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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

WITH THANKS TO SHERLOCK "PETE" HOLMES

BITS AND BOBS

Still have conjunctivitis though the medicine is helping.  It might (might?) be on the downhill side.  [For those too lazy to google it, it is not contagious - unless you are one of my kids.  If you are or believe yourself to be, seek medical help immediately.  Or psychiatric help.  Probably both.]  I still remember the first time I got it and was literally down for months.  Thought I might go blind.  That would have made 'seeing the world' (or jack shit) problematic.

Living next to a special needs school and night club (not the same building) sucks for the noise.  Zoning laws don't seem to be really known in a lot of countries I live in.  During the daytime, the mentally handicapped scream at each other, at night the drunks scream at each other.  I've noticed quite a similarity.

Tomorrow is the last time I go to pay rent.  I'll pay it for ten days (150 euros) then I have only to tick off the last few days before I get to go visit my buddies in the states.  Looking forward to that.  I'll have to keep a better eye on my purchases.  I still remember being surprised at leaving behind a fairly well stocked fridge in Bulgaria because I hadn't kept good track of the time remaining.

It's been pointed out to me - quite correctly as well - to look at the expiration date on my passport.  It looks like I've got a bit over a year left on it.  Since at about the six month mark they actually become useless (most countries demand you have at least six months left on it) I will need to get a new one.  Due to the amount I travel I will probably try to get one with the extra pages already installed so it will cost twice as much (200 USD).





And now for a quote by Logan about Logan.

"Throughout my life, I've always made it a habit to befriend those younger than me.  That way, I don't have to watch them die from old age.  Of course, they'll have to watch me die but by the time it happens, I imagine for many of them it may be quite a relief."



HOT DAMN, THE HOSPITAL - AGAIN

The fun never ends!

Woke up at six AM - couldn't sleep.  Eyes, burning.  Not literally on fire.

Went and looked in the mirror and it did not look good.  At all.

If you are poor and uninsured, USA is the land of 'Fuck You' for medical stuff so I decided to head back to the local witch doctor.  Just kidding - hospital.

Walked about an hour to get there.  Fortunately, it is a small town because there sure the fuck weren't any taxis around.

Got around having to show any ID because I was still in their system from the last time (yea!).  Paid my eighteen euros to see the doctor.  I was told the eye doctor wasn't around today.  I responded that pretty much any of their doctors had a medical degree and presumably more experience doctoring than I do so I was good with any of them.

After checking in and paying you proceed to 'triage'.  They use the French word here and don't fuck around with silly things like 'patient inflow' or whatever.

At triage you see a nurse (no English) who assigns you your wristband.  The all important wristband.  The color of it determines how long your wait will be.  Red presumably means you are going to die really really soon.  It then goes yellow, green, blue and violet.

Some people will say it is best to be completely honest with the triage nurse but if you're in a hurry, try to spray her with your blood.  It may get you a better wristband color.

Mine was green!

Everything past red and yellow means your ass waits until they have a break in the action then they see you.  Guessing violet means you are too well to be in the hospital.

They have a chart on the wall that shows the waiting time but it lies like Trump.  It claimed an hour and ten minutes.  There were other people who had been there since six AM with a green band.

Fortunately, the hospital was empty of waiting room patients (less than ten) so it was only a three hour and some wait for me.  Better than the six or seven I had last time.  Yeah, you sit on your ass for a long time but for eighteen euros I am happy to wait for a medical professional.

Who...did not speak English.  He spoke five other languages including Russian.  My Russian is not good enough to discuss 'conjunctivitis' and medication and he looked rather alarmed when I began to speak in it.  Either my Russian is just as bad as I thought or his is worse than he let on.  Either way, speaking  a bunch of languages but not the one spoken all over the world - confusing.  He went off to find someone to translate.  He grabbed a nurse.

Him finding a nurse took more time than the actual appointment and that only took one minute.  He didn't bother to examine me - just gave me a prescription for some cream to put in my eyes and told me to keep using the ineffective eye drops I'd been using for the last couple days.

Bummer.

I was hoping for different eye drops.

But now I've got cream shit in my eyes and the world is a bit blurry.  Neat.

Tonight is pack up night, tomorrow is head to the airport time.

The doctor did say he suspected it was 'bad water', ie what comes out of the shower.  I'm hoping he is right.  If so, this should clear up shortly after I arrive at the states and stop using the water here, piped through the old city, to clean myself.



SO WHAT EVER HAPPENED WITH THIS SHIT?

Despite getting some unexpected help from a nurse who my buddy TJ made laugh to hard she about lost it, the eye problems persist.  Until I get out of this wretched country (USA) I can't afford to see a doctor nor buy eye drops.  So I wait and hope not to go blind in the meantime.  The eyes have gotten a tad better but not 100% yet.



IN THE USA

Jump forward in time a couple months because I've not written in a couple months - mainly in respect for the privacy of my fourteen (or more?) host families I'm staying with.

But I've been told by people who live outside of the USA that they are curious about what I see inside the USA.  So all of my observations you are reading in this section are thanks to a guy named Pete.  Yes, Sherlock Holmes Pete.  He is the one who told me to 'get cracking'.

So here are a few things I've noticed.  Keep in mind that the USA is a very big place.  "Your mileage may vary."  is a saying they use here.  For those that no longer think that using 5280 feet to measure a mile is a good idea (for more 'what the fuck' moments, visit this webpage) it might be better to say "Your experiences will vary."



"FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT." - AESOP

A common phrase I've heard in the USA is "If you don't like it, get the fuck out!"

I did.

I'm alternatively bored and offended by many things in the USA itself.  Good reason to get out and stay out.

Why return?

Friends.  If I had no friends in the USA, I would probably never return.  Hence, while reading my 'insights' into the USA, remember that I am a 'hostile witness' and this no doubt colors my perceptions.

Quick disclaimer:  Although I am sure there are other people who have gotten to journey through four states, stay with fourteen different families, go to half a dozen LARP events in a couple different system - I've never heard of it.  I am honored to be making such a journey.  Again.

The USA is a pretty dangerous country for me to travel in.  If I need medical attention, I may or may not get any.  I may or may not be able to afford it.  It may or may not be docked from my below poverty line income.  Fuck that.

To summarize, if you were wanting to host Logan (see Logan's Home Invasion 1 and 2 on Facebook), you'd better catch him when he comes through because it won't be fucking often.



RACISM

In other countries I have visited, racism is usually one extreme or another.  For example, when I was in Morocco, they had a LOT of immigrants from Sierra Leone.  These guys have super dark skin, hence are easy to differentiate from the usual cross section of Moroccans.  I asked the Moroccans about them and was told "They seem nice and are hard workers."

That is on one end.

The other end is 'It's genocide time!'

In the USA, it's usually more in the middle.  Although there are a ton of stupid racists

Look for this emblem for quick identification of 'stupid racists'...

in America, the racism that isn't 'newsworthy' is a lot more subtle.  "Blacks are fine - I just don't want to live next door to any because it brings down property values." would be an example.

Neat.

So let's call it often 'passive-aggressive racism' for the most part.

Another disclaimer:  I don't have friends who are racist.  They tend to unfriend my ass pretty quick or we never get around to friending in the first place.  The people I've gotten to stay at the homes of are thoughtful, kind and generous.  Which is super cool and gives hope for America.  Well, it would if they weren't so fucking outnumbered.



UNINCORPORATED AREAS

These are the areas outside of or surrounding a town.  They are not 'incorporated' into a town, hence 'unincorporated'.  There are several reasons someone may choose to live outside of town.  Some examples:

1.  They want to raise a big garden either because they are wanting to eat more healthy food or because they are poor.
2.  They want to raise non pet type animals either because they want to eat healthy, are poor or want a cheap sex doll.
3.  They really hate other races and want to hang out with white people.  Ethnic races (in the USA this means 'non-white' because...I'm not sure why) generally stick to inside of towns.   Also, should the people outside of town want to have a 'purge night' - wait - sorry - I've been watching too much Rick and Morty.

Or, bigger homes, cheaper homes, more land or cheaper land.



FOOT TRAVEL WITHIN THE USA

It's a fucking nightmare.  Where as I could walk across a town of 50,000 people within an hour (Faro, Portugal) just getting into town in Galesburg, IL (population 30,000) and to a decent restaurant and back about three hours.

Not great for walking about.  Sometimes no sidewalks.  In the USA, everyone is assumed to have their own car.  If you don't have a car you are assumed to be a poor, stupid loser and the USA hates the poor a lot.  If someone is talking about what good public transportation a city has it is because it is an exception.



More thoughts later if and when I come up with some!

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois |

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