Medicine Has Gone to Pot!!!

Our medical situation in the US is growing more and more ridiculous day by day and costs have forced many individuals to search out medical procedures and medicine in foreign locations. It is called Medical Tourism and the countries involved are growing daily. The costs vary enormously, depending on the world status of the country involved. This chart in the link gives you an idea of what each procedure would cost in the US and in other countries. I know the first thought will be, “Are the facilities clean and up to par”? I will answer with a resounding yes, in most situations.

 

As a child I remember our family Doctor actually making house calls for my Mother, with her serious back issues. He would come early in the morning. during the middle of the day or even late at night after most people had gone home. It was expected back then. This past year I fell sick in Cuenca Ecuador and was traveling alone. I went to a Doctor I met next door to a Tour company I work with, when I am in Ecuador. He assessed my condition and charged me $20.00 for my visit, blood tests, etc. He then escorted me to the pharmacy to ensure I obtained the correct medicine, etc. The pharmacy was 5 blocks away I must add. It took me back to when I was a child and our Doctors really cared about their patients, not just spending time and money, avoiding malpractice lawsuits and raking in the cash trying to pay off their sizable student loans in most cases. I have heard some Doctors do not really begin to make any income until their mid forties or even later. Is it worth it you have to ask and are talented individuals avoiding the stress and financial issues associated with being a Doctor?

 

I am a Baby Boomer and a child of the sixties. So did I inhale? Of course I did. At least I will be honest and admit this, contrary to many of our politicians and public figures who have blatantly spoke falsehoods in this regard. We are not daft, oh illustrious people and you are not fooling us a bit. I have not partaken in at least thirty five or more years and from what I understand the strength of Marijuana is a great deal more than in my day. I have been deeply saddened over the years, seeing young individuals incarcerated basically for possession of a plant and in most cases a minor portion. One of the reasons I stopped its use, along with impact on my job, ability to function and the fact I got married and started a family.

 

Through the years I have seen it legalized in a couple of states now and a large portion of the country has made it accessible for Medical purposes, which I favor completely. I have suffered five back surgeries, a heart attack and a complete rebuild of my rear end and my nose (completely separate and unrelated operations), from a deviated septum. Through all of these operations I was supplied with heavy opiates. Over the years these pharmaceuticals tended to make me somewhat of an addict and it became harder and harder to jettison these horrible drugs each time I suffered through a surgery. What I wouldn’t have given to be able to kill a portion of my pain with Marijuana instead of Oxycodone or Oxycontin or Hydrocodone.

 

Hippies

Hippies

 

I live in Texas as most of you know and I thought I would never see the day that our great state would catch up with the more progressive states and countries around the world and actually consider a Medical Marijuana law, yet it is being strongly considered this year and has a fairly decent possibility of passing. Of course the recent law for Washington DC, secretly hid the fact that Federal police groups would no longer actively try to incarcerate legal state distributors will probably help Texas along. This topic wasn’t talked about, even in our Liberally slanted press. That surprised me greatly!

 

Hopefully the Texas law will allow cultivation of a few personal plants and I can order my cannabis seeds from The Netherlands or some other reputable source. I am visiting Amsterdam in December and shall give it a go! When I was single I had all kinds of plants and really have a green thumb. I would relish getting back into cultivating my own plants. Even though Texas has a substantial financial position with their economy, I would think they would love the additional tax revenue generated, as evidenced in the huge success of Colorado’s Hemp Law. Even overall crime has been effected in a positive manner in Colorado. Not quite what was projected by the naysayers.

 

Perhaps the most satisfying factor in the eventual legalization of Marijuana, would be the end of the insane territorial wars carried on along our border with Mexico and at the expense of the Mexican population. My heart has been profoundly traumatized by the magnitude and scope of deaths associated with the drug wars along our border with Mexico. I feel so ashamed of the total loss of life and the billions of dollars our government has spent with their futile efforts in this area. It is a joke, as anyone from Texas and I am sure the other states that  share a boundary with Mexico can tell you.

