May 20

Traveling Stories

Rusty Bowl

The worst floods in 100 years were ravaging the Sudan as we were trying to leave Egypt. After waiting 3 weeks for the waters to recede, we were finally able to board a boat from Aswan to Wadi Halfa.

After 3 glorious days steaming down Lake Naser, we arrive only to hear there is a local meningitis outbreak. We can’t get off the boat without first passing through a room where each of us will get a shot.

Imagine a rusty metal bowl with sides about 4″ high that could hold maybe a 1/2 gallon of liquid. Inside this bowl are two dozen needles all with their tips in some light green colored ‘vaccine’.

I freak out. No way they are sticking me with one of those needles. 300+ people on this boat and they all just line up and, one after another, hold out their arms and get poked.

I rummage through my backpack and pull out my crumpled up vaccination booklet with lots of stamps in it – none for meningitis.

The guys look at it, hand it back without reading a single page and say I can’t get into the Sudan without getting stuck. I hand one of them $3 USD and say this is for me, my brother and this guy Phoenix we met on the boat who was heading back to Tanzania.

They let us through.

I am alive today because of 3 $1 bills…

Friends

Bird in Hand by Lee Perry is sung in (I think) Amharic and talks about Haile Selassie, the ruler of Ethiopia who’s name roughly translates into ‘The Power of the Trinity.’

So I’m listening to that song on constant repeat as we get onto this train from Wadi Halfa to Khartoum. It’s a 3 day ride and the train is PACKED!

This is the first train in days (if not weeks) as our boat is the first one from Egypt since the floods closed off access to the Sudan from the north.

Over a million people lost access to fresh water in the capital alone and additional storms to the north caused extensive and long-lasting flooding. When we arrived, much of the country is in termoil. At the time, the largest refugee camp in the world is just outside Khartoum with over 1 million people in it.

I find a train car that is (relatively) clear. All it has in it are these HUGE bundles of stuff piled high – but no passengers. Score!

I throw my backpack on top of one of the bundles, proceed to sit on another and listen to my headphones. My brother follows my lead, throws his pack on another and squeezes in bewtween two of the more comfortable ones. Phoenix does not. He climbs up onto the roof of the same car and waits.

By the time the train takes off, so many people have walked through the car and not stopped, I actually get curious as to why no one is in here with us.

Too late… I realize the error of my ways.

In walk maybe a dozen of the tallest darkest men I have ever seen. I was fascinated with their coloring because their skin had an almost shimmery blue sheen to it. They were both regal and terrifying at the same time. But I couldn’t help but smile. These were truly people to be celebrated and I was glad they were going to be joining us for three days 🙂

They all had swords and looked like warriors from a classic colonial movie about scary Africans. They were thin, all muscle and each one has a collection of ornate ornamental (?) weapons strapped to them.

They seem highly amused by us. They don’t sit next to us but occupy the rest of the car – also by sitting atop the bundles.

I go back to listening. What else can I do? 🤷🏾‍♂️

One of them taps me with a long stick and gestures to my headphones. Just so happens, I am still listening to that same song. Maybe I was singing the words out loud. Who knows.

I smile and say something in Arabic like: “Would you like to hear this song? It’s Reggae.”

He listens. He starts to sing the words. Everyone falls silent. I rewind the tape. He listens some more. He lets his buddies listen.

We become friends.

Later I find out that these were some of the warlords of the Sudan – feared by all. Everyone on the train, Phoenix included, thought they would beat us up (or worse) and take our stuff.

Instead, at one point the train stops and one of them grabs me and pulls me out into the desert. I have never experienced heat like this and had been visually suffering all day and through the night. We walk maybe 100 yeards away from the train. He starts digging. Up flows water. He shows me how to drink through a cloth. I am sated. We smile at each other. He tells me how water is all around us if only you know where to look.

We return to the train.

Life is better with friends.

The Sun

Our plan was to make it to Tanzania. How opportune that we ran into a Tanzanian on his way home.

We check in with the the USA embassy in Khartoum and inform them that we are heading south to Uganda and then Tanzania. They suggest we find an alternative route as there is a civil war going on in the south.

Ha! We are young and dumb and think we can avoid any problems. We thank them for their advice and proceed to make plans.

