Airports

Oh my gosh. I truly wish there could be an easier way to fly somewhere. Go here, there, everywhere,walking, moving floors, escalator,  trains, shoes off, shoes on, computer out, computer in, frisked, x-rayed, surprise charge for two luggages – $55!, microphone announcements compete with each other, eat something, wait in this line, that line, wrong line, go back, fill this out, get your i.d. out, pay, walk, try to find a seat, people stare. Legs hurt, pride hurts, confusing, now where am I going, again?

It isn’t pretty. Blast those who want to harm us!

 

P.S. The flight has been delayed for over an hour. Add this to the above!

Last day near Denver

This evening I leave by way of Denver Airport to the Durango Airport where I learned to fly a Cessna 152 and a Cessna 172. I’ll be met by my good friend, and traveling companion, Marilyn. She lives on top of a mountain in Vallecito and the same area where I lived for several years. It is northeast of Durango and about 12 miles from the town of Bayfield.

Saying good bye today to my wonderful, beautiful niece, Lori, will be the last time I see her for who knows how long? I hope to see her visit her California relatives at some point.

I am so proud of the adults they have all become: niece Lori: grand niece Krisy; grand nephew-in-law, Theron;  nephew, John; niece-in-law, Shawna; grand niece, Brittany and grand nephew J.D. And then there’s that cutie pie, great nephew, Jack. All of them made me feel welcome and I feel blessed to have been treated so well.

Off to the airport tonight.

Sentimental Journey III

It’s been awhile since I was able to post these photos, and then I’m not thoroughly  happy with my progress using the iPhone instead of my trusty Canon.

I left Lori’s house in the morning, got a taxi up to the bus station and was on my way to Denver’s 16th Street Mall from Broomfield, which when I lived in Denver, Broomfield was just that: a field.

Sixteenth Street is open only to electric buses that operate up and down the street for free! Once outside, while waiting for the Taxi, I realized my Canon sat on my bed. I thought about going back after it, but the taxi had arrived. It’s time to learn how to use this phone I have for photos, I told myself.

My plan would be to take the bus to the mall, but when I got on the bus, the driver said, no bus goes to the mall. “Well then how do I get there?”

“You take this bus to Union Station and then get a shuttle to 16th Street.”

“Do I need a transfer?”

“No, the shuttle is free.”

photo-4

Surprises always await me at every turn in my travels,  but I do not give up. I sat next to a lovely lady who was headed to Colo. Springs to visit a friend. This friend had given her explicit directions. We both got off at the station and I went about my business asking where I should go…and she was off to follow her directions.

She was a lady near my age who has undergone chemo therapy for breast cancer the third time. She was feeling pretty good and was happy to get out of her house.

I congratulated her for doing that and told her she looked great. You never know whose  day you may be making better by your comments. She was also very kind to me.

So I asked another kind person how to get the shuttle and he told me to walk over to the station. Once I got into the station, where it has recently been restored and is beautiful with shops, restaurants, bars, places to sit and relax and even a hotel, I was enthralled with the newness of the old memory I had of the station. This is where I would take a train with friends up to our cabin in Pinecliff.

After oohing and awing over the beautiful, cool interior, I asked a door man if 16th Street Mall was close enough to walk.

photo-3Church near the mall.d&f

Daniels and Fisher’s Tower.

“Yes, it’s right there.” He pointed to the end of the street. I didn’t need a free, electric,  shuttle, however, I did get on one just to try it out later that day.

Now, my own history of Sixteenth Street, and Denver, begins  77 years ago this Friday. But during my youth, going to Denver was by a trolly car, over a viaduct, and to the Denver Dry Goods, the Daniels and Fisher’s Tower (which was the highest building then), but is dwarfed now by modern, tall buildings.

larimer

15th and Larimer where I had to catch the trolley to get home.

When we went downtown from Barnum, we usually got off at a loop building and walked to the stores, or to pay the electric bill or to visit the CampFire Girls building, or any numerous places one would visit. There were dime stores like Grants, Woolworth’s, Walgreens (still there, by the way), and clothing shops.

Can you imagine this? I was about eleven years old and after our Camp Fire Girls sold candy, my mother had me take about $100 worth of coins and paper money to the Camp Fire Girls office in downtown Denver. I got on the trolley and sat next to a lovely lady, who I promptly told that, “I have $100 dollars in this box.”

She advised me not to tell anyone else that until I got to the office.

