Rattlesnake – Sugarloaf Mountain

I do a quite of walking around DC metro area and in the mountains around the area.  I recently went hiking on Sugarloaf Mountain with some friends.  We found some hikers resting and eating at the overlook where we were going to have lunch.  They warned us that there was a rattlesnake under the rocks we were headed to.  We were freaked out, of course, but still curious to see rattlesnake up close and personal.

One of my friends took several photos of the snake – I just peeped at it and fortunately saw the ‘infamous’ rattle.

We sat at a safe distance and left a written warning for hikers coming after us.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Miami Beach/Everglades Trip

I was not sure what to do with myself over Memorial weekend and decided at the last minute to visit Miami Beach since I had heard that it was beautiful and I was not disappointed.  When we were about to board our plane in DC, we were told that the crew had gone on an earlier flight so another crew that was off duty was being mobilized.  The crew members arrived one by one and passengers applauded each.  We finally got on the plane only to be told that the plane had no fuel and we had to wait for refueling.  I wondered whether my trip was doomed from the beginning, but thankfully it was not.

The streets were packed in Miami Beach and the interesting part for me were the scantily clad women of all shapes and sizes.  I was not brave enough to walk around like that.  I went on a tour of Miami, Miami Beach and Everglades.   I got a few photos.

  1. The beach where I went only once, all because my friend in Zambia told me off for not visit the one place Miami “Beach” is fame for.  I can live without a body of water or beach, so it never occurred to go to the beach until I was tongue lashed 🙂

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2. A chicken and its chicks I saw on the tour.  Apparently, this Mama Chicken is a resident near Bayside, Miami Beach.

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3. A sculpture at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Miami.  I did not visit – I recently lost a loved one and am not ready to hear about suffering.

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4. Miami Beach skyline – on the way to Miami.

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5. Our tour took us to Over Town, Miami, where there are some colorful houses constructed by Habitat Humanity.

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6. American Airlines Arena in Miami for the Miami Heat and visiting singers.

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7.  There are a lot of scooters in Miami Beach and the interesting thing is that people rarely wear helmets.

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8. Jet skis at Miami Beach marina.  I wanted to rent one but decided to do so when a young relative visits later.

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9.  Everglades.  It’s a really beautiful place, a half hour away from Miami Beach.

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10.  Alligator near the reception at the Everglades

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11.  The tour guide.  The airboat is very noisy and we had to wear ear blockers (not sure of correct name).

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12.  A fishing hole made by gators.  Apparently, when was the Everglades run dry, these holes remain with water and trap fish thus providing gators with food.

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13. Some birds at the Everglades – not sure what they are called, but I did not like them as remind me of vultures.

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14.  There has to be food somewhere, no?  This was my first lunch in Miami Beach and it was delicious.  I enjoyed the potatoes more, though.

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15.  Refreshing pina colada. I am a teetotaler, so it was virgin.  It tasted  just OK, I have had better.

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I really had a great time and next time I will stay in Miami Beach for at least one week as there was a lot to do and see.

 

 

 

 

Homeless men and Compliments

I love wearing my traditional/African clothes during summer, though I also wear them during mild winters.  I was wearing one such attire one day while still based in DC and decided to go for a walk around my office neighborhood.  It just happened that I was the only pedestrian around and I passed by some homeless men who were sitting in the park.  One of them called out “Excuse me, miss.”  I knew I was the only person around, so I hurried up to put as much distance as possible between them and me.  I was afraid of them because they looked rough.

I had a lovely walk and I had to pass by the homeless men on my way back to the office.  I had forgotten all about them and was minding my own business when one of them ran straight to me and called out again “Excuse me, miss”.  There were other people around but I suspected that he was talking to me, so I picked up my pace again.  The guy panted after me and said “We just wanted to tell you that you are looking pretty in your traditional dress.  We do not want anything else”.  I was embarrassed at having thought the worst about them so I stopped and thanked the man for the compliment.

It is so easy to judge a book by its cover sometimes, isn’t it?  I had thought that the men would attack me all because they are homeless.  This reminded me once again that I can we wrong in my impressions of people and that I sometimes have to let people say what they have to say.

 

Heart Attack!

It was about 4.00 pm and I was busy at the office when I felt a shooting pain in my chest and one of my arms.  It so bad that I had to go to the medical center.  Normally the receptionist would ask for your name, what your problem was, enter your name in the computer and ask you to wait for a nurse/doctor to call you.  Well, that didn’t happen to me as the receptionist panicked at the self diagnosis I gave.  “Ongoing heart attack”  I told her knowledgeably and confidently.  She panicked, went to get a nurse who rushed to get me.

