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!

From the Waterfront: 10 Destinations Best Viewed From the Sea

***This is post was contributed by Cruise Deals.

 

Some places impress from an aerial approach: Barra beach runway in Scotland, the dramatic mountainscapes of Queenstown, New Zealand and the sea-circled coastline of the south of France, to name a few. Others are more impressive if you arrive on the deck of a cruise ship, ferry or pleasure boat. Here are ten of the best (Jolly Rodger and telescope optional).

 

Hong Kong

The mist-enshrouded islands dappling Hong Kong’s harbor approach will thrill anyone who has seen Enter the Dragon. You can catch this vibrant Asian city with Royal Caribbean cruises, as the operator (quite rightly) has granted it a well-deserved place on some of their itineraries.

 

Alaska

Boasting a lengthier coastline than the remainder of the USA combined this vast and beautiful place can be reached by cruise ship and ferry. Approach from the ocean and your breath will be snatched away by sparkling glaciers and dramatic skylines. Wrap up warm and venture out on deck, and you may be welcomed by some local wildlife including dolphins, seals and basking sharks.

 

Buenos Aires

Visit the Paris of the South by sea and learn to tango, dine on steak, and look out for the street art and bright colors of La Boca barrio. Buenos Aires’s port is easily recognizable from the realist paintings of Quinquela Martín, and at night this bustling commercial hub transforms into a twinkling blanket of lights to greet travelers fresh off the boat.

 

View

View of the Harbor Bridge in Sydney Australia

 

Sydney

Approaching one of Sydney’s cruise terminals delivers a jackpot combination of Australia’s iconic landmarks. Harbor Bridge, the Opera House and the city’s stratified skyline are meant to be seen from the sea.

 

Cinq Terre

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a tumble of colorful villages scattering down Italy’s coastline like a fistful of LEGO bricks. Given its white knuckle access roads the best and most scenic approach is by passenger ferry, which travels to four of its five villages.

 

Panama Canal

Traversing the continents of North and South America to connect the Pacific to the Atlantic, this man-made wonder  is a fine cruise destination, which can tick off Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and the rain forests of Costa Rica as stops on the itinerary.

 

The Norwegian Fjords

Setting off into the Arctic on a cruise might be a chilly enterprise, but the rewards are vast, with endless days, majestic cliffs and the chance of spotting the Northern Lights all travel pay offs worthy of investment.

 

The Seychelles

Volcanic island landscapes, verdant rain forests, diving and fishing: its twinkling azure waters are part of what makes this place paradise, and worthy of further exploration.

 

Istanbul, Turkey

It might be classified as a Mediterranean cruise, but this exotic destination could not be a more enticing fusion of East meets West wonders. Approach from the sea and you’ll be greeted by the city’s characteristic minarets, domes, and the call to prayer.

 

Bermuda

If only for the excuse to invest in some dapper boating attire, cruising to Bermuda is highly recommended. If shorts aren’t your thing, there’s always the pastel pink beach, the cozy climate and the eclectic culture to fall back on.

 

For centuries, humankind has explored by way of the high seas. Make like your ancestors and find new ways to travel the world. It can be your oyster if only you choose to view it from a fresh perspective once in a while.

 

 

Image by Linh_rOm, used under Creative Commons license.

 

Humitas, Quimbolitos y Tamales

After a day of walking around Cuenca and photographing the amazing architecture, one builds an appetite. My friends at Mio Tours introduced me to this rather small eating establishment in Cuenca. It is locate off Gran Columbia on calle Presidente Borrero before you get to calle Simon Bolivar. You really have to look for it as it only serves about 12 people at a time with a total of 5 tables I believe. As you walk the street you see this blackboard operating as a identification for the restaurant.

 

Sign on the Exterior of the Restuarant

Sign on the Exterior of the Restuarant

 

 

Each item is warmed and served in a banana leaf, that is fairly sticky with the sweet sugar applied to the item oozing out of the leaf. You have to unfold it and this is a messy operation, but drives your senses wild as the aroma of the item erupts from each serving. You are offered either coffee or tea to drink with your meal and I chose tea. I am not really a soft drink person and know the dangers associated with their regular consumption. Coffee in the late afternoon keeps me up late at nights anymore.

