want to have before you go chop a Christmas tree.  It was loaded in saturated fats and delicious. 

Being abroad makes me appreciate our country on a new level.  Bickering about the presidents hair seems to be of little concern when faced with other world problems. 

Monday September 11th, 2017
Hiked 4.8 miles

2:30 pm

So today I went out to find some real Irish food and find that spinner toy with the gears I saw a few days ago.  I think my nephew would love it. 

I found a restaurant called the old mill that had something local sounding on it.  Bangers and Mash it said.  It was only a mile away so I headed off toward it.  

The restaurant was nice, elegant and hidden away. Now that I have officially acquired a taste for Guinness I ordered one to go with my food.  

When my food arrives I am disappointed after my first few bites.  I can't discern any notes of spice from the sausage.  The gravy is slightly salty, but lacks bullion.  The mash potatoes are very much just mashed potatoes. It was not my favorite, but I am learning that I have also become used to a lot of spices and salt. The beer though.  The beer still has my full attention.

Sunday September 10th, 2017
Hiked 10.1 miles

8:00 pm

The oldest castle tower in Dublin. 
So today I had two goals. To see the Guinness Storehouse where I would buy my taste for Guinness, and to see the oldest cathedral around. 

Today it rained on and off.  It would start to downpour so I would take shelter then it would immediately let up, and the cycle continued many times over.  Each time I felt like a coward for taking cover.  At the end of the journey I gave up trying not to get wet and I didn't get any wetter than if I would have taken cover.  Although I was only wearing cotton, there was enough break between showers I remained mostly dry.

Saturday September 9th, 2017

Hiked 7.3 miles
3:44 am

The sea is much deeper blue up north. 

Well I got my room a little after 2 yesterday afternoon and have slept almost 12 hours. I woke up earlier thinking I would go out. My throat was a bit sore, and I was feeling weak so I considered I might be getting sick. I went back to bed. I am less weak than I was, and my throat is still a bit sore. I did get a green drink last night, a large one, that helped. I am impressed that I made it out of Asia without so much as a runny stool. I am only slightly concerned about the cold. It seems there were a lot of sick people in Hong Kong.

Fifteen minutes ago my roommates all came in very happy from a fun night out. I am feeling like I had too much sleep so I just got up, grabbed my keyboard and left the room. As I was leaving once of the young cute french girls said, "Where are you going?" I explained it was late in the morning where I am from so I am heading out to see Dublin. The girls giggle and one says, "Good night." I said, "Good morning." and they giggled again.
The green farms as we land. 

It was 0330 hrs when my roommates came back from the bar. They were cute young European girls and a couple of studs from Naples, or Birmingham. He said Naples first then told me closer to Birmingham. I suppose it makes not a difference to me as I don't know where either of those places are or what they are like.

So now I am sitting out in the lobby area, but only extremely wasted people are coming in now, in no condition to have conversation.

I am sitting here holding an energy drink. I thought it would be a gatorade as it looked like the ones I saw in Thailand without the Thai writing. I can read this though. One sip of it last night and Rockstar came to mind. It is not a good drink at all but I can not say it is worse than our energy drinks. It is carbonated, caffeine water with vitamin C and glucose with artificial sweetener. I brought down some blueberries for breakfast too. At least to hold me together until I can go get what they say is an Irish breakfast. In America we skip breakfast and throw money at Starbucks.
A curious bird watching me through the bus window. 

This hostel was built many many years ago. It has been updated and repaired, but the stairs that lean to one side amplify the sound of every drunk bastard going up or down them at night.

6:11 am

I had to go pee and did not want to wake up my roommates so I headed down to McDonalds. It seems to be one of the few places open at this hour. The streets were almost empty. I noticed a handful of people sleeping in nice sleeping bags, but I couldn't tell if they were backpackers or homeless people. The streets feel safe and the people seem friendly.

