Monthly Archives: September 2013

A unexpected romantic date in Paris


Paris, you are beautiful to behold. Looking at the reflection of the Eiffel tower in the water, as the fireworks lighted the sky to the left. We took the metro early enough for us to find the places that were mentioned to us by locals. 
Getting to the metro was fun, it was packed with people and many were standing up. The exit for the tower was closed and we were taken to the next station where human herds were moving towards the most famous monument of France.
The streets were closed and full of sexy French men in cops uniforms. I wonder where they got hundreds of very fit and good looking guys to fulfill the security needs of the city during the most pedestrian traffic in the city center. 
We made it close to the tower, but realized it was not where we needed to be. It was time to cross the canal and head towards the two museums that frame the tower and have the fireworks right in front of it. We saw the multitude of people seating there, about 3thousand gathered in a small space, I danced and skipped myself towards the middle where i found a place to seat. But there was something wrong with the location.  Camera-wise not a good location, since the light of the fireworks would overwhelm the tower and only the fireworks will show up. Unless the camera has the settings that are needed, and the person knows how to use them. We moved on, as Thad went back to the bridge where we thought the view and access to good photos would be at, I bought some baggets (very French of us) and got us a nice white wine. I went towards the bridge and found Thad, in a perfect spot, where we could have a small picnic. Meet a Australian couple, traveling for 3 months before school started. It was great conversation.
We sat and enjoyed the baggets and wine, we talked. Thad had picked a perfect area. 
A kiss as we stood under a bridge, over a water channel, with the lighted Eiffel tower in one side and fireworks on the other. 
A date in Paris.

Angela Arvizu

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Paris Metro

The metro is known for its high pace, high mobility and high price, sometimes too high. 
Looking at the people that are in the subway, you can see there is something wrong. Women holding their bags with both hands to their chest, men making their personal space. People looking sideways. There, in the subway underground are people that are supported by a low moral system.
As the people grapple their purses and look at strangers with untrustworthy eyes, I consider the social implications of why is this is still happening, specially in this high tech, low forgiveness society. 
Yes, we were robbed, a wallet taken from us by a child and older lady. Who is there to trust? 
More and more you can feel the stress and distrust of people. 
As I traveled through more cities with metro systems, I realize that Paris is the one place the government is not willing to touch. A delinquency supported by the government.
Why am I making such a claim? 
Government cares about money, mobilizing money. Money in the metro is mostly stolen from tourists, the money will still go into the community, and all of it utilized within the city. Why would they want to stop this? Is the tourists that are not important, since they will keep coming to one of the most popular destinations for tourism in the world.
Why are they supporting them? 
By doing nothing, they do some paper work, but that is all. Where are the cameras, where are the undercover cops. The force of the government in Paris is weak, and shameful. Why don’t they look into many other systems in different countries that work, that are free of this kind of metro terror. 
Paris government turns its head and degrades the quality of their people.

Paris city: 8 +
Paris people ( some other French too, thanks captain):  2-

Hope my next visits will make me think of this city in a different way, one can always hope.

Angela Arvizu 

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Paritian Water Fountains

Paris has created a path for healthy living, even in the worst circumstances, a person is able to acquire clean water. Water fountains are located around the city, a constant water source of clean water for all.
Water should be something that is given freely to all human beings. Counties and cities should have a similar system design to provide a basic necessary human need. 
The fountains were made of metal, dark green in color, cold to the touch, and high up. 
Someone, sometime made a decision that was for the people, for the community. A community action that is for the benefit of health, well being, and a healthy population. 
Paris city, thank you.

Angela Arvizu

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Welcome to Paris


Without a plan, an airport might seem overwhelming. It seems we have shown up at the busiest time for Paris, also since is busy it becomes more expensive. We got the metro pass and we went on to find the place where we will sleep that night.
I won’t go into details, but it ended up with me having to go and mediate the situation. At that time I was impressed at my self. This first time was only the beginning, the last night we were there became a 3 hour project, that ended in success.

Paris, you are beautiful. Your architecture is spectacular, transport, community areas, water fountains. You have it all. 

French people, minus a few of exceptions, left a lot to be desired. I  haven’t been through the whole world, but so far I feel there are more than just a few good French, I just haven’t encounter them. 30 not so good French  against 3 awesome ones.
Stealing, lying, scaming, discriminating, the list goes on. I’m disappointed in how blunt the negative side of the Paris population is. 