 

Growing up as a young man and adult I always felt comfortable crossing the border for a night or even a weekend. I felt secure even when I first married taking my wife at that time across the border and sharing a fantastic meal, a shopping excursion or maybe a drink at a Cantina or two. But now I wouldn’t feel safe going alone, much less with a woman. it’s just too dangerous. I fully believe and am confident in stating when we legalize Marijuana and treat it just like alcohol, taxes will decrease, crime will decrease and our penal system will have its population cut in half. Not to mention the medical and research impact for those of us with severe pain issues as I experience on a regular basis, glaucoma, anxiety, issues associated with chemotherapy like vomiting and nausea, insomnia associated with spinal cord injuries, pain issues, stiffness and muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis and finally weight loss and loss of appetite from HIV. The article referenced in the link states both positive and negative reactions, but I would like the ability to see if it works for me. Only through the passage of these laws will I be able to explore additional pain remedies. I hope it is soon!

Hard Road to Travel

I’ve got a hard road to travel and a rough, rough way to go
Said, it’s a hard road to travel and a rough, rough way to go
But I can’t turn back, my heart is fixed
My mind’s made up, I’ll never stop, my faith will see, see me through

 

I set out in February of 2013, after a Christmas present from my then wife Kim, of enough cash to start a Travel Blog. I have loved to travel for over forty years and began as a buyer for Six Flags amusement parks in the early 70’s. I would spend two months a year in SE Asia and dealt with family manufactures, in many countries. Our days were usually long (over 12 hours) and we really only took one day off our first trip. We hit fourteen cities in nine countries and I was hooked. In addition, my Father was a journalist (a real one not the pre-fab attention getting farces of today). I am sure he is rolling over in his grave at the ridiculous charade called journalism today. I learned to write through his guidance.

 

I was surfing the Internet in regard to somewhere I might be able to afford to retire, as there have been a couple of financial fiascoes in my life and I wound up with no Golden parachute or nest egg after 50 years of laboring away. One day I came across a video from Barbara Weibel of “Hole in The Donut Cultural Travels“, in regard to Ecuador and I instantly thought “I could do that”! I became mesmerized and started making contact with travel bloggers and two stood out as Texas friendly and were amiable to this old man. They actually responded to me, when I posed a question and both became my mentors in design, name and advice about my Travel Blog to be. I cannot thank these two enough for giving me the courage and aid needed to launch the Nomadic Texan. Thank you kindly Lauren DiMarco and Leah Walker Puckett from the bottom of my heart! Of course it didn’t hurt they both were from Texas.

 

Lauren DiMarco of "Where in The World is Lola"?

Lauren DiMarco of “Where in The World is Lola“?

 

 

Leah Walker Puckett of "Leah Travels"!

Leah Walker Puckett of “Leah Travels“!

 

 

After setting up my Blog I cam across a very intelligent young man, with a big heart and a great mind! In addition, he always tells it like it is, regardless of your position or if it might slight your opinion or feelings. My type of man. He graduated from The University of Texas, served in our country’s Air Force and has started a charity for inner city kids that he asked me to help with. Does this young man really know me (I know you are asking that)? I of course said yes immediately and will help Erick Prince Heaggans, The Minority Nomad walk through fire if I have to. He has become a true friend and confidante, ever since I was an hour late to eat Thai food with him in Austin and conduct my first interview. I was highly embarrassed and he just laughed it off. One of my closest friends in social media for sure! Hook ’em Horns Prince!

 

 

Erick Prince Heaggans, The Minority Nomad

Erick Prince Heaggans, The Minority Nomad

 

Let me tell you, I’m all alone, this lonesome road, I roam
I’ve got no love to call my very own
Oh, the river gets deeper, the hills get steeper
And the pain gets deeper every day, yeah

 

After two weeks in Cuenca Ecuador and a three day weekend in Tijuana building a house for an indigent Mexican family in Tijuana last year, I headed off to my first Travel Blogger Conference in Toronto and was completely blown away from the networking and Speed Dating processes. Because of my Panama Hat and apparently my overall brand, created in just under two months. A multitude of bloggers introduced themselves and strolled across the room at parties and functions just because they recognized my hat. Of course at my age I was only able to identify a few and tried valiantly to observe their name tags, without alerting the bloggers to the fact I had no idea what their name was. I recognized faces, as I have always been able to do, but names escaped me in many cases. At the conference I also made contact with a man who was destined to help me enormously and fast became a confidante and mentor, Stephen Oddo of Walks of Italy. I can’t thank Stephen enough for his help, his mentoring and his friendship. He is a class act!

