Teotihuacan 1996 revisited

Wow!   Two promises in two days….      I checked out my Digital Film/Slide Projector for my pal Judy Dykstra/Brown over at Lifelessons, AND in the same swell swoop…or is it fell swoop?… found some of my ancient slides of ancient archeological sites as I had promised my buddy BadFish!

I will do a proper post about these pyramids  soon, right now the goal is to show that my old slides really can be  resurrected and restored by even ME…klutz that I can be even after thirty-some years of computer-practice.

The purpose of this post is to show the results of my test of my scanner converter…yes it works, and yes I love it!    It took me about four times longer than it should have, and I had a LOT of hassle getting the photos into the post.

No, that is not me up on that pyramid…no way.   It may or may not be my late husband, who went up part way.

These shots were taken in 1996 at the Teotihuacan archeological site near Mexico City.  This particular occasion marked the last time Bob and I went to Mexico together, although I made several more trips by myself.

These are not Aztec pyramids, but were constructed by the Teotihuacanos, who predated the Aztecs by centuries.    The city was a hub of commerce and trade that extended even down into what is now Guatemala.   National Geographic did a great magazine issue featuring this fascinating city.

There are hundreds and hundreds of photos of the pyramids.       https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=teotihuacan+pyramids&FORM=IARRTH&ufn=teotihuacan&stid=1a1f9c4b-ec11-aeee-db7b-def752eff0af&cbn=EntityAnswer&cbi=0&FORM=IARRTHds   I’ll check it.   I just googled Teotihuacan pyramids and got it.

OH yes!  the link works…many of the photos I looked at on the site have been taken much more recently.  There has been on-going reconstruction work at many of the Mexican sites for many years.

All photos were by Robert Dreger, 1996.   © Sometimes, 2017

The Pyramid of the  Moon photo © Sometimes, 2017
The much larger Pyramid of the Sun.
A partially reconstructed Administration or residential Building.

Haiku for Carpe Diem Full Circle

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.    Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #84 Back In Time.    The assignment is to employ 12 words, in a clockwise direction.   The words are: summer, princess, willow, oasis, palmtrees, camels, cruise-ship, snow, rainblow, yellow, shrine, and prayer/praying.

Here is my contribution.

Tropical summer
Princess Line cruises are full
reminds of willow

at a dreamer’s oasis
palm trees sway gently
camels munch…happy  in  shade.

The cruise ship awaits
far from the snow at my home
colors of rainbow

shades of Sun’s yellow
my mind builds a holy shrine
praying to return some day

© Sometimes, 2016







































(or praying.)

travel tales


Here is a story about just how terrible the experience of flying has become.    Once…not too long ago, the process of taking an air trip from a major airport, on a major airline, was one of life’s pleasures for those who could afford it…and that was a pretty broad segment of the population in the United States.

Not to belabor the fond clichés of those of us who remember the dressing-up in “air travel outfits” in order to look good while strolling the airport terminal, and creating a “Wow!” factor appearance for emerging from the tunnel into the waiting area–where sizeable groups of people awaiting the arrival of air-travelers.   Then each little group would walk off down the concourse  sharing snippets of exciting conversation about the flight.   “Man, the sun is shining back in Albuquerque!”   “Wow!–look at all the snow!”  and “It was so rough that I really thought we were going down…”

Here’s the thing that has always griped me.   Why don’t we have a decent cross country train system, like Europe and Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom…etcetera,   One of my most wistful dreams has always been about traveling on a glamorous  fast-moving train, sipping fine wine in the club-car (my ideal of glamour) and watching scenery flash by.     Yes, I know–a bit exotic, but hey–that’s me.  And yes, I also know about Amtrack–which I hear is great once past Chicago or so, heading West.

Of course I DO know the reason we don’t have a cross-country railway system…and between you and me that is easy: the auto industry.  Our society and economy has always been about making cars, advertising cars so that everyone must have at least one…and except for the East coast cities where there IS a decent train system (as far as I know,) efforts at installing  North-South Corridor high-speed systems have been suppressed.     At least that is the case here in Ohio.