I walked in McDonalds a few minutes ago with my sweater on and my hoodie up because it was cold. A police guy stood up and approached me and ask if he could help me. I said, "I was just going to use the bathroom then enjoy breakfast if that is alright?" He dressed like a security guard but only had a camera strapped across his chest. He
Very innovative bridge. 

pulled his hand up across his bald head and I guessed it was a hint to take down my hoody. I pulled it down and he excused me. I went upstairs to go to the bathroom then came down and ordered the Big Irish Sandwich and coffee. When I walked to the front of the store the same security officer said I should go upstairs. I walked upstairs and enjoyed the sandwich. It is 2 eggs on a long bun with sausage and bacon. (Bacon in ireland is what we call sliced ham.) They ask if I wanted ketchup or brown sauce. I decided to try brown sauce.

The brown sauce ended up being gravy and it was just salty enough to be really good on it.

Since I have been here I feel like I stick out. Everyone seems to know I am American before I open my mouth. I noticed that every European is wearing skinny pants, skinny jeans, or somehow has their ankles snug tight with the only exception being a suit.
A very old mounted deer head.

The security guy came up here to make his rounds. He is a large black man. I tried to make conversation with him, but he just shrugged me off silently. He seemed to know english well earlier when he told me to come upstairs. I wonder if he does not speak English, or because he has a camera strapped to his chest.

6:58 pm

Well I learned a lot today. I came here having traced my family history back to William Carson of Ulster Ireland in the early 1700's. I did not know much else. My first stop today was the EPIC Irish immigration museum. It was 22 euros with the genealogy assistance. The museum was fascinating and I realized Obama, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, and Billy the Kid are all Irishmen. I learned that 22 US presidents are Irish too. Prime ministers, comedians, and important people everywhere. It was well done and by the end of the presentation I was wondering if there was anyone that wasn't Irish.
The Spire at the end of Talbot street.

The gentleman that helped me out at the genealogy part was quite knowledgable with the websites. He knows the free ones and you get a trial of an Irish records site for 30 days with your tour. I found out that Carsons spotted northern Ireland and that my ancestor likely came over during the Ulster migration of 200,000 people in 1722. They primarily landed in the Boston area and North Carolina where William landed. I also learned that the Carsons were not originally from Ireland but came over at the wishes of King James in the 1600's to help Ireland become more protestant. I have yet to go to England and see where else my family history leads. I feel that it was well worth my visit and I even found two more leads from William Carson from another family tree. That would be two more generations of Irish in me.

My hostel on the right side. 

On the way back I went to Penney's so I can dress like a European. My baggy pants are giving me away as a yank. I got some tight sweats and a sweater. I had to go back and get sizes too big because I am not used to skin tight and it felt weird. I will wear them tomorrow. On my way back to my room I stopped at Istanbul Turkish food. I got the gyro plate. The Russian speaking man behind the counter made me a gyro fit for a trucker and just as many fries for only 5 euro.

While I ate I had an interesting talk. He was very concerned about our country and he said thousands were wiped out. I ask where and I thought he said Korea. I said, "Really I was just there." I said something about how I knew tensions were boiling up. He seemed more concerned and showed me a video in Russian about the devastating storm in Cuba and Florida.

I have to say I was relieved that we were not at nuclear war but it was comforting the whole world was concerned when we got hit by such a destructive storm.
11:51 pm

After my last entry I realized all my room-mates were sleeping so I stayed downstairs and finished
Old buildings are amazingly strong. 

my movie "Sand Castle". It was and interesting movie about desert storm in 2003. Then I started talking to a lady from Cape Horn Africa. She was an older lady who went by the name "B". She was a citizen of south Africa having a problem with her visa to stay for her work here. She said I should go to South Africa. She said they have blue ribbon beaches with no trash. She showed me pictures of awesome surf and only seaweed washing up on the shore. Sure there are lots of sharks, but I will take sharks over sewage.

I spoke with a few other hostel dwellers. Two guys from India who were studying IT at the center of technology. Then I decided to find a pub. I passed a few that were packed with tourist, as I went further up the road I saw two guys exiting and as I looked in the door I saw one seat at the bar.

