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Costa Rica & Guatemala

beach0 (10K)

July 3 - 27, 2009

The Reluctant Traveler embarked on a trip to Central America in July 2009 as the trusty side kick and porter to Lady J.

The trip lasted 3 weeks and we visited the countries of Guatemala and Costa Rica. Although the two countries are less than 900 km apart, they are separated by 3 other countries - Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Central America is a poor cousin to it's northern neighbours and european cousins, but the difference between Costa Rica and Guatemala is stark.

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Much More Music in The Hague

ChrissieHines2a (38K)

June was the month of Den Haag Festivals 2009. There were stages and events all over the city including one in Grote Markt, a square surrounded by pubs and with enough room to set up a stage (OK - right over the stairs to the tram station but no one seemed to mind). And it was free!.

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Is Canada a Racist Nation?

lawrenceCannon (5K)

Please note I'm not asking the question "Is Canada a nation of racists?". If I thought the majority of Canadians had some harsh, prejudicial and ignorant view on a particular race, religion or culture, that might be a fair question. But that isn't the case at all. Canadians are pretty decent, considerate people. They have earned a good reputation in most of the world and it serves them well.

But the politics of a nation, the relationships it fosters with the global community, and the reputation it has earned are more fluid and subject to winds of change. So in asking the question "Is Canada a Racist Nation", it is within a context of of current political events.

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Abou Is Coming Home!

robNicholson (2K) Abdelrazik2 (3K)

This week Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced that the government will comply with a Federal Court order and issue Abousfian Abdelrazik an emergency passport home.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of this ordeal and the despicable behavior of this government will be remembered the next time there is an election. But who to vote for? There are few politicians now that inspire confidence and trust.

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Dear Abou: we changed our minds

robNicholson

Last Thursday Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced in the House of Commons that …the government will comply with the court order with respect to issuing an emergency passport to Abousfian Abdelrazik. The court order he refers to was a June 4 ruling by Federal Court of Canada Justice Zinn.

A website called PeoplesCommission.org provides a wealth of information on the Abdelrazik case, including Justice Zinn's decision. I discovered this site on the Rabble.ca website, which has become a favorite of mine for news that doesn't make the news.

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I am not making this up!

Harper

Both MLW and some good friends thought this picture was the result of some clever Photoshop editing.

In truth, I'm not that skilled; this picture is quite real. It appears on a CTV website story from March 26, 2009.

This date also coincides with our government banning British MP George Galloway from entering Canada to speak to several anti-war groups in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

The date also marks when Canada was the only member of the United Nation Human Rights Council to support Israel's illegal expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

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Roland Garros-The French Open

delPotroServes (35K) eiffielTower (36K)

So the reluctant traveller set off to Paris to take in a bit of Roland Garros, a.k.a. The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments of the year.

My friend Ken had scored a pair of tickets to the quarter and semi finals on the internet. The available tickets sold out instantly but if you were on the internet at 4:00am Calgary time (the moment tickets went on sale) there was a possibility of a score.

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Holiday in Holland

dutchCouple (9K)

Today we begin with a new look that is a little easier on the eyes and probably much easier on the stomach. We still have a hint of orange because these pages are crafted in Holland, so expect some things to be viewed through orange tinted glasses.

The Dutch are have found other uses for sand besides growing tulips. Like the former financial masters of the universe, they are masters at building sandcastles.

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Windmills

windmill1 (77K)

It's time for a windmill page. Holland and windmills simply go together. There are about 600 windmills remaining in Holland, many of them in good working condition. The tops rotate on some, and with others the whole structure can rotate to face the wind.

The lattice blades have sails than can be trimmed. Some have elaborate air foils on the blade edges for finer control.

The windmills were used for pumping water out of the polders and into the canals, or for milling grains. There is one in a museum Arnhem, still working, that washes clothes! It's a very big wash tub!

The inner workings of windmills, the gears and mechanical works, are mainly constructed from wood, which is really marvellous craftsmanship. If you have a chance to visit the inside of of working windmill, do take a look. Wonderful technology from the pre-industrial era.

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Sandcastles

sandCastle2 (94K)

The Dutch are have found other uses for sand besides growing tulips. They are also grand masters at building sandcastles.

The sand for this kind of sculpture is computer selected for size and composition. A special glue is sprayed on after sculpting to help the work survive the wind and rain. Believe it or not, a sculpture like this can last for 2 months outdoors, providing no one kicks it down.

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