"The Ol' Rambling Slooper Looks Back & Forward" Slooper's Profile
I won't count this native Californian's college boy Saturday night venture across the Mexican boarder to visit Tijuana (1954). My first taste of real international travel was thanks to a US Navy Midshipman cruise in the summer of 1955. Sailing out of Norfolk, VA, on a destroyer, we visited Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden, and romantic "Gitmo" Bay, Cuba. Ancient slides of this trip have been found and here is an Oslo street scene of the vicinity in which I bought my first good 35mm camera (Zeis). [Oops - big mistake. A long term Oslo resident just informed me that all the street signs in this old photo are in Swedish. My mistake. This photo must have been taken in Stockholm instead. Fifty years since, makes the memory fuzzy.]
NOTE: More of these old pics are have been recently (21 Mar. 2006) uploaded at Midshipman Cruise 1955 albums
1960-61: Serving in the US Army, I spent a year living in the desert capitol of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh. I was able to travel out for visits to the African city of Asmara, Eithiopia; north to Beirut, Lebanon, and one short tour of the "Holy Lands," including Jerusalem & Bethlehem, then under control of Jordan. (Additional traveling on the way back to the States in 1961 included visits to Pakistan, India, Thailand, Vietnam & the Philippines.) Many photos from this year in the Middle East have been uploaded to our family's non-commercial "WheelerFolk.org" web site. These photo albums are indexed at: Keith's MiddleEast travels
This photo collection was donated on 16 November 2005 to "Al-Turath", a non profit foundation, located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who will work to put a complete copy at the Saudi National Archive for Historic Photographs at the King Fahad Library. For permission to use these images from this collection for commercial or publication purposes, please contact Al-Turath directly via their contact site.
(See reports of this 2005 visit below.)
In more recent years my wife and I have made a few trips to Mexico & Norway, a brief & an extended visit to Thailand, shorter visits to Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Malaysia & the Netherlands. My son and I visited Lebanon in 2002 . We visited New Zealand in 2004 when another son married a Kiwi lady there.
Many photos & travel reports from these and other trips are recorded on our WheelerFolk.org web site.
November 2005 - My wife Peg & I traveled to the Middle East primarily to donate the old 1960's era pictures mentioned above. We spent a delightful & event full week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We were able to meet VT member "4x4Xplorer" who took us on a day's outing with his family southwest of the city to the escarpment & sand dunes area (see photo). On this trip, we also spent a few days in Dubai City and took a day tour to the Musandam Peninsula of Oman for a memorable dhow cruise in to the fjords (the "Arabian Norway").
Several photo albums from this 2 week adventure can be found at this WheelerFolk.org "Photo Album Index Page"
Related comments and some nice photos are presented on this Al-Turath foundation page:
"Mr.Wheeler's memories by word and photo"
We thank the many VT members who encouraged and supported us in making this trip.
December 2005-January 2006 -- We spend 2 months traveling in Mexico, Honduras & Guatemala. Highlights of mostly "off the beaten track" travels include: 6 pleasant days on one of the Cayos Cochinos Islands off the north coast of Honduras - visit to Honduran town of Copan Ruinas & adjacent Mayan ruins - beautiful Antiqua, Guatemala - visiting friends in the little village of Cofradia de Suchitlan on the side of a volcano in the small state of Colima in west central Mexico - & 2 weeks of exploration of the Mexican state of Michoacan, from the Pacific beaches to the high mountain towns (Patzcuaro our favorite).
16 photo albums of these travels are linked to this Index Page.
BELGIUM, LONDON, NORWAY, FRANCE, LUXEMBOURG, GERMANY & NETHERLANDS - Basing our travels in Belgium where our youngest son now lives we spent a day or more in the 7 countries listed. We are starting to build and upload web albums on our family's WheelerFolk.org web site. Later we will be adding more pages & info here on our Virtual Tourist pages.
Check out our "5 WEEKS IN EUROPE INDEX
We left our California home on November 9th flying via San Francisco & Hong Kong to land in Singapore. Just a couple of days there and we headed north by train to Butterworth & George Town in northwest Malaysia for about 5 days (loved it). Then farther north by train to the town of Nakkom Phathom west of Bangkok. There our friend Yupadee picked us up for a stay in our friendly town of Ban Pong, 80 km west of Bangkok. This is familiar territory & good friends here, as we taught conversational English at the local nursing college in 2003. After a fun time in Ban Pong (+ some good dental work) Peg & I ventured north to Chiang Mai where we met new friends, revisited some favorite places & discovered some new interesting places. After a week or so we settled in a 12th floor condo apartment near the University. This has our home base to explore the areas around the city of Chiang Mai and close by smaller towns. We returned south to Ban Pong in early Feb before flying from Bangkok to Cambodia. After a few weeks in and near Siem Reap, we had planned to see more of Cambodia & maybe Laos before we had to get back to Singapore for our March flight home to California. Yes, we had extended our stay for an extra month. SAD NOTE: Keith, aka Slooper, received a painful injury while in Cambodia. This put quite a damper on the end of our visit to southeast Asia. Thankfully, a dear friend and former guide, Srun Sopheak came to our rescue and helped us get situated better in Siem Reap, and then transferred to Phnom Penh for our flight to Singapore and then back to California. Keith is recovering well, but our photo albums and travelogue from the latter part of our travels have been much delayed.
Stay tuned for more photos, recommendations, links, and travel notes, hopefully before January of 2010. Here is our very "under construction" index:
"Peg & Keith visit Southeast Asia 2008-09" Index
"Slooper" is a term applied to the 50+ pioneers of Norwegian emigration who sailed to the US in 1825 aboard the sloop "Restauration." This tiny single masted ship has been hailed by historians as the "Norwegian Mayflower." The descendants of these early US immigrants are also called Sloopers. Four aboard the Restauration were my direct ancestors. For more on this bit of Slooper history and our family's connection (both past & present) visit our "Slooper Monument Project" site A very recent artistic representation of this ship by Norwegian artist Geir Bjoergum has been purchased by my distant Norwegian cousin who lives south of Stavanger, Norway. He gave his permission to present this image. More about the artist and his work can be found at "Geir Bjoergum's Free Artist Portfolio"
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