I admit that my experience with train travel has been limited, consisting of a trip to California from Ohio when I was five-years -old; travel from Bremerhaven, Germany to Frankfurt in 1955 (courtesy of the U.S. Army); at least one ride to and from Boston when my son lived in Massachusetts.   I think that is all..not counting some rapid-transit travel in Cleveland back in my commuting days, and assorted tourist travel in New York City, London, Mexico City and Quebec…. oh–and in New Orleans, the trolly from the city out to the university.


chatting about blogging…

I enjoy looking over my Stats pages, especially seeing how many views and who my followers are.   I follow most in return, and have quite a variety of site-types.  I love to see the wonderful photos on the travel-type sites, because travel has always been one of my favorite pastimes, but one I can’t really do any more for a variety of reasons: mainly lack of discretionary funds, and the fact that I’m just not able to do all that running through airports and dragging heavy bags!   Especially the carry-on (which I insisted on carrying-on all too many things…) and — since I had a lap-top, dragging that around.   Laptops can get very heavy.   But in reality, that was a few years ago, like at least ten years ago, that I even had a laptop.   Now I would take my tablet with me, which is much more manageable.

One of the things that used to make my bags so heavy were that I insisted on dragging along notebooks and paperback novels enroute to my destination…and vast numbers of books and paper-stuffs from places I had been.

The most recent trips I have been able to take involved flights to Minnesota, and an occasional road-trip with a friend who has time-share condos in various cool places…like Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia.   She drove my car, which most people do when driving with me…because I don’t really like driving that much if there is someone else to do it.

Back in the 1990s I made several trips to Mexico, to the wilds of the state of Chiapas, partially in pursuit of research trips which I combined with so-called Reality Tours with an outfit called Global Exchange.    Four times I went on those trips into the mountains to indigenous villages and colonial cities–loved every minute of it!  Also went on a sort of a writer’s and artist’s retreat to a great place in Oaxaca.

I traveled alone when I went on these types of trips, which originated from Mexico city and then on puddle-jumper small jets into deeper Mexico and then ground transportation into even deeper locations.    That was part of the fascination, and contributed to my sense of adventure.  It would have been better had I been younger, perhaps.      My husband and I made numerous vacation trips to Mexico, and we sort of specialized in archeological sites.    The last time I went down there before my husband died in 2000, he met me in Mexico City after a two week research trip to Chiapas.   He declined participating in these activities of mine because, for one reason, he said “guys with machine guns are not my idea of fun.”

So to get back to blogging…I have thousands of photos, largely on slides, unfortunately…as they will not be easy for me to access.     The photos that I have include many places in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Portugal…England…and USA spots in Minnesota, Arizona, the East Coast, Florida…. etc.   I need to work out a schedule of sorts to keep my nose to the grindstone, so to speak, in getting some of this material onto my Blogs…. Sometimes, and Wonderland is a State of Mind.

It isn’t that I think anyone really cares about my carryings-on and going-ons … except ME.  I want my travels and adventures, opinions, experiences…to be “out there” even if no one ever sees them.    The alternative is that these stacks and boxes of slides, CDs, snapshots…just languish in drawers and musty slide-tray holders…for ever–or until someone some day goes through the stuff and dumps it in the landfill.

I have zillions of these types of slides that belonged to relatives of mine (and in-laws) that sit mysteriously in their slide holders.  Sometimes these have notes on them, a date or name, or destination.    Most have endless shots of people that I have no idea of their identity–obscure people standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, in darkest Africa with a group of happy natives, getting on an airplane…getting off a bus…on a boat, in a cabin…. endless.    Who were these people?   Where was that quaint street picture taken?  It could be narrowed down to any of a few dozen of timeless shots of back streets in “old world” cities….could be Quebec, might be Madrid, possibly someplace in Germany…maybe back street Boston?

There is the occasional gem, like the one of some relatives of my husband’s, who had a summer cabin and rowed across a river to attend church on the mainland.   The ladies are wearing hats (a la 1940s) and mink stoles…in a row boat.   That speaks volumes–the desire to impress the rabble living out in the boondocks never dies.   Well, enough of that…I will leave anyone reading this to digest that vision.



Fun times in airport waiting rooms

Being as how my fairly limited air travel experiences date way  back in my memory banks, I enjoy dragging them out and expounding on their relative significance.   This trip into memory lane is completely irrelevant, but that never stopped me from detailing even the least important adventures…which in the great scheme of things may never be read.

One of the activities of airport waiting rooms…those sometimes surreal places where any incident, no matter how small, served to perk up interest among viewers sitting there waiting hopefully for news of impending flights.   This activity is casual observance of tidbits of life in the waiting room.

Once my son was arriving in Cleveland on an in-coming flight from (Boston? Seattle? Phoenix? Minneapolis?… it doesn’t matter much, probably it was a stop-over here in the heartland between big cities.)

