Tuesday, August 03, 2010

My New Travel Journal

I am starting a new chapter in my life and I felt a new journal was needed.

Please go to http://journals.worldnomads.com/rtumicki

to follow me as I volunteer with elephants in Thailand and Cambodia, explore Vietnam, to knit my way across India and finding Zen in 2010.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Random Photos of Bangladesh

The last few days in Dhaka.
Waleed and his cousin.


My host family who welcomed me like their own.

A celebration in Dhaka

Looks like he will follow in the footsteps of his father.

A quiet boutique hotel for the last two nights.

I could live here.

Any time is tea time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yemen - Eid Day

Eid day and morning prayers are heard over the 12 minarets at dawn.

The view from the school's roof top.
Another direction from the roof.
Walking through a nice park. There are not many and this was fairly clean and well kept.

Following men through the maze of old houses.

I started talking with these women and they invited me to their house for the Eid meal.

It was very good.  Everyone sat on the floor: the two women, their husbands, and 5 kids.

Three of the kids, the others were babies.  We had a nice afternoon together.  They are in their new clothes.

Yemen - Eid Eve

This morning started with my first language lesson.  It ended an hour later with the teacher saying he could not teach me because I did not have good enough Arabic and he did not know English.  Another teacher would be available in the afternoon allowing me to roam around the souq.  I was glad to remember directions from my last visit and with it being Eid eve, the souq area was packed with people.  It was a great day to roam.

Going to Bab Al Yemen gate.

This is the place to go if you are having a hard time finding the right knife for a certain outfit.

At the same shop, the shop worker demonstrated how to load an antique gun.

Now this is more like it, lots of pretty jewelry.

The Yemen gate.  If you look real close, you will see a canon hole in the upper right corner of the door.  Not sure what year that is from.

Lots of people coming and going.

Notice the three different style of hats of the men sitting by the door?  A base ball cap, a local cone hat, and the knows-no-boundary umbrella hat.

The mound of power is henna.

There was not an inch to be had in this square.  To add to all this excitement a fight broke deep inside the crowd involving a large group of men.  The police came and it didn't look like they were getting anywhere among the shouts and tussles but they ended up hauling away a few men.  Minutes later another fight happened in the same spot and this time a man came booking out of the crowd to be trailed by a group of vigilantes minus pitch forks and sledge hammers.  The man in front ran into a warehouse with crowd in tow and I am sure it did not turn out pretty.

As you might have noticed the fashion for men is a dress and a suit jacket.

A favorite stop of mine.

The camel is used to turn the press.  He is on his lunch break.

I like his thinking.  I decided to go to the Burj Salam hotel and have my lunch on the top floor.  It has an incredible view of Sana'a.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Back to Yemen

I had five days to play with in late November and wanted to go some where but not too far away.  I wanted a place I could walk around and also a place I could continue with Arabic lessons.  Even though I would be there over the Hajj Eid holiday and this was rather last minute, the manager at CALES was more than helpful to line up a teacher.

Yemen is a special place and one that needs to be seen.

Journal entries.

November 26, 2009
     It is Thanksgiving Day in all American hearts wherever they may be. Before I left on this trip my friend Andi from CO asked in an email “what meaningful way will you spend this day”.  The word “meaningful” stuck with me because how often do I do meaningful things for other people – the ones I know and strangers?  Today I hope I did something meaningful as I walked around Old Sana’a stopping to talk with people, taking photos of smiling men, and trying to converse in simple Arabic with children.  
     Selim is the one who reached out by welcoming me to Yemen and inviting me to tea right in the heart of tea/kabab/bread/motorcycle square.  Sort of like Marrakesh’s food court but the fraction of the size increasing the congestion.  It was GREAT.  He suggested I try some local food and it was shredded meat mixed with minced meat all boiling in some oil with a blob of something like a green, watery dumpling.  Turns out this was saltah and is made from clover and gravy.  All this comes in a very hot stone bowl and the food continues to cook while cooling.  This is eaten with a hearty roll or flat bread and it just so happened I had some rolls with me (seconds earlier I stopped at the bread stand and could not resist the fresh whole grain rolls).


In this food court area, old women are selling flat bread and everyone is fair game to get tugged at for a sale.  The ladies have a black tie-dyed scarf over their faces and then something like a table cloth for a cloak.  I was told these are the old Bedu ladies.  

During lunch Selim told me his story.  He could speak decent English and I asked him where he learned it.  He said at the University in Aden.  Selim continued to tell me he was born in Mogadishu, Somalia and his parents are now in a refugee camp in Kenya waiting for the lottery to go to America.  Selim lives outside Sana and has a wife and four little kids.  His rent is $40 a month and he has no job – his teeth were in dire need of saving.  He asked if there was a way to help him.  He did seem to be in need something/anything because he was awfully thin.

We walked through the qat souq and he took photos for me in this very male-centered area of the souq.  He had no problem asking men for a photo, and, in fact, people here like getting their picture taken.  It was a nice hour together and then we parted ways.  Will the $20 I gave him be for his kids tomorrow for Eid or for rent or for qat?  That is his call.  As a side note, later that evening I was reading somewhere in the school to be aware of a local man chatting it up with students and then asking for money.  Was this the man?  In the spirit of Thanksgiving I was thankful for what I had and wanted to share it with someone else. 

Selim and friends.

   Qat is big business.  Smiling faces in odd places.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Next Stop Bangladesh

It is break eve to me this is the best part of a holiday - the anticipation.

I will be traveling in Bangladesh for 2 weeks with a family I know there and to connect with a distant cousin.

Been tardy with posting the Ecuador letters because I can't copy and paste the text into this box without getting error messages.  Oh well, I guess you will have to wait and buy the book.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ecuador - Latacunga

We stayed in Latacunga for three nights using this place as a home base to take day trips. We went to crater lake, Banos, and a local market.

A wonderful meal in Quito before leaving for Latacunga about two and a half hours south.

By afternoon we are at crater lake located above 9000 feet and it is cold.

A local child.

This man is making local taffy.

This man is just about to jump from a bridge. After he jumps he will swing like a pendulum over the rushing river below.

Big pots of market food.

Anyone for a pig head?

Too cute.

Knitting with the sheep.

Guinea pigs for sale. The next day I tried one. They are part of the diet in this region.

Mandarins and bananas are every where.

On the last day the volcano showed itself.

Ecuador - Otavalo

Traveling in July was a perfect time to go. The weather was pleasant and with the cool nights it was excellent for sleeping. My friend and I started the trip in Quito and then went on to the jungle staying at Yachana Lodge (a marvelous experience), Latacunga to visit crater lake, Banos, and the local market, and the last stop was Otavalo for the art market and little did we know that we would hate leaving Casa Del Sol. Here are some pictures from the Otavalo leg.

Hard to resist buying something from them.

The Saturday market attracts people from near and far.

Packing up at the end of each day.

My first purchase, a typical shigras bag.

Casa del Sol, a wonderful B&B to stay at.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Seven Shades of Green

A simple pleasure - feeling rain.
Catching a boat to Ross Castle
Traffic on the Gap.

At the start of the Gap.
Time to put on all the rain gear.
Sheep enjoying a snooze.
Finally, a place cold enough to have a fire.

Inside Killarney National Park which is across the street from where my sister lives so I am there every day on an adventure.

10 minutes after getting off the plane my sister and I are here for lunch. You must come to Ireland.

Why all the pictures get bumped up to the top I do not know - it is frustrating.