Baghdad, Iraq | Arrival Resistance

April 1978 My cohort at the American Consulate Karachi, Al, had warned me. Regional Communications Officer Bob Roberson was adept at “expanding” our scheduled trips once we got out in the field. Bob’s well-crafted messages not only exonerated him but put the onus on us techs. Robertson’s message referenced the Office of Communication’s “Request for…

American Embassy Damascus | The Skinny on Elephant Skin

March 1978 Perhaps it was the numbing effect of my in-flight epiphany (see previous message). I have no remembrance of what Damascus International Airport looked like. A cohort had told me that every Middle East city had a character of its own and the chameleon-like American embassy changed the color of its skin to blend…

Middle East Travel | The Road to Damascus Ends at the Emerald City

March 1978 (Aboard a Jet Airliner 33,000 feet above Syria)  In biblical scripture the “Road to Damascus” referred to the sudden turning point in the life of the apostle Paul (when God shined the light on him) while literally on the road to Damascus from Jerusalem. Prior to that moment, he had been called Saul,…

American Consulate General Karachi | The Return of Tony the Tiger

March 1978–Karachi, Pakistan After several days of fighting “Karachi’s revenge” I awoke in a pool of sweat sans a fever. My steadfast servant Basheer smiled. I asked him what day it was. Friday morning hearkened the beginning of the weekend in Karachi. For the first time since before I got sick I felt hungry. Basheer…

Flashback—1959 | The Abalone Cove Field Trip

Portuguese Bend, Abalone Cove, Palos Verdes Peninsula, California As the bus left the Point Vicente Lighthouse I made plans to check out both Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mysterious Island again from the Walteria Library. Also, I wanted to learn how the Fresnel lens was made. Mrs. Shoulder’s brows wrinkled but she said…

Flashback—1959 | The Unforgettable Point Vicente Lighthouse

Portuguese Bend, Palos Verdes Peninsula, California The yellow-orange school bus labored up Hawthorne Boulevard to the top of Palos Verdes. Near the very top the bus driver changed gears and for a brief period the bus remained motionless as the engine struggled to obey the transmission’s command. <feature photo of the Point Vicente Lighthouse The…

Flashback—1959 | The Farmer’s Market Field Trip

Looking back I think the elementary class field trip to the Farmer’s Market was another small but important step of my coming of age in the world outside Torrance, California… 1959—The Farmer’s Market, Los Angeles, California The bus driver let out the Walteria Elementary school fifth grade class in the parking lot on the corner…

Flashback—1959 | The Fifth Grade Class Field Trip

While I was fever ridden in bed at my American Consulate General Karachi apartment oddly enough I dreamt of my childhood, beginning with a field trip our fifth grade class had made to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles… 1959: Walteria Elementary School—Torrance, California Field trips were the neatest things that could happen in…

Flashback | 1959—The Year Began with a One-Eyed Dog

While I was fever ridden in bed at my American Consulate General Karachi apartment oddly enough I dreamt of my childhood. In particular 1959 featured many events, some which could be described as trivial, but nevertheless would affect me for the rest of my life… <feature photo of George Reeves (Superman) and his beloved one-eyed…

American Consulate General | The Karachi Curse

February 1978 After my botched date with CIA Agent Allison I returned to Am Embassy Cairo to fix the radio repeater that had mysteriously ceased to function just hours after I had boarded a plane for Karachi. I had attempted to have the crypto tech Bill H at Am Embassy Cairo look at the problem…