 

Stephen Oddo giving a speech at #TBEX Toronto.

Stephen Oddo giving a speech at #TBEX Toronto.

 

As I left the first night’s event I had to use the facilities and was accosted by Ted Nelson of Traveling Ted from Chicago. He was one of those people whose face I immediately recognized, but I struggled to recall his name. I had no alcohol either! We hit it off immediately as we both have a sick sense of humor and love the outdoors. I more so in my younger days! At one of my Speed Dates in Toronto, SATW had asked to meet with me. They told me I had to have 10, 000 followers on Twitter to qualify. I had around 2, 000 at that time and I asked why the appointment. They told me with 2,000 I could qualify as a photographer. I just laughed and thanked them. I did make it a personal goal to attain this number as soon as humanly possible, but I wanted to do it legitimately and not “purchase” followers, which some people do.

 

Traveling Ted (Ted Nelson from Chicago)

Traveling Ted (Ted Nelson from Chicago) Friend and Mentor

 

I’ve got a hard road to travel and a rough, rough way to go
Said, it’s a hard road to travel and a rough, rough way to go
But I can’t turn back, my heart is fixed
My mind’s made up, I’ll never stop, my faith will see, see me through

 

The months rolled by and I was asked to visit Palestine Texas for a weekend and produce a post that covered the city’s attributes. I wound up writing eight posts in total and fell in love with this charming small community. I still broadcast on social media for the town and this has led me into a couple more visits next spring of Tyler and Nacogdoches, both historic and beautiful Texas Towns. I can’t wait to visit each and cover their sites, via my Nomadic Texan blog.

 

Breezy Lake-Wolfe of Palestine My Hostess

Breezy Lake-Wolfe of Palestine, My Hostess

 

One more thing, I dream of a home, far beyond the sea
Where there is love and peace and joy for me
Oh, in my eyes, I see troubles and danger for me
But destiny where it leads me, I must go, hey

 

One day about a month after I finished my obligations with Palestine, a post went up in a Facebook travel group, announcing a FAM/Press trip to Thailand and Malaysia. I was drooling and couldn’t submit my application fast enough. It was to be a 12 day adventure aimed at 5-star hotels, restaurants and spa activities. Anyone that reeally knows me understands this was my cup of tea and I hit the send button within seconds after finishing my application. It was announced that there was going to be a quick turnaround and they were going to choose the travel bloggers quickly. I couldn’t sleep.

 

The stars must have been aligned and God was in my corner. Bingo I was very fortunate and became one of three travel bloggers chosen along with three freelance writers. I had died and gone to heaven! I have loved SE Asia every since my youth and the first time I set foot on this continent’s soil way back in 1973, as a buyer with Six Flags amusement parks. In addition this trip established friendships that I cherish to this day, not to mention the social media benefits I received from starting my Instagram and Pinterest accounts, which have become fantastic platforms for my blog. Had no idea what I was missing.

 

James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay Thailand

James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay Thailand

 

I’ve got a hard road to travel and a rough, rough way to go
Said, it’s a hard road to travel and a rough, rough way to go
But I can’t turn back, my heart is fixed
My mind’s made up, I’ll never stop, my faith will see, see me through

 

Upon my return I went to work and produced somewhere between 25 to 30 posts even though a significant less amount was all that was required. I genuinely cared for the sponsors representatives and made what I what I hope to be lifelong friends. These four individuals are some of the funniest people I have ever traveled with and were a joy to be around on a daily basis. Can’t wait to travel with them again! Thank you kindly #Tourism Authority of Thailand, #Thai Airways and #Tourism Malaysia USA. You are all wonderful human beings!

 

Help me somebody, somebody please

 

I returned generated my posts and my life unraveled. After 36 years of marriage my wife and I decided that we could no longer live in a toxic situation and it would be better for the both of us to divorce. I was devastated and still am. I can find no way to unravel the mental anguish I go through on a daily basis. It is like a fog that surrounds my body and never disappears. Thank God that I have social media and my blog, or I am fairly certain I would not be here. Of special note is a Facebook and Travel friend Talon Windwalker of 1 Dad 1 Kid who through the divorce and through my growth as a travel blogger, has always been there and helped this old man immensely. I finally had the opportunity to meet him in person recently in Austin prior to moving to Dallas. I was thrilled to say the least!