 

Banana Leaf Wrapping for All Three Items

Banana Leaf Wrapping for All Three Items

 

The item served first was a Humitas and was my favorite in the long run, as I am a carnivorous individual and like my protein from meats. The Humitas has pork inside and is swathed in the sweet corn meal that all of the products are wrapped in. It also includes a slice of egg, a few bites of vegetables and a couple of slices of chili peppers on top.

 

Humitas

Humitas

 

The ritual one goes through to eat these fantastic morsels and indigenous mainstays is unique. One squeezes a lime on the item, adds a little Aji which is the Ecuadorian version of salsa and takes their spoon and dives in to this sweet and tasty morsel.

 

Aji and Lime

Aji and Lime

 

 

The next morsel served was a very sweet and typical item that I imagine has been around for centuries and is basically just the corn meal folded into the banana leaf with out any stuffing. This is the Tamale and is not associated with the typical tamale filled with meat in Mexico and the US. Kim and Learned this on our trip in March of 2013.

 

Tamale

Tamale

 

 

The third and final item served was a Quimbolitos. It is a Tamale that is stuffed with raisins and has a few extra unidentifiable flavors. It is also has a sweet flavoring and resembles the Tamale. In my photo you can plainly see the raisins in the item and can imagine the wonderful taste.

 

 

Quimbolitos Stuffed With Raisins

Quimbolitos Stuffed With Raisins

 

All of this costs under $2.00 US and I promise you will leave this establishment full. I could not add another item and having sampled the three variations I will (and have) go back and only eat the Humitas. That is unless someone else is buying and I don’t want to hurt their feelings! Ha! I was not able to capture the lady’s name that runs the restaurant, but I did manage to take her photograph and this is her. Notice she is smiling as most of the people in this wonderful country do consistently!

 

 

Owner of the Restaurant

Owner of the Restaurant

 

As I have about three and a half weeks left in Cuenca I am sure I will stop by again and sample her wonderful Humitas, Quimbolitos y Tamales. Saludos!

 

 

I love this food! Stop Taking my Photo!

I love this food! Please Stop Taking my Photo and Let Me Eat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of The Day #6

the Pier at The Rosarita Beach Hotel

 Pier at The Rosarito Beach Hotel

 

 

I was fortunate enough to help Homes of Hope over Memorial Day weekend in Tijuana, building a home for a deserving family. We stayed at the Rosarito Beach Hotel and I finally got a chance to explore the beach, the last night we were there for about 30 minutes. This photo spoke volumes to me and I loved the old pier. It appeared very sturdy still, yet in dire need of a good paint job.

 

I am guessing it went out over the water about a 300 to 4oo feet and had roughly 600-900 feet of pier over the sand when I walked it. The sky was overcast and I couldn’t help taking the photo. I was mesmerized by the iron rusted blue poles and the remaining deck worn down by time. So peaceful at that moment in Mexico!

All I Want to Do is Go Home and Get Some Sleep

The young man appeared gaunt and his eyes wore deep dark shadows. He was obviously very tired and stretched to the limit. I felt sorry for him to be in this disarray at such a young age. His recent odyssey with Adecco has obviously pushed Turner Barr to the limits of human ability. He is worn to a frazzle and completely fatigued in my humble opinion. His smart-phone went off incessantly. First a reporter from German called. Then a reporter from Australia called. All the while Turner was trying to balance the social media and information flow. I am not sure I could have handled the amount of pressure he was carrying or the expected interaction from his supporters, journalists and news personnel.

 

Nomadic Texan with Turner Barr aroundtheworldin80jobs.com

Nomadic Texan & Turner Barr aroundtheworldin80jobs.com Photo credit: Stephen Oddo

 

“When this is all over I just want to go home and get some sleep”! “I am so tired”. I really don’t think that any of us can appreciate what Turner has been though. This battle has been going on for six weeks, beginning with phone calls back and forth when he was in Laos and Thailand. He interrupted his trip to come home and battle this issue.

 

I asked him what he wanted to say to his supporters. He welled up a bit and said “I want them to know that I am humbled and honored that they stood tall behind me,  stood up for me and I would not have been able to go this route without them”. I am learning this young man is indeed a very humble and gentle soul and is so appreciative of the groundswell from the weekend, he has a hard time expressing his feelings.

 

I took the interview in another direction.

 

What was your favorite job?

Definitely it was being the Krampus in Austria. I mean where else can you dress up like a monster and drive through the Alps in a 4-wheel vehicle looking at all the beautiful snow scenes?

