Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Bringing The Ocean To The Desert
July 13, 2017


Artwork I just finished.

March 7, 2016


It’s difficult to feel ‘up’ all the time. Everyday life keeps us so mind ridden, we forget who we really are. It’s important to ‘let go’ sometimes. The easiest way to do this is to change your thoughts. Afterall, it’s your thoughts that took you to where you are now.

A friend told me during his exercise routine, he forgets the exercise and mentally goes to the Bahamas.

In mundane tasks, a mental trip can be all you need to ‘escape’.

It’s like you’re in a whole new world.

Still lost, but free.

March 22, 2014


Criteria for acceptance.

Like we need it.

We surround ourselves with life and it’s incumbrances and then someone comes along and places conditions upon us.

I begin to dance and I feel a presence around me. I look to see where it is coming from and there is only one person.

She appears nonchalant, but she is aware. I embrace the connection and my heart chakra comes ‘on”. It intensifies. She pretends not to notice, but she is aware. We’re both enjoying the connection. Her partner is totally un-aware.

She’s infused. He’s not.

I move from the stream and become one with the music. I see silly get-ups that pretend to be special. Lacking in any energy, they fall short of their expectations.

Lisa drives me home. I don’t feel like walking. She’s searching for fulfilment, like all of us. I give her encouragement, wishing her the best.

Unless we search inwardly, instead of outwardly with falsehoods, it’s never going to happen.

September 9, 2010

The trade winds are blowing, and as the air passes over your skin it feels like velvet. It encases you in a paradise of the senses. A short burst of rain called a blessing shower on the sunlit street is followed by a rainbow of immense proportions and a heady floral perfume. You’re surrounded by unending beauty, exotic flora and immense expanses of blue, indigo, sea and sky. Welcome to Hawaii.

For the last seven or eight years, this has been our tradition. An extended Labor Day weekend in paradise. Craig meets us at our hotel with gifts of white ginger and jasmine leis. Their smells are so intoxicating that other guests checking in at the hotel want to experience their enchantment too. They grab our leis and pull them close to their noses. The first timers look sad and feel left out.

We arrive with no agenda except to have a series of unending moments to relax and rest. We have seen most of the attractions on the islands and this trip is for ‘now’. The past two months have left me drained and worn out. My energy is on low and to make matters worse my weakness allowed a summer cold to take hold of me, one day before we left for this trip. With total exhaustion, I really thought I had nothing left to give after clients consumed every ounce of energy from me these past weeks. Then, because they never stopped asking, I ended up giving more. I felt ready to drop to my knees by the time we had left work. I needed this break.  Just to recover.

After getting our room, we changed and made plans to visit our favorite place for a welcome drink and take in some new energy. Laughter, tales and more laughter filled our evening. The view from this balcony overlooking  Hawaii and past memories, brought me great solace. With the time change, I faded quickly and left Eberhard and Craig to reminisce and hit the dance bar next door. I went back to our hotel room and crashed.

The next morning I woke early. I was feeling my flu’s worst symptoms. I showered and went downstairs for a few supplies from the local ABC store. Since we were three-hours ahead, I thought I would check voicemail at work. There were already messages. All demanding this and that, even though we had posted announcements that the office was closed, weeks in advance. I couldn’t deal with it at this time. My throat sore and almost closed and a hoarse cough every few moments, all I could manage was to take some medicine I had bought. I saved the messages and climbed back into bed.  I fell back into a deep, deep sleep. We woke around noon and went to another tradition. I know it sounds silly but this one is Denny’s. Most reasonable on the island for the best value and service. Steak and eggs. Feed a cold they say. Afterwards, we made our way to the beach and walked along Waikiki, letting the ocean and sand squeeze between our toes. I mentioned to Eberhard how good it felt to be away. I could feel my soul beginning to breathe again. By the time we had finished our walk, I was exhausted again. We headed back to the hotel and climbed back into bed. One more power nap and I woke at 3:30pm. I re-checked messages from work. Many more were there, all last-minute. All in panic mode. Emails were just as many and just as frantic. Over the next two hours I filled the unending void of neediness till the weekend encased all those on the other end of the phone and emails.

The sleep had helped ease some of my flu symptoms. Tonight we would take in a few more traditions and tomorrow we were planning our first catamaran sailing. However, as good as my intentions were, I didn’t last long into the evening. I headed home early for more rest. I woke the next morning feeling the best I had felt since I arrived. We met up with Craig and walked to where we’d catch our catamaran. When we got there, we found out that the tickets were sold out a week in advance. Next year we will book on-line early before we leave. It can be a new tradition. We filled the last few days with beach hugging, eye candy and small pleasures like another favorite restaurant with lobster and crab.

