Urban hike in Queens, New York

I have been to NYC several times before, but it has always been to Manhattan.  I decided to join some friends for a hike to Queens, NYC just to have another perspective of NY and not just NYC.  We left DC by bus at about 2.00 am and arrived four hours later in time for breakfast.

  1.  Guy being loving to his girl – mural on passage to Queens subway.  There are many more interesting murals on in the passage.

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2.  Our first stop after getting off the metro, was Maple Grove Cemetery where we looked at various interesting tombstones.

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3.  There it is – Queens Museum

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4. A sailing club somewhere in the park that we walked through.

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We walked on to Flushing in Queens after the park.  At one point I had to pinch myself and ask the hike leader if we were still in NY or we had walked to Asia.  There were a lot of Asians!  To honor the area, we had lunch in a Korean restaurant, which everybody enjoyed, except me.  I wanted something more filling as the Korean dishes were most broths with your choice of veggies and meat.

5. We walked and rested a bit in Central Park.

 

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6.  I had told Trump that I would be in his neighborhood, but he was not home!

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7.  Titan Prometheus at Rockefeller Centre

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8.  Van Gogh’s Ear at Rockefeller Centre

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9.  Time Square

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10. The Garment Worker in the Garment District

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It was nice to see another part of New York and not the same old places I have seen before.

 

 

 

 

 

Homosexuality

Please pardon me if I use wrong words.  Know that there is no offence intended as I am still learning.

Isn’t it interesting how our attitudes change towards something/someone we knew of but had never met, seen or experienced?  One of the things I hated, was confused about, did not accept was homosexuality because not only does the Bible say it is a sin, but this never happened (at least overtly ) in the society I grew up in.  What I knew in my heart of hearts was that:

  • Gay people will go straight to hell, no two ways about it
  • I will and can never interact with a gay person
  • I will never have anything in common with a gay person

Homosexuality was something that I never knew about until I was in my early twenties, at least.  Zambia was very conservative and closed when I was growing up in the seventies and eighties and so I was not exposed to other lifestyles.  The first gay man I met was a German man who was my boss at one company.  At first I did not know what was ‘wrong with him’ but I used to laugh at his mannerisms because they were so feminine and looked weird to me.  Zambian society likes a macho man.  This German man very funny naturally and I just took it that being effeminate was part of him just being funny and silly.  It was not until someone mentioned that he was gay that I understood what was going on.  He actually married a man in South Africa.  I was in my early thirties at this time.  He moved away and for me that was that interacting with a gay person, or so I thought.

Well, being in the west, I now interact with a lot of homosexuals and I will tell you that I was actually shocked, but pleasantly surprised as well, that they are not weird human beings as I expected them to be previously.  They are just like me [said as if I am the best human specimen :)].  I came to realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.  Yes, I have different beliefs but those are my beliefs and I don’t have to impose them on anyone else or expect them to agree with me.  I realize too that my beliefs (Christian, cultural, social, etc.) may be strange to someone else and I am fine as long as they also don’t try and impose them on me or expect me to agree with them.  Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia, but we are seeing or hearing of people who are gay/bisexual/bi-curious.

However, in spite of the positive things I have written above, I will help a girl friend of mine hold a grudge against one late famous gay male singer.  She had had a crush on from a young age until he passed on about 20 years later.  All she knew about his private life was that he was single, period.  It was only made public after his passing that he was gay and had kept his relationships private so that his career would not be jeopardized.  She was heartbroken when she heard this and vowed not to forgive him because he had wasted her time ‘letting’ her fantasize about him for all those years.  We laughed a lot about her broken heart and still laugh after ten years since his passing and yes, she claims that she is still mad.  Being a loyal friend, I am mad at him, too!🙂

It has been liberating to know gay people as I have learnt so much from knowing that we can have different beliefs, dispositions and preferences but still get along because there are many more points that we are similar in except this ‘small’ one.  I think it’s just like someone who I wonder what my 25 year old self would have thought to see me having this attitude towards gay people.  Isn’t gaining a little knowledge enlightening and liberating?

Pumpkins in my parents’ field

Growing pumpkins is a big part of Zambian farmers in Zambia, not just for the pumpkins themselves but for the delicious leaves.  My parents mix the pumpkin and maize seeds when planting.  I really enjoyed the tender leaves when I visited home.  (By the way, my mother has to collect the leaves for me as  I tell that that I am allergic to entering the field.  I am glad that she humors me and does the collecting for me🙂

  1. Pumpkin type 1

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2. Pumpkin type 2

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3. Pumpkin type 3

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My parents usually have a bumper harvest of pumpkins and they give various relatives.  Personally, I don’t bother about the pumpkins but just eat the leaves whether fresh or dry. Pumpkin leaves are definitely my favorite rain season produce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I don’t give charity online

I used to be very involved in giving to charity, be it through the church or otherwise.  I believe in giving to people I do not know because people that are near and dear to me continue being helped by others/strangers as I live far from them.