 

Who was your favorite character in the travels around the world? 

No question it was Lek, the Elephant Whisperer. When she had the elephant stand over her with its paw in her face and grabbed its trunk to sing a lullaby I was overcome. She could have been dead in an instant, but she completely trusted this elephant and he trusted her. It was amazing.

 

What was the most difficult job you performed?

Probably I would have to say it was the Agave harvesting job. It was outside all day in the sun. The work is eight straight hours of hard manual labor and you work with a “coa” a sharp blade on the end of a stick that the individual swings back and forth. After about three hours you start losing your concentration and if you are not careful you could hack your toes or feet off. Its that sharp!

The second hardest was Rice Harvesting job in Thailand. It was so hot!

 

What was your favorite country overall?

I would have to say Colombia or Mexico. “They have the best looking women”.

 

What was your favorite food?

1) Thai…it was consistent everywhere and was excellent. 2) Italian I could eat forever. 3) Mexican is always great.

 

As our interview progressed Turner got up and answered as many calls as he received and maintained his composure. He really  is a very laid back guy and is so appreciative and humbled by all the support that I think he is a little overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be? After all he has worked for two straight years to build his brand and in an instant it was tainted!

 

Turner it kills me that some are changing their stance and not speaking up still as a result of your being quiet. I have seen first hand the amount of pressure you are under and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I am also having a hard time biting my tongue, since I am aware (overheard your conversation my friend) that there may be a resolution very quickly that you cannot talk about. I hope that you get what you are asking for and it was my pleasure to interview you and have lunch with you in Austin. Safe Travels mi amigo!

 

Epilogue: The interview was conducted the day prior to Turner settling with Adecco. His requests were met by Adecco and the company stepped up and made it right. I think in large it was a result of the massive response from the blogging community and Turner’s friends campaign over the weekend. The Internet was overwhelmed with push back on many social media platforms and Adecco learned this community of bloggers is a vibrant, zealous and compassionate group, willing to fight for what is right!

 

 

 

Homes of Hope…Day Three

The alarm went off at 6:00 AM again and this time I struggled to get out of bed. My bones were weary from the prior day’s efforts and I had to quickly down a couple of cups of coffee, in order to get this old man going. We all lined up outside and prepared to go to the camp again for breakfast. Chris came up without Brad and it appears Montezuma had rared his ugly head at Brad. Brad was unable to make day number two and had to be left alone to fend off the evil spirits, in his hotel room. The buffet was set up when we arrived at YWAM/Homes of Hope and this time sausage was added to the menu, after only bacon the first day. I was never so glad to see it. I needed the protein for the day ahead.

 

Sean and Chris at breakfast! HHmmm!

Sean and Chris at breakfast! HHmmm!

 

After breakfast and our morning round of updates and instructions, we jumped back on our bus and rode to the house site. We circled up and listened, as Colby gave us the details of the second day and assigned tasks. He stated that after an hour, volunteers would accompany the family to Wal-Mart and purchase items they needed and could use in their new house. Sean raised his hand and went to Wal-Mart about an hour after we started work. Chris climbed back on the roof with Brody and had to finish the plywood. Throughout the morning they continued with adding the felt and then finally the shingles to complete the roof.

 

Dora the daughter on their way to Wal-Mart

Dora the daughter on their way to Wal-Mart ,That is paint in her hair

 

I was given the detail or trim work and it is an very precise process with the 1×2 lath wood. Not to mention you have to balance on a ladder, to do the top of the wall trim (after falling the day before I was nervous). This trim was substituted for our normal tape and floating and the seams were all covered with wood. The remaining exposed sheetrock was painted! We kept getting in each other’s way and I truly think I got about half the paint wound up on my hands, arms and face as I touched and grabbed for balance. It was a little frustrating, but had to be done this way, to complete the house inside within the time allotted. Sean took the camera to Wal-Mart with him, so I have very limited photos of the second day of work.

 

Sean helping Dora decide

Sean helping Dora decide

 

Sean took the job of babysitting Dora the family’s daughter and told me later that Alberto and Reina had never shopped at Wal-Mart. Both became very emotional as they went for their first visit. They weren’t really sure what was what and had to be coached and directed to items that would be of benefit. Sean personally bought a bicycle for Dora and when I discovered this it stirred my feelings. After all Sean thought, why shouldn’t she have a bike? Sean said he was very touched during the entire shopping experience and was only sidetracked by trying to keep up with Dora.

