Messkirch, Germany: If you have nothing planned between April and November over the next 40 years or so, and would like to live and work in the early Middle Ages, there is an association in the Schwäbische Alb (Schwabian Alps) that has a job for you. But they will take you as well if you only have a week to spare.
It was one of the worst experiences of my life. The room in my Moscow student dorm was infested with bedbugs. After two painful and sleepless nights, I was taken to a Soviet hospital to face a doctor with a needle as big as her hat, and made for horses, full of something they said was supposed to calm my suffering.
“You are testing new weapons against us Americans!” I told them. They just shrugged their shoulders. For some societies, bedbugs are a given.
But not in France where Cimex Lectularius was driven out in the 1950s by chemicals that are now forbidden. “Invasion!” “The Plague!” “End of the world.” The French press compete in hyperbole to describe their return: “Bedbugs!”
The tourist guide got off the bus and greeted the group of chubby British women with “Shopping in Playa Blanca ? Shopping in Playa Blanca?” He could have said “doggy wanna bone?” and it would have been the same. I knew I had to see this.
Playa Blanca, a sprawling resort on the southern coast of Lanzarote, is everything native born artist César Manrique did not want for his waterless, volcanic island. Thanks to Manrique, the farthest east and the most arid of the Canary Islands escaped the mega hotels which defaced La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
In which the Vietnamese try to destroy my prejudice and I search for the war that, as a young soldier, I could not support.
The Christmas underwear bombing attempt by a Nigerian Islamic Fundamentalist on a plane to Detroit has given Americans a chance to play their favorite game: scare themselves to death with practically non-existent threats to their lives.
Trikiri, The Pillion, Greece – June 15, 2008: Kiriaki is a small cove three hundred meters below the village of new Trikiri at the far tip of the Pillion. It is a small fishing village with a working harbor and busy little shipyard. The village will be ruined soon by the new road just built to it with tourist bus parking at the edge of town and all thanks to EU money. But for the moment only adventurous foreigners make it here. The village is still fairly isolated. I am told electricity arrived here in the 1970s and a small winding road from Trikiri opened the town up in the early 80s.
Volos, Greece – June 10 – 15, 2008.
The vomiting and diarrhea began in N’Djamena on the morning of the 7th. By the afternoon I was bed-ridden but had to catch the plane to Paris late that night.