Indira and I take a break from our sprint to the ferry to look at the Acropolis in the distance.
Athens, Greece, 1995. After meeting up with my friend Indira at 3 a.m. in the Athens airport, we slept in a hotel for about 4 hours before getting up to catch a ferry to the Greek islands. Underestimating how long it would take to get to the ferry, we ended up sprinting to the port. However, we took a two-minute break so we could revel in the Acropolis. Two minutes, photo, done.
Because we spent all our time island hopping, I never made it back to the Acropolis. So this is my memory. Oh, and it appears that I’m giving the Acropolis “the bird” or maybe just the photographer. Actually, I was pointing with my index finger, but it looks, suspiciously, like my middle finger.
Bali, Indonesia. How cool is this photo of this restaurant, which I feel compelled to visit!? This pic was given to me by Lottie Nevin, who is a fantastic blogger and photographer. Her hilarious blog is one of my favorites, and I consider Lottie to be a dear friend. She has always encouraged and supported me. Thanks, Lottie!
Garfield, Colorado, USA. Better not have a breakdown or stall even at the mall in this small mountain town. Despite the promising AAA sticker, you’re unlikely to get service from this joint. Not to mention, the “only mall” doesn’t appear to have beer, braunschweiger or munchies either. Totally SOL.
The average civilian might think that while being stationed in the Navy on the Midway, the largest air craft carrier in the US fleet during the 1950’s, playing sports would be next to impossible. Not so for Ray Glaser, my father-in-law, who is an athlete at heart. In fact, sports were an integral part of his military career and contributed to some of his fondest memories.
Ray played baseball on a soccer field in Spain, ran the 220 meter dash in Athens’s Olympic stadium, and learned to ski in Switzerland.
A Quarter Master who plotted visual communication and navigation, Ray served four tours in the Mediterranean on the Midway aircraft carrier from 1949-1953. During that time, he played for the Midway basketball, baseball and track teams.
“Miss, Miss, MISS GLASER!!” I heard from a distance while I patrolled the grounds of Le Fevre High School where I was spending one year as an exchange teacher. Ian, a sweet yet somewhat socially challenged year nine, careened toward me across the asphalt.
His backpack was sliding down his shoulders and his uniform jacket was flapping as he bounded over. Actually, Ian looked a bit deranged. Generally, one never knows what to expect while on yard duty at “Le Feral” (the kids’ affectionate nickname for their school).
“Miss! We have a new prime minister – it’s Julia Gillard, and she’s a ranga!”
July 2010, Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. The largest fish in the world is swimming at about three miles per hour, but it’s hard, even with fins, to keep up with the 20-foot-long behemoth. A huge happy looking fish with white polka dots sprinkled over its expansive back, the whale shark lumbers leisurely through the cloudy water.
Occasionally, it opens its mouth to feed on plankton. A large nonthreatening interior with a noticeable absence of razor sharp rows of teeth is revealed. In fact, it almost looks like white cushions line the inside of the whale shark’s billowing jaws.
This is crazy. I can’t believe I’m sauntering along in the Indian Ocean with a whale shark. And we are swimming in some very deep open water — 80 meters (262 feet) — to be exact. In fact, I can’t look down or around. I stare at my new friend, the whale shark, and kick hard.
I fall back as the whale shark slowly shifts. Once behind the massive fish, I see them: the same foreboding, angular tail and dorsal fin that have menaced and terrified people on the big screen and the Discovery Channel for years. The tail looks like a large iron boomerang steadily moving back and forth.
“Mommmm! SPIDER! Mom, Come PLEASE!” My five-year-old daughter Kasey yells from the bathroom. Expecting to see a huge bulbous glossy black widow, I mach-5 it to the bathroom. “Where?!!” I’m looking for one to be dangling from the ceiling or clinging to the toilet. “Where, honey?”
Kasey points to the base of the bathtub at what looks like a tiny clump of newly sheared whiskers from Kurt’s Norelco shaver. It is a spider — a really miniscule spider. “Mom, KILL it!!” Kasey screams while she simultaneously holds my leg and peers down at the monster.
“I think we’ll let this guy go.” I reach down with a tissue to gently lift the little spider up and then I head (with Kasey still clinging to my leg) out to the back door to free him in our Colorado yard. “Mom don’t touch it!!!”
The sculpture appeared to be on loan from the “Sanford and Son” collection. Or, it could have been something ET rigged up to “phone home.” Chains, old school TV antennas, plastic baby dolls, a wokish thing, old computer keyboards, rusty tools and vehicle parts were strung together in a very random way. “Unique,” as an adjective, did not really cover it.
We looked around at more of the offerings of the free outdoor museum in Coober Pedy, South Australia, where the works were a mixture of plain old junk and art junk. The surroundings seemed to be part of the “art rubbish movement.” The theme’s main representatives were corrugated sheet metal and rust — which actually complimented the soil, the color of ground chili pepper. It was quite beautiful — in a “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” kind of way.
To Sheree Beddingfield, Latin America means a few different things. It’s a place where she loves the culture and language, and it’s also a place where she has encountered full on adventures as well as episodes of GI distress. However, just because she’s had a few bouts with intestinal issues, do not think this traveler has a weak stomach or is a damsel in distress. Beddingfield is one tough traveler who has taken on Hemorrhagic E. Coli in Honduras and super potent laxatives while on a bus traveling through terrorist territory in Peru.
Beddingfield, a physician assistant originally from Texas, first traveled to Latin American at 19 when she had volunteered to help at a medical clinic in Cayos Cochinos, Honduras.
Living solo in a small village, she befriended the children who helped her fine-tune her Spanish. Because “Sheree” was hard to pronounce, the kids called her “Shitty” (not knowing really what they were saying). The women, who hadn’t yet warmed up to her, called her “Espaguetis” (Spaghetti) because they said she’s skinny and white.
Heads Up: As you may have guessed from the title, this post contains a bit of profanity — and it’s the big one. I said it — a few times…in front of kids. These definitely were not the finest moments in my career as a teacher. I’m not really proud of what I did, but it definitely makes for a Travel Oops story.
Here I am…calm and collected.
Many teachers, at one time or another, have considered the potentially heavy consequences of dropping the “F-bomb” in class. On the other hand, you also consider the liberation of uttering the ultimate.
Teachers on the ledge may have an interior monologue that goes something like this: “What will actually break me? How will the kids react? How many parents will call? Will I be fired? Will my colleagues dismiss me or applaud my actions? Will it be as satisfying as I imagine?”