Trips start with me saying the name of a country three times while balancing on my left foot and hopping up and down, twice.
There are 195 countries in the world, according to Wikipedia, but I usually choose countries to visit that look warm and friendly, have good pictures from people who have been there, and good reviews by fellow travelers.
Sometimes friends and family give me their dream vacations in the middle of conversations about the deteriorating U.S. trade balance or the price of tomatoes.
Pat, who keeps Scotttreks.com flying with tech genius, suggested the Dolphin Fountain in Mazatlan, all the five star restaurants in Paris, the Great Barrier Reef for diving. In the Dominican Republic he likes LaRamada, the north side beaches, the grave of Christopher Columbus, Altos de Chavon and Casa de Campo. He has traveled more places for business than Scotttreks can ever dream about seeing.
To celebrate my ninth travel ring, I buy myself a brand new Dominican Republic guide book at Barnes and Noble, full of places to see, foods to sample, music to tap my foot too, places to hang my hat.
There are 195 perfect countries on this planet to meet, thousands of cool places to explore and friendly hospitable people in all of them..
Scott is getting ready to ramble but hopping is getting more and more difficult.
” A tumbleweed is a structural part of the above-ground anatomy of a number of species of plants, a diaspore, that once it is mature and dry, detaches from its root or stem, and tumbles away in the wind….”
“Tumbleweeds” is also a Roy Rodgers cowboy song, sung around the campfire with fellow cowhands on a starry night, with a crackling fire, when the herd is quiet and coyotes are howling harmony.
The song’s lyrics are plaintive as the western landscapes shared by cowboys, Indians, outlaws, and cattle.
” See them tumbling down/Pledging their love to the ground/Lonely, but free, I’ll be found/Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.
Cares of the past are behind/Nowhere to go, but I’ll find/Just where the trail will wind/Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.
I know when night has gone/That a new world’s born at dawn/I’ll keep rolling along/Deep in my heart is a song/Here on the range I belong/Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds… ”
The last lines of the song crawl into my tent and bite me.
We all have songs to sing, but tumbling is what I do best.
The map on one of the Starbuck’s walls shows several continents.
When you spread the world out, pin it to a wall, you take out all its bumps, contours, unknowns, inconsistencies.
When Columbus laid out his world map on the sturdy table in his Captain’s quarters his map didn’t show him his crew’s fears, terrible ocean squalls and rolling waves taller than the three little ships in his expedition, stacked one atop the other..
When John Glenn walked on the moon, the maps in NASA headquarters didn’t tell the consistency of the sand that he hit his golf ball off of.
This world map focuses on longitudes and latitudes best suited for growing coffee, just one of Starbuck’s many products.
Our world has knitted together so tightly that we can enjoy foods from far away, foods that Kings used to have difficulty procuring. Now we don’t have to travel to a coffee zone to enjoy fresh coffee.
This little girl is talking to her mother on her Apple wrist phone. The only person on the planet using wrist communication devices when I was her age was the newspaper comic strip hero – Dick Tracy. Kids have come a long way since the 50’s.
What new technologies will come true in this little girl’s lifetime?
Will she see scientists grow and replace dysfunctional human organs? Will she be transported through time and space? Will her kids take their food in pills? Will her children be taken from her to be raised by the State? Will her world be without borders? Will there be off-world colonies turned into travel destinations?
This morning I’m reflective.
It is good to have children in our world but they have to grow up quicker than we did.
Bernalillo is a little rural town just minutes north of Albuquerque on the way to the Santa Ana Casino.
The town has some dirt roads, manufactured homes in disrepair, livestock grazing in back yards, Obama signs in front yards.
The Rio Grande River and Bosque, a cottonwood forest, run through town on their way to Mexico, New Mexico and Mexico have never lost their connection, and often stroll, hand in hand, along the river on warm spring nights,cotton ball flowers dropping into their dark hair.
By the freeway, on the South Hill frontage road, is the Kaktus Brewery that has a weekly Wednesday night Blues Jam that has drawn lots of fans this evening.
The brewery itself has taken over an old fashioned 1950’s house and modified it to fit the business needs of a 2019 craft brewery. When you enter what used to be someone’s bedroom, the brewing area is visible through a side door. In the bar, through what used to be a living room door, I can see an older group of pony tailed fans, men and women, drinking. The blues jam is happening in an outside patio area where previous owners barbecued ribs and listened to Mozart.
Blues, as I usually think of them, belong on a front porch in Mississippi on a hot humid evening. An old black man sits on the edge of his porch, guitar strings sticking up like copperheads from the river. He hits a few chords and then his sad story comes out. The old man’s old favorite hound lays on a corner of the porch, his tail tapping the wood deck as his master’s knarled fingers move across the guitar frets.
Women light the place up tonight and their blues are always about sex and love getting in each other’s way.
The vibe at the Kaktus tonight is partly spiritual, partly venal, mostly party.
Some musicians play. Some musicians teach. Some musicians both play and teach.
There are lots of filters that can keep a teacher’s message from reaching his students gas tank. If Chadd could just run a USB from his brain to my brain, he could download his considerable music knowledge and we wouldn’t have to wait for me to go through hours and hours of practice.
At the heart of every jazz solo is technique, clarity of thought, pureness of emotion, and an intent to swing.
There is, unfortunately, no USB connection that can bypass practice.
My attempts to master flute playing have been unsuccessful.
Chadd tells me the oboe is the hardest instrument to play he has ever tried.
I’m stuck with alto sax and clarinet, my original horn.
Right now, playing one horn well is about all the gas I have left in my tank.
Right now, listening to Chadd play a flute solo, is as close to the flute as i want to be.
If you want to know what people are looking for, count the cars in the parking lot. Tonight, the parking lot is packed full.
The dance floor is also packed full,dancers barely having enough room to stand, The band is hitting their notes, ladies are dressed to kill, the audience rocks with the steady booming salsa rhythm and yell when a tune is done for another one just like it. Latin music has hot harmony, high note trumpet playing, fluid solos and tight, intricate, group ensembles..
Chadd plays his flute solo on a new plastic flute brought back from a music trade show in Los Angeles and doesn’t miss anything.
It’s never too late, I’m thinking, to learn to dance better, even if you fluff your pillow and turn in before ten in the evening.
When Ladies get dressed up to dance salsa, they light up the dance floor and have contagious smiles.
Tonight, this is a party to be at, especially if you are a little kid, front and center.
I thought , at first,the little boy on the band stand was the son of a band member but was later told by Chadd his parents have been bringing him to sing and be on the stage since he was three.
Watching the little boy sing with the band is worth the price of admission, all by itself.
This good sized rock, more than a stone but not quite a boulder, in Embudo Canyon in the Albuquerque foothills, is not where it should be.
It appears it was lifted from a nearby mound of dirt and was carefully placed on the trail Alex and I are now trekking down. We can see the hole where the rock used to be cradled.
” Let’s move it back, ” Alex says.
If we move the rock back will some cosmic order be disturbed? How far do we want to impose our human will on the natural world? Has moving rocks become against the law in an open space monitored by cameras and posted signs? Maybe the rock likes it here where someone else has placed it?
We keep walking past the crime scene.
I’m suspecting someone will eventually put the rock where they need it.
This scene has man’s fingerprints all over it and I’m not feeling an overwhelming need to put things right.
I have learned that I can live quite easily with things out of normal.