Well, I have finally gotten around to writing about my travels. In 1989 and 90, I was lucky enough to go traveling for a year on my own. Here are a few images that are important to me.(the links below are of pictures or items that are important to me)
I started off in March of 1989. Spent a bit of time in Brussels, went up to Amsterdam. Then bicycled across the Netherlands and parts of Germany, and met someone in a small town outside between Koln and Duisburg. Stayed there for a bit, and then things didnít work out, so I hopped on a bus down to Greece. Ahhh.. Greece. It sure was/is beautiful. Athens for a few days, then the boat to Crete. Met a Canadian brother and sister there and hung around with them and a few Brits for a week in the south west part of Crete... Spring in Crete...Heaven on earth for sure! The Canadian told me about his amazing adventures in Egypt, so I decided I would go there. I took the boat from Crete to Alexandria, and then took a shared Taxi to Cairo (where my sister and her family now live). What an eye opener. Modern Europe was a little disappointing in the sense that it was not all that different from Canada. But Egypt, that was different. Having decided to go on through the Middle East, I applied for a passport to Jordan with the intention of going on to Syria. I stopped in the Sinai for a few days to hike around and go snorkeling in the wonderful reefs there (It was like one of those National Geographics). Jordan was even more interesting than Egypt. A very rich and friendly culture, it was much less secular than Egypt was. Aman, a relatively modern city was a nice place to hang out for a few days and rest up. My Australian pal, Ray and I rented a car and set off on a week tour of the more remote places. We stumbled across an amazing Wadi where pilgrims had come by the hundreds to drink from a magical spring.... Then, it was onto Syria on my own again. What an incredible place. Isolated and security conscious, I ran into no other tourists, so my Arabic became quite good after a week. By this time, it was the first week of June, and I had to go see my relatives in Budapest... Time to go see my roots so to speak. I took a bus from the north of Syria, up to Bursa (Turkey) and did a rest stop in some fantastic baths. Then, I spent 4 days in Istanbul... Quite a magical experience. Then, the train to Budapest... Too many details to go into, but I spent a month there... Then came the Eurorail pass.. Back to Germany where I met Jean.. She and I traveled down to Portugal to escape the miserable German summer... We met Jay and Rob and Jean took off with Rob for a bit, and then took off on Rob... Then the three of us met three really neat women, one of whom was Bridgett (Hi Bridgett, if you are out there) ...We all went down to Morocco and got high for a few days in the mountains. (much better than Amsterdam). Then, I rushed up to Holland to meet my pal Dave who was traveling (like me) for the first time. Poor Dave, no sleep on the plane, and he lands in Amsterdam! Two days later and no nights, we were in Hamburg. Dave was going up to Helsinki with me, and then I was going to Leningrad to see my friend Kathleen. Wow! We had some amazing times en-route including this amazing hitch-hiking experience from Narvik to Trondhiem in Norway... The midnight sun! Then, Leningrad... It was still Leningrad then... An empire in decay.. And emotion packed 8 days with Kathleen.. (Lots of wonderful memories from then (and from now too! Since 1987 actually)... Back down to Austria to meet Dave, and now his sister... Met a really wonderful person there named Lisa, who dropped into see us in Budapest. Spent a magical week there, and took a quick trip to Italy with Debbie while Dave took off on his own.. Then, over to Corfu, where I said goodbye to Debbie and Dave, and headed over to Israel to find work.

It was September and I had only $150USD left to my name. I bought a boat ticket to Haifa/Yafa, Israel/Palistine, and landed there with $40 in my pocket. Took the bus to Tel Aviv.... Ahhh.. What a city... Cafes, palm lined boulevards... amazing.... Got a job the next morning and I was off to the Moshav Zofar.. If you bought in 1989-90 Israeli tomatoes, peppers, melons, dates, eggplants or squash, hey, I might have planted, and or picked and packed them! Farming was the hardest job I ever had... 6days a week 14-18hrs a day sometimes... There were about 20 Europeans, an American a Columbian and a Peruvian (and me) working there. The rest were from Thailand and Laos along with a Khemer guy and a Burmese women. My main working partners (Sombat, Tweesak, Prassan and Samuria) also lived in the same... errr... dwelling. It was pretty small, but all you did was generally sleep and recover (from hang overs) there... We all worked really hard as did the family we worked for (Ezra and Debbie Robins) who were really nice people! It was one of the most interesting times of my life there. As I said, I have never know work to be so hard, and for the Thais, this was a "good job" even though half of them really missed their families back home, and had a difficult time adapting to the foreign land, culture and food (almost all were sick the first time they got there). If anything, I really learned just how bloody easy we have it here in Canada. I worked the entire month of November without a day off. All for $1.50 US per hr. Actually, we got paid in Shekels, but converting it on the Black market wasnít too hard to do... By the end of my stint there I saved about $600 US (lots of over time!)and I had really changed a lot . I even donned the Col. Kurtz look on a bet! (I lost the bet along with my hair as you can see) Then, I flew for the first time in my journey (apart from landing in Brussels of course) from Jerusalem to Budapest in February to see my relatives one last time... Then, I hitchhiked up to Berlin to see it after the wall came down... What a difference.. I was there only a few months before all the changes... What chaos. I picked up some great art books at the huge Eastern "fire sale".. Books that would normally cost a few hundred for about DM10 a piece! Then, the train to Brussels, and back to Canada... Well, thats it in a nutshell. Why did I put this up? I dont know.. I guess the main reason is that I got a scanner for a few days, and I wanted to scan a few pictures. So, now was a good time to put this little blurb up on the net. Let me know if you find it interesting, and if you have some interesting tales to tell, please send them along. I love to hear of other people's journeys, both physical and mental. I would really like to put more up, but I just dont have the time... My journals are all packed away somewhere, and I probably wont look at them until we move again... You know how it is.. Every time you move, you come across old boxes that you never look in until its time to move them, but you always keep them with you, dont you....
Anyways, send me some comments (mike@sentex.net)