Our trip always ends with the Halekulani Hotel. The night before we head back to the mainland, we always meet here around 5:00pm for cocktails, appetizers and the show the hotel puts on for the guests. It’s my favorite of all the traditions. We treat whomever is with us and spend a few hours here for the experience. This year was no exception. While the trio was taking their break and guests were trying to catch the ‘green flash’ as the sun sets on the ocean, we met two new friends. We took photos for them and likewise. They made arrangements to join our table and we sat and got to know each other better. By the end of our time together, they had invited us to San Francisco, Bali for one of their fortieth birthdays in November and then paid our tab. Craig said it was payback karma for all the years we’d done before.

Run Bobby…….Run
July 14, 2010

Piramid of the Sun

It was 1970. I had booked a trip to Mexico for my leave from Terra Mines.  Terra Mines was on the other side of the lake from Echo Bay and was another silver mine I worked at during my years up north. It was pre-Christmas and I’d have ten days of rest and sun.

I was hoping I could cure myself of my emotional stress at the time. Although I knew I was gay, I hadn’t accepted the fact and there was this continual conflict raging in me constantly. Mike my roommate had tried unsuccessfully to seduce me a couple of times. Fear ravaged my soul. My body wanted the experience, but my mind and morals always stopped me. Since my contract was up, I felt the only way out from this would be to take a vacation. I couldn’t wait to leave when my ship-out date arrived.

Back in Edmonton, I had a few days with the family and then I took a plane to Mexico City. I had made reservations at a hotel there, and after I settled in, I began a program of sight-seeing. I became friends with one of the waiters in the restaurant of the hotel, and he offered to show me some non-tourist sites of Mexico City. I agreed and met him after his shift one evening. He took me to an authentic Mexican restaurant and different unique churches and sites. Then, (as my Dad referred to these places) a house of ill repute. A red light (proverbially) hung outside the entrance with a windowed door. A man stationed on the inside let us in after the secret words were parlayed. A long tall stairway painted pink (how appropriate for me) led upstairs to a large gathering room with a hallway off to the side. The waiter took control and shortly afterwards a dozen or more girls were motioned into the room. To make a long story short, two girls were chosen and we were whisked off to one of the cubby holes. There was a mattress on the floor with a single sheet. The two girls began to undress and make out with each other. This did nothing for me although the waiter was quite turned on. They approached us after a short time and began to un-dress us. After the allotted time (they came and knocked on the door when your time was up) nothing happened. We blamed it on too many people in the same room.

Thinking I was unsatisfied (save me) we got in his car and drove to another location with similar places. This was more like a motel and to make sure the unfulfilled situation wouldn’t happen again, he said he’d wait for me while I took a single girl into the room. Of course, nothing happened again. When it was all over, the girl speaking in Spanish to the waiter (as he told me later) told him that he was the one I wanted and not her (and I tipped her for this?). He didn’t believe her (even though it was true) and wrote this one off to too much alcohol (saved again). He took me back to the hotel after meeting his family and having a very early morning breakfast.

I left that same day for Acapulco. Through some tourist concession, I had signed up with a group of three others that were being

Acapulco Cliff Divers

 driven in a car through the heartland with stops at various cities and sites along the way. I loved the cliff divers and Taxco, the silver capital of Mexico.

I checked into an inexpensive but nice hotel, just off the beach in Acapulco. The nice hotels were across the street with beach front, but were triple the price. Instead I decided to hang out at them and use the beaches there since all beaches in Mexico are public.  The first few days I rented a jeep, so I could tour different areas. It was from a hotel called Las Brisas and the jeep (here we go again) only came in pink and white stripes.  I would drive for hours at a time trying to relinquish my thoughts that came roaring back to me endlessly. I eventually gave up on the driving and settled in to having a Cuba Libre or two at a hotel bar that I liked. One evening after dinner at the hotel bar, I settled in for a view of the sunset. The man at the next table started up a conversation with me. He was a stockbroker from Los Angeles. Tall, middle-aged and handsome. He bought me a drink and asked me to join him at his table. After a few more drinks and a sunset I missed, he suggested we should go up to the top floor and go to the nightclub. Maybe chat up some women and get in a dance or two. When we got to the nightclub, we were seated and he ordered drinks for us.  At this point neither of us were feeling any pain and I was having a good time. After some joke he made there was a slap on my back. You know, manly. Another drink later there was another joke and a lingering slap on my leg, accompanied with a suggestion that the place was dull and no activity. We should head down to his room and drink there. It’d be cheaper. My red flags came up and I saw no way out. We got in the elevator to go down to his floor. Half way down the elevator stopped and about five or six people entered the elevator. I took this as my exit and before he knew it I had jumped out just as the doors closed. I took a different elevator down and went back to my hotel.

