With Wendi back in the welcoming arms of Josh and Simone back in Canada and getting much needed healthcare and restful sleep on a real bed, the drive from Athens to the United Kingdom was not going to be a whole bunch of joy! Still suffering from the bronchitis that had now decided to completely eradicate the voice, it was sure going to be fun… not!
With great anticipation the container was opened and there she was shining back at me brightening my world. Batteries re-connected … a few visual checks in the engine compartment… this was the moment of truth… a turn of the ignition key… our trusty and faithful Pumper sprang into life and within a few minutes of warming up was purring. Laying heavy on the mind; the intent was to drive to the UK to sell her before returning to Canada. Depression began to set in to add to my health woes.
Well it seemed like a good idea: the old Veedub buses sell at a premium in the UK and we would save the $2000 to ship her back. Maybe it would be fun shopping for another in NA and fixing it up! Hmmm! We already had a couple of prospective buyers awaiting our return and it looked like the import and transfer of ownership would be a breeze.
You can’t trust the weather in Europe in April…it was bloody cold and Pumpers heating just wasn’t up to the challenge of keeping me warm from Athens to the UK. With good old Canadian thermal underwear that fortunately Wendi had persuaded me to bring along and was buried in the bottom of the clothes bin, gloves, my Nepalese hat and a hoody, and sucking throat candies all the way, I shivered the journey in 7 days including a stopover day on the coast of Northern Italy with Wendi’s bro. Man do we have it good in North America… the highway tolls paid to Italy and France were extortionate… surely we now own part of those countries and the Alps on the border where I almost needed a mortgage to get through the tunnels.
On Route: Attending the Men’s XXXL convention where BFP’s (Body Fat Percentage’s) are not on any sort of scale recognizable to attendees at this plush conference. Trays of food leave the buffet with aspirations for the Guinness Book of World Records for the height one can pile spaghetti, french fries, or any other culinary fare being served on the day. The occasional salad is seen but it doesn’t fool you, it always accompanies one of the mega meals. Second servings and or dessert? – Mandatory unless someone really doesn’t have a sweet tooth; they attract a scornful look from their associates.
To make everyone feel at home the waiters and servers at the buffet would quite easily qualify for this convention, they apparently like their own cooking. It would be a toss-up as to which of the two groups would win in lbs. /Capita.
But wait… I’m not at a fancy Convention Centre in Vegas or London or Prague, or other Go-To city in the world. I’m on a boat! The ferry from Greece to Italy and these XXXL delegates are all Truck Drivers living it up at the finest 5th Wheel Truck Stop anywhere. More like a 5 star cruise, the truckers must really love this stop-over, and it’s like a social gathering, seeing their buddies weekly all protecting this plum route. Not bad, drive to the port and enjoy the next 26 hours cruising the Aegean Sea. Greek, Italian, and French groups I can detect, but I might as well be in Babylon with all the languages that I hear. Even the PA system makes announcements in 5 languages.
But the weight excess is more than slight, Knowing I will be jumping into Pumper in a couple of hours and driving the same roads as these professionals, it isn’t comforting to reflect that most drivers behind the wheel of these monster trucks and tandem trailers are high potential heart attacks waiting to happen, cholesterol coating their arteries waiting to trigger the time bomb. I’ll be extra aware!
But, the 26 hour ferry ride every week or 2? Life ain’t all bad for these guys. During the tourism high season they get plenty of competition for the amenities, (which includes a swimming pool and poolside bar), from the throngs of Europeans that use these ferries to shave 5 days and half a dozen EEC border entries and exits en route driving to Greece. But in April tourists are few and well outnumbered by the juggernauts… the trucks… and their drivers!
Driving toward Bologna in Italy the polizia car pulled in front and hung a stop sign from the window! Only 10 minutes earlier I had reflected on only being stopped by police once throughout Europe and even that was an excuse for the young French Gendarme to study the bus.
Obeying the sign following the police car into the motorway service area; K, here we go! In pretty good English, “Can I see your license and vehicle documents.”
“Would you like my International license also officer?”
“Yes and insurance and passport.”
He spread the documents across a table in his trunk and began to study them while his partner looked around the bus for anything that could be construed as illegal.
“Why do you have a UK passport if you live in Canada?” … explanation…
“How can you have a vehicle registered in the US if you are a resident of Canada.” … “No officer, Ontario is in Canada.”
“Where is the expiry date for your registration?” … “On the reverse of the document.”
For 20 minutes these diligent cops grill to try and figure out the story. From Canada? How did you get the bus to Europe? Where have you been? Are you English or Canadian? Where are you going? Etc. etc.
The documents are returned “everything in order” I enquire. “Si, tutto è buono”.
“Un momento.” “Can I take a picture of your bus…!” … “Of course you may.”
Circling the bus snapping images galore… then asks if his partner can take one of the 2 of us.
“Love to.” “Can you take one with my camera please?”
Suddenly this went from a very serious road check to an all-out ‘love in’.
10 minutes further on the highway, there they were again checking out a truck on the shoulder but on seeing Pumper approaching they wave vigorously as we fly by flipping the peace sign.
Just South of Paris, warming with a hot chocolate in a service area, we dodge a bullet! Someone tries to break into Pumper destroying the door handle in the process! Fortunately they were unsuccessful or frightened off but it could have been worse. A broken window at those temperatures would have done me in!
With the bus all but sold to an amazing couple of Veedub fanatics 30 minutes north of London, Wendi and I had an emotional skype call… ‘What were we thinking… sell Pumper? … are we out of our minds?’ ‘The memories of the last 40+ months and the 30+ countries we have driven, are worth way more than any premium we would get in the UK market. Seller’s remorse! It was such a hard thing to let the buyers down, but you know… ‘VW is not just a marque, it’s a family.’ I know they forgive us.
Pumper is somewhere on the Atlantic headed for NA, as re-united we work to establish a base in Ottawa… thinking already about an East Coast of Canada road trip later in the summer.
Peace and love… and travel on our minds!
What a time to get sick as a dog… two days before our sojourn to Northern India and Nepal a flu bug laid me up like never before. It is just a matter of time before the virus is shared on the family plan. What to do… cancel the journey? Hang tough? We’d been waiting so long to make this trip; it was something we had to do. Off we trek to ‘carry-on’.
We’ve not had a good winter on the health front. Countless bouts of food poisoning, doctors, hospitals, took the shine off and affected all the great things we hoped: visiting an Ashram, yoga, volunteering. This last bout of sickness just about capped it all off.