 

Sean and Chris putting the bike together

Sean and Chris putting the bike together

 

They got back earlier than we thought and rode around a few minutes to let us finish the house. When they arrived, we emptied the supplies, groceries and few toys inside the house. While they were gone shopping, we setup a new bed set, a propane oven and a dining table and chairs for their use purchased by Homes of Hope from Ikea. We then set up lunch, which Reina made partially. In addition to the pre-made sandwiches we had her tamales, frijoles and salsa. I couldn’t eat enough of her fabulous tamales. We ate outside their new house and discussed our efforts.

 

The family ate first

The family ate first, The Tamales were in the big pot…Yum!

 

After lunch we circled and each said a word or gave a thought to the family and had our wishes translated by Felipe. I have never been prouder of Chris and Sean in my life. They both stated very impassioned, prophetic phrases and when it came my time I stated I was glad that Reina’s wish of not being wet any longer was coming to fruition. Reina started crying and I couldn’t control my emotions and burst out crying also. It finally came time for Alberto to speak and he teared up and thanked us profusely for building their new house and providing shelter for his family. We gave them the keys and let them go in for a few minutes and then knocked so as to be their first guests. It was a phenomenal ceremony and allowed everyone to express themselves.

 

Alberto and Reina brought to tears during the ceremony

Alberto and Reina brought to tears during the ceremony

 

We presented them with a photo of our group. The words on the photo expressed the house was given with love in hearts and a desire they would cherish their new home.  We left and waved our goodbyes and headed for the hotel, with time left to shower and explore before the final nights activities. I was ready and was literally all worn out. I had no energy left, as we boarded the bus I looked back and knew that in my 63 years I had never done such great volunteer work.

 

The first thing they hung on their walls

The first thing they hung on their walls

Homes of Hope…Day Two

The wake up call came after my first cup of coffee and I took a quick shower. This allowed Sean an extra 30 minutes of sleep and I am guessing all three boys needed the sleep. I went to the lobby and found Dennis the Defender Direct man waiting. I then called Chris and Brad to make sure they were up and around. Slowly but surely the crowd managed to arrive and we finally boarded our bus at around 7:05AM. Breakfast was at the YWAM/Homes of Hope campus and was actually fairly good, except I can’t eat bacon and it was the only meat this day. We received our last minute instructions and anxiously hopped in the bus that took us to our home site.

 

The Current Home

The Current Home

 

We arrived after bouncing over many a pothole and chugging up a hill that I though the bus might not make. The Blue Team poured out and we looked the existing “home” over and most of us kept our eyes turned down, realizing that this family actually lived in the shack next to the concrete foundation poured ahead of time.  The wife and children came out and met us all and joined in the circle for prayer. Colby our construction leader and other staff went over the procedures and  safety rules. Felipe said a prayer for our safety and the home we were building. Colby and Brody the assistant construction leader, immediately divided up the team into painters, framers and the woodcutting team. Sean got on the framers and Chris, Brad and I were the team on the saw, cutting all the various lengths needed to complete the walls, windows and door jambs.

 

Felipe leading the prayer with Reina, Ariel her son, Sean, Chris and Brad

Chris, Brad, Sean, Felipe leading the prayer with Reina, Ariel her son

 

We emptied the van of all the tools and supplies that were not already on site. All the wood had to be divided up and carried to various stations prior to any work beginning. The team did a great job and everyone that could, pitched in and carried something.  The siding and plywood stacked over by the painters. The 2×10’s, 2×8’s and 2×6’s were stacked by the cutting team. The 1×4’s went to the framers who immediately started framing the trusses. Sean joined Brody and they started hammering away with this group.

 

 

Sean Nailing Trusses

Sean Nailing Trusses with Brody

 

Each station had sawhorses that acted as tables to lay the wood on for prep. Brad and Chris secured the saw to a a couple of 2×6’s, set a jig in place after a few small cuts and away we went. We (Brad, Chris and I got a routine going (I should say Brad and Chris, as I was just trying not to get in the way). They tacked a piece of a 2×4 at the exact mark that would allow each piece of lumber to be dropped into the jig and cut it to the appropriate size. Bright young men I must say! I think they have done this before. In no time all the wood had been cut and marked in red, as to the lengths.