The spectators…casually observing the sudden surge of activity which was the opening of the Gate Door from the airplane and the emergence of People from the ramp.    Heads turned in unison, watching the grand drama of happy reunions and business associations unfold…reminiscent of a crowd watching a tennis match.

As Joe approached, sporting his new (to me) and neatly appointed beard…and I, as an observant Mom, remarked with a gentle touch to the chin: “What is this?” to which he said –echoing the collective thoughts of the watchers–   “oh-oh, his Mom doesn’t like his beard.”     I am probably the only person in the world who found that exchange note-worthy, but it is duly filed in my file designated as: “Irrelevant But Fascinating.”

One of the highlights of waiting in the airport waiting area, once the 9-11 attacks had occurred and the airports were on alert and running on nervous energy–was watching as hapless passengers were pulled out of line and searched.  The most interesting examples to me were: a five-year-old with a pink Barbie back-pack; a highly irate woman who believed she should have been exempt because of her age; and a blonde American who was infuriated at the gall of some Mexican airport security officers who searched her purse and bags with exaggerated slowness.   It was rather obvious to me that the security guys were highly amused at the hassle-value of the search, and–at least to me–was clearly a response to reverse situations which were even more common.

The entertainment value of these types of events lies largely in the reactions of travelers.   Personally I always considered inconvenience and annoyance to be one of the anti-perks of air travel…and believe that the Hassle Value lay in the degree to which a traveler was A–indignant, B–considered to be deprived of their Rights; and C–vocally loud.   Shouting is almost always counter-productive.

I admit that I tend to be amused by almost anything…especially in waiting rooms…and things that I found fascinating barely aroused the interest of other travelers who made a point of being bored.  Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder.   There is a choice–be bored or be entertained.

I do miss those decades of frequent travel.


Taos~Haiku Re-Blogged from WritersDream9

Lovely haiku… so meaningful and respectful to the old times. I would like to re-blog this post…it is striking and lovely in its simplicity.   “Race of the traveler’s heart…” indeed!  My poor heart is pounding like mad, but alas, not going anywhere any time soon.   Thanks Carol!


Ancient City of Taos, New Mexico USA. Ancient City of Taos, New Mexico USA. 

Drums beating with wind

Dry crisp air carrying sage

Hear the constant hum



© Carol Campbell 2015

The Prompt from: http://dversepoets.com/2015/11/03/poetics-tangled-in-travelers-heart/#like-10990  Thank you C.C. at https://consciouscacophony.wordpress.com

“1. Resfeber (n.): the restless race of the traveler’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together; a travel fever that can manifest as an illness.

2. Fernweh (n.): “distance-sickness”; the craving for travel

3. Coddiwomple (v.): to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.

4. Wanderlust (n): a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.”

❤ ❤ ❤

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A Pleasant Chat With Myself …with no regrets

(Re-blogged from Sometimes.}

                     Say What, SELF?

Talking to Myself is something I do
Listing accomplishments, dreams, and regrets.
Bragging to Self is always permitted
as long as the truth is told.

But sometimes I resent what SELF has to say
in questioning and doubting and high-handed
pouting over things that
I never got to do.

Travel might have been, should have been, would have been
had the opportunity and ability been present
much sooner in life than it was..

What’s that you say, Self?–
I didn’t apply myself?
I wasted much of the time of my life
on the mundane and unnecessary (in the grand scheme)
pursuits such as housework and not
enough adventure and travel?

Well that’s not the case!  I hasten to say–
I’m not indignant, I just need to explain.
My years as a gadabout (now I only can write about)
Only regretting but never forgetting
the places I did NOT get to and sites unseen.

What’s that you say, Self?
I never got to Australia — why not?
Well you know the reason…lack of money.
No, it is NOT an excuse
a trip to my Grandpa’s land
never made the itinerary
until it was too late.

Well, I’ve been to Minnesota, where I’m infamous for closing the airport
twice in two years.

What’s that you’re saying, S?
Yes, indeed there IS now a sign on the door
It’s the airport that never closes,
rain, sleet or snow notwithstandingl
but it did clamp down in a blizzard
(NO it is not fair to blame it on ME,
just because of a misunderstanding…

Well, OK, do you remember THIS, Self?

I’ve been to the jungle and mountaintops, where I slept in relative comfort
guarded by masked men with guns.
I love that cool, lofty city, high in the mountains–rebels and soldiers, and all.
Now don’t get judgemental and argumental, it was all pure and noble.
YES, I do admit to thinking as the shadow appeared on the wall–
what the hell am I doing here, after all?