We originally planned a full schedule around Northern India and Nepal. Invariably when we plan it goes up in smoke. Paring back our travel to Delhi, Varanasi, Kathmandu, Mumbai, we already felt cheated out of experiences we had dreamed of. The way we were both feeling after a few days… we didn’t give a damn. Before we even reached Varanasi the flu bug had us both laid up and wishing we were just in a comfortable hotel with medications and tissues at hand.
Staggering around, to not miss the chance of a lifetime experiencing Varanasi and the colourful and memorable ceremonies and rituals of the Ganges… Varanasi is the complete spectrum… Hindu rituals at full throttle. Sharma’s usually with little or no clothing, doing very strange things with their penises, blessing anyone and posing for the cameras for a few Rupee’s. We’re not convinced by most of these characters sitting around smoking hashish in the nude. Seemed like an excuse to get high, cavort and be exhibitionists.
Walking along the Ghats that smell more like a male urinal in a baseball park, there are the funeral pyres with human remains going up in flame, with funeral attendants who sell the mourners the precise amount of wood to ensure their deceased loved ones are completely incinerated, then shovelling the ashes into the Ganges. The same river that, Indians by the thousand, and the occasional visitor for ‘the full experience’, enter to wash away the bad things in their life. Is it possible they’re getting more ‘bad things’ from the water than they are washing away? We’ll pass on that thanks very much!
The narrow streets of Varanasi laden with garbage and smeared with cow shit, fighting both humans and bovines for space, vigorously solicited to buy anything and everything you can imagine. The integration of life with cattle is most bizarre, as people go out of their way to touch the buttock or tail of the beast for a blessing. Safe bet that absolutely anything you touch in this environment will most likely have some trace of bovine faecal matter on it.
But there’s a business to be had… the ladies that spend their days scooping up the shit with their hands, forming it into patties , drying it in the sun, and then selling the dried patties as fuel for the street food vendors, and the more basic restaurants. Don’t touch that hand rail; it was used by one of the shit scoopers on the way back from rinsing her hands in the Ganges!!! Not a nice picture. Germ phobic? If we weren’t before we probably are now!
We had intended to use Kathmandu as a base for excursions to other more remote parts of Nepal and to see the mighty Himalaya’s. Imagine our disappointment spending most of our time in the guest house nursing what had now become for both of us full-on bronchitis. Pity the poor buggers in the next room listening to us cough all day and night! Chance to visit a hospital in another country, where it was fortunately confirmed we did not have Pneumonia.
Kathmandu, a little like Northern India but with far less garbage, cows, and cow shit to compete with. We found the Nepalese to be more relaxed and easy going, less aggressive, and more welcoming. The fundamentally Buddhist environment has been strangely integrated with Hindu which gets a bit confusing in a temple where a Buddha statue sits next to one of the myriad of iconic Hindu statues. But it works… ‘Om mani padme hum’… there is a very spiritual feel to the Buddhist temples with the worshipers and monks, who are definitely not exhibitionists. Nepal is a place to which we would return.
Bundling ourselves to Mumbai to cough for another couple of days, and prepare for our trip back to Athens to be re-united with Pumper. We conclude after such a bad winter for health that we should take a break if not discontinue this hard core travel. Wendi’s auto-immune illness and some of the symptoms together with a few new twists suggest we need to resume a more ‘normal’ lifestyle. The logistics to make this happen are complicated and would make this posting far too long, but given the circumstances Wendi returned immediately to Canada, and I to Athens to begin unravelling 3 ½ years of life in Pumper.
Is it the end of ‘Living The Dream’? We don’t believe so. The proverb says, ‘Every end is a new beginning’.
Peace and love… and new directions!
Time to venture out of Goa to see more of India… Beep beep: And to test our resolve all road signs are in Hindi in these parts!! Say what? With little in the way of a map, we resort to identifying towns on signposts in Hindi and based on the approximate distance we are from that town, looking for the town that has ‘…the double squiggle and dot above the line and a horseshoe shaped thing at the end’!!! That’s fine until we run across an abbreviated sign or, the name of the towns change based on the local language!!! Grrr, this gets confusing. We revert to looking for the sun to get our direction seems like the only navigation option available.
So ‘why don’t you ask someone the direction?’ you say… LOL. If you can get someone who understands your question the chances are they guess at the right answer just to not disappoint you. Should anyone inform you that you go …’straight’!. You may as well consider yourself lost. There is no such thing as ‘straight’ on the road systems of India, and you can guarantee within a very short distance you have encountered another split in the road where you again scratch your head and… look to the sun. Just as well the sun shines all the time otherwise we would be in deep doo-doo. Goa’s neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka are a different world. We are a great novelty in the countryside and small villages… getting plenty of smiles, weird looks and friendly greetings… fills the spirit with JOY!!
Undaunted by navigation challenges and road conditions, we make an 8 hour drive in a rental car to Hampi to see the expansive Hindu temple remains that are sprawled across the unique rocky terrain. Roads in India have a nasty habit of going from basic to non-existent!!….. We are not sure if the Hampi road was the worst we have ever driven but it is high on the list. It was as if only half the budget was available so they paved the road intermittently! We were changing from smooth highway to bumpy, potholed, dirt track every kilometer or so.
We had no time to lose, racing the train to reach Hampi first to have the best pick of sparse accommodation before the sensible tourists that took the train arrived and snapped them up. It’s not like there is a lot of choice and the hotel rating system stops at about 1½ Stars. We were fortunate and snagged a room that did not have cockroaches, at least that we saw, and had a fan that effectively kept the mosquitoes moving, having had no trouble bypassing the broken window screens.
With a planned 3 night stopover our plans get swiftly scuttled, yet again the dreaded effects of wonderful Indian cooking and sub-standard hygiene lay us both up. Seems like all anyone talks about is food poisoning and stomach problems with visits to the hospital for re-hydration, followed by “De-Worming” … no it isn’t just dogs that need to be de-wormed! “Humans should de-worm every 3-6 months…” said the doctor. It just gets more and more nasty doesn’t it? So both suffering the after effects, we are off to chill-out with a ‘Master Reiki Healer’.. We will see what wisdom and healing we get!! Positive vibes all round as we “tap” our thymus gland and get into full “Reiki” groove!