 

Nomadic Texan with Chris on Saw

Nomadic Texan with Chris on Saw

 

The framer teams nailed the two side walls together including the siding. Felipe our translator and really good carpenter put the middle wall together. We then lifted the two side walls and tacked the middle wall in place. I tacked 2×4 pieces to the side walls to provide support and stop the drifting. This was all  done in a matter of an hour or two. I was astonished at the progress, the coordination, cooperation and organization of the Blue team! It was amazing.

 

 

Walls up with two side walls

Walls up with Middle Wall in Place

 

We then framed in the rear and front walls without the siding to get all four sides in place. I then climbed a ladder (against Kim’s direct orders) and tacked in the 2×4’s above the rear walls. I think Felipe did the front walls. The team then tacked the siding on the front and rear sides. Brad helped in the rear and I must say it was a precarious perch with only about 12″ of sand to work with and walk on.

 

Brad Nailing Siding and Trying Not to Fall Down the Hill

Brad Nailing Siding and Trying Not to Fall Down the Hill

 

Now that the walls were all secured the trusses were brought in and Chris and Brody hopped on the top headers and started installing the trusses. I had to look away as it made me very nervous for Chris to be up that high, with literally no support or safety net. Another team started putting Sheetrock up around the interior walls. Brad was working with Felipe and I started working with them and Colby to some extent and we finished most of the Sheetrock except a few small places by lunch.

 

 

Front View at Lunch

Front View at Lunch

 

I was on a step ladder and missed the second step on the way down. Tumbled head first into the concrete, scraped and bruised both knees badly. My pride was hurt more than my body I think! It was embarrassing to have the only injury of the build! Sean was elected to string wire and run the electrical in the house from the junction box to all outlets. This became a major task! Glad he knew what he was doing!

 

Sean Listening to the Other Old Guy Talk Electricity

Sean Listening to the Other Old Guy Talk Electricity

 

In the morning talk, the lady mentioned that we should each try and ask the family what they would like about their new home and what would make them most happy. During lunch I asked one of the staff to translate for me and I asked Reina what would make her most happy about her new home. She stepped back and though a brief second and responded with “I will be so happy not to be wet anymore”. It was all I could do to maintain my composure.  I thanked her and turned away, losing it completely. My eyes swelled with tears, as I realized how lucky I am and the fact I am never concerned about my “roof” leaking on a dirt floor.

 

Reina with her Son Ariel and an Unidentified Gentleman

Reina with her Son Ariel and an Unidentified Gentleman

 

It got to a point in the afternoon where I could no longer lift my right arm from so much hammering. Next time I must use a 2×4 piece ahead of the build and work my muscles up. I turned to the painting table and joined the fabulous Ruth in painting the plywood deck for the roof. I learned her former husband was a painter by profession and she taught me a few tricks about painting with rollers and with brushes. Needless to say all the paint did not get on the plywood and my arms were covered with white paint by the time we stopped and started packing up the tools and supplies.

 

Ruthless Ruth the 80 Year Old Trash Talker

Ruthless Ruth the 80 Year Old Trash Talker

 

Chris and Brody got all but two pieces of the roof deck in place. Brad and his team got all the exterior siding and all but a few last minute Sheetrock cuts in place. We were a tired but happy bunch of workers. We loaded all the tools into the van, placed all the extra wood and supplies in the house and nailed a piece of plywood over the door. By this time the windows were also in place. We loaded up and left for dinner at the camp. Dinner was the “Taco Man” and the staff raved about the quality of the tacos. They did not mislead us. We ate until we couldn’t breathe and left for the hotel.

 

The Taco Man

The Taco Man

 

Sitting in the dining room I realized how tired I was and how emotional I got at Reina’s comment. This old man was ready for bed and I hit the hay without even taking a shower. Sean left and said he would see me later. It only took about 30 minutes and he came back and jumped in bed. It must have been about 7:00 PM. Were were both so tired that sleep came quickly. Wake up call left for 6:00 AM again and on to Day three!

