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Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Behave Yourself! – Rockwatching Blogging Protocal

 

scan0001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Well, Rockwatching has been up and running for a number of years now (5 to be exact) and I believe it has contributed significantly to the interest of people like myself who like caving, rocks, the outdoors, gems and minerals in Ontario.

We are just a few short days from 2011 and I believe it’s high time we made some resolutions -all of us  (you my loyal fellow bloggers as well).

So in the interests of all involved a few ground rules to follow on Rockwatching from now on

1) Lets not carry a personal vendetta onto this site which is meant to be a forum where like minded enthusiasts can interact in a positive way.
2) Lets respect each other and try not to get personal when we are frustrated.
3) Lets respect the basics of conservation and eco-minded thought.
4) Lets not assume stuff we don’t know for sure (hence the survey at the bottom of the post).
5) Lets keep in mind that this is all about enjoyment.
6) Lets keep in mind that just because the topic is on the table, every single aspect that pertains to it is not an open book.
7) Lets respect people who are not on the site, private property, reputations etc. Just because there is discussion of a site or feature does not mean permission has been granted to go there.

8) Lets not get petty, self righteous or important. Stop correcting my grammar, spelling or use of terms. I am a writer at heart and so I believe I can use the language as I please (providing it’s in good taste, or if I choose, not in good taste).

9) Lets not waste my time by having to re-direct you to one of the above rules.

Happy and prosperous 2011 – Mick

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Canadian Grain, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Here is an interesting little discovery in a market in Marrakesh some time in the early 1980s. Many of these sacks were labeled something to the effect, “Gift from Canada – Canadian grain for Ethiopia”. I cant remember the exact wording but it was something like that.

Any thoughts as to the confusion between Morocco and Ethiopia? Admittedly they are both in North Africa, but one was on the eastern edge of the continent in the midst of a terrible famine and the other is on the western edge with no such kind of problem. Do you suppose there is a deficiency in the geographical education of the pilots or ships captains who got the product here? Maybe in the interests of conservation the Ethiopians decided to send product from their own country to Morocco in those same sacks in which they’d received their aid supplies.

I had this picture taken as discretely as possible so as not to create a stir. As you can see nobody seems too bothered. If I could have got closer without a problem I would have.

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Ghost

P1020576, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Led by our flapper guide we filed down a stairway into a forgotten segment of the 1920’s. We saw a tunnel (filled in at its mouth), and numerous rooms and abandoned bits of this and that. This picture is of the old boiler; an impressive old machine with doors that hung open like gaping eye-sockets.

Much of our trip beneath the hotel centered either around various stories to do with Al Capone or Clarence the ghost. As the story goes, Clarence who had been working at the hotel – or was it visiting, I cant remember, discovered his wife having an affair with one of the other guests. He is said to have shot her and then thrown himself off a balcony to his death.

As for traces of Clarence – my room (301) sure sounded haunted, the windows shook and rattled all night with a vicious Kansas wind. I got up around 01:00am to try and do something about the window, but for whatever reason, I could not locate the exact source of the noise. As for cold, I was wandering around in the dark, bumping into things and by the time I got back to bed, I was totally numb and nursing a toe that I stubbed up against the bar fridge.

As for sight of Clarence, I cant say that there was anything in there that really suggested a paranormal presence. The following morning I overheard Tony, telling the front desk something of an unusual phone call story – it sounded like the sort of thing that Clarence was known to do; just simple stuff, no chains rattling or headless apparitions.

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Kansas – where the wind always blows

P1020289, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

There is always a wind in Kansas. Wichita is said to be one of the worst places to fly into on a summer afternoon in tornado season. My boss told a funny story (not so funny for him) of one such experience that left a whole plane full of men screaming like babies. Pilot comes on the intercom – “WHOOEE, what-da-ya-think of that” Needless to say nobody was too impressed but the pilot seemed to be having a great time. Lesson is that if flying into Wichita in mid-summer, do so in the early morning.