Worms / Puke / Diarrhea.. how delightful, does that make for the most divine dinner conversation or what???
Having not subjected ourselves to enough stress and grief we head off on another road trip to experience the real India, the smells and delights, colors that permeate every fiber of your being… India Full On!!!
Stopping for a mini roadside break we happen upon a tent village. Basically it is a bunch of corrugated metal sheets and tarpaulins that provide shelter to people that have zip to their name… except a gazillion children!
Crayons and markers in hand, thinking it would be really neat to give the kids a treat, we are swarmed… clawed… mauled, suddenly face to face with complete desperation, thinking… “Stupid Gringo Tourists we are”, feeling a greater need for the kids’ education than the fact that they probably don’t remember the last time their stomachs were full!! We helped… by heading for a supply store for a mega bag of rice and taking it to the tent village… awesome!! You can‘t imagine the joy to see those mothers faces!! They would hardly let go of your hand as they blessed us. Perhaps that sack might see them through their desperation for a few days.
Once again the roads challenge us. It is hard work getting launched from one pothole to another as we inhale dust and grime and avoid obstacles… like hey it’s a good day when you only have a “FEW’ near misses!! Side mirrors hitting as cars and bikes pass is counted as a near miss! Otherwise the stats would be off the chart.
We climb into the mountains of the interior on the scooter and find a real pleasure in the relative coolness of the air as the temperature on the coast is now daily at 37 deg. C. Monkeys and brightly colored birds and butterflies everywhere , warnings of Landslides and mega worrying drop offs of thousands of feet. Yikes! The brief relief of the mountain air is short lived as we once again bounce our way down the mountain roads getting hotter and more tired by the minute.
If we are not suckers enough for this grueling travel routine we head off on mini road trip number three… South Goa and the delights of the much raved about Palolem and neighbouring beaches. Another 2 ½ hour slog in the crippling heat that hits full force on a motorcycle, with dust and grime in every crevice imaginable and un-imaginable. If the travel isn’t bad enough the conditions of the accommodation in these off the beaten track places leaves much to be desired. What is wrong with us? Are we insane? Do we really want to sleep on a mattress built like a board?
Palolem is all about “beach hut living” but our days of communal bathrooms are soo way gone and we opt for a 2 min walk from the beach for solid concrete walls, private bathroom, rock hard mattress… for the stupid price of $12. And most critical in all of that… CLEAN!!! But you can’t have it all at those prices… supply your own toilet paper and soap. But advice to any traveler of this great country: never be without toilet paper and hand sanitizer if you want to survive!! Public washroom etiquette: there is never any toilet paper, rarely running water, soap or towel out of the question!! So when you are chowing down on your next meal, think long and hard about the questionable hygiene of … well almost anybody! Wash and scrub away… germaphobic?.. hell YES!!,
All this as we contemplate heading to northern India and Nepal to wrap up our 5 months on this continent… Really we do question our sanity!
On a perkier note it’s been 4 + months and only one cockroach sighting… northern India will surely balance out the numbers but for now that along with only one snake sighting… And not even a handful of mosquito bites… Better on that count than we would expect in Canada! Just 1 police stop on our bike… no bribe just a great tip on a really stunning secluded beach and a ‘take care and drive safe’.
Not to mislead you there is lots of corruption… it is rampant, even on the beach where the police who “pay into” the force pocket money on every bust of the Hawkers who are hard at work slogging up and down the beach working to feed their families… while providing a great service to tourists. So yup if you have $4,000 – To $10,000 handy, you can buy yourself into the police force from a recruit to an officer, and the right to pocket every bribe or back hander you can get your hands on!
While we are talking money grabs, OMG: The ‘Happy Clappers’ are men wearing makeup and dressed as women in Sari’s that visit all the local businesses and ask for payments at the threat of placing a curse on the business and its proprietor. Theoretically they are Eunuch’s but that’s questionable! They clap on the way in to identify themselves. But here is the thing: all the businesses pay them so they can be blessed!!! Sounds a lot like protection money! But superstitions are deeply entrenched and nobody wants to rock the boat.
That’s India, … just the way things work.
Peace and love… and Clap Clap Clap … Bless you!
Beep beep… beep beep…. Coming through!!! Beep beep.. and we are all coming through!! Signs on the back of trucks and buses welcome you to “HONK” and everyone does!!! Horn use mandatory! Mayhem… motocycles and scooters in waves, trucks billowing black exhaust, Tuk-tuk’s cutting in and out, and pulling U turns. Oohhh for silence but with 1 ¼ Billion people, you don’t come to India for that!! But it all seems to work.. all the chaos, you very quickly learn to blend with their kinda thinking: No rules apply!! Drive wherever you want. either side of the road and may the best man win.. and never mind the cows or pedestrians or any other obstacle… all adds to the fun of it! The death toll on the roads here is frightening.. oh well such is life as we set off with the wind in our hair and the sun baking our golden skin.. it aint’ all bad and no worries about the dreaded “Black Ice”!
2 months in India and back to vibrant “Third World Living”… a long way from Europe. Ferry rides that make you shudder packed solid with people and bike’s, nightly power cuts, daily battle finding and working with internet service that sucks!! (Do they really provide technology support to the Western world?). Non existent etiquette of forming lines in stores or anywhere else a queue might be appropriate. Space is a premium in India, one gets used to competing / fighting for every square centimetre. Frustrations abound!!
Bugs and critters.. pigs and monkeys are fine… not so much cockroaches on steroids (our bags could be packed PDQ if they even think of crossing paths with me); The not so little rat-like things called Bandicoots, that are about as big as a small cat!!. We hear them screeching at night… I inspect the cracks under the doors and pray they do not like to squeeze through small places; The ongoing battle with ants that suddenly appear in a dense procession across the counter top at the slightest presence of something to devour; snakes and spiders… let’s not go there! The killer spray is on hand for all!!
We have been introduced to the concept of the ‘Traditional Indian lawn Mower’ .. delicate little Indian women dressed in colorful sari’s sitting on the lawns hand picking each individual blade of grass, sipping from the garden hose to keep cool in the blistering sun… and what do they gat paid.. maybe less than a $1 a day!! Our condo complex security guard lives on the job. Painting his manicured nails while working back to back to back 24 hour shifts, rarely getting relief. We keep him well fed with cookies and coke and other goodies and exchange English and Hindi language lessons. Not sure it improves the security but maybe he’ll put on a little weight! Dust and dirt is everywhere… but the sari clad ladies with their one-handed feather brush sweeping technique at least keep the dust piles moving… even if it is never picked up!
