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Bike Week 2009 - Daytona Beach




Ah yes….another year, another Bike Week.

Daytona Beach Bike Week 2009, to be specific.

Whether you’re a motorcycle enthusiast or just a voyeur checking out the, um, action…Bike Week offers something for everyone. The tradition of Bike Week actually goes back a long way…to January 24, 1937 with the inaugural run of the Daytona 200 (a motorcycle race). The races were officially suspended during WWII, which is when a broader context was started with biker enthusiasts showing up in Daytona for an unofficial party. That “party” eventually became known as Bike Week.

In the vernacular of merrymaking, it’s “Freakapalooza”…Motorcycle Mardi Gras…Rough-Riding Revelry.

It’s kind of like going to the Circus – minus the animal exploitation.

To me, the poignancy and humor of Bike Week has always been in its timelessness…the sensation of being temporarily transported into another era. I’ve always had the feeling that no matter what decade it is, I can still trip on back to a groovier America when I go to Bike Week in Daytona. This year however, David noted something I hadn’t paid attention to before - everyone “looked” older. I felt a frisson of anxiety, not from the weight of examining my own mortality (please – introspection is permitted before AND after - but not DURING Bike Week), but because I wondered who will take up the banner of Easy Riders when this generation dies out? Today’s youth is busy Twittering and Facebooking , X-boxing and Wii’ing. I’m not entirely sure I saw a “young person” at Bike Week this time around. Am I even qualified to determine “young” vs. “old”?

Maybe, just maybe, the concept of “Born to Be Wild” is simply in the eye of the beholder.

In which case, I hope the seemingly ageless spirit of Bike Week will live on indefinitely…no matter how old we are.


To see my Bike Week Travelogue , click here




I think I'm goin' to Kathmandu..."

We decided to combine a trip to Nepal with a trip to Tibet. We spent three amazing weeks, half-way around the world from our humble home in the sub-tropics of Florida. We learned alot. We trekked. We walked. We watched. We lost weight...

For a gripping view from the Roof of the World, click on my Tibet

*** (Click also on my fast paced video clip Seeking the Shambhala) ***


For a leisurely trek through the Annapurnas & Kathmandu, click on my Nepal

*** (Click also on my fast paced video clip Footprints Thru Nepal) ***







Ma Rencontre Parisienne


How many of us are familiar with the hustle and bustle personifying the arrival area at any given airport outside our country? The cacophony of a foreign language broadcasting over a loudspeaker as people push by; the urgency and the emotions and the confusion and the orchestra of dissonant sights and smells…This melody tends to play itself out at any airport, true enough - and yet Paris really brings it all together in a passionate crescendo. It might be a cliché as far as feelings go, but disembarking from a transatlantic flight into the Roissy CDG airport is one of the most exhilarating sensations in the world – like you’re getting swept up into a love affair beyond your control - as though there’s a beautiful, magical, unexpected je ne se quai around the corner just waiting to be discovered.

The problem after the first blush of this warm embrace is that first of all, it doesn’t last for very long; and secondly, if you’re like me, then you might just find yourself stumbling out of Charles de Gaulle’s arms and into the impersonal and ever intimidating confusion know as the Parisien metro. What an awakening.

What a reality check!

I remember arriving at 9:00 am in the morning, knowing I'd be leaving for Tel Aviv the following day. Sure, I'd been to Paris before, and oui, I did all the checklist things that first time visitors to Paris do. But this time , I had just a little over 24 hours in the City of Lights and there were only two things I planned on doing during my layover: 1. have a coffee at the Café de Flore and people-watch; and 2. check out the little Picasso museum in the artist’s former house in the Le Marais district.

After collecting my luggage, I decided to save some money by skipping a taxi and braving the metro into the city. I don’t have a good sense of direction and I’m not a good listener – but mon dieu! I was in Paris (isn’t that good enough just by itself?) and I figured I had plenty of time (24 hours in fact) to get lost and eventually find my way to the hotel where I was supposed to be staying, pas probleme .

And get lost is precisely what I did.

............To read about an unusual experience which I like to call my "Rencontre Parisienne", click here


Destination Pick: ISRAEL

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For a quick video tour of Israel through my eyes, click below:
Israel & West Bank
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Managed by German Protestants, staffed by Christian Palestinians, located in the insular Jewish section, and residing right next to the Muslim Quarter...this is the contemporary dichotomy that hits you about Jerusalem, embodied by the Lutheran Guest House.

I'd discovered the Lutheran Guest House back in 2000 when I was staying inside the Old Walled City for a few weeks with a friend. When we came across it during a day of exploration, I felt as though I'd uncovered a wonderous, charming secret. I already had a place to stay at that time, but vowed to lodge at the Lutheran Guest House when I would return to Jerusalem at a future date. And I did, in December of 2004.

But wait - there's more to this story...


To better understand my love for this country and its people, come with me to ISRAEL






Hotels from Hell


Not every vacation is idealic. Sometimes there are stories to tell. Sometimes we share our accomodations with unexpected (and unwelcome) guests. Sometimes we don't care about that. And sometimes, we do.

