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We often create illusions about others, mentally molding them into the person we wish them to be, rather than letting actual words and actions be the guide. In human relations, this can be a dangerous game. I was quite susceptible to it in youth, but now I simply take people at face value. I still get tricked on occasion, and snakes temporarily slither into my realm, if only for a brief moment in time. Soon these slimy creatures are sent back to the dark hole or forest from which they crawled, because people always reveal their true character in small ways, if you're perceptive enough to notice. Too many people prefer to hold on to the mirage, for it's far more beautiful than reality. This is the reason why we have all echoed the words "love is blind" to ourselves, or others. Right? :)

In travels, this game of illusions can be fun. You meet people, often for a fleeting moment. A short smile, a quick exchange of words, a passing glance...however, you know almost nothing about their lives. Sometimes only their name, or a brief fact about their existence. During all trips, I take the time to sit in a local cafe or market and simply watch people go by, snapping photos in the process. These are the results of the experiment in San Antonio, Texas, where I traveled last week for business.

All the photos were taken at the Mexican market, or a local cafe by the Majestic Theatre, where there was a stage production of Cinderella playing during my visit. This appeared to be the biggest event in the city, with princesses of all ages dressed in sparkly heels and fancy dresses, still clinging to the fairy tale dream of a prince and magic kingdom. There's no text with the photos that follow. I didn't speak to any of these people, except the man pictured here - Gilberto. He runs a small stall with hats and boots at the Mexican market. Charming, dashing and distinguished gentleman. :) Usually I'm the one telling you stories, but let's put your imagination to work. Certainly some of my readers must be creative enough to weave imaginary tales about the humans in these photos? So go on, tell me a story...Read more... )
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What is this man holding? And who knows the significance of the object? The correct answer will receive a prize, and I will disclose the answer next week. The winners of the last contest still have not sent me their contact information - [livejournal.com profile] caramba_hola [livejournal.com profile] ipgiss_07. Please send me your mailing addresses so I can send you the deck of cards and other prize via post. The first person to answer my questions correctly wins this game. The comments are once again seen only be me, so as to not spoil the mystery if someone quickly guesses the name and significance of the object. Good luck!
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I like the tradition of sending postcards to readers during my journeys, but in Montana I was not riding in tourist areas often, and there aren't many shops spread across this big State. In Yellowstone, I picked up this deck of cards which is quite interesting. Each card contains a unique fact about Montana. For instance, this card explains the significance of fly fishing in the region. "Montana is a popular destination for trout fishing since the 1930's and the Federation of Fly Fishers calls Montana home." Endless seeds of knowledge for you to absorb in this deck. :))

Who wants the prize? I have one other souvenir I can pass along to another reader as well. The winners will be the people who leave comment #50 and #85. Comments are all hidden from public view, so only I see them until the contest is over. You can participate from anywhere in the world. The U.S. Postal Service is quite reliable and efficient, so hopefully the cards will arrive, no matter where you live. I will update the post and disclose the winners tomorrow night at 21:00 Moscow time. I reserve the right to change the contest rules if there are not enough comments, and pick the winners at random. I'm a lawyer, remember, so I must express the rules of the contest clearly. :)) Удачи!

UPDATE: The winners are [livejournal.com profile] caramba_hola and [livejournal.com profile] ipgiss_07. Please send me a personal message in LJ with your full name and address, and I will mail the prizes next week. Thanks to all who wrote to say hello and for participating in the contest!

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Who wants a postcard from one of my favorite States? I have four, to send anywhere on the globe. Leave your name and address in the comments, and I'll send the cards to the addresses displayed in comments 25, 50, 75 and 100. All comments are protected so no one will see your address except me. And, here's a few iPhone pics of my relaxing time on the Northern sea coast.Read more... )
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The problem with Russia - fools and roads. I heard this phrase so many times when I first started reading LJ a few years ago, but never understood it until I visited the country. Fools, they're found everywhere on the planet, but the roads in Russia remain a mystery to me after so many visits. The answer to yesterday's game - the Kursk villagers had a huge celebration because the dirt road in their neighborhood was finally paved. According to my reader, the villagers had been waiting for this day for over 85 years, and now live in happiness over something as basic as a proper road. For me, it's almost incomprehensible that such a celebration would ever occur in the U.S., because good roads for us are the norm. Even in small towns, with few rural exceptions. The only time I've seen a lot of dirt roads was in rural parts of Kansas, but such pathways were usually leading to privately owned farmland or very remote areas, not neighborhoods where many homes and people are located. Rural roads in the U.S. look something like this.how roads should look! )
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On a rainy summer day, local villagers gather in Kursk, Russia for a big celebration! Watermelon, peaches, and tasty fruits are sliced to celebrate one of the most exciting events in the history of the village. What are they celebrating? Let's play a game, turn on our creative brains and have fun. :) Readers, please guess the reason for the party and gathering. If someone guesses correctly, I will send them a prize from Maine! This photo was posted last week by one of my readers on Facebook, a lovely lady who told the amazing background story behind this photo. I will announce the answer tomorrow evening. Btw, I don't know anything about Kursk, what is interesting there? Should I visit?

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Thanks to all for participating in the contest! The abandoned, dilapidated home is located in Quincy, Kansas. The answer was disclosed to many of you when my travel companion [livejournal.com profile] macos included a photo of the house in his story today. I spanked him virtually for ruining my contest. :)) The winner is [livejournal.com profile] sov0k, the first person to mention Kansas very early in the comments. Please send me your mailing address, and I'll send you a prize. If you live in Russia, it should arrive in approximately two months based on past experience with Russian Post.

For comparison purposes, the bottom house in this photo is located in a small Russian village I visited during my first journey to the country. I don't notice many differences in the houses, except for snow on the ground and the size. However, readers as usual taught me a lot in the comments about the differences between American and Russian house construction. Such things I never notice, because I'm too busy paying attention to Russian people when I visit, not construction. :)

Tomorrow, I'll tell you a quick story about some American bear hunters I encountered in the Virginia mountains. Stay tuned...

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Где находится этот дом? Если вы угадаете город, я вышлю вам приз! :)

Where is this house? If you guess the city, I'll send you a prize! I'll update the post and announce the answer on Monday at 10 p.m. Washington, DC time.

Is my Russian correct? Happy Sunday! :)

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Over the weekend, I visited a huge market in Washington, DC called "Eastern Market." There you can find the most unusual food items, including the image in this photo. Can you guess what this food is?? It looks almost like delicate flower petals, but trust me, it doesn't smell good and your girlfriend or wife would probably scream if you brought it home. There was a sign on the display window describing the item, and after seeing the name of the food, I couldn't taste it. Same when I attended a Hawaiian luau and saw the dead pig roasting on the fire pit. It triggered something in my mind and made the pig seem human, like a farm pet, such that I couldn't enjoy the feast. Look how cute!Read more... )
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The mind is often engaged in trickery, particularly when it comes to human relations. We create illusions and fantasies about others, mentally molding them into the person we wish them to be rather than letting actual words and actions be the guide. In relationships, this is usually a very dangerous game. Women, as overly emotional creatures, are probably more susceptible to this phenomenon than men. In my younger years, I was