But what is life if not an adventure.. filled with suspense, thrills, magic, misery!! Take the good with the bad: Days that suck and you want to scream and run for home.. (Oh yeah right… we have no home!!); and days that indulge our senses.
Looking at the big picture we have been spoilt to have the most awesome 3+ years… a gift of one incredible breath-taking moment after another. The most wonderous meetings and treasured friendships… our hearts “Bursteth” with JOY!! … (Most of the time!!!)
“Auntie! Uncle!”… a customary term of respect from younger Indian nationals… we enjoy so much the greetings on our daily beach walks. 2 young men bounce up to us, hand in hand (of course) in their ragged old underwear substituting for swim wear, Just loving life with hearts so massive and soo full of joy, not a penny to their name.. we have so much we can learn from these people! We love these encounters… “Hello Auntie and Uncle, where from?” “Canada” we inform, well that just about does it, we are Stratospheric.. if you are not British or Russian you are ‘something else’!! The read is they are not at all crazy about Russians, who’s government have some sweetheart deal that enable them to flock here… even menus in restaurants are in Russian! There are the Russian beaches and shacks, and lets just say the Russian blend with the Brits is not so HOT… Humans never seem to find the easy path to embracing differences!!
Beaches known to be ‘National’s Beaches’ are soo much fun to walk: literally thousand’s of nationals standing around in and out of the water, grown ups jumping in the shallow waves like children, wide-eyed and screaming as they enter the surf fully clothed, camera’s trying to discreetly capture us strange-looking visitors in our swimwear, the occasional bold person that comes straight out and asks us to pose in their group picture… This opportunity is one of those “Pinch Yourself’ highlights where we all giggle.. We teach them to throw the Peace sign and a blast is had by all!! Then there are the Russian Page 3 “Thong Wearing” Model Types who throw themselves around in the water doing the most provocative “poses”.. OMG the Poor Indian guys can hardly contain themselves!!
Christmas and New Year have rolled around.. New Year on a Goan beach and place of hippie lore from way back… gotta do that one time in your life.. the joy of the Nationals who have such appreciation for things un-Indian, they play and jump with the innocence of children in total wonder at the magic of it all as we launch Chinese lanterns and fireworks over the Arabian Sea..! The most fun was wearing our santa hats riding the scooter around town for a few days.. the smiles and laughs and people who would ride up alongside wishing us a Merry Christmas… having mastered the art of sitting “Side-Saddle” on the back of the scooter in true local style, impressing even myself to death (now just learn to ride the bike!!!)
The grimace on Steve’s face was enough for me to clear out of the tattoo parlour PDQ and head for a café… He had signed up for a “Biggeee”! Art work had taken more than 2 weeks to perfect… This was it “The BIG One”!! ………….. A tribute to “Pumper” and our Odyssey plastered on his right shoulder in full blazing glory.. awesome!! Fortunately we caught the little spelling error on the license plate.. it almost read “HIRPIES’ instaed of “HIPPIES”.. now how cute would that have been!! Our artist Mokesh in Calangute ( www.goatattoocenter.com ) did us proud… we have art work for a follow-up, and another in Nepal with a Kathmandu artist… OMG, what are we like!! Our kids must shudder and shake their heads!!
We are in serious plan mode. As enjoyable as our visit to Goa has been with our many new friends, it is time to explore and adventure and “DO” India!! Northern India and all of its cultural delights and no doubt horrors… A must… zip across the border and spend time in Nepal… I can hardly believe it.. NEPAL!!!! One month trekking around India’s less travelled regions.. survival mode thinking kicks in… a quick prayer “please keep me out of all hospitals and I will be eternally grateful!!”
Meanwhile Pumper rests in a container in Athens, missing us as much as we miss her. Temperature in Athens was barely above freezing this week, makes us shiver. Pumper is probably quite pleased not to be fighting for every square centimetre of the road, dodging potholes, and sucking in India’s dust at 35 degrees centigrade. Spring is around the corner!
शांति और प्रेम… Peace and love, Hindi fashion…
Using a polite form of address in a heavily accented English, the nurse in the ambulance was reassuring: “ ‘Auntie’ (an-tee), don’t worry, you must relax, your pulse is one hundred twenty, everything will be OK”. 120? Relax? Knocked out cold and concussed after collapsing and hitting the bedframe on the way to becoming a heap on the bedroom floor, my pulse didn’t really seem of concern.
The situation got out of hand quickly being in our apartment for just 2 days, violently ill with a temperature of 102 degrees, no idea of how to call an ambulance and where the ambulance should take us. Our friendly neighbor came to the rescue. Unfortunately addresses in India are at best ambiguous. Road names, postal codes, and house numbers are commonly non-existent; one depends on instructions such as: near such and such church or temple, just after the locust pond, opposite the football field, near the chicken farm, or some other appropriate landmark. 30 minutes later the ambulance arrived and the apartment filled with not just the medical entourage but seemingly a bunch of ‘ambulance chasers’ interested to know who was dying. Chaos ensued… “Who are all these people?” Steve asks as he shepherds the masses out of our bedroom and apartment, making sure computers or anything else that wasn’t nailed down didn’t disappear with them.
The stretcher was out of a museum: with one of its wheels that obviously hadn’t rotated in an aeon and had worn a flat side that dragged along the ground, and automatic folding legs that were supposed to make it easy to push the stretcher into the ambulance but instead decided to fold when they wanted to and not when they were designed to, which effectively meant all the wheels were useless, and the nurse and driver were pretty much forced to carry rather than roll the patient to the ambulance.
Good news: the hospital we had been advised to go to was less than 5 minutes away. Bad news: we were advised to go to the hospital that was less than 5 minutes away!!!
A local hospital operated by nuns, ill-equipped, with a Doctor in his 80’s speaking little English that we are not sure understood what an Auto-Immune illness is. We tried to stay on top of what exactly they were administering intravenously, and with sterile needles and syringes, but so much was lost in translation we could never be sure. After 2 days we were close to removing the IV ourselves and making a run for it. Had it not been for the dizziness from the concussion, they wouldn’t have seen us for dust, of which there was plenty in this non air conditioned and relic of a hospital. To top it all off, Steve was expected to stay with me for the whole time! (Probably just as well!) We were both sleeping on beds that resembled scaffold boards spanning metal frames and pillows as hard as bags of cement. We are not making this up!!!