Leaving the business district to go home was another matter, for we waited for the street car trolly on Larimer Street, near 14th or 15th streets. If you went further up Larimer towards 16th and 17th, chances were that you’d step over the drunks who hung out there and fell down in a stupor. Now, some of the original buildings are still there, but hardly recognizable in the upscale, yuppie haven for business lunches, and unique shopping.

I ate a small lunch at a place loaded with young business folks and asked the waitress if she knew the history of the building.

“Yes, I do. This was the cabin of Mr. Larimer, who lived here and who the street is named for.” Interesting, I would have never known that all those many times I walked down 15th or 16th to catch the trolly. The stone work on older buildings is still beautiful: lots of brick, red rock, granite and gold leaf here and there. From the top of the mall, you can see the beautiful Capital with the golden dome.

Colorado history amazes me, and it gets all mixed up with my own history. I sometimes wonder if I had been born in the mid-1880s if I would have known Baby Doe Tabor, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Silver Dollar, Leadville Johnny,  and others who made Colorado history fascinating.

The Brown Palace was my next to last stop. It is an elegant, red stone building with ample early history, and still has afternoon tea. I just had to experience this for the second time in my life. I was there many years ago with my husband Will, who invited me to go in to the tea room, and where we spent the night in the hotel. Before that, as a young person, I’d only walk by it wondering if I’d ever be eligible to go inside (silly person I was then).

brwn palace

Inside the Brown Palace where I had tea and listened to the piano player and where I felt as rich as Molly Brown.

 

Sentimental Journey II

Niece Lori, grand niece Krisy, and great nephew Jack, and I explored my childhood haunts.

Lori was so kind to spend nearly the whole day yesterday taking me around to my old neighborhood and other places dear to me. Krisy and Jack were a great addition to my childhood journey. Would I ever have thought as a kid, my niece and my grand niece and my great nephew and I would explore my early life together?

We saw the house I was raised in, in the Barnum neighborhood of Denver and West High School where I spent three years, the golden dome of Denver’s beautiful Capitol building, where the dome is made of real gold.

dome

My house and the house next door (below) that my dad built actually looked better than when I lived there. Lots of remodeling brought both houses into the modern age.

657 meade

My childhood home.

653 meade

The house next door where we used to play ball and have gardens. My dad moved a house onto the property and then added to it.

Ronnie Barkhausen’s house looked the same, and Doc Sinclair’s house looked like it was freshly painted. You all will just have to be patient to wait for the stories that will come out of my memory of Meade Street.

7th church

The church I went to. Seventh Avenue Congregational Church. Someone left my dog, Fluffy on the steps. Fluffy and I were inseparable.

West High looked the same, but the water pool in Sunken Gardens across the street from the high school was covered with grass.

west h

West High School, I was in the class of ’55.

What used to be a viaduct from Barnum to Denver via Federal Blvd. was no longer there. We stopped at an 80 year old bar to see what may have happened to the viaduct and the manager said, “that viaduct has been gone of 30 years at least.” Stories about the viaduct will also be a story you must wait for.

“The dear, dead days are gone forever,” a line I had from a play I was in, “All My Sons”, just about says what was on my mind yesterday. However, scattered throughout the drive were familiar old brick buildings, and lots of retro signage on the long, long street of Colfax that begins in Golden (Coors Beer fame) and ends in Aurora. According to Playboy magazine from a Google search (thank you Lori), it was called, “the longest, wickedest street in America.” Also according to research, Colfax began back 100 years ago.

Well, whoever said you can’t go home again was only partially right. I felt I was home most of the day.

 

Sentimental journey 1

IMG_2141Colorado has the most beautiful skies and here are some samples I took on a sentimental journey to Colorado University and Boulder, Colorado.

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It’s been 50 years since experiencing my first days of freedom as a freshman. Sure I abused that a bit; what freshman doesn’t?

Today, I  traveled on a bus from Broomfield to Boulder and spent some time on the open mall, trying to find anything that looked familiar, but instead found street performers, lots of shops, and a few old buildings. And I got caught in the rain; was soaked to my skin and trying to find the bus terminal. Every time I asked directions, the answer was different. Then, I walked into a bank, with clouded glasses, soaked to the skin, limping on a sore leg, and a teller went above and beyond to help me out.

She handed me some paper towels, and an umbrella that must have been in a pile of umbrellas once used for advertising. Again, people stepped up to help me everywhere I go. Amazing, good people in the world.

 

 

tie up loose ends

I’m in the midst of trying to finish up the Cambodian experience, with the sponsorship of Albany Univ. in New York and the Global Service Corps.