They say, what you fear, comes upon you, and the trouble with running from yourself is that you end up taking yourself with you. And, everything you’re running from. Every which way I turned, I attracted to myself everything I was running from. I may as well have had search lights pointed at me, guiding the way. Homo over here, get your tickets.

I flew back to Edmonton and had Christmas with the family. I took an extra month or so off from work, but eventually flew back to Terra Mines. Mike had been given another roommate and that was some relief. But we worked the same shift and he pursued me relentlessly. Emotionally things got worse. After four months and not finishing my contract, I quit. I never went back to the mines again, after that time.

Over the next year I started putting things together for Beans and Barley. Dianne my sister tried to convince Mom and Dad during this time that I was crazy and at one point they were going to have me committed. I moved out eventually and managed to survive.

My problem was I never took care of the truth. I couldn’t accept what I was and because of that it made the final coming out worse than it had to be. But hey! Look at me now!

Hay Bales of Fun
June 1, 2010

Me driving the combine

The baling twine was beginning to cut through the palms of my hands. I bent over to pick up the next bale of hay as the trailer moved slowly along. It was a wet bale. The weight was too much for me to lift and instead of it landing on the trailer, it pulled me off, and I tumbled head over heals. Walter and Kenny laughed. I was more embarrassed than hurt. We’d been in this field almost four hours, gathering in the bales of hay. It was hot, dusty and hard work. But I liked it. Made me feel wholesome inside.

I met Walter at Echo Bay and he had invited me to N. Ireland, his home, to spend my vacation. I had just finished my first contract at Echo Bay. I wasn’t sure what to do with my time off, so this filled the gap. I ended up staying for four months. Now, when I think back, it was extremely generous of them to let me stay that length of time. It was a different world from what I was use to in Canada. New traditions, culture , history and a diverse way of life to absorb.

A car was pulling up along side the main gate. Walter stopped the tractor and we went down to stop for a break. His mom and sister had brought tea. It was so cool. Little sandwiches, fresh hot tea, sausage rolls and sweets. Kenny, Walter’s brother, related the morning stories and we all had a good laugh. Everyone in Walter’s family were constantly working. All day and sometimes late into the evenings. They all had jobs and duties to perform. It’s a very rewarding type of life. There is an earthly purity to farming that I’ve never experienced in any other job I’ve ever done. This farm was mixed, with sheep, cows, 2500 chickens, plus the maintenance of all their lands and machinery. There was always a new experience each day. Tilling, working the combine, taking care of the cattle, milking and endless other jobs. There was down time too. And boy, do these folks know how to have a great time. They love great ‘crack’ (conversation), and stories. So many stories. Lots of laughter, lots of song and lots of emotion. What great memories this brings back to me.

Kenny and me on the combine

Tea was over and the ladies packed up everything and drove back to the main farm-house. We continued in the field till the trailer was full. Kenny and I were sitting on the bales as Walter entered the narrow roadway. We were heading back to the barn to unload the hay. We were driving slowly at first and then Walter began to pick up speed. Something was flying off the tractor wheels as the tractor picked up speed. Kenny and I were getting hit by flying shite (as they would say). The wheels had picked up cow pies in the field. We began to yell at Walter, but he knew what he was doing. He was bent over with hysterical laughter. He even drove faster and refused to slow down. We were covered in shite. But we were laughing too.

The Old Man
February 25, 2010


I was seventeen and I was on board the Empress of Canada. I was on my way back home after spending ten months hitch hiking through Europe, part of Asia and Africa. A purser showed me to my bunk below the water line. There was an old man in the room when I got there and we exchanged pleasantries. He seemed like he wanted to talk, but I excused myself because I had met someone on the ferry ride to the ship who had invited me to meet the entertainment crew. I remember it had been a long ride to the port of Liverpool from where I’d left in Scotland and I felt tired. I really just wanted to rest. I felt a little overwhelmed from all the travelling and sightseeing and I was also looking forward to just going home. It was the beginning of the seven-day Israeli war and you could cut the air in Europe with a knife. It was this event that had determined my reason to return.

Over the course of the seven day ocean trip back to Montreal, the old man continued to ask me questions and would begin to strike up a conversation. Each time I made an excuse and would leave or say “I was too tired”. One particular time I came into the room and he had a photo album out and he was thumbing through pictures. He asked me to look at some of the photos and started to explain how he was an important figure in the peace agreements of the arab communities many years before. There were heads of states and arab leaders all dressed ceremoniously, copies of the agreements all on these orange brown faded photographs. He had so many things and stories he wanted to tell me. But again I faded fast in interest. I just wanted to be home.

Too often, opportunities present themselves and we’re so pre-occupied in our future, we miss the moment. This incident has always bothered me because of my selfishness. I’ve always carried the feeling that there was something to learn from this old man. What could I have learned that I missed? Would my life have changed? That’s my regret. I’m older now and I think, will people listen to what I can tell?

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