 What’s that you ask, SELF?
Now–don’t take me to task, prattling about morality
and culpability, and what would people think?
You know that I always bask in adventure and human rights
YES I was able to deal with the ghosts aflight in the nights.

So, sophistication was never my thing, and try as I might there was no chance
to be anything but me–boring old ME.

What is it now, SELF?
You remember it all? You DID love the days when I
could run through airports without too much effort,
and react bravely to full-gear soldiers with rifles, looking for passports
— and exist for weeks on a few Spanish phrases.

At the end of this sonnet, if that’s what it is,
Myself and I have agreed that no changes are needed
to worry and fret and make-up regrets, and argue and re-hash old times we would change
Now I can WRITE about memories of times when I REALLY was traveling…
not just in rhymes.

Say What? Overcoming Language Differences…

You know what I’m saying?

Sometimes understanding is difficult to achieve.   I have been in situations where I have had to or wanted to make myself clear.  Conversations that come to mind are often hilarious, although at the time miscommunication was not one bit funny…but frustrating, or even frightening.

I can read Spanish, but speaking it is very difficult for me.   I still translate the words from English before writing or speaking in Spanish.     The first language other than English that I learned was when I was in my twenties, trying to teach myself German before I went to Germany to live.      I bought a copy of Berlitz German, and proceeded to study and write sentences.   I will say that I learned some rudimentary proununciation and grammar rules, the vocabulary words were harder.

The first Germans that I met were in the  railway station, and on the train taking me from the port at Bremerhaven, to Frankfurt, where my army husband met me at the station on Christmas Day,1955.      When I got on the train, to my small compartment, which had a tiny washroom in it, I prudently barricaded the door with my assorted baggage…When the train reached my destination stop, the conductor opened the door…outward.   So much for closed doors.

We moved into a brand new apartment in  U.S. Army quarters, where our neighbors in the building were all U.S. soldiers.   But then almost everyone we met spoke English…so my German sort of languished.

Strange as it seems, the first foreign language that emerges from my brain is, to this day, German…which doesn’t help much in countries where Spanish is called for.

I did have some not-so-funny at the time but humorous adventures.  The one that comes to mind as both amusing and embarrassing was when I hired a taxi to drive me up a giant mountain to the city that was my destination.    I was able to figure out that the taxi fare would be the equivalent of US$20, so I knew that I could pay the driver in twenties…which was all I had at the time.   I did not have any Mexican Pesos, only US dollars…which contrary to popular belief, are not always welcome.

On the hour and a half trip up the mountain, I tried to chit-chat a bit with the driver.  He was a young man, and was about as conversant in English as I was in Spanish.   He asked me if I had any candy, but I thought he was talking about a kiss.  So idiot that I am, I got worried…it was highly unlikely that this good looking young guy would be making a pass at an old lady…but well, ya never know.

By the time we got to the city I had something new to worry about…the $20  bills.   I think the driver was wondering if I knew where we were going, as it was dark, and I had forgotten the name of the street where the hotel that I was headed for was located.   (duh…)     But he followed my directions: right, left, left, right, etc.  and we stopped in front of the hotel.   The owner answered the bell, and responded.

I explained in Spanish that all I had was 20 dollar bills…and that I intended to pay the driver for the fare, plus give him another twenty for his work…..which was a lot of money in pesos.   The hotel owner understood me…and convinced the driver that the company would be pleased with the US dollars, and that he would be able to convert his twenty.   Meanwhile I was holding my breath…I had no desire to meet the local policia … but all was well.  I got to my room and slept like a baby.

That issue about the candy was just ignorance on my part.

On the trip down that mountain, two weeks later, I was as usual…car sick.   I hoped to make it to the airport, but ….. Not knowing the words…. I just reached over to the taxi driver and tapped his arm…he glanced at me…and had no trouble understanding my   “senor…” and my impromptu  upchuck-gesture, which needed no words, and he pulled over to the side of the road to let me out.

During the two weeks I was there I did not meet any English-speakers, but it was possible to get by with my rudimentary Spanish.   Part of the issue there was that outside of town officials and shopkeepers, most of the people around did not themselves speak Spanish, let alone English…but an indigenous language.

I am Who I am, no matter how hard I try to be someone else

Yep, here I am in Blogging-101 again.  This time my intentions are good, but that is normal…and we all know what they say about good intentions.

It occurred to me once when I was embarking upon a “reality trip” to Mexico, that I would soon be meeting a whole new group of people who had never heard of me before.    “This is my chance,”  I said to myself.  “I can be anything I want to, change my demeanor, background, speech, and present an entire New Me.”