Americorps needs to release the stipend for the University and while I’m in the process of finishing up with the correct paper work, I’ve learned that my search engine won’t work with the government requirements.

So I must now head to a library with the hopes I can get it done there. I’m at the mercy of my niece who’s at work, but is always ready with a helping hand. So, looks like I’ll get acquainted with the Broomfield Library soon.

I’m right now hanging out at Scotties in Broomfield where I am reading all my mail and Facebook posts.

I’m realizing a difference in the people of Colorado and those in California. Here in Scotties, there have been big tables of men and now a table full of women. They dress differently than those women I know in California. There we see jeans and t-shirts, jogging outfits and very casual clothing. Here the women have dressy blouses, skirts and fancier shoes. Very conservative looking. It reminds me of my mother’s Lady’s Aide organization of the old days.

 

 

I’m almost home

I’m at my lovely nieces home in Broomfield, Colorado, near Denver, my hometown. It’s good to see Colorado again.

My nephew, John picked me up and took me to lunch. What fun!

I’m being well cared for and look forward to getting up to speed with all of my obligations and countless paperwork to finish up the AmeriCorps and the Cambodian experience.

Next, in a few days I’ll be in Vallecito, where I lived for several years…high in the mountains. Lovely…can’t wait.

Now, back to the flying business: when I was in San Francisco I was called to the reservation counter with the request that I fly out on an earlier flight. So I did, and then waited on the tarmac for another hour. I began to worry about where I’d pick up my luggage and would it be with the old flight or the new flight. And where would I meet Lori?

I went round and round trying to figure it all out, and then I got a message from Lori telling me she would wait for me at the train. This would be after I pick up my  luggage and go through one more check. She was there….

Then, I began to wonder if I had made a huge mistake by booking my carry on in regular booking. It had my camera, medicines, gifts and so much more. I was stupid to do that, but in Cambodia, the suitcase was a bit overweight and I just didn’t feel like adjusting the weight between the suitcases and then get back in line for another one hour wait. I’d take the chance.

So, the suitcases were where they were supposed to be, we checked that with a customer service who had the information on the computer…amazing how they can tell you right where your luggage is.

We picked it up, stopped on the way to Lori’s place at McDonald’s for an American cup of coffee, and then at Lori’s house, I reluctantly looked into my luggage, which I saw that it had been forced opened.

Well, everything was there; along with a note that the customs agents had broken into check it out. The note said it was to keep travelers safe..My son Brad, said  that was probably part of Homeland Security.  My pad lock was wrapped up in cellophane paper.

All is good!

 

Hoops and ring around the customs, and I’m in San Francisco

It’s not easy traveling these days in this world. I don’t even know how many times I’ve shown my passport since leaving Cambodia, but a huge number of times, for sure.  I just walked it seems like two miles to the United Airlines gate – one of them anyway. I didn’t think I’d make it in time, but yea, I did.

 

 

The last supper

It’s almost 6:30 p.m. and I just had my last supper with the Global Services Corp. Country Coordinator, Sophak and a new volunteer from New York, Marcos.

We ate at the first place Sophak took me to when I arrived. I had an omelette with Acacia leaves and Cambodian iced coffee.

We talked about photography and our experiences in life, and before dinner, Sophak and I spoke about my experiences here in Cambodia. I had an extraordinary time. It is the most exotic place I have ever been so far in all of my travels.

I was lucky to be in a country with such friendly, warm people.

I wished Marcos well, and (not part of Cambodian etiquette) gave Sophak a hug. I asked him first. It just seemed so un-final without a good old American hug. After all, the experience was to share our cultures. Sophak was compliant and gave a hug back. He’s a great guy doing a very good job.

Two more hours and the taxi will take me to the airport and that will be the end of my Cambodian Buddhism Immersion program.

I am grateful for the experience.

Becoming a practical person

I’m still in the Golden Gate Hotel in Phnom Penh until later tonight when I head to the airport for the long flight to Colorado.

I had arranged for one night at the hotel, with check out at 11 a.m. this morning. But since I’m leaving late at night, what would I do all day long dragging my suitcases around with me? I could have left them in the hotel, but still, what would there be to do?

I’ve purchased all I want and actually have seen enough to satisfy my curiosity. Of course, there’s always more to see and more to buy and more restaurants to try out, but I made the decision to buy one more day at the hotel, even though it won’t be for the night.

This is something I would have never done in my past, but my decision making has become more practical as I get older. Why not pay for the day, when if I was out roaming the city, I’d end up spending nearly the same amount of money

So I’m taking it easy to get ready for the 24+ 2 hours it will take to get back.