The one highlight was to hold a new born baby the nun had just delivered, even though the room was spinning from the concussion. The little fella was all of 5 lbs. with jet black hair, more than Steve and I combined, and just adorable… Apparently in the Hindu culture after giving birth, the mother is considered unclean and not allowed to return home for 7 days! Way to go Mom put your feet up, relax! I could not imagine giving birth in that hospital, Thank goodness there were no broken bones or surgery required.. OMG!!
But funny how life is… before this brush with the Indian health system, we met some amazing Brits that live in Goa that invited us to a social gathering… how blessed we feel to have met Chilly, and m’ Lord and Lady Richard and Ann Morris of Lockerbie, and their friends who have made us feel so welcome and helped us acclimatize and get our social life in full swing!
It seems so long since we hopped that plane in Athens to Cairo. Egypt airlines: now there is a different world!! We are treated to a reading from the Koran on the T.V. monitor… before the safety video, and, … why are people still faffing in the aisles as we accelerate down the runway???.. Madness… welcome to another world!!
Finding suitable accommodation for 5 months has been a challenge… it’s available, but most is sub-standard even at the seasonal premium rates. After a couple of nights in a flea-pit we found a new condo a 5 minute scooter ride from the beach that after a couple of weeks of negotiating is now at a reasonable price. We are still educating the landlord about the fundamentals of an apartment acceptable to westerners… Yes, we would please like clean pillows thank you!!! And we do need cutlery and dishes!!! …. Oh, a non-prison issue mattress would be really cool!! All seems like such hard work and frustration on top of dealing with the health issues and wandering around like a very wobbly 80 plus year old woman!
But India like other developing and third world countries has a magnetic affect… Once you can look beyond the poverty, disorganization, chaos, filth, and general lower standards, there is an attraction and a feeling of achievement that one can live without the creature comforts and the norms we are used to and enjoy the cultural differences that make it unique. On the other hand… maybe we’re just insane!
Cruising on our scooter ($2 a day) it does not get any crazier. Day one Steve just about dumps me right off the back… Not soo good, but the lack of rules of the road makes it a free-for-all adventure!! You get used to it quickly, except in a traffic jam a few days ago I lost a shoe knocked off clipping another bike and we also managed to clip a pedestrian with the mirror. A good day on the road!! It is pretty wild: hundreds of scooters and motorcycles, pedestrians without a sidewalk in sight walking along the roads, throw sacred cows into the mix and a million people all beep, beep, beeping horns.. There is some method to this madness, you just go with the flow and it all works out!!
Back to the cows.. Not only are they an obstacle to negotiate on the road, they wander the beach, hang out at the store, or in a garden. Anything goes!!! Problem is there is cow shit everywhere. Just ask! Not realizing we had parked the scooter next to a cow patty, I stepped off and straight into one. The way my husband laughed you might think he set it up that way when he parked. He then tried to convince me that it is good luck!!! Hmmm!
We’ve settled into a nice routine of a beach walk before breakfast and again at sunset which is simply a soul lifting experience shared along with thousands of nationals with a spattering of visitors … This is a feast for the soul!! We are frequently asked to have our picture taken with the nationals… a real novelty. Why not? Don’t we take pictures of them? They are very polite and so curious. “You’re an Indian Barbie Doll”, several Hindi women exclaim… “would you like to see my jewelry?”
Peace and love… with 1¼ Billion people and growing.
You’re doing “WHAT “? Exclaimed Pumper!!
We tried the soft sell… After all why would Pumper not jump at her own swanky, private storage container in Athens… parked up for five months relaxing and giving her weary joints and moving parts a good rest after the four month 7000 mile adventure around Western and Eastern Europe! She has done good, real good!!!
Winter is upon us and in Europe as hard as you try you just run clear out of the beach kinda weather that we like to groove to. After much debate the whole idea to drive Egypt to South Africa has been nixed… who needs that stress!! The political scene in a couple of countries has gone sour and anyway, the ferry from Italy and Greece to Egypt has been cancelled, and we will definitely not be taking the land route through Syria anytime soon!
Option B? An easy one… we are off to India!! OMG!!
Pumper isn’t making this trip with us, she’ll be resting in Athens until we return in the spring to continue our sojourn around Europe.
Scooping a marvelous deal with frequent flier points… hold on to your seats: Athens, Cairo, Mumbai and Goa… Returning via Istanbul: Total cost of flights $260 … opposed to flying through Europe it would have been $1400 for airport taxes!!!
Obtaining an Indian Visa has been a challenge since we applied in Greece rather than Canada. We have been twice to the centre of Athens to get things sorted at the Indian Embassy, watching the political climate in Greece and the protest situation in Athens which has been rife!!
Nothing like starting at the top of the bucket list! Although we are really enjoying the 3+ weeks we have to float around Greece, a large part of me is already on that plane! We are thinking sailing, yoga, meditation, long boarding, and plenty of other activities like roaming distant parts of India, exploring the culture and immersing ourselves in everything mystical and magical… Checking some of its fine hospital facilities for a remedy or two should we experience the expected stomach ailments… c’est la vie!!!
Sleeping on the shores of the Aegean, or is it the Mediterranean, the waves lapping at the shore… this is idyllic!! Camping fee … A whopping zero!! Another stealth campsite in a sleepy Greek village along the highway! I can hardly wait to get up in the Morning, hit the yoga mat as Steve prepares coffee, and lap up all that is glorious about life!
Glorious just about sums up Greece and its people. We are enchanted! For all the news about the terrible state this country is in, the welcome mat has been rolled out, and everybody seems to go that extra mile to ensure the fattest warmest adoring welcome!!
It is hard to recount every detail… Every twist and turn of charm and delight!!! A country that leaves you wanting more as you fall deeper and deeper in love. Mountains that either plunge or flow into the sea, spectacular vistas, and villages, archeological and historic monuments, olive groves, as far as the eye can see, punctuated with vineyards and pomegranate and orange orchards. All ripe for the picking… harvest time in Greece!!! Mainland Greece is paradise with the hugest dose of hospitality to top it off!!
Many of the mountainous and gorge drives would be declared National Parks in most countries. In Greece there are too many to count.
We do declare (again )…. We could live here, as we ramble from one little Greek village to another! Eating our way around, one piece of Baklava at a time!!! … Sweet!!!!
