Word and Image

Animal

Long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs…

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By now you know about new kitties in the house. They are sisters and pretty much identical. Side by side I can tell them apart. Pick one up alone and it’s not so easy. One feature that is striking is their long tails. Beautiful.

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Now to recognize them and use the right names. Do they know their names? Who knows? They are both characters. Fun! So face on look at the vertical stripes on their face. Different. Good. That’s a start. Famous sisters? Thelma and Louise were out. You know what happened to them. And so forth… They are cats… Spice and Feather. I hope Feather remains light. She’s the heavier sister to start. I know I will rename her “Weight.”


Perspective

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By now you know about new kitties in the house. They are sisters and pretty much identical. Side by side I can tell them apart. Pick one up alone and it’s not so easy. One feature that is striking is their long tails. Beautiful.

img_4074-copy

Now to recognize them and use the right names. Do they know their names? Who knows? They are both characters. Fun! So face on look at the vertical stripes on their face. Different. Good. That’s a start. Famous sisters? Thelma and Louise were out. You know what happened to them. And so forth… They are cats… Spice and Feather. I hope Feather remains light. She’s the heavier sister to start. I know I will rename her “Weight.”


What the…? Dinner!

We were driving. Yeah, it rhymes with diving… I wish… And there in the field were sea gulls. I’ve seen them gathered in large numbers many times before. Wrong! Nope! I turned the car around to take some shots. It was an open field full of ducks. Dinner! I’ve seen them on Long Island. They were domestic and destined for dinner – Long Island duck! Nope, I’m wrong again. They are snow geese – and wild – and they were just resting on their migration. Later we saw the sky filled with hundreds. No, I did not stop again. We were on a mission….”from God” (Dan Ackroyd – Blues Brothers).


Good Morning

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I can’t leave well enough alone. Most people who know me would agree. It’s my fate. I tempt it. We had a good environment with three nutty kitties. Characters, one and all, they and I – me and them, we had an understanding… But we go into the pet store to buy food… And right there were a pair of sisters waiting to be adopted – rescue kitties. Too cute! Darn! They got me. The one on the right hopped right up and put her paw through the cage and patted me. Yup! Let me out! Her or me? First day, first morning, they were sleeping atop one another in the sink. It wasn’t hard. I put a towel down inside. Welcome to the world. Now… to see if the others get along and welcome them?


Cats

We stay in Airbnb now. Rooms for less with a whole lot more charm. They are all different. Neighborhoods and accommodations vary a lot. Some are more interesting. Some are a bit scary. In this particular place the owner left her cats behind and we were tasked with feeding them. No problem. I can do this. I have cat experience. They were friendly and curious and tried to get outside. The sign at the door warned – no matter how much they beg, do not let them out!


Pets and…

Cute. I think there was a dog show later after the parade. Dogs were everywhere along the parade route and in the parade. When you see horses at the parade in NYC there are official NYC sanitation workers who walk behind to clean up. They always get a round of applause. Do people at the parade pick up? Do they pick up on the beach? Ah! See? On the King Charles spaniel, there’s a plastic holder for dog poop bags. Clever. How about horses on the beach, do they have scoopers there?


Fish Hatchery

Bowden Fish Hatchery. I haven’t been here in a long time. Yes, it’s been decades. I’m surprised it’s still going. They raise trout for release into local streams to stock and replenish. It’s a nice program. People follow the trucks with fishing poles to catch the fish as they are released. I guess trout are good eating too. They grow the fish in large runways filled with juvenile fish. The fish grow until quite large.

As an aside I am the worst fisherman ever. I could drop my hook next to a fish (I have) and fail to catch it. It’s neat to see that some things have not changed from my childhood.


Dressage – but I call it horse riding

I missed the jumping. We wandered into a college competition late. It’s a sport with which I’m unfamiliar. Seriously, there are folks who dress the part and then participate. I’m afraid I’m not sympathetic. Certainly the competitors are serious. I’m struggling to make sense of it myself. Sorry, I suppose there is beauty in training a horse to perform on command. It’s called training and art for the sake of mastery. Oh boy. I’m just poking fun at their expense. Not fair. I was an intruder in a foreign culture. There are purists and elitists out there who will defend the sport. I’m not one. One more pound and you don’t button that last one. Watch out!


Not for the faint hearted – Travel with a pet?

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Imagine (nightmare) turning your pet loose on the tarmac of the Jeddah airport. At the terminal you are taken by bus and walk the tarmac upstairs to board. I can tell you the process. I know the steps. And at the very last, just before the accept your precious pet, there will be one last paper to file or fill or a stamp you failed to attain. Imagine all of that and trying to get you and your tech out of the country? I was warned and luckily did not try it. Thank goodness!

Here’s what I know. US Customs will accept your pet without quarantine if certain steps are followed. There are forms to be obtained. And there are state forms needed. There is a website and for $15 you can get the forms. Or you can get them direct but you might miss a form. You need a health certificate from a Saudi vet. The pet needs a chip. A rabies vaccine must be administered at least 30 days in advance. The airline requires specific travel crates. The Department of Agriculture must examine and approve the export one week before the flight. You must visit airline cargo one day in advance of travel and be approved. You go to the airport early on the day of the flight and check your pet at the check-in counter. Good luck! There are simply too many moving parts. Anyone, anywhere along the line can foul up the whole process. I’m glad I gave up. I just imagined opening the travel crates on the tarmac and that was enough.

Traumatic!? You bet. I released Casi and Lulu on Thursday afternoon. My flight was at 6AM Friday. I was not about to chase two cats at 2AM before I left for the airport. I nudged Casi at the door and off she went. I never saw her again. She seemed a bit surprised but more than willing to brave the heat of Jeddah. Lulu left me shaking. She was not going. She did not understand. And she fought me tooth and claw. It was one of the saddest things I ever did. I caught her up in a big towel and got her out the door. That evening she peered at me from the bushes but would not come near. The hardest thing was not being able to explain that I was leaving. At least she’s safe in the compound. I hope.


Getting Out!

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I recall the famous photo of the last helicopter out of South Vietnam with people hanging from the skid of the Huey. It was not that bad! But it was exciting enough to recall – in only a few words.

I had been living out of suitcases since I arrived in Saudi. But stuff accumulates. Dive gear! In the end there were three suitcases, one carry-on, and a back pack. The third suitcase had to go as extra luggage. A cash payment, no credit card, was required. I had to find the 24 bank at the airport. My one hundred dollar bill was shoved back through the teller’s window. Too old! What! Well, I guess I had hung on to it too long. Still good, just no good in Saudi. The second one was ‘medium’ old. Passed. There are two TSA checkpoints. Yup, two! One is for the Saudis and the other is US style – take out your laptop and belt and shoes and everything etc. First checkpoint, fine, no muss, no fuss. The second only minutes before boarding was – nope! My tech gear – multiple redundant portable hard drives – could not travel in the cabin. The bag had to be checked. I had to go all the way back through to the baggage check-in counter. Trust me, it was hell. You laugh. I worried that the drives would be tossed and turned and toast by the time they arrived in DC. The other drives in my backpack were still good to go. The TSA agents did not seem to think the three in the backpack were over the quota. Fine! I managed to leave my laptop at the second TSA. A guy waving the case passed me and I grabbed it back into my possession. Yeah, I was a bit frazzled. Good news, my baggage was off the plane fast and safe in DC. Customs waved me through even with all my stuff. Home! Yay!