I sat down and ordered a local light beer. Soon I struck a conversation with a guy named Kevin from Chicago. Kevin was talking to Mick who sat between us for quite awhile. Mick was a local who just dropped by after his visit to downtown to go to the store. He was just about retirement age and was already nearing his alcohol limit. He taught me a lot. I learned that in Ireland they play a sport called Hurley. The teams knock around a giant sized softball while trying to break each others knees with the sticks. They volunteer for this. There is no income so these are policemen, doctors, plumbers, and janitors all battling it out for free on a field where 82,000 fans show up to watch.

We talked about how American football players looked like pussies with all their padding, He found this hilarious. I think it was Kevin that brought of that word. Mick found it absolutely hilarious.

We all drank a few more ales. Then Kevin had to leave. I sat on the other side of Mick because he said he was deaf on the other side. We talked about current events, sports, how little we westerners know about rugby. Then he said joyful and loud, "Do you need a straw with that beer? Hey bartender, get this kid a straw! Hahahah!" We both laughed. I decided tomorrow I would go buy a taste for Guinness at the storehouse.

We had a lot of Good laughs. At one point we were talking about what I write about. I showed him a picture of a Yin Yang. He immediately ask, "Which side is evil?"

I replied neither and gave him a brief synopsis of my philosophy.

"Aye. That is too deep for me lad."

I was getting too deep for me too so we said our goodbyes, "Come back here when they knight you and we'll have a beer", Mick said. "Your a good man!", the bartender said. It was a very friendly bar. I had great laughs, learned a lot about true Irish drinking. I also know what I must do tomorrow in my new skinny sweat pants. Find a taste for Guinness.
Friday September 8th, 2017
Hiked 5.4 miles

11:14 am

I am sitting in a restaurant in Dublin Ireland called Flennagins drinking a Tom Crean's Lager. It is very cold and very good.  I plan to drink ale until noon then I am going to order the bacon cheeseburger the waitress recommended. 

London is the only place where you can get a tic tac and a
condom for a proper shag in the airport. 
This morning I landed too late in London to experience Fish and Chips the english way.  I walked to a restaurant and caught the manager.  She said they were closed, but the sandwich stand across the mall should be open. She also remarked that they don't have lager.  I walked back over to the sandwich stand and got a decent warmed sandwich, some chips, and a coke.  I ate it in the company of some other weary travelers without saying a word then decided to scout out a place to sleep.  There was nothing going on in Heathrow at this hour. The train looked like it would shoot me right into town, but I was beat.  I noticed that unlike China there were many people on the floor.  One man found a perch sleeping right along the window railing. It was quite a view and I almost wanted to do the same.  I was thinking I might be too tired and miss my flight, but I have not been too tired to wake up every hour this entire trip.  
You get more security coming to the US from England.

Thursday September 7th, 2017
Hiked 6.2 miles

2:43 pm

Seatbelt sign is on but no one cares.
I feel safe en-route to Moscow.  Before we took off I thought it was a bit cold so I covered up with my sweater.  I was pleased to see the flight attendant noticed and brought me a blanket. 

Hong kong appeared to me to be a very old, very large, very busy port city. You could see evidence of the East Indian Trading company out all the windows of the airport.  From edge to edge the island looks like docks and large warehouses.  I am amazed by how many sea fork-lifts are bobbing out in the ocean. The airport had people from everywhere in the world.  I noticed people from every country.  English was everywhere and that was not a problem. 

Wednesday September 6th, 2017
Hiked 6.4 miles

3:00 am

Seoul International Airport

Apparently the Olympics will be here next year.
I don't remember how much sleep I got on the way here, but it was not much. The Airline that took me here is an emerging discount airline from Asia.  There slogan is, "Now everyone can fly extra long." There were no electric outlets of any kind, no TV, no extras at all.  Just seats.  Plenty of leg room though.  It must be tedious for the flight attendants to do their safety check in Thai, Korean, and English. As soon as the wheels touched down I heard rapid unclinking of seat belts.  Even people getting up and getting their things together while we were still rolling on the taxiway.