Homes of Hope… Day One

I have anticipated this morning for some time, with both fear and consternation. Will I be able to keep up with these young men, I am attending this event with or will I collapse from exhaustion and have a heat stroke? The alarm goes off  at 3:00 AM sharp, stirring my wife and I arise, to discover if I have still have it in me to pull my part in this escapade of generosity. I packed the night before. The boys and I shower quickly and place our bags in the car. My son Chris, his roommate and life long friend Brad, spent the night and we leave to pick up my other son Sean. Of course the “Old Man” has issues with the gate code at Sean’s apartment and the two boys give me a hard time! We see Sean walking to the car once we are in the gate and turn around to leave. As we are about to go back through the gate Sean remembers his passport is still in his apartment. Thank goodness Sean remembered it before we were at the airport or worse yet going into Mexico. I am hounded, as they all say I am too anxious and we are getting to the airport too early.

 

We enter the parking site, board the shuttle and walk into the biggest mess I have ever seen at Southwest, an airline I rarely fly. The ticketing line is probably 300 people long and the “system is down”, not to mention we all realize its Memorial Day weekend. The young brains immediately go into high gear and Chris checks in over the Internet. Brad goes out to the short baggage line check-in. Sean and I scratch our heads, roll our eyes and worry what will we do if we miss this flight!. Luckily the system pops up, Brad texts Chris and we all get in line at the exterior baggage check-in. We then all receive our boarding passes in no more than five minutes. We go through security, which is always fun with me (Bi-Pap, shoes, back pack, camera, etc). It takes four or so totes and the boys are being nice, but I know they are frustrated with the “Old Man”!

The Three Amigos

The Three Amigos

 

We board the flight with a “C” pass and luckily don’t all have to sit in middle seats, as we have early “C’s”. Flight to Phoenix is shaky and up to 15,000 feet the plane shakes like a baby rattle. We finally climb out of the disturbance and land in Phoenix. We make our flight to San Diego with no issues and are okay until the landing when the plane tilts to the left and skids on the runway. Needless to say, I almost had to change my underwear. Finally we are out of the air and realize its a 3 hour wait for the bus to the Rosarito Beach Hotel. We keep looking outside and no one is at the designated pick up spot, so we wait. Finally about 20 minutes prior to the bus’s arrival people start gathering and its a gang of rather various proportion of ages, builds and personalities.

 

The Gang's All Here!!!

The Gang’s All Here!!!

 

Our bus arrives and we all board for the ride to Tijuana. The border gate is brand new and we all disembark, grab our bags and go through Mexican security. You push a button and “random” red alerts are done (you have to step aside and have your bags searched) and most are green. We get three reds and the “Old Man” is the only green! We then load our bags back under the bus and I am impressed with Sean’s energy and enthusiasm. He gets into the baggage hold and loads all bags for the entire group (proud papa — maybe the Monster Energy drink helped). We drive to Rosarito Beach Hotel, not knowing what to expect.  Sean’s company Defender Direct is leading this mission of compassion and has an unusual philosophy in this day and time. They actually believe they have a responsibility to their fellow human beings and share the bottom line profits with needy families. What a remarkable company! I learn later they will not take it public, as they know they cannot control the distrubtion of funds once that happens. Very admirable!

 

The Rosarita Beach Hotel

The Rosarita Beach Hotel

 

We get off the bus and enter a wonderful, historic old hotel that has served movie stars, celebrities and royalty over the years. We are given our keys and people are divided into three teams Blue, red and green. We are told to meet in the lobby in two hours for a trip to YWAM where we will learn the itinerary and eat dinner. Sean draws the short straw and has to room with (the Old Man-Nomadic Texan) me. We unload baggage in room and discover we have no electricity. We turn on all breakers, plug in the refrigerator and test stuff out. We then walk around the hotel until time to be picked up in a old school bus, that has seen better years.

 

Let's Get This Show on The Road and Get Started!!!

Let’s Get This Show on The Road and Get Started!!!

 

We arrive at the YWAM/Homes of Hope camp and take a traditional group picture and enter the campus’ main hall. We eat dinner and instructions are given out along with designated group leads, assistant leads and translators for each family team. Quick procedures and schedules are divulged to the group along with a prayer that we succeed. The food is actually good. We receive our bandannas and T-Shirts. Back to the hotel and the “Nomadic Texan” hits the hay while the young men go out for the evening and get involved in who knows what.

 

Where's My Room Key???

Where’s My Room Key???

 

I leave a wake up call for 6:00 AM, as we are to meet in front at 7:00 AM! I am worried that I am too old to hang with these young men ALL day and work without embarrassing them. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough! And the “test” will begin!

 

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Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas



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