Our journey has been filled with so many phenomenal encounters… many world travelers who have stopped to share, and left us feeling blessed to be on this journey and privileged to get the opportunity to enrich our minds and our souls, chance meetings that inspire and encourage. A wave and a smile are the same in any language.
Into Athens once again to pick up the Indian visa, grab some car parts from WWW.ovaldean.com a 1 year old VW Classic Parts business that is bucking the Greek economic trend. And then head for the beaches to enjoy the last few days of Greek summer.
We have soaked up and been in awe of the Greek history at places like Meteora where monasteries perch precariously on mountain tops, Pylos where the Turks were defeated making way for the creation of Greece. Vivid imagination mandatory when viewing in effect the piles of stones at both the temple of Athena at Delphi, and the ancient site of the original Olympics in Olympia, where monuments to the infamy of cheats were erected at the stadium entrance. Now there is an interesting idea that needs to be revisited!!! And of course the sites at the Acropolis in Athens which although are spectacular you feel you are on a movie set being erected with cranes and machinery all around, – snapping a good image near impossible. It was at Olympia we managed to get a Greek ‘Ear-Bashing’ for our disrespectful behavior posing on the columns… but the photo was worth it!
Mystras is an ancient city set high in the mountains of the Peloponnese Peninsula dating to the Byzantine times, still populated as late as the 1950’s. This is where we met a 30 something man from Toronto, as we were scouting a place to park for the night. This is a story of love, devotion, and sacrifice. He moved a few years ago from his comfortable life in Toronto to care for his aged and ailing father suffering with ALS, who had moved back to his native Greece 15 years ago to his small home on the grounds of Mystras, which must have been in his family for generations. What a treat to meet and spend time with him.
Here also we were introduced to Costas the Sheep farmer: It would seem that Costas may not have met a woman for many years as he encroached my space! I was madly figuring out how to avoid the looming contact, the inner voice screaming run for cover and jump for the security of Pumper! Not wanting to seem totally rude… well that was some handshake… Costas not only held my hand and slid his hands up my arm with what seemed like six hands, but his face also ventured far too close as if to do the old Greek 2 cheek touch!!! Nooooo thank you very much!!! I was unaware that Steve had sensed the situation and watched as things unfolded, and found the entire situation hilarious. He was doing his own calculation of how many sheep he should expect as a dowry!!! Little bugger, still teases me about it!!!
At local docks Steve has been chatting to sailors researching the sailboat rental scene. Just for future reference… now let’s see where could we sail, Croatia, Turkey, Greece? We were invited aboard a luxury catamaran…Holy Moly! Now that is a different world. K, pinch yourself, and get back to the cozy world of Pumper! Steve is determined to acquire his skippers license, and we are considering who would be mad enough to sign up to sail the seas for a month or 2 with us! We might just know of a few who would fit the bill!
7 am – early start for us. Kettle is on, eggs boiling and coffee brewing… Steve peers out the window and announces there is a woman in the parking lot in her underwear! Why are we not surprised? Splat.. as a boiled egg hits the floor.. Steve cursing… something about living in a tin can… he will not live that one down. The rudeness of it all, poor Pumper, how insulting …well can’t count the numerous times I’ve mentioned sardine can!!!
Another day in paradise. Another day of… well, who knows? Just the way we love it!
Peace and Love … to ewe, ewe, and ewe!!!
Nothing like mixed messages.. last stop in Montenegro parking at the Starigrad, old town, of ‘Bar’, a local oldtimer bustles over with glee at the sight of pumper … as the security lock is attached to the steering wheel protesting furiously with hand motions… “…this was not necessary in his village”. No English spoken here. Only to be informed this was not a good place to sleep for the night … “No No No… Mafia”!!
The camera stayed in its’ bag in Albania, the images are all Montenegro.
The roads expired abruptly at the Albanian border… as did life almost! Felt like we had been thrown back in time and if we had a dollar for every time we said this could be Mexico we would be eating in a fancy five star restaurant tonight… Not that we could find one!
Potholes and sections of gravel road everywhere. Driving all day… Fancy and grand gas / petrol station one after another followed by a multitude of equally grand furniture shops… for a country that is struggling… who buys this stuff? As another family chugs by in donkey drawn cart!
Then there are the Mercedes Benzes: where does that money come from? Many of the older Merc’s are apparently stolen from Western Europe. For sure on that, as motorcades of them fly by!! 8 of every 10 cars seem to be a Mercedes! Several donning plates from one US State or another apparently imported… stolen or otherwise.
Police are everywhere… fortunately totally uninterested in us and happy nabbing every speeder in sight… Driving skills are abysmal and we dare not take our eyes off the road for a second, otherwise someone is sure to pull a stunt!
Back at the border.. Go figure, a line up with a 30 min plus wait to exit Montenegro. What is with that? Could have been a US border . Perhaps they were taking an inventory of stolen cars!
Another pothole and blaring heat with hours of nothingness, we try to find inspiration swearing some more about the condition of the roads, lack of food stores, and rubbish strewn everywhere!! Very sad, and leaves us rushing to get through the country to Greece!! Albania has a way to come up the learning curve when it comes to tourism, and with respect for the environment and cleanliness? Yet another parallel with Mexico and several Central American countries… the place is a ‘garbage dump’. They say prior to the 1990′s the country was all but litter free… Get educating those kids!
OK, so we should have known better than driving off without local currency, the ‘Leke’. How were we to know that banks are few and far between outside the few major cities, and that many gas stations don’t take credit cards? Fortunately we had a small stash of Euro’s they quite willingly accept at a crappy exchange of course.
Albanians call their country: Shqiperia, the language descending from Illyrian… Whatever that is!!!! Albanians shake their head sideways to say “yes” (po) and nod and “tsk” to indicate “no” … There will be no head shaking here just to avoid a mix up!! We’ll be passing on the sheep head soup… after one of our first sights this morning was of a guy gutting an animal… Nasty!!!
We are sounding rather negative and not considerate of what has been a brutal past. Communism ruled until 1990… there are many signs of that era! Life looks harsh for most. … 1996, 70% of Albanians lost their entire savings when private pyramid investment schemes collapsed! Not unlike what other progressive countries have experienced since 2008!! A twist of fate in 1999, 465,000 Kosovars fled to Albania to escape the Serbian ethnic cleansing… Suddenly the economy boomed!!