Tuesday September 5th, 2017
Hiked 3.1 miles

6:56 am

A very clean, new, and trendy hostel lobby.
Just thirty minutes ago I woke up and left my room so the other guest can sleep. I only met one, James, briefly.  He was in his 20's and rode down from Bangkok on his moped. He was excited to know where the beach was at. It is incredibly humid and warm here.  I am watching two mosquitos trying to bite my ankles and am glad I am wearing long pants. Last night I was awoken at 10 pm by a muslim prayer.  It is quite startling to hear such booming from a deep sleep. At 4 am I heard a torrential downpour beating the metal roof.  I woke up and tried to look outside to see if my shoes were still there. The patio was covered but it was raining very hard.  I woke up again at 5am for another very loud prayer on the loudspeaker. I am trying to figure out where it is coming from and I can not see it.  From the sounds of it I would have thought it was right outside my window.
Lots of trash on the beach in the morning.

Monday September 4th, 2017
Hiked 4.1 miles
The ATM that stole my money.

10:19 am

I am back at that great coffee shop I came to yesterday.  I ordered the iced coffee because I was particularly hot after walking all over the place.

I have learned that you can lose your money in a million ways in Thailand.  One is to simply go to an ATM.  An ATM that gives you a 1000 bhat bill with four cigarette burns on it across the image of the king.  I did not give it too much mind as in our country as long as you have most of the bill you can get your change.

After the bill came at dinner I left that 1000 bhat bill with the check.  I saw them all gathering around the cashier.  I was surprised how many people worked there.  I thought it was just two, but now there are at least five or six all looking at the bill and pointing at me.   I can not make out what they are saying, but this bill obviously was bringing bad luck.   I motioned for them to give it back to me and I gave them a 500 bhat bill that was nice and crisp.  They bowed in thanks and appeared eternally grateful that I relieved them of my curse.

Sunday September 3rd, 2017
Hiked 6.5 miles

11:00 am

The beach is beautiful, but the sand as dirty as ash tray sand.
This morning I showered and checked out pretty quickly this morning.  My first stop was 7/11 where I grabbed a cold coffee.  I was hot after spending all night refrigerated. I walked over to the pier and watched the boats.  I saw a local getting his long-tail boat ready for a long day. He jumped up on the stern by stepping onto the anchor ropes first.  In his hand he carried a gallon oil container with a very dark oil in it.  He walked to the shaft of his propeller and poured the oil down the shaft where it ran right out the other end and onto the beach water.  I am not sure how bad that is for the environment, but it made me feel better about my old 2 cycle outboard motor.
Saturday September 2nd, 2017
Hiked 3.3 miles

5:49 am

Bangkok International Airport - Domestic Terminal

Nok airlines makes their planes look like birds.
I am getting ready to board my plane to Phuket.  The cab driver was at my hotel right on time. I arrived at the airport just as Amy said.  Every envelope seemed to explain that my passage was paid in full already and I was free to pass.  I pulled out the envelope this morning and what looked like a blank receipt with a small pen mark was enough to get me first class, personal, service to the airport. I have had a nice visit, until this morning in line for my long anticipated Thai Latte with the foam design that I saw in the picture, and that Mr Terry told me about in Hawaii.  It sounded wonderful.

Friday September 1st, 2017
Hiked 5.7 miles

5:23 am

Any picture you take here is magical. 
So I fell asleep very early last night. I woke up about an hour ago, took a shower, and came down to the lobby to see what Bangkok looks like in the wee hours of the morning. I walked outside to see almost everything was locked up tight.  There were very few commuters going to work.  They seemed to have the entire road to themselves. Sporadically shops are starting to open.  I saw one woman walking down the street with bags of produce.  I came back to see some trendy American music videos on the large ceiling mounted TV, it was familiarly comforting.

The receptionist has just told me that I am welcome to eat my breakfast early since it is already laid out.

I am sitting in front of a tourist safe, nutritious, and quality fresh breakfast.