 

Talon Windwalker of 1 Dada 1 Kid

Talon Windwalker of 1 Dad 1 Kid

 

Through it all I have struggled and worked to attain that magic number! I can remember a little less than a year ago how elated I felt when I hit 5,000 followers on Twitter. I knew with a little help and perseverance, eventually I would hit that magic number and qualify for the SATW! It has not been easy and I have worked until the middle of the early morning more times than I can count, but my efforts finally paid off and on November 24, 2014, @VacaRentalz of Vacation Bargains became my 10,000 follower on Twitter! Thank you kindly, to all the young women and young men who follow this old man on Twitter!

 

CLIFF, JIMMY

*** Lyrics By Jimmy Cliff from 

 

Jimmy Cliff – Hard Road To Travel Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Photo of The Day #74, Indigenous Men Dressed in Indigenous Attire, Are Very Rare in Cuenca

One sees the Indigenous women all over Cuenca Ecuador and never thinks twice about the attire or manner of dress. Each various tribe dresses in a distinguished manner and has it’s own colors of shawls, skirts, hats, etc that signifies their heritage and what part of the Andes they are from. The apparel ranges from loud bright colors to a more demure earthy tone in some cases and in my humble opinion, they are all beautiful in their own manner.

 

Indigenous Man in Cuenca Walking To Me

Indigenous Man in Cuenca Walking To Me

 

It is more uncommon to locate or visualize Indigenous men associated with the various tribes. The majority of the men seen accompanying the brightly adorned and hatted women have converted to a more western style of dress, including blue jeans, khaki shirts and ball caps. The men you do see dressed in Indigenous apparel, are as a whole dressed in sold black, as these gentlemen in my post are outfitted. I am also guessing the Indigenous men originate from the same tribe and are the last hold outs wearing their native garments.

 

Indigenous Man in Cuenca Walking Away

Indigenous Man in Cuenca Walking Away

 

They all wear the black bowler hat, have a long ponytail tied back, wear heavy black work boots and the pants are shortened and come to just below the knee. I am not sure of the reasoning for this or the purpose, but I am guessing it as to do with not obstructing their work. You will not find any Indigenous people in what we classify as shorts. It is just not accepted or practiced. A few of the men smoke, but I have never seen any of the Indigenous women light up. Who knows you might just be lucky and see an Indigenous man on your next trip to South America and the Andes range. I truly hope you are fortunate enough to experience this, as I have a feeling the men dressing in Indigenous clothing will soon become a thing of the past!

 

Photo of The Day #69, Here’s Looking at You! #Ingapirca #Historical #Ruins

In March of 2012 I visited the Incan ruins at Ingapirca, outside of Cuenca Ecuador. One can take the normal tour and if game, walk the extended tour up and beyond the ruins. It passed by the Emperor’s bath carved out of stone and through a local village. The route was at a higher altitude and really stretched us to the limit. As we rounded a corner and began going down the backside we saw this face carved in the stone,  by the Inca people,according to our guide.

 

The Face on the Mountan

The Face on the Mountan

 

It blew me away and I am not entirely sure the guide was giving us the straight story or was embellishing the tale. Regardless, it was an impressive sight and I was mesmerized by the facial features.

Photo of The Day #57

If you know me, you understand that I love Colonial architecture, doors, windows and balconies. I am not sure exactly why I am drawn to that period. The magnificent arches, large doors mainly made from wood and over-sized windows are more than attractive to me. They are magnetic and pull me in. When you add the ornate and intricate balconies I get mesmerized and can never take enough photos.

 

 

I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of old wooden doors from my visits over time to Cuenca Ecuador, along with hundreds of balcony photos. It got to the point on my trip last March with Kim, that she was pointing out doors before I could see them. She began questioning whether I had a photo or not of each specific door.

 

 

 

Old Town Phuket Thailand

Old Town Phuket Thailand

 

 

On my recent FAM trip to Phuket Thailand we stopped in old town and had about an hour to scurry down several streets and capture what we could. I loved this photo and even though it is kind of garish it drew me in. Thank you Thailand for giving me another source of joy!