Angela Arvizu 

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Sao Miguel in one day

The plane lifted off, we could not stop looking though the window, seeing the expanse of the sea, no longer lacking the knowledge of what it meant to be there, in one of those sail boats floating in the blue water. 
We exclaimed in awe about how fast we were moving. Thad did the calculations, for every hour on the boat, it was a minute on the plane. I felt like a little kid of the first time in an airplane, i had forgotten what a luxury and revolutionary invention the plane was. 
The Azores islands would appear and disappear. Leaving behind unexplored land that made me feel a sense of loss. 
One island, Pico, raising from the sea and showing a beautiful volcano, Punta do Pico. Similar to the island called Ometepe, located in the middle of a lake, in Nicaragua. In this case it is in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. 
Sao Miguel, our first city, somehow we found ourselves next to the docking port where we might have stopped. Beautiful city, and a nice hostel to sleep in. They separated the girls and the guys, and we met a couple that spoke English, I think she was from Portugal and he from the UK.  Got up early to get the bus to the airport. 
Next stop, Paris.

Angela Arvizu 

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Leaving Flores

Hitching the last ride from Lajes to Santa Cruz allowed us to meet a local man. He drove a work vehicle, and we packed ourselves in like sardines. He spoke little English, but we were still able to communicate. He stoped at the store and got us a cold drink and some other drinks for workers at a site about a kilometer away. He was happy and proud, the kind of man that has build his empire with his two hands, literally since he had a garden, house, 8 cows and still worked construction.  
The hotel we stayed in was next to a man made beach, we’re many went to socialize, show their styles, new swim suits, hats and muscles also a place to get into the cold, very cold sea. Beautiful girls laying on the concrete, hoping for a tan. Men posting and flexing attempting to call attention. Children jumping into the water and playing. There were also jelly fish that were taken out with a long handle basket. The jelly fish were so cool looking. We had fun, stretched, swam and enjoyed the last day in this paradise of an island that we were stranded in. 
Time to go to the airport. 
Next stop, Sao Miguel

Angela Arvizu 

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Flores bench


During the first 20 minutes walking around the city of Lodges, I had found the place where I knew I had to seat. This place called to me, and I would desire it every time we would go by it. I’m finally here, to my back the church, to my sides cannons overlooking the water and the ship yard. Yes, it’s beautiful.
Flores, doesn’t seem to be overwhelmed by touristic influence, and the tourist that come, tend to follow a schedule….. I suppose I’m trying to synchronize many things and over all my overview is failing.
Life takes unexpected turns, I feel like I have many more turns, not unlike a path through a mountain pass. The mountain passes might show you long stretches of the road you are taking, or only a few hundred meters. My favorite might be when you are looking at a beautiful mountain overlook, where you can see on the opposite mountain a small stretch of the road. 

Angela Arvizu

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Stranded in Flower Paradise

Have you seen the movie “Cast Away”? It was nothing like that.
Cascades, hikes, long refines, cow pastures with perfect green grass, bunnies jumping, butterflies, flowers and more flowers, rows of flowers, on the hill, on the side walk…. Flowers.

European style houses, rock padded sidewalks, canons overlooking the harbor, artistic clean public bathrooms, gardens, rocky beaches, rock walled mazes through cow fields, streams of green, mazes made out of rocks, rock walls 400+ years old, white paint, red roofs. All of it highlighted with more cascades and more flowers.

People, Portuguese, open arms, warm welcomeness, well tended gardens, social gatherings during the night, one euro beers, open supermarkets at 12, siestas, gossip, strangers, picking up hikers, workers, retirees,  Germans, Finlanders, Portuguese, Flores born and raised, personal waterfalls, being called “the Americans”, weekend social free lunches, male defined areas, beautiful librarian, hard working men, good looking truck driver with gentle eyes, young full bloom woman showing her beauty under a new hat and wearing a bathing suit, hotel hosted with a business ethic, policeman giving us a ride at 11 p.m., retired German couple, young German couple, construction worker, government official from Laredo, couple from the super store, getting a ride due to groceries, ridding with a dog,  amazing views after a long hike and some wine.

Horse with sobbing bottom lip, chained dogs, frazzled kitties, cute kitties on a wall, dog protecting kittens, kitty in the middle of the hike, working horse, cows with legs tied, black sheep in company  of bleach white sheep, goats, baby goats, different style goats, jumping bunnies, dead bunnies on the road, dead bunnies by poison, I ate bunny in a restaurant.

