Thursday, April 03, 2008

Simple? Maybe.

I've reserved a seat on an Avianca flight leaving LAX in California for MDE in Antioquia on this coming Tuesday. Simple? Maybe.

Camp Thunderbird, my present home base, is located on the desert, not far from the village of 29 palms, and within sight of the great Marine base located in this part of California. It is not very close to Los Angeles.

Let me try to explain this "maybe" lack of simplicity in chronological order. First, I chose Venezuela and Bolivia as my destinations. Soon I found that Bolivian visa regulations seemed to be in flux. Next, I found flights to Venezuela to be a bit expensive. Searching online for the cheapest flights to South America from airports close to me, I found those to Colombia to be least expensive.
"Good," I thought, "I'll fly into Bogota and start my acclimation to La Paz altitude there." Bogota is at about 8000 ft. and La Paz has an altitude of over 12000! While in Bogota I could visit: some hot springs around Cundinemarca, the Gold Museum in that capital, and the marvelous cathedral of salt near-by. However, things were not so simple. I was shopping for price and found that it was cheaper to fly to Medellin via Bogota, than it was to fly to Bogota!

"Okay," I thought, "let it be Medellin." I haven't visited Medellin since 1967. I had spent a total of four pleasant years in that city of cultured and industrious people. I could simply revisit that place of fond memory. Some interesting changes must be evident after four decades. Of course there are changes in 40 years. Changes in me and in the city. One change in me is that I now no that I am less comfortable in a city that I am in a town or village. Medellin wasn't tiny forty years ago and it has grown. Another change in me is that I am now so aware of air quality that I made finding pure air a priority of this trip. I hear credible rumors that the air of the valley of Aurraba where Medellin is located is not as crystalline as it once was. Another change is that the main airport for Medellin is no longer in Medellin, but is now close to the attractive city of Rio Negro. When I live in Medellin, a sensible person did not go to Rio Negro without intending to stay at least one night. So, I'm going to Bolivia by flying to Medellin, but will probably stay in Rio Negro and not even go down to Medellin. Ah, the simple freedom of travel!

Now, in order to take my seat on Avianca flight AV49, I must first get to LAX. Renting a car to get there had worked out more than once. I called a rental agency I had used before. Their office was on the Marine base and they delivered. I called them and was told that, they were sorry, but they no longer dealt with civilians. I'd have to check agencies in Yucca Valley, a $30, or so, cab ride from 29. The first agency I called in YV told me that they did not handle one ways to airports. Then I called the Hertz agency. The agent was out to lunch so I was connected to the Hertz national reservations office. There I reserved a car one way to LAX from YV for $72, including insurance. I than told that agent about the cab ride that I had heard of people paying $60 dollars for. She was silent a bit and then said that their YV office would reimburse my for the taxi fare! After lunch I called the YV agent and asked if the reimbursement were truly available and she said, in tone which sounded a bit sad, "Yes."

The world is wonderfully not simple.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

America can be a Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood

Why is speaking speaking out an agnoy? What am I learning from what is happening? Why do I sometimes feel a darkness close around me? What am I learning about the world in which I live? How do I love my nation? What is the nature of trustful give and take? What do I have to say to my fellow citizens? What is good for us?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Talking to Myself

There are a lot of things my father didn't tell me. Some of the things he did tell me were ambiguous or wrong. Still, I am glad he told me what he did. Because it was him who told me those things, I tended to think about them.
Once, when I was quite young, he told me, perhaps in response to a question of mine about a man talking to himself on the street, "It's okay to talk to yourself; it's even okay to answer yourself; but if you find yourself saying, 'Huh?' or 'What did you say?' look out."
We do sometimes say something 'out loud' to ourselves. A bit more often we might whisper to our self or just move our lips as in some silent reading. Most often we think our words. We seldom say, "What did you say?" Perhaps we should.
It is my experience that we do listen to our self.

Another thing my father told me is that, "A thing worth doing, is worth doing well.? I continue to learn that listening to myself well is important. Listening to myself a bit better is beginning to teach me how important it is to talk to myself well.
My honest attempts to try to say to myself things that are unambiguously true, seem to be paying off in increased sanity and happiness. I don't think I have been able to tell myself a perfect truth; but honestly trying to tell myself the truth seems to be paying benefits. Speaking more and more honestly with myself appears to be helping me to more effectively cooperate with the realities of man, God, the cosmos. The truth sets me free and adds to my power to use that freedom well.
An old aunt of mine told me, "It's not what you do, but the way how you do it."
How do you talk to yourself?

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