Enough of the history lesson: Back to grass roots stuff, our day to day existence that seems so glam to most and to others a living hell… We do have our days!! We have relaxed into the lifestyle maybe a bit too much… one time gadding about wearing odd flip flops!! Then wandering the beach with toilet tissue hanging from my bikini… I have lost count of times I have worn my clothes inside out! Too Hippie or too relaxed? Or just more likely – losing the plot!!
Steve has even been caught shaving once in a while!!! Maybe that’s his excuse for having food on his chin! The real issue: as we are sometimes asked, “How we will ever settle down or begin to fit back into normal society”. This is a good question… get back to ya on that!
Back to drying underwear… waving my knickers in the breeze as we drive along… you mean there is something peculiar about that??? We flip the peace sign to a farmer as we cruise the country lanes. Or no, maybe this is the major highway. They all seem the same! Sorry sir, it isn’t a purple flag, it’s my underwear!!!
There are always positives:
The price of things here are ridiculously cheap, which makes us ask: ‘Why the heck is everything so expensive everywhere else?’
Camped out on a shabby abandoned beach, we wake to the most stunning Kingfisher eating breakfast on a small rock outside our window!! We continue south and the climb through the mountain pass and national park… Snow tire chain signs a grim reminder of a different reality! But the views are spectacular from over 1500 metres high; clear across to the ‘Boot Of Italy’. Life ain’t all bad.
Peace and love … if people could just pick-up after themselves!
From the moment we entered Croatia there was something magnetic. The highway from Hungary was the best we have seen anywhere with little traffic. Our greeting from the folk at the VW parts store in Zagreb could not have been more hospitable. And when we reached the coast and began the very slow drive south we have to declare that Croatia is a major highlight over the last 3 years.
It was hard to make serious progress down the coast as every turn in the highway presented another stunning village or beach that begged us to stay longer than a brief visit. The well-known highlights in Dubrovnich, Split, Zadar, and others are not the only highlights. The unknown villages that dot the coast and the islands make this the jewel. And the people of Croatia are genuinely beautiful people, always eager to please and help. We could wax on about it but the best way is to tell the story in pictures and hope the message is clear.
Croatia is a place we will return to in a couple of years, maybe rent a sailboat and see the country and its’ thousands of islands from a different perspective. If they didn’t get cold and stormy winters … ‘we could live here’.
Enjoy the sights…
Peace and Love
Parked with a million dollar vista high above the Adriatic, a Polish crew pulled up as we were having a spot of tea, and with the exuberance of a football team descended on Pumper with enthusiasm fit for the world cup final… Driving a real classic, an impressive group of guys and gals, part of a rally from Poland to Greece, to raise funds for orphaned kids… Just the kind of thing that makes your day!! A great exchange of stories and pictures… Name the make and year of the microbus. First right answer in our ‘comments’ wins the ‘Dreamer’ a mention in our next blog!
Our time in Croatia is nearing an end but continues to delight at every turn of the coastal road. A diversion into ‘Bosnia And Herzegovina’ to experience one of the many pummeled cities that were part of a horrific civil war and ethnic cleansing just a short 15 or so years ago. 1995 Mostar was virtually destroyed by the fighting, factions on either side of the river that runs through town each bombarding the opposite side. You don’t have to look hard for the scars, the bullet riddled buildings!! Landmine alert!!! Don’t wander too far from the road! We can’t imagine what these people have lived through so recently, as they now live and work in apparent harmony, enjoying and appreciating life nurturing this tourist haven where anything can be purchased very cheaply with Euro’s rather than the local currency. Memorials everywhere to those who died on both sides of the arguments, they know first-hand just how fragile life is!!
Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo: Linguists refer to the varieties of languages as “Serbo-Croatian” although they use the Cyrillic alphabet we get totally lost!! A friendly shopkeeper with perfect English informs us that children in Bosnia and Herzegovina learn English from Grade two… Dumb tourists that we are, almost everyone speaks English and the few mostly older people that don’t will surely find a way to communicate with visitors to their beloved country!!
Stuck on the side of the road due to what must have been a deadly crash we set up for a ‘cuppa’, but it isn’t long before Pumper turns into the star attraction!! A man pops his head inside the door and gestures in sheer delight at our home sweet home. Many hand gestures later and we gather that the road will be closed for at least 3 more hours and he is offering to show us an alternate route… we hit the road. Now most would question the sanity, heading off into the sunset to who knows where guided by who knows who!! (We never told our kids not to talk to strangers)! We wonder for all of a split second, but as we are fond of doing we put faith in humanity and head off down a single track road out into the countryside!! If our amazing $8 lunch which included 2 beer was not enough to dazzle, we are blown away by a total stranger coming to our rescue.
Following for 30 minutes… our guide pulls over and motions for us to stay while he disappears into some bushes, re-appearing with a bag stuffed full of freshly picked grapes!! He must have called ahead for his wife to pick them. We returned the kindness with some VW treasures as a small token of our appreciation… What a life saver!!
If that wasn’t enough to fill our hearts with joy, we wave adios to our Bosnian friend and, given the delay we were definitely driving a little faster than we should… we head straight into the clutches of a police radar trap! Darn and bugger it!! There was no mistaking the message… 76 in a 50 zone! Silly mistake, our last altercation with Police as hard as this is to believe was in California! We beg mercy… Not failing our total faith in the love and generosity of spirit of Bosnians he gives us a wink and waves us on??? WOW!!!
At the border our day is capped by the border control officer who shows his excitement at Pumpers arrival by leaning on the horn with the delight of a child, and waving us through without a care for our documents.
Yup a couple of old dropouts… We lost count today of how many people shouted out “2 Hippies” as Pumper cruised through the towns of B and H… The smiles on the faces priceless as we flip the peace sign and get the hugest wave of appreciation and reciprocal peace signs!!
Brief visit, but we soaked up the delights of Bosnia and Herzegovina: the welcome, kindness, and appreciation from the people. The small historic town Mostar with its cultural diversity underlined by the call to prayer at the mosque while The Gypsy Kings blared out ‘My Way’ at the restaurant next door.
Cevapcici, hurmastica, cevabdzinica .. Culinary delights.. Syrup soaked sponge fingers all the way. Burek .. The Croatian staple of a pastry stuffed with very salty cheese and spinach. The cheap chilled beer sure makes up for it!!