Anyway, here is how the luggage issue ended up…

I finally reached the airport (by phone) and they explained that I should have filled out a lost luggage claim. I told them that I had done so with the only people that I could find. Apparently they were new employees and had not done it right so I was now screwed. I called back later in the day for a second opinion and was told that my luggage had arrived on the same plane and so I was now unable to have it delivered as that was against their policy. Point is, it wasn’t on the carosel – thats no good to me.

I finally retrieved my luggage as I was leaving on Friday morning – just in time to put the clothes that I had bought from Walmart into it, re-tag it and pop it on the plane for Atlanta (My transfer before Toronto).

On the goodside – everyone at Dodge was very helpful, had a good long talk with the lady at the front desk of the Holiday Inn who was excited by the impending arrival of the casino in Dodge – she likes “Texas holdem”, but admits that with the casino comes the crime and social problems also.

Picture is where I stayed – at the Holiday Inn Express. They serve a pretty decent breakfast and we watched news of the election with a room full of hunters (Turkey or pheasant I think). People were pretty polarized in their views according to their level of affluence.

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Witness my wife being pickpocketed – it makes an interesting picture.

P0000181, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This post had appeared on my other site – thetravelnet – but as it was too much to keep up I will repost it here for its informative value – would be visitors to the Mercado Central in San Jose – BEWARE.

Every type of unusual item can be found in the “Mercado Central” – Peruvian ponchos, cheap yellow plastic rain coats, pig’s heads, cow’s feet, leather belts and wind chimes. Situated just to the edge of San Jose’s downtown core it is well worth a visit but – keep your wallet close – the pickpockets swarm as thick as flies.

Admittedly, we had been warned but feeling invincible with my money belt tucked across my belly (gave me the appearance of a really beefy beer drinker) we wandered in to the foray.

For reassurance I rubbed the secret stash from time to time and glumly followed Maggie around as she nosed into the various heaps of bric-a-brac looking for trinkets. At a vegetable stall she found tomatoes at half the price that you could buy them at the convenience store across from the Melia (our Hotel). Absent mindedly I stood some distance off wishing she would hurry – I am not a big one for shopping. Two young guys who were running the store had not noticed me and the smaller, sharper one called out quite loudly to the other – “Englise”, quite literally meaning a tourist but more practically implying, “stupid dope” or “easy mark”.

Maggie wanders around our home town with her backpack hanging open, no doubt losing things from time to time. It would appear that she had continued this habit here in the Mercado Central – a practice that was akin to slopping great heaping piles of fish guts into shark infested waters. We were immediately identified as a meal ticket. I could see a pouch on the back of Maggie’s day pack where the buckle was loose and a wad of untended postcards hung out as a signal to would-be pickpockets, “Easy pickings here”.

The smaller stall tender’s hand shot out at the pack with the speed of a viper strike – no luck, a better angle would be required, and he maneuvered around for a second attempt. Working in tandem the larger, more placid looking stall tender drew Maggie’s attention. He stood squarely in front of her mumbling something and she straining to understand what he was saying.

I was already moving in for a defensive block, Maggie was still oblivious. She bent over to look for ripe tomatoes. The two conspirators exchanged gleeful glances; they were by all appearances a well practiced team. Sudden shock as I pushed the predator away, the stall attendant immediately changed his demeanor back to dutiful sales man once discovered. They were by appearances only teenagers. I suppose they were just doing what was expected in a world of limited opportunity. No hard feelings on my part. The viper had melted back into the crowd and we bartered for tomatoes. Jeeeze this guy is not so bad, “Picture?” I asked. Compliantly he posed with Maggie just behind.

You might see by the picture that no sooner had I raised my camera than “the stealthy one” slid back for another attempt at Maggie’s pack (see his foot to the bottom right of the picture). Pretty brazen dont you think? We left so as not to tempt fate any further. Consider that while I am watching Maggie, who is watching me?

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