Article #1, in the Series, Palestine Texas #101

My travel blogging has been fairly well of the International perspective, until I received a comment on my blog around September 11th, the day after I returned from a five week trip to Cuenca Ecuador. As everyone knows, I have a passion for this city that is unmatched. This comment was entitled “Taste What Lies Behind the Pine Curtain”.

 

At first I thought it was spam and came very close to deleting it. I receive myriads of spam from all over the world and have to make very quick decisions whether comments are real or spam generated. As I read the comment I deduced it was actually a real post and an invitation to try the “culinary attributes” of Palestine Texas, on their nickel.

 

I made inquiries about my blogging and if they knew that my reputation is associated with my posts. I made sure they understood I consequently do not write favorable material, if it is not deserved. My feedback was that I would attend, but there could be no handcuffs or demands on my writing. They wrote back that they would expect nothing less.

 

Dogwood Blossom on  Our Card

Dogwood Blossom on Our Card

 

I knew very little about Palestine and “Googled” it to see what it offered. I was intrigued as it was on the edge of the East Texas Piney Woods and growing up in Texas one learns where the beauty lies. As a child my parents, my brothers and I made the day trip to ride “The Dogwood Trail”. I can still remember the beauty of the white flowering trees.

 

I talked it over with Kim and we decided that we would try this new approach and look into a more local genre. I have written a few posts about Austin and a couple of its attractions, but this was a completely new category for me to cover. Obviously my passion for food made the offer distinctly attractive. We decided to take the city up on its offer.

 

Forest Trails Abound Throughout Texas

Forest Trails Abound Throughout Texas

 

 

As we drove into town the main highway was a typical small town with construction on the highway that was surrounded by run down buildings and generations of decayed equipment. Kim and I started to question whether we had made the correct decision. We turned at the loop and arrived at the Hampton Inn.

 

As I entered with our bags, Kim parked the car. Kimberly, the front desk clerk greeted me with a “Good afternoon Mr. Hinshaw”. I asked how she knew who I was and she stated Breezy-Lake Wolfe (the city’s marketing manager) told her to “Google” me, so she could recognize me when I arrived (of course I had my hat on). I was fairly surprised and broke out laughing.

 

Great Desk at the Hampton Inn

Great Desk at the Hampton Inn

 

Kim joined me after I checked in and we went to our room. It was a very clean, large suite with everything a blogger needs (Wi-Fi, direct Internet. Digital TV. a multitude of wall plugs to charge all my equipment and a coffee maker). Kim noticed we had an arrangement of flowers on the desk.

 

About 5 minutes after we arrived Kimberly called and and inquired if everything was acceptable in the room. I asked her if all the suites were like this and she replied “Yes, but they all don’t have fresh flowers like yours”. I couldn’t help but laugh again and started to feel like we were going to have a good weekend.

 

 

Bouquet of Flowers in the Room

Bouquet of Flowers in the Room

 

Our schedule was set up for us to meet Breezy in the lobby at 5:30 to attend the first event, a ride on the Texas State Railroad’s “Moonlight Special Dinner Train”. We had a few minutes and I caught up on social media and Kim and got ready for the evening. We went downstairs at 5:25 PM and Breezy was already waiting to take us to the train ride. Instantly, I recognized this young lady was a whirlwind.

 

She conveyed every detail and fact available, in regard to each and every part of the weekend’s schedule between the hotel and the train. It was about a 20 minute ride. I knew she was nervous, but her East Texas charm won Kim and I over very quickly and we questioned whether we would be able to keep up with this bundle of energy over the next couple of days. We were delighted with our hostess and felt comfortable with Breezy immediately.

 

Breezy Lake-Wolfe with the Nomadic Texan

Breezy Lake-Wolfe with the Nomadic Texan

 

We had such  great time that I have decided to capture our visit in several blogs and hopefully connect you with this hidden pearl, in the East Texas Piney Woods.  Next in my #PalestineTx series is the “All Aboard” post,  describing our train ride. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

*** My trip to Palestine Texas was sponsored by the City of Palestine Marketing Department. All opinions are solely mine and as always, generated without any influence.

 

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Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas



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