However, a few annoying experiences have made me from stop giving online or by swiping my card  with volunteers I find on the street.  Why?  I made a contribution to a humanitarian organization by card several years ago and of course, I had to enter my address which I innocently did.  Well, these guys ‘harassed’ me for several years by sending endless requests through letters and even sent me a penny so that I could send them another contribution.  In order to have them stop, I ignored them, “Returned to Sender” to no avail.  Fortunately, they stopped on their own accord after some years.

I had made an earlier contribution about eleven years ago to a Christian organization because I believed in a project they were doing, and guess what?  They too have harassed me with request upon request and when I moved back to DC after more than five years away, I found a letter that had just been delivered to my office with a prayer cloth.  What?!!  They still have my data in their system.  My life was and continues being fine without their prayer cloths.

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“My” prayer cloth?  Who said I accepted it for it to become mine?

I find it a shame that organizations, especially Christian ones, cannot get enough money but want to fleece you out of the little you have – at least that is how it feels when their CEOs get USD hundreds of thousands in salaries annually.  If those people reduced their salaries to a ‘mere’ USD70,000 per year and gave the balance to charity, they organizations would go a long way.  It’s unfortunate that the greed of organizations may make other people stop making donations because they do not want to be harassed, like me.

You just wonder about the Christian organization – why doesn’t it use the prayer cloths to boost its own finances.  They seem to believe that the cloths can correct any problem, so why don’t use them?

Missing my parents’ doggies

I can’t believe it, but I miss my parents’ dogs!  I, who never thought I would ever care for a pet, actually misses them!  Well, I guess people change with time and I am blaming it on my ‘old age’.

  1. I love, love and miss this young dog, Dublin.  She is very playful and full of energy.

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2. Spike is very mature and is the homestead’s main protector.  I hope my parents find another dog as ‘security conscious’ as Spike.

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3.  Brown, the quiet dog who, unfortunately is usually bullied by the other dogs.  This is the same dog that my father threatens to give away for free because he apparently does not work for his upkeep.  Since he is nameless, I asked my family to give him a proper name but none of them was willing to do so and just said his name is “Brown” because his color is brown.  I couldn’t argue with them.

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4.  Dublin again.  She is not a lady – just look at how she carelessly lies around in the heat!  I have tried telling her that she has to behave like a lady, to no avail.

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Too ridiculous to be angered by

Some things are too ridiculous and absurd to be angered by.   A Scottish actress, Louise Linton, has caused a storm in Zambia and on social after publishing a book about her ‘experiences’ during her gap year in Zambia.  I don’t mind when someone gives an objective story of their experiences in my homeland, be they good or bad, but nobody wants lies, especially outright ones, to be written about their country.   One of the things Louise said was that she was in Zambia during the monsoon season.  Monsoon?  Zambia is landlocked and so there are no monsoons.  She also said that there was war between the Hutu and Tutsi – well, that happened in Rwanda and Zambians only heard about this on the news or from refugees who fled to Zambia because of the peace and tranquility there. Did she seriously think that her story would be accepted without people fact-checking?  Well, she got the publicity that she may have been seeking.

Anyway, there was a worldwide uproar and Louise has issued a public apology to me Zambians.

Why have I written about the ridiculousness?  Because it is too fantastic to be believed and angered by and funny, very funny (though also very offensive).

Have a nice evening/day, all.

 

 


 

Arlington Cemetery – Civil War Tour

I never visited Arlington Cemetery when I lived here previously, so I decided to go on a tour this time around.  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to.

  1. The obligatory shot showing where parking is, even though I went by Metro.

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2. Mclellan Gate.

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3.  Rows and rows as I know them from TV

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4.  Challenger Space Shuttle crew tribute.  It is such a shame that progressive people had to die such an awful and early death.

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5. Grave of armed forces personnel who died during the Iran hostage rescue attempt.  I don’t know if I could do a job that put me in the line of fire – maybe I am just a coward.

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6.  Columbia Space Shuttle memorial.

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7. Confederate soldier sculpture. There are a few blacks on the statue apparently to show that they were accepted as equals.  The Confederate tombstones sharp while other tombstones are round.

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8. James Parks was a freedman who worked at the Cemetery from its first day.  He was a valuable resource of information when history of the Cemetery was being done and was buried there in appreciation of his work.

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9.  A black surgeon who attended to the black soldiers.

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10.  A nice view of some of DC’s famous monuments.

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I learnt a lot during the tour and was reminded yet again, how differently the West and Zambians view graveyards.  Generally, we (ie. Zambians) only go to the graveyard to bury our loved one and never visit them, certainly not to just walk about for history or anything else.  You would be labeled as a witch/wizard if you go there for an aimless walk.

 

 

 

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