Thursday August 31st, 2017
Hiked 5 miles

3:00 am

Well I made it to Bangkok. Checked into the Great Residence Inn, and am laying on a fairly soft mattress in an air conditioned room.  It appears slightly dated, but well taken care of.  Some items had slight damage to them, but were clean.

So when I got off the plane I had no idea what to do so I went with the flow.  The flow eventually opened up to a well lit, very clean, open terminal with bright fluorescent colored lights presenting a tropical feel. It felt bright and welcoming.  There were plants in the secure immigration area.  It was relaxing and felt peaceful. I got in line with Montana when we were reminded by the official in line that our arrival cards need to be completely filled out.  I had left off my signature and Montana left off where he would be staying because he was an awesome backpacker going with the flow.  

I offered the address of my hotel to Montana and lent him my pen.  A pen is valuable to have when traveling. I signed my card and we proceeded easily through immigration.  No one was worried about us and we felt they trusted us. As I stood by the curb, checking out transportation cost to the hotel, I realized that when I thought I would stroll the few miles to the nearest airport hotel that I had no idea how tired I would be, or that most of the sidewalks and streets happened to be flooded from the those thunderheads full of lightning we just flew through.  They were warm torrential shower heads that had just cleaned every street in Bangkok. 

I stood in the very warm humid air by the curb where all the taxi's were waiting patiently. I liked how the very large structure adjacent the terminals was lit up in bright, but very subtle and classy purple. My phone connected easily to data and I was looking for a car service.  Montana came up while I was looking for an Uber and had no idea where to go so I suggested he can stay at my hotel with me as I have two beds in the room.  He accepts and we climb into the Uber.  The driver is playing some Johnny Cash music but does not speak English much. I sat in the front seat and was pleased that this older car was taken so well care of and smelled of a lavender air freshener stuck in the vent. 

The streets had an unusually dark appearance to them.  Everything was soaked and not a single person was on the street or sidewalk.  It was a long desolate raised road from the Airport.  It would have been an adventure all in it's self to have hiked, but we both were exhausted from our trip. 

The Uber driver exited the highway and we drive down an unfamiliar exit on the opposite side of the road than we were used to. At the bottom of the ramp, the raised highway continued on and dripped over a darkness that completely enveloped the shadows. There was one ultra bright bluish light shining on a pole that left ripples in the landscape of water that consumed the road in front of us.  To our right was an abandoned car 3 foot deep in water.  The driver makes a grunt as his car enters the water and he hits what sounds like a decent pothole. He slows way down and I can clearly see a wake halfway up the door on the car.  The driver is very attentive with his American cowboy music playing softly. We pull up to a very large rectangle shaped building that we can see is our hotel by the large red lights on the top. The rooms all look empty with the lights off.  I think maybe that is because everyone is sleeping. 

Busy intersection near Khao San Road.
The red lights reflected down the entire long building,  There were no other lights, except a porch light by the dimly lit lobby. We pulled up close to the front door, thanked our driver, and instantaneously were greeted by the doorman, wearing that Thai smile we heard about. He welcomed us into the office where the manager was standing proudly as if he was awaiting our arrival right there at attention. He ask about my reservation.  He spoke good English too, I was surprised.  He didn't smile as much as the doorman, he was a bit more stern. 

$2.17 Original Uber Fee with tip on app.
$6.89 Uber ADJ additional charge on my account. (I don't know what this is, but the guy deserved an adjustment for using his car as a boat.)
$9.06 Total

I explained in my plain American english that I had reservations for tomorrow night, and not the current morning, but wanted to know if it was possible that I could check in early for tonight since we were both very tired.  I stopped there, but in my mind continued. "Besides we are stuck here, and unless we want to swim in whatever is flowing down the street and is creating potholes in the road. We are either going to sleep in your lobby or a room."

Wednesday August 30th, 2017
Hiked only 1 mile traveled thousands.

11:57 pm

I am beginning to feel illiterate.
Our plane arrived as on time, but I was surprised to hear the unclinking of seat belts long before the seat belt sign was turned off.