Here are a couple of "fun" experiences I had while on vacation:

Beware of Bears -
click here

Beware of Bugs -
click here



North America's Most Beloved City

Most Americans are probably familiar with Haight-Ashbury but for those who are not, it is basically the area in San Francisco where the hippies lived and loved; where the peaceful counter-culture of America's 60's dwelled and dropped acid; where incense pervaded the streets and free-wheeling musicians played impromptu performances; where flower-power and tie-dye ruled and if you couldn't make it to Kathmandu, then this was the next best thing.

Today, many locals like to "hate 'The Haight'", but I still love this place (probably because of the whole Grateful Dead connection - Deadhead here). What is annoying about it now - and I'll concede this much - is that it is making money off its memories and somehow this seems sacrilegious, given its provocative and iconic history.

I personally think you should not visit San Francisco without including a quick stop by The Haight, to pay your respects to the living symbol of an era that was arguably more pure and idealistic - if not a bit laid back, a bit stoned....but surely an all around groovy refuge for a kinder, gentler America.

.........................For a low key, mellow tour of San Fransisco, click on my City By The Bay


Gabrielle Gets Baptized

aka, A Long Way From the Jordan River...

At the end of July 2005, we celebrated the baptism of our daughter Gabrielle who was born May 01, 2005.

What made it extra special was the water from the Jordan River which we brought back with us from our recent trip to Israel.

........For a glimpse of the baptism, click on Gabby's Baptism




Give Peace a Chance

........Click here to see how this photo ties into my Montreal pages........


Kickin' Back in the Keys...



For a quick (video) spin with me through the Florida Keys, click here




For many of us, the great appeal of the Keys is that they don't try to pretend to be something they're not; they're not fussy and they're not pretentious.


I returned from a recent “escape” down to the Keys. I made a little music video compilation (above link) of the photos along the way - starting from the first moment I felt the stress physically leave my body as I spied the sign “Crocodile Crossing” in Key Largo, to the moment I checked out of my weekend bungalow in Islamorada and made my way back to mainland civilization.

…Friday evening, sunset wedding at Pierre’s in Islamorada. Saturday morning espresso and Key Lime cake for breakfast and a sweet sugar high to get me through the day exploring the middle and lower Keys, then down to the Conch Republic (Key West) for lunch. Along the way, stopped by Long Key Beach, checked out Bahia Honda State Park, hunted down my old marine biology camp in Big Pine Key, took a little tour through the charming Key West Cemetery, snapped the obligatory shot of the “Southern most Point in the USA” (aka “90 miles to Cuba”)…and in between, relaxed and introspected…and relaxed some more.

I was reminded of how much I used to love going down to the Keys, and like many Floridians, I have a lifetime of memories (in my case, spanning…gulp….three decades) filled with snorkeling, diving, boating, marine biology camp, and just plain hanging out at the ends of the continental USA - and yet for all that, I felt transported back in time like it was yesterday. A mellow sense of nostalgia washed over me and stayed with me the entire trip… like an invisible yet unmistakably warm and loving embrace. When it was time to say goodbye, I felt the pinch but knew I won’t let another ten years slip by without returning to these funny little islands.

How good to revisit great memories which in turn, encourage the desire to make new ones.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A couple of tips on:

Islamorada

Bahia Honda

Key West



THE LAST FRONTIER...




Papua New Guinea


Who Dares to go to Papua New Guinea?


The person who decides to go to Papua New Guinea is someone who is fascinated by anthropology, and/or an obsessive scuba diver looking for that next great dive destination. Maybe I was a little of both.

Either way, Papua New Guinea goes down in my travel logs as one of the strangest, wildest, and maybe the most exciting place I've ever been. The people were warm and wonderful, the coffee was SUPERB, the diving spectacular, the cultural elements were surprising, and the scenery....well, it was pretty out of this world.

My photos don't do justice to the trip, and my memory is fading more every day.

I knew if I didn't get this down into words now, I will just wake up one morning and think that maybe it had all been a strange and beautiful dream.

.................Come see for yourself, this fabled last frontier in the South Pacific called Papua New Guinea

  • Intro Updated Mar 12, 2009
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Comments (320)

  • Updated Comment
    Martin_S.'s Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    Michele, sorry for the late birthday wishes..but you know that there are ALWAYS good wishes coming your way from this part of our beautiful earth ^O^
    Martin, Zohara, Tal, Itzik, Nala, Simba, Lucy and "Humus"

    Other comments
  • toemayn's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Hope your birthday is filled with all the fun you can handle!

  • kingip's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2014 at 3:24 AM

    Happy B/D!

  • CEP1863's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Michele, wishing you a very happy birthday and a year filled with exciting travel!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    Happy Birthday Michele! Wish you a great day!

  • sobizar's Profile Photo
    Mar 16, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Happy Birthday Michelle. I hope you're having a wonderful day!

  • Bokhari76's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Happy New Year M! Best wishes for the future.

  • Bokhari76's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    This time again I am late. Happy birthday, Michele!

  • AKtravelers's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Happy birthday, Michele! I hope Angus treats you well!

  • maysue's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2012 at 4:18 AM

    Hi! It's been a long time. Just drop by to wish you Happy Birthday! Best wishes, Maysue.

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jadedmuse

“To see the world in a grain of sand & heaven in a flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand & eternity in an hour”

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