We head to this market where we hear we can find transportation. Everyone is looking at us like we are simply insane, but, if we really want to go south, we should check in with the Sudanese military as they are running supply convoys down there.

That’s strange, we think. Hmm… maybe this is for real. As we are figuring out how to even convince the military to let us ride with them, one of the transport people let’s us know that a convoy has just returned. 50% of the people who tried to go south had been killed and they had lost all of their weapons. The ones who made it back had to walk much of the way.

Ok. South is not an option.

We can’t go East because Ethiopia was Russia-aligned and they may think we were spies. The only other option is to go West and then down into the Central African Republic.

Normally, there is quite a brisk business between Nyala and Khartoum, but because of the floods, very few people are heading out that way. Which leaves us only two options: walk the 600+ miles or get real lucky and find a ride. We get lucky.

Our truck had fewer people but just as much stuff. For 9 days we ventured. It was a glorious time. We would drive for a few miles, get stuck, dig ourselves out, rest, pray, drive a bit further – and then sleep.

It was during one of these evening moments having recovered from my first really bad bout of Malaria and while the Muslims among us were praying to the East… that I looked out over the sand and brush at the setting sun and was struck by the most amazing feeling. I was ‘Home™’. For the first time in my entire life I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I felt grounded. I felt at peace.

I kneeled down and bowed my head to the sun in a gesture of thanks. Thank you for warming all of us on this planet and nurturing us with your light. For once I truly believed that everything was possible.

May 02

Looking for the path

I have completely changed my life focus over the last two years. No longer am I trying to make money. Now I am trying to make art. And through art, I am hoping that my heart and mind opens so that I am able to see the solution to our world organization problem. I want to reorder the world so that we don’t NEED money any longer. I seek a solution.

I am not alone in this.

The hard part is not figuring out where to go. I know where. No money, no military, no borders. The hard thing is finding the path to get there.

Now that I am 50, I am firmly looking for that path.

This is not an ‘optional’ thing for me any longer. I must find that path. I am on the hunt. Others are seeking as well. We will find it. Of that I have no doubt.

Why Economics Failed

From the Comments:

ttr
Port Townsend, Wa.

We didn’t use the economic knowledge we had because most MBAs don’t “get” macro-economics.

We must remember… the ‘masters of the universe’ were turned out by our Nation’s elite schools… many of the ‘best minds’ were drawn away from more utilitarian educational directions like green engineering, sustainable urban design, reclamation technologies, and biosciences… because the money was WAY better.

Who listens to the voice of reason… when extravagant wealth seems to flow directly to those who turn a deaf ear to it?

Here’s the catch… our economic system does not respond well to human ‘wisdom’. Sure, the ‘latest scoop’ can help us invest in a timely, profitable manner… but human wisdom desires sustainability, peace, low stress lifestyles, free range sociability, pure healthy food, climate stability, etc, etc…

And the most profitable investments often rely on avoiding this very same human wisdom… because we still believe in the superstitious nonsense of a hidden hand directing our supply side economy to the best possible outcome for everyone.

What if meritocracy meant that those who ‘looked after’ the flock in humanity and the earth deserve the most recompense… and those who were in it for themselves… were… less fortunate.

We could work towards it!

“It is better to know where to go and not know how than it is to know how to go and not know where.”
– José Delores

Apr 24

Next Eyeware

Which, if any, should I choose?

1

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2

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3

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Apr 18

Maui – Day 9

Didn’t take many pictures today. Sat around and enjoyed the space. Beach, pool, room, rest. Repeat.

Started off with breakfast from the Gazebo for Max.

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Apr 17

Maui – Day 8

I woke up early and decided to take pictures of the Napili Surf.

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We discovered shells in easy to collects bands early in the morning. 15 minutes of work yields three nice trays full. They will look great in our garden back home.

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After a quick breakfast we are off to Makawao on the hunt for art. Fortunately, we pass two farmers markets enabling Max to get his daily fix of multiple coconuts. (Max really likes coconuts!!)

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Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center is an amazing stop. We have been trying to make it for three straight years and today was our lucky day. It was well worth the wait. Wonderful people with a fabü mission. Highly recommended. We support them fully. Yeah.

