Thursday – warm and sunny.
Up early. Washing done and off by 08:00.
It’s a 433 mile drive down to Chinle the nearest town to Canyon de Chelly. A stunning drive through, mountains, forests and drive through Moab where we stayed in 2011.
After 8 hours finally arrive in Chinle on the Navajo Indian reservation. What can I say. It’s as if Disney have done a theme park celebrating a 3rd World Country. Is this really America? One might wonder why Indian reservations are always the same. It’s in the middle of nowhere; ram shackled housing; dust and litter everywhere; mangy dogs roaming the streets; natives sat around in the shade; dead dogs on the roadsides; unusually for America people actually out walking, but no sidewalks just dirt paths. This is not a place to be wandering around at night. This must be a prime example of poverty in USA. The Indians really did seem to get a rough deal when it came to land allocation.
Try and buy some alcohol. No chance. No alcohol on an Indian reservation. To be fair it’s at the choice of the Navajo peoples who are trying to crack down on alcoholism. Tax rates on income and new business are very low. An incentive I suppose. But tax rates on hotels comes to 13% for Navajo and 7.05% for the state. With those tax rates you would have thought this place would be state of the art, but then again there are only two hotels and not really much to attract visitors.
We stay at the Holiday Inn first time in years and certainly the last.
Lovely hotel, great rooms and good breakfast but there the compliments end of my first stay in years at a Holiday Inn.
Receptionist had obviously studied and come top of his class at the Neanderthal School of Charm and Hospitality. Let’s guess which of these words or phrases never passed his lips during the check in process:
“Hello”, “Welcome”, “Can I help you”, “Please”, “Thank you”, “grunt”.
Well the only one he didn’t use was a grunt. Certainly no please or thank you and to be honest I’m amazed he didn’t grunt. It was the rudest experience we’ve ever experienced. If he’d worked for me he be on a final written warning or instant dismissal – tough choice.
Fortunately after a long drive there are some beers in the boot of our car – smart move.
Countless individuals accused of apostasy and blasphemy face threats, imprisonment, and execution. Blasphemy laws in over 30 countries and apostasy laws in over 20 aim primarily to restrict thought, expression and the rights of Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
On 14 March 2013, we call for an international day of action to defend apostates and blasphemers worldwide.
IT is illegal to have sex on a parked motorcycle in London since a law passed just after the Second World War.
WOMEN are allowed to bite off a man’s nose if he kisses her against her will in a law that dates back to 1837.
MUNCH on a mince pie this Xmas and you are breaking the law. Oliver Cromwell banned them in the 17th Century because he said they were not Puritan enough.
ALL Englishmen over the age of 14 must spend two hours a week practising the LONGBOW, supervised by the local clergy. This law dates from the middle ages when there was no standing army so in times of war noblemen were required to provide knights, archers and infantry.
BREAK your boiled egg at the pointed end and you can be put in the stocks for 24 hours under a law passed in 1561 by King Edward VI.
WEAR a tall hat at the theatre and you could be fined since someone sat in front of Oliver Cromwell and obstructed his view of the stage.Friday – hot and sunny.
Up early for breakfast and exploitation. Breakfast was included. $20 voucher given us. We went for the basic breakfast rather than ala carte. “Would you like some fresh orange juice?”. Sounds nice. But on interrogation it turns out thats extra – good job we checked. They have other juices but no orange – I wonder why? First feeling of being exploited and mistrust is setting in.
Then we get the bill $20.07. 2nd exploitation / mistrust. I’m not to $0.07 but its the principle. “Oh well that’s the tax” they explain. But my breakfast is included in the room rate. Oh yes but you have to pay the tax. No I don’t it’s included. After much discussion they finally relent and drop the $0.07.
So Mr Holiday Inn you’ve spoilt a lovely hotel with appalling reception service – would best be used as a training film – and made me feel exploited and mistrust you. For that reason you get a rating of terrible and a deep reluctance to use your hotel chain ever again.
Load up and take the South Rim drive around the edge of Canyon de Chelly. Impressive and I suppose it was worth the trip – actually it was the most direct route from PC down to Tucson and saved us 36 miles. Alas it was not as good as Mesa Verde. Basically a Rim drive with various stop off points and walks to view points down to the canyon 700+ feet below. Some of the drop offs were of under wear staining quality. Give me standing at the top of a double black diamond ski run any day. Unlike Mesa Verde you were not able to go into and tour the “White House” ruins, which weren’t all that big and certainly not worth a 2 hour hike down to them.
Then we’re off for a 360 mile drive down to Oro Valley, Tucson.
Drive has some stunning and varied scenery. Drive down the Salt River canyon, 2,000 feet deep. Awesome scenery and nearly as impressive as the Grand Canyon. Finally drive through the Sonora desert complete with the majestic Saguaro cacti.
Finally, after a 6 hour drive, we arrive at our home exchange for the next 3 weeks. A lovely bungalow in the Oro valley just on the outskirts of Tucson and at the foot of the Catalina Mountain range – alas no skiing. Within minutes we’re feeling at home and will be very comfortable for the next 3 weeks. Oh and did I happen to mention a 22Mb wifi connection – super.
McDonalds Angus burger for dinner, which has the distinctive taste of fish. We’ll be getting our money back on that. Fortunately a pleasant bottle of Pinot Noire makes up for the that and acts as a great night cap.
