America: Society Iraq War Journal Musings

Why Non-Americans Often Hate America

I am so angry I can barely find words to express what I want to say here.

Tomorrow my Brazilian wife has to go to the American Embassy in Tokyo to be subjected to an “interview” (substitute that with “interrogation”) to determine whether or not she will be eligible to transit in Houston, on her way to her home country of Brazil. She has to get a visa for transit! Not to stop and spend any time in the States, just to transit! And get this, she has to pay a non-returnable “fee” (read “extortion”) of Â¥18,000 (about $180.00) for the privilege. On top of that, she has to be fingerprinted while in transit. And furthermore, she has to do the interview in English, even though she doesn’t speak English very well.

There is no other country which does this. Transit for God’s sake! I wish the world would hit back and force only Americans to be subjected to such “interviews” every single time they cross a border, to be fingerprinted with indelible ink on every finger at every port of call, to be forced to undergo the “interview” in every language but English, and to pay $200.00 every time they even fly over another country not their own.

What makes me hopping mad is that this is being done to my wife, one of the gentlest, kindest, most unassuming people I’ve ever met. The whole New York tragedy and Iraq war insanity was something that made so little sense to her that just watching it on TV was like watching a conversation between lunatics. She’s so scared tonight that she can’t sleep. And since she’s alone in Tokyo, I can’t even comfort her. I cannot forgive people who scare those whom I care about. There is no reason whatsoever that my wife should have to feel any kind of fear about going home. And since several of her Brazilian friends have been plucked out of lines in the American airports and strip searched, she’s worried about being subjected to indignities.

God damn it! How I wish that Americans would get their come-uppance for how they’ve treated the rest of the world for the past five years!

Europe: Travel Hiking Journal Mont Blanc: Travel Travel Ultralight Backpacking Walking

Summer Peaks

It’s that season again when I can start up into the heights and go for long walks. This summer I’m planning to go to the Alps to walk the Walker’s Haute Route (these pcitures must have been from an earlier part of the season) from Chamonix and Mont Blanc to Zermatt and the Matterhorn. It’s not a technical route, so I don’t have to worry about glacier crossings and unpredictable terrain, but since I’ve been having excrutiating cramps in my legs due to diabetic problems, I’m really wondering if I’ll be able to be in shape in time for the walk. I’ve been running and walking ten kilometers every day to and from work and doing calisthenics at home (including following the Billy’s Boot Camp DVD) and in earlier years this would have gotten me in great shape by now, but the cramps are pretty debilitating. Very, very frustrating. I will be going to see a new doctor on Thursday. Hopefully she will be able to help me with the preparation instead of telling me that the trip is not possible. Right now this trip means a lot to me in terms of finding some confidence in myself. And besides I just need to get out of Japan!!

I will start in Zürich, Switzerland, where I will stay for one night before heading west toward Chamonix in France. Along the way I will stop in a town or two to see a little bit of Switzerland’s lowlands, before heading up into the hills. In Chamonix I will take a day or two to acclimatize and make sure my condition is all right. If it is I will start off on the two week walk, carrying minimal weight, with an ultralight backpack and gear (shouldn’t be more than 5 kilos at most). I want to walk the trail slowly, with stops along the way to savor what I came so far to see and to write and take photos. I may even go on side trips to neighboring villages and towns in Switzerland and Italy. After the walk I will head into Italy and spend a few days there, hopefully visiting some architectural sites. If my legs are having trouble I will walk along an easier trail and take my time with writing and drawing. Either way I think I will have a memorable trip.

I’m sorry about the state of my blog lately. For some reason I can longer access it from home and can only do it from work, where I don’t have much time to write. Have to work out the kinks.

I’ll post more about the summer travels and will try to get some photos of the seashore near my house that I recently discovered.