Flowers, dark blue, light blue, every shade of blue, purple, pink, yellow, alive and dead, cut, fallen, blooming…… Just too many to continue.

The emotional side might need to be a bit more descriptive. 
Scammed, by an individual that  will martyr himself into death. 
Angry, at not leaving before, and at defending him thought out our voyage. 
Disappointment, at myself for not telling our captain how we knew of how poor he spoke of us. His attempt to look better and his need of petty from strangers, .
Acceptance of the fact that we had been stranded.
Relief, at knowing the next two weeks will be comfortable and fun.
Surprised, at the fact that I could again be a female, sexy, and comfortable with my body without the previous judgement. (I was unable to express myself, I felt……uncomfortable.) 
Active, let’s get ready to stay here attitude, let’s get a place to live.
Friendly backpacking mentality came back.  I started asking individuals for information and help.
Proud about asking strangers for assistance until we found our new home.
Ecstatic, at the long shower, clean clothes, and beauty to come.

Beauty and purpose. 

Angela Arvizu

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Letter to self


Not every one can get along, there are limits. Even the most sociable person you know has told you they have limits. Striving to make every one happy won’t make every one happy. Remember what your mother told you about victims? Nothing ever ends well. Remember the signs of victimization? It creates chaos. 
At times you will be wanted, other times unwanted, either way someone gets off. 
Finally, causation. 

Angela Arvizu

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Letter to my Captain

Mr. Captain

You speak poorly of your wife, and women in general. You are running from the education that your parents, brothers, sisters, and wife have. You live in a small life called Captain. Out of your 7 passengers only one stayed, the newest one. 
One way communication is no communication at all. 
You have to respect degrees and scholastic  achievement, it takes true dedication and years to achieve. 
I suppose you will still run away, heading to the sea, where no one gives you a different opinion and you only know people for short periods of time, just long enough for them not to  know the true you. 
A shobanistic  man doesn’t know the other half of himself. A little man for a little boat. 

Crew member

Angela Arvizu

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Two weeks traversing the Atlantic

Two weeks at sea 

It took two weeks to get to the Acores, Portugal. During the first week, all was calm and pleasant, but it seemed that people stated to separate into two groups. Our captain seemed a little too enthusiastic to do everything. Taking long hours steering, and tacking by himself, putting the sails up and down without saying anything, or asking for help.
It was interesting to see how almost sneaky he was about it. Quite pleasantly letting us steered when there was no wind, and in the moment he will start steering 3 minutes later after he realized how hard it was, he would turn on the motor. Once his shift finished he would tell the next person, that they were using too much gas and turn it off, making them  steer in a no win situation.
I don’t know how many times I offered for me to take his place at the wheel, but he rarely would say yes. But would always sheepishly ask another crew member to please help him out.
It felt like I was being setup on something. I supposed I realized my predicament when the bacon was cooked. The bacon had stayed in the fridge for a long time, maybe due to knowledge  that if you cooked it, you would be the bad guy FOREVER. At last the bacon could wait no longer and our captain cooked it. Strangely enough he served me, but served no one else. He quickly gave me the bowl with smash potatoes and the bacon  underneath it. I got nervous and realized there were 3 pieces of bacon in my own bowl, and got really scared. I went to the kitchen where two other people were serving themselves and asked if people had enough bacon. There wasn’t enough, so I took out one and gave it to Marc and said that there were more on the bowl on the kitchen for the other person, but to leave one for Thad.
I felt scared, for two reasons, if he was being nice to me, the fact that I was scared of his niceties is not a good sign. Second, if he was setting me up, he could say how I put so much bacon on mine and possibly how he only had one pice or maybe even none. In one word, unconfortable.
His constant battering of other people made me angry, maybe because I was the only other person that understood Spanish. His indirect battering about us made me at one point even clap at what he was saying. I had seen this before, in Cuba. Our captain becoming the supposed victim of 3 (starving) americans.  Cuba should have been the first clue that he would play the victim. What else could I do?  

Once we reached the Acores, the jokes about being stranded here started. I supposed we knew he was just on land long enough to check that all the money was wired to him.  

Jokes became reality. He sailed without us. We were stranded in a flowery Paradise. 

Angela Arvizu

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