Oh dear how sad a book fell on the ground. Sounds familiar:
Palestinians ‘enraged’ by reports that an Israeli policeman had knocked a religious book to the floor battled riot officers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound with stones and petrol bombs on Friday, police and witnesses said.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that about 100 protesters, many of them masked, attacked police, who fired stun grenades in response. He told AFP:
Petrol bombs were thrown at police, Several police officers were injured by stones that were thrown and were evacuated to hospital.
Patching together two sides of the story, it appears that a Koran was knocked to the ground in a scuffle when police stepped in as muslim women were blocking Israelis from entering the compound.
More UK silly laws:
DON’T make fun of a boxer during a bout or you’re breaking the law and can be thrown out on the street. “Insulting or abusive remarks directed at the contestants” are out.
BE careful where you scatter a loved-one’s ashes as you will be breaking the law if you spread them where they could contaminate the water supply.
EVER been lost going round a strange round about for the first time? Well if you circle it more than THREE times, you could be arrested as it is an offence.
NO matter how heated Prime Minister’s Question Time gets, Tony Blair and David Cameron are banned from putting on ARMOUR in Parliament since a law passed in 1313.
LET a desperate stranger into your house to use the loo and – if you live in Scotland – you’re committing an offence according to a law dating from 1791.
STEALING post from the Royal Mail is an offence because it is still classed as an act of treason.
COUPLES in Birmingham can be fined £25 if they have sex “on the steps of any church after the sun goes down”. However, the law says nothing about doing it in broad daylight…
Saturday – hot and sunny.
Up at the crack of dawn. We’ve gone back an hour with the time zone change. Breakfast sat on the patio with the sun coming up over the Catalina Mountains. Clear blue sky. A birders paradise, as we try and complete our breakfast the binoculars are constantly in use on the various birds. 6 different species just over breakfast. This is the life.
Home exchange comes with a comfy car, so we take the Hertz mobile back to the nearest Hertz. Should have gone back to the airport but they had no problem with us dropping it off at the local Hertz – good customer service yet again. For an SUV it was very comfortable and a pleasure to drive.
After lunch Wendy nips to the local super market for a part weekly shop.
Then afternoon tea on the patio; unpack; and we’re all set at our lovely home from home. Home exchange is totally bodacious.
Belgium modernises its laws so as to be suitable for the Dark Ages:
Arne S was sentenced by the criminal court of Bruges, to four months in prison for having torn a copy of the Koran in front of a group of Muslims, in June 2012, in Ostende.
On 8 June last year, in the early evening, the accused participated in a demonstration in Ostende. After the demonstration, he went into a cafe’ where he exchanged words with around a dozen Muslims. In front of their eyes, Arne S. tore a copy of the Koran.
More UK silly laws:
OFFER your local Father Ted a cup of tea and you can be tortured or even hangtured under a laed of dating from Eliza1 beth I’s reign that
DON’T go to a fancy dress party as a Chelsea Pensioner. Because they are entitled to increased state benefits and subsidised housing, it is an offence to pretend you are one.
MEN caught short in the street are legally allowed to urinate in public, but ONLY on the rear wheel of their own car on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
SPRING cleaning? Hang a bed out of your window and you can be jailed for up to five years…
IT is against the law to be drunk in a pub or bar says the Licensing Act passed during the First World War.
Sunday – hot and sunny. Don’t know how hot just dammed hot.
Out early’ish to avoid the heat. Take a gentle 2 hour stroll around Catalina Canyon State park in the foothills of the Catalina mountains. See 3 new birds.
Then pop down to the Mall for a pair of new sandals and a tee shirt (Wendy didn’t bring many for me). Leisurely coffee at Starbucks. Quite interesting the age profile in there. There’s a lot of silver surfers and of course everyone who has a laptop for the free wifi has an Apple Mac – goes without saying, very trendy. Amazing I talk to one old geezer who lives local and has got in his car to pop down to Starbucks to pick up a coffee and tea for him and his wife. Is this the ultimate in take aways. Do they not have a kettle and coffee machine?
Afternoon spent sat outside on the patio doing some work.
What a tough life!
Opposition or Just Opposite to Human Rights…
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood well unimpressed by a UN declaration that condemns violence against women. They have claimed that a UN declaration calling for an end to violence against women will lead to the complete disintegration of society .
Delegates at the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York have spent the last fortnight debating the wording of a declaration that would condemn violence against women. The brotherhood, whose close allies control Egypt’s parliament and presidency, slated the declaration in an online statement calling it a decadent and destructive document that undermined Islamic ethics by calling for women to work, travel and use contraception without their husbands’ permission.
In a 10-point memorandum, the brotherhood also criticised the declaration for granting women sexual freedom, allowing Muslim women to marry non-Muslims, granting equal rights to homosexual people, and allowing wives full legal rights to take their husbands to court for marital rape. The brotherhood’s statement claimed.
This declaration, if ratified, would lead to complete disintegration of society, and would certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies.
Why does it take two weeks of debate? And if it’s that easy to disintegrate their society, bring it on!
More UK silly laws:
IT is illegal to show affection in public in Wales on Sundays.
ALL cyclists must ring their bells non-stop while the bike is moving, says a law passed in 1888.
HUNKS in Birmingham face a fine if they go topless in the city centre.
RIDING a bike or a horse while drunk is illegal.
BOYS under 10 are forbidden to look at naked mannequins. This dates from the reign of George V in the 1900s when mannequins first began to appear in shop windows and young boys’ eyes started popping out.