Right.  No dumb comments, no Shy Me hiding in the shadows…New Me could be sophisticated, well-spoken, and always in control of my cool personality.   In fact, I could buy a new jungle-adventure wardrobe, and wear head-bands, pretty flowing tops, and jeans with zippers instead of Mom-jeans.

Great ideas.

First, at the airport, I had to accept a stranger’s help in hoisting my backpack into position.  I could not get into that baby without help.   So there went Cool Me with the airport-crowd.

At the Mexico City airport, changing to the domestic terminal, once I found where I was supposed to be I stood around with the crowd, my backpack perched on top of my suitcase, on one of those folding carrier things.  Cool Me trusted the luggage to stand up by itself…and it did not, crashing to the floor within an inch of a man’s foot.   He had to help me stand it up again, and was really very nice about it.

The Cool Me cover was blown, and although I had flown many times before, and traveled in Mexico before, I still managed to convince on-lookers that I was an inexperienced, naïve American who had no clue whatsoever.

I think that was the time I dropped my ID card (driver license) onto the rolling conveyor while passing through Security, and it rolled under the scanner and it had to be retrieved by an employee.

So the point is that the New Me is the same Old Me.   No matter how hard I try no one in Blogging-101 classes will ever believe that I actually have traveled numerous times to foreign countries, and to jungle cities, as well as to professional conferences and research trips to various US cities.    I have been a newspaper writer/reporter, university History instructor.  I hold a Masters Degree in History, and ABD (all but dissertation toward a PHD.)   Love auctions, writing, books, gardening, working on my blog, beading.   I am 81 years old (which is not remarkable, anyone can be old AND productive… with a lot of ambition and a bit of luck.)

So–I am what I am, and (like Popeye,) nothing else.

I love blogging, and have been working on my blog, Sometimes, for awhile casually and for the past six months more or less regularly on WordPress University classes.   I write casual humor, occasional fiction, news commentary, class assignments, and other pieces.

A Place I would NEVER want to visit? Nah…

Is there such a place? I don’t think so. Oh sure, there are places where I would not want to be at a given time…say in the midst of a fire-fight in a war zone. But that could be anywhere at any time…even a small town stand-off between police and a gunman. I wouldn’t want to be in Florida during a major hurricane. Or out on a polar ice cap wearing a bikini. A lovely volcanic island would not be very attractive when covered with molten lava.

Would I like to visit those places? Not under the circumstances described, but in fact there is no place that I would cross off my list of places to visit EVER. There is an inherent charm in every place. Or if “charm” is not really the way to describe it, I should say an inherent “interest” or “attraction” or even a morbid fascination.

At this time of year in Northern Ohio we often hear people say they are moving to or vacationing “some place warm to get away from the winters.” These are the same people who say they live in this area because they “like the changing seasons” or don’t like the heat and humidity elsewhere.

Having lived in, visited, or traveled all kinds of places in the United States and elsewhere, I can honestly say that there was no place that I did not like, if for no other reason than the unique characteristics.

During actual residence in Texas, Oklahoma, Germany, and Arizona (all courtesy of the U.S. Army)… the exciting and mundane all blended into day-to-day living conditions in special circumstances. Living in a place for any period of time over a few days is admittedly much different than spending a couple of fun weeks in hotels and resorts. Eating in restaurants is much different than whipping up spaghetti in one’s own kitchen.

The features that delight some tourists and disgust others — oceans, deserts, iceflows, mountains, heat, cold, forests, miscellaneous bugs and disgusting or scary animals — remain pretty much static in any given location. It can be mighty hot in Arizona; cold and rainy in Seattle; friendly people in Georgia, detached ones in New England; alligators in swamps and bears in national parks. Yeah, some people love it and some don’t.

A bit of discretion and common sense is a good thing when it comes to choosing timing of a visit to a certain area. Go to Florida when its warm and sunny; go to Michigan when the weather is condusive to getting out and enjoying those lakes. Try to avoid New York during blizzard season.

Then there is me–like I always say “do as I say, not as I do….” Back in the 1990s when a grad student here in Ohio, I had occasion one year to schedule two research trips. Where and when? Wisconsin in the spring, when there was still snow on the ground…and New Orleans in September, when it was too hot and muggy to move. Now those are two destinations that I should have chosen better times of the year…reversing them would have been good. But although my timing left a lot to be desired, I LOVED both destinations.