Curled up in bed somewhere on the Bosnian coast, this is the nomadic lifestyle that we have come to love. The next adventure, just around the corner!! We spent the evening dreaming up what is next (not much planning, but at times one is somewhat forced to consider… Oh no!… winter months are around the corner!!!). The excitement mounts!!! Next summer our options seem endless, the possibilities limited only by our dreams!
Yep this is simple living… No electricity, fridge, running water, shower, phone, television, actually, no toilet!! A Tupperware container for a closet… No bills! And what do we miss… NOT A DARN THING!! (Well… most of the time.J) Except of course our kids, family, and friends who could not be blamed for giving up on us as crazies!
The freedom of the road and the simple joy of clean, easy, and we think “Green” living.. How did we humans make life so complicated? If only … If only we could all get back to a simpler time of human kindness and appreciation. Instead, humankind today seems hell bent on just the opposite…
Silvana our new Croatian/Austrian Sociologist said profoundly: With a compass in our nose and a map in our heart, and a consciousness to avoid poverty of mind and soul, the most insidious poverty’s in the world today! Oh well, maybe we can do our bit and spread some good karma and pray that a little infectious spirit rouses the crowds!!
Peace and Love… with borders that need no defending!
With the warm glow of an early fall sunset we drive across the Slovakian border to Hungary… The remains of the old disused ram shackled buildings lay testament to days past.. We are thankful for the EU and the ease of our travels, and the favorable exchange rate making all of Europe an affordable treat. Yesterday hiking the banks of the Danube and the day before taking in the glorious sights of Vienna.
Vienna.. sheer delight!! Opulence at its finest.. Stand back and drool folks!!! Dipping a big toe in the rather murky waters of the Danube reflecting its long journey to the Black Sea in contrast to ours!
Vienna could leave you cash strapped easily if you wanted to visit all the museums, galleries, and concerts. But it is very enjoyable to wander the streets and soak up the flavor and the magnificent grandeur at every corner and in every detail of the architecture. Numero uno city in Europe to date for presentation.
Slovakia… Bratislava… we were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed a wonderful day soaking up the history. They haven’t quite mastered wooing or wowing the tourists, confirmed by the very grainy and poorly sound dubbed video at the tourist centre. None the less the transition from WWII through the cold war era to today was fascinating to watch. No ‘Hop On – Hop Off’ bus here, just a tour through the narrow streets of old town on a small kids train reminiscent of a Disney World ride.
Things can’t always be sunshine and roses, this is where the fun ends and we are rather befuddled with… Hungary!!! They might as well have posted something at the border… “visitors not appreciated thank you!!!” There are ALWAYS exceptions, we met some very nice and welcoming people, and certainly in ‘Party Town’ Budapest they have learned how to greet visitors. But leave the big city…!!! In the rural areas it seemed hard to find a smile on a face, and Pumper may as well have been transparent.
According to Steve… one of the most frustrating days of our odyssey, including all of Central and South America. Getting the front end greased should be simple enough! Thank gawd I opted to hang by the lake and soak up the rather scrumptious sunshine while beloved spent an agonizing 3 hours getting nowhere at the local garage!!! (I have to live with him!!!)For those of you who know Steve well, he is not one to get frustrated… A rather laid back kinda fella in the most frustrating of situations… But this did him in!!
Fresh from the lake and a morning dip… Well, shower for us… we are on our way to Croatia and reading up in the lonely planet we are stoked!!
We didn’t realize we were leaving the EU and required to show passports and vehicle papers! Turned out to be one of the most amusing border crossings we have encountered. Taken by surprise at this official process, in a half-dressed state clambering to the back of the bus to retrieve documentation failing miserably in my efforts to keep my boobs in my bikini… immigration officers duly amused!! Kate (Duchess of Cambridge) thinks she has problems!!!
Waking up day 1 in Croatia outside a car parts place in Zagreb (www.drakarauto.hr), what a pure delight served a delicious warm sweet cappuccino from the parts store chaps!! Oh how I could have hugged and kissed those guys but the look on my face told the story and the cappuccinos kept flowing… Digging up token thank you gifts, wishing we could really express how awesome that small gesture was!! They didn’t have everything we needed for Pumper but what they did have they gave us free of charge!!! What a contrast, we have been welcomed into Croatia with open arms from everyone we have met, and so helpful!
Aaahhh our first swim in the Adriatic Sea… We in unison announce that yup we could live here (and giggle at the times we have said that!!) ‘stunning’ scenery and coastline does not describe it adequately!! Finding a Small bakery that served up the most delicious baklava we are set to never leave!!!
Camped on the shores of the Adriatic… Croatia is the first country we have experienced a strict ‘no free camping’ law!!! So at 110 Kuna a night ( 15 Euro) we are hunkered down at our first campsite in a very long while!
Hunkered down is the only way to describe it, as a mega storm brews all around us. They call it ‘The Bura’, the rain sheets down, Pumper is rocking and we have visions of the 3 of us being uplifted and dumped out in the bay!!! Craziness!!! 2 days and nights trapped in Pumper, all the time being thrown around and waiting for the big one to tip us over. Having exhausted our food supplies we are forced to make a move in gale sized winds, driving 50km to the next town Karlobag, rarely reaching 50 km/hr. and frequently pushed to the precipice of the mountainous coastal road. It was hair-raising and in retrospect, not at all safe, but we survived. We learn the road is closed and find a more sheltered place to park for the night, and given the circumstances the Police seem unperturbed at our free camping.
There are stores and restaurants and we are spoiled to be served local brandy by the restaurant owner, gratis. He apparently thought we tipped him too well as he also gave us 2 bottles of beer to take with us.
Still on tap… Split and Dubrovnik to soak up the history and medieval charms, but our hearts are sold on Croatia and the warmth of the people!!! This is what makes the ugly days worthwhile!!
A crazy start to the day, as Pumper rolls slowly back towards the Adriatic sea.. Steve shouting from the sidelines… HAND BRAKE! Nothing like a heart thumping experience to get the adrenalin flowing. Steve announces to the police officer he had been chatting to about the closed roads “… guess I left my hand brake off!!”
Faleminderit, Mnohokrat, Nagyon, Dziekoje, Dziekoje, Dakujem, Multumesc.
How to say ‘Thank You’ in Croatian, Albanian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Romanian!!
And do you think we even mastered one!!!!!
Now if the wind would kindly stop blowing we might be able to continue our journey!
Peace and Love… “… blowin’ in the wind.”