The nurse had a quick consultation with me, did an ECG and then had a more detailed chat with me.

Nurse:  Can you tell me again what your problem is?

Me:  At about 7.00 am this morning …..

Nurse, interrupting me:  I thought the pain just started a few minutes ago.

Me:  Well, I first had it at about 7.00 am and it stopped.  I came to work and was fine until 4.00 pm when it started again.

Nurse, chuckling:  So, your ‘heart attack’ started earlier, stopped and started again?

Me: Yes, that is what happened.

Nurse:  Who told you that you were having a heart attack?

Me:  No one.  I have heard and read about heart attacks a lot and so I know the signs of one.

Nurse:  Your ECG is fine, so you do not have a heart attack.  Heart attacks do not start, take a break and start again.  The pain is just random but come back if it starts again.

To say that I was relieved is an understatement because I had been afraid.  I was slightly embarrassed, though, because it looked like I had exaggerated the pain.  Needless to say, I thankfully never had the pains again (knock on wood).  I had self-diagnosed because I had heard a lot about heart attacks and I was not ready to die yet! 🙂

My body, my choice

I was minding my own business on one Washington, DC street when one woman rushed to me from my right side and another from my left.  I was puzzled and slightly alarmed as I could see that they were on serious missions.  “Right Lady” told me that not all hope was lost and that she could help me if I just went with her.  “Left Lady” said it was my body so it was my choice to do whatever I wanted and she could help me if only I went with her.  I was not going to go off with either stranger and be a willing participant in my own kidnapping!  I promptly ignored them.

I did not understand what was going as they were talking at the same time. The next time I ignored them again but turned left to see what choice was mine according to Left Lady.  You guessed it – an organization that helped people with pregnancy related issues.  In this case, it was Planned Parenthood.  I was surprised that Planned Parenthood encouraged abortion.  It was not because abortion is wrong, good, illegal or legal but because when I first heard about it several years ago in Zambia, it was sold to me as an organization that promoted family planning and responsible actions in youths.  Abortion was not mentioned (maybe because it is illegal in Zambia except in some instances).

The two women pressured me to make a choice even though I was not in the family way.  One time I saw a woman who was about seven months pregnant being accosted and she looked very scared and extremely confused.  She stood frozen in one spot for a couple of minutes before going with Left Lady to Planned Parenthood.  I felt bad that she had to make a very serious decision when she was in an apparently vulnerable position.

My body, my choice.  If I was expecting and needed to make a decision on whether I want to keep or terminate the pregnancy, I would certainly would not want to be almost ambushed on a city street.  It is my body and therefore, my choice, so please do not harass me in the street.  Maybe those two opposing organizations should be banned from accosting people in the street and only wait for clients in their own offices.  My experience was quite unpleasant to say the least.

My body, my choice, so leave me alone!  Don’t force me to go with you anywhere. I will come to you if I need you (which I will not be doing).

African Americans not hired?

I worked for an international organization in Washington, DC and a friend, Veronica, from back home joined a couple of years after me.  One day we ha the following conversation:

Veronica:  Aren’t African Americans the main ethnic group that lives in DC?

Me:  Yes, they are.

Veronica:  Then how come African Americans are not hired by our employer?  The only blacks I see are from Africa and other places.

Me:  There are several African Americans who work here.

Veronica:  How come I have never seen even one?  I have looked around and have not seen anyone with tattoos, dreadlocks, sagging pants or one whose every other word is swearing.

Me:  Do you know Hector from IT?

Veronica:   I know him.  Actually he is the one who helped set up my computer and he is very good.  What about him?

Me:  He is African American.  [I did not see the need to mention that Hector had recently cut off his dreadlocks :)]

Veronica:  What?  Hector is African American?  I don’t believe it.  He is a real professional, wears his clothes right and is courteous.  Are you sure, Zambian Lady?

Me:  Not only am I sure, but he told me so himself.

Veronica:  I would never have guessed!  The only African Americans I have seen are thugs and good-for-nothings on TV.

It was interesting to see that once again, someone had believed stereotypes she had seen on TV.  I was however, glad that Veronica now knew that there are plenty of educated and well behaved African Americans.  Like in every other race/ethnic group, there are both the good, the bad and the ugly among African Americans.

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