As we came in through immigration everyone lined up with the speed of school children going to recess. It was subtle, the differences are slight, but if it happened like that in our country people would think something was wrong. I stood around and looked at the Chinese writing. I noticed that almost a quarter of the people standing in line happened to know someone that was approaching and would let them cut in. I didn't think much of it  I thought maybe more families are traveling here. You can go through customs with your family. Even as I step in my first foreign country I realized I was overwhelmed with slight differences everywhere.

I write this as I am leaving China. I knew everyone was watching me and didn't feel comfortable writing a novel in the middle of the airport. I did not see a lot of visible cameras, but I could feel I was watched just because I was different.   I felt like the elephant in the room. I was different than everyone.  This particular airport in China has only recently allowed international travel through as soon as 2 years ago so I am suddenly completely engulfed in China. I may have been the first white man some have seen.  I saw men and women looking at me all very different.

The immigration officer stamped my passport for visa and not Transit visa so she called a supervisor who came over and escorted me to a bench outside an office where about 12 others stood waiting on some special circumstance or another. The immigration officers wore very decorated military style uniforms that had stars on their collars and all either had 1 to 4 stars to show their rank.  I got lost trying to establish the rank because everyone was doing their job with serious confidence.  It did not look like a place to tell a joke.  I think you can smile, but few are going to return it. 

I stood over to the side because I figured that with all these people standing by that office my passport just disappeared into, I would be here a good hour of my visit. That officer that proudly carried my passport away walked with a very swift purpose.  He walked right into what appeared to be a brightly lit bathroom sized office with a speed I felt most have carried him right through the opposite wall. 

He came out and broke through all the waiting citizens of somewhere and approached me with my passport in hand and said, "Ok.. you go."

I guess they had a higher ranking stamp in there that had to approve that the mistake had no fault, and was simply an accident.  I opened my passport to make out a stamp that said Cancelled over another that said "Permitted to stay in China." 
Stamped under that was "Temporary Entry Permit" with an entrance stamp. 

I continued out to the main terminal.  I walked to the street and noticed the slight differences in automobiles and traffic, taxi's, and the weather.  It felt kind of like Chicago outside. Somewhat arid with cold water. 

I walked back in and realized the building was hardly different from any terminal here.  The only real difference is the 8 or so Chinese flags all hanging around the large square ticket terminal which resembled a basketball gym. It was new, built within the last few years and looked just as clean as any airport does.  I would have taken pictures, but was brand new to an area that I was obviously brand new too. I did not want to be questioned because I noticed that in this airport there are very few, if anyone with headphones on, or glued to a phone. I did not see anyone taking pictures and I did not want to be disrespectful. It would be rude for the animals in the zoo to study the masses, they all must act normal.

No one was sitting on the floor.  For 2 hours in that busy terminal I watched and no one ever sat on the floor. They must have been tired.  I was.  Sleeping on the flight proved to need some practice.  I only got a few hours.  I sat down on the floor near a corner that was public enough I didn't look like I was hiding.  I got my phone out and was about to watch some TV.  I didn't.  I looked around to see any reaction from anyone to me sitting on the floor.  No one seems to care, yet none of them are going to do it. Am I the first one ever to sit on the floor in that airport?  People were sitting on the few inches of ledge that surrounded x-ray scanners that were not in use, but I was the only one with my butt on the ground.  

I thought. Maybe the bathrooms are disgusting and no one wants to sit where their feet trample.  That made sense to me, but I could not tell if others were envious or disgusted by me.  They seemed to go about making no ones business of their own. 

At one point a man was walking his baby around the terminal.  She must have been just old enough to walk and had a pacifier in her mouth.  Her father held her hands on a finger each and she walked right over to me and smiled.  I smiled at her.  Then her father smiled at me.  We exchanged short mumbled greetings.  Mine in English and his in Chinese. Neither understood each other but we still smiled and had not offended each other.  Eventually the young child saw enough of the bearded man exhibit and wandered off with her dad in tow. 

Alternating between corners I moved a few times, watched people pass, walked around the terminal, and observed for a few hours. About a half hour before my ticket window opened so I could check in, I found a seat near the only other American I could spot for miles. I sat down and noticed he had been trying to communicate with a local who happened to speak some broken English. 

I introduced myself, "You speak english."

"Yea.", he replied

He is half my age and works as a first responder at a ski resort near Big Sky Montana.  He couldn't have been more American and was a good deal taller than me. We talked for a few moments and were both heading to Bangkok on our first solo international expeditions. We didn't actually talk as much as I thought I would.  I was tired and after my new friend and I got our boarding passes we parted.  

I saw Montana once again.  Somehow he was 15 people in front of me in the priority immigration line.  I did not know it was the priority line at first.  It wasn't until a group of 15 chinese cut in line right in front of me.  I was the last one in the line.  The lady right in front of me waved for her approaching friends to join her.  They all filed in right in front of me, it pushed me backwards several feet.  None of them looked at me.  They all faced away from me as I was nudged by alternating sides and elbows backwards.  Once I started walking I might as well have turned around and gave up.  At least that is what it felt like, but no one seemed to show me any sign of care. 

That is when I looked up and noticed it was the priority line.  Big Montana was already 30 people ahead of me and I am pretty sure we are not special.  I see that the normal line to my left is actually shorter anyway.  They must have just changed the signs.  I walk over to the next line and stand a conservative American distance of about a yard of the man in front of me.  I guess someone thought I was just standing in the way of the end of the line cause they just filled the gap.  I closed the gap and was standing no more than a few inches away from the man in front of me.  As the line inched forward another dressed up and important looking Chinese man in a suit stood besides me in line. He placed his rolling carryon in front of him and nudged it forward just ahead of him and I.  He nudged it toward the line in front of me slightly. Then I felt someone nudge or tug at my backpack.  Everyone stands so close together you would probably actually never know. I suppose that explains why I see so many walking around with their backpacks in front of them.  It looks like a huge belly and it makes people walk around leaning backwards.  

So I turn to the side casually and glance at the man next to me, his bag, and whoever was behind me.  I smiled and turned back around. No one else cut in front of me before I got my exit stamp and on to the gate. 

I got to the gate and every seat was filled, the entire hall was packed with travelers. I found an open seat and sat down.  On my way to this seat an older Chinese citizen glared at me with a hate that transcended our cultures.  I was happy to be standing in an airport with a layer of security and public witnesses to stand between this individual and me.  He watched me with some perception, some history, or prejudices that meant no good to me, and he would probably only be able to explain with his fist.  I felt that this one man,  this one man in all of these thousands of respectful Chinese does not like me, but I was sure glad this man and myself had not met alone in an alley. It only takes one man to hate you in the wrong place to do some damage.

Montana made his way over to me and sat for a few then wandered off. When they announced the flight was boarding everyone seemed to rise at once.  It was immediate and my observation already set me at the back of the line, so I just continued to sit and watch people board. 

At the boarding gate there were two men with very professional and expensive looking cameras.  They have official badges hanging from their necks or jacket and yellow safety vest on.  They are standing next to the gate and taking pictures of everyone as they scan their boarding pass. Most people only got one or two photos from one or both directions.  There was a photographer behind the line and one on the opposite side or priority lane. 

When I handed the lady my boarding pass all suspicions that I was different were suddenly confirmed.  Both photographers lit me up like the paparazzi.  It was a shower of strobes as I saw the ticket agent hand me my passport back in flashes. I walked outside and stood in the bus that would take me to the plane and watched as Montana got the paparazzi treatment as well. He got on the bus next to me.  I said, "We must be famous." He laughed as we watched out the window at the rest of the passengers only getting one photo each.  We both were slightly relieved when we saw one more man get lit up by the photographers.  He was carrying a large bouquet of flowers and appeared to be pushing someone in a wheel chair.  I wondered if we would be famous. I wonder if I will be the poster American for tourism in China?

When our bus got to the gate we all piled out and walked with a purpose to the plane as if it was leaving without the passengers.  I get to the ramp and suddenly I am stopped.  There is a funnel of short Chinese clamoring to get on the plane.  They are not just pushing me, but the poor flight attendant trying to take our boarding passes.  She keeps getting her balance by leaning on the rail. I only got on the plane because I made little baby steps forward and am large. Once we were all on the plane I was amazed at what you can learn on such a short trip to a foreign country. 

Now it is late.  I am tired.  Going to try and sleep.

Taking the BART to SFO is easy. It goes right into the
terminal and long term BART parking is cheaper than other
options, free on the weekends as well.
Tuesday August 29th, 2017
Hiked 2.9 miles

4:57 PM

I am less than halfway done with this flight and I feel like have so much time to kill. I am hoping I get get some sleep this evening, at least for a little while. I aired up my neck pillow and it seems like it may work well. We will have to see.

So far I am impressed with Southwest China Airlines. They served me a full dinner free of charge, and a glass of wine, even a refill of wine and it was completely free. The large plane looks fairly new and they have an entertainment system full of Chinese movie titles. I watched one Chinese movie about a man who goes to have his memories erased, then tries to reverse it and gets someone else's memories. You would be surprised how much drama that ensues when you mess with shit like that. It was a very deep movie. I tried to watch a few other movies, but none caught my interest. I am not sure that it is the 5 hours I have already been flying that is making me tired, or the thought that I still have 9 hours to go. Luckily there are just enough bathrooms so a line does not build up. I see a lot of Asian people on this flight. I notice many speak little English.

I thought it was pretty neat that the flight attendant gave the safety demonstration in both English and Chinese. Now I am ready to get some rest, maybe a short nap.

10:35 pm

I am doing the math and I underestimated the length of this trans-pacific flight. I am surprised by the flight path that goes straight up to Alaska then down straight over North Korea. I have been able to sleep a little bit with my neck pillow, and feel confident that I should be well rested to see China.
I had my last American Bacon Cheeseburger for 15 days. 
Monday August 28th, 2017
Hiked 4.9 miles

1:45 pm

Union Square has lots of foreign tourist doing
exactly what I am doing in this pic. 
Well I made it to San Fran.  I am rather tired this afternoon.  Last night I couldn't sleep so I turned on my Waze app to see what the traffic would be like. I decided I would go ahead and get an early start so I took off at about 3am and made it to the Castro Valley BART station long term parking lot at 6 am. I took a 3 hour nap in my vehicle, then I hopped on the BART to the Powell street station stop in San Fransisco and walked to Union Square where I am watching people.

I wonder while I watch them how many are tourist. Tourist here seem to be so happy with everything around them. Like the Asians taking pictures with pigeons, or the Euro looking couple with tight pants taking pictures of the statues and monuments.

I wonder what to do next. This is what my whole trip is going to consist of. For the next 15 days I will be living out of my backpack. It is like jumping into cold water. You wonder if it was the best decision shortly after hitting the water. Once you warm up to it, you are quite sure it was the right decision. I hope.

I hear every man say he likes long walks on the beach, but I have walked a lot of beaches and see
Where I am leaving my vehicle for 15 days.
Castro Valley BART Station.
very few men. I wonder if that is because the sea swallows them up, or because men lie about walking the beaches. I am fascinated with the old spiritual journey called the walkabout. I love to walk and find it is the most scenic mode of transportation, and more social as well. I don't have enough resources to walk around the whole world.  That would take a year I bet. I plan on a goal of 6 miles a day, but I would love to do 8.

I still need to go get shower shoes. I suppose I could walk around and find some. I may want a shower tonight, or the morning.

I have no clue what to do first. That silence while I watch everyone going about their business along with that feeling that tells you, you ought to find something to do. Watching everyone doing things makes me want to do something too. The difference between the locals faces and the tourist are the locals look busy and asleep, the tourist look like they are dreaming.

Well I am going to log off for now. Watch people instead of type. I will have time for that once I check into my hostel.

The BART goes right into SFO from anywhere in the Bay Area.