In fact, they have inspired me to include a specific art component to the new building trades school I am founding. Art for the sake of art is such a worthy endeavor. Congrats on their success.

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Margaret matching the flowers.

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Jewelry making in Makawao

We has a great lunch at the Hali’ imaile General Store, found chairs for our basement and toured a glass blowing company that gets 100% of it’s power from recycled vegetable oil. Nice.

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We come home to the ever fantastic monthly Napili Surf Luau.

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And we end the day with some world-class shuffle board action.

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Apr 15

Maui – Day 7

Off on an another unsuccessful attempt to eat at The Sea Horse at the Napili Kai. They don’t serve outside in inclement weather (wen though it is sunny when we get there) and they require ‘footwear’ to eat inside ad Max and I don’t wear shoes. Sigh.

It doesn’t matter as my omelets are better anyway! Woot.

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Tax Day! What fun.

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All done!! Yeah!!

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Time to celebrate!

Listening to Angola by Jah Bouks while fixing a special mudslide. Life couldn’t be finer. What joy!

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We finish off the night with a wonderful meal at Pacific ‘O. The creme brûlée tasted like gingerbread cake! Margaret loved it since she is gluten-free and can’t eat cake anymore. She said it reminded her of her granny’s delicious cakes. Yumm.

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Apr 14

Maui – Day 6

Yoga in the morning.

Yoga At Napili Surf

Feeding the chickadee.

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Then the fam is off to the organic Farmers Market. More coconuts for Max. More sitting at the beach for Ulan.

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Max and a coconut

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Light lunch before a good read.

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Off to swim with some amazing turtles.

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After all that, we gotta stop for a few selfies.

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Max can’t get enough of the water so we pawn him off on some guests his age. He really loves the water. Sheesh!

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And the day would not be complete without the best luau yet. Great atmosphere, wonderful food and a super educational and talented show. Bravo!

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Someone loves poi. Strange child.

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And now for the real entertainment! 🙂

Max gets into the groove.

Margaret thought the outfits looked liked birds.

Fire Finale

What a truly glorious day. Such fun

Apr 13

Maui – Day 5

What to say? Spent the day at the beach. Yeah.

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While researching sea creatures, I came across the Blue Ringed Octopus. What a gorgeous creature.

Blue Ringed Octopus

Apr 12

Maui – Day 4

Off to a great start with a breakfast at The Gazebo.

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8:30 in the morning. Well fed with a full day ahead of us. Life is grand.

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And then there is the celebratory lunch after receiving our welcome to bring UNAVERZ to Burning Man this year!

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Margaret wanted to check out this mall called Whaler’s Point, so we headed over there after noon. I saw a few glass figures of interest.

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A rainbow and a gorgeous sunset are always appreciated. Life is full.

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Took a night dive with Tim from Tiny Bubbles Scuba. Tim has been diving with them since 1998 and bought the company in 2002. You seriously could not ask for a better dive master. He is funny, informative and professional. He also takes pictures of your dive and sends them to you. Here are some from our dive.

Bigeye

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Red Swimming Crab

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Spiny Lobster

The Spiny Lobster was ginormous! To watch it walk across the coral was to witness a majestic creature strolling about its domain. By bringing white light down to 30′ we could see all the glorious colors on display. I will definitely be doing this again.

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Tiger Cowry

This was my favorite animal of the night. It was covered with this thin mantle with branching papillae (fingers). Tim lightly touched it and the membrane slid away like a slow retreating rug. Turns out, the membrane acts like a tongue and pulls everything that sticks to it into the snails mouth. Wonderful!

Tiger Cowry

Apr 12

Maui – Day 3

Woke up early to take a surf lesson. The entire fam was able to ride multiple waves. I can see why people live their life to surf. What fun 🙂

Stopped by the local farmers market on the way home and picked up supplies. Max and Margaret love the guacamole and enjoy trying to local salsas. Max had two more fresh coconuts (he had three yesterday!) We all enjoy shopping at the local vegetarian market as they have tons of organics and locally source goods.

I hit the fish store and purchased a bunch of locally caught fish. Today was a day of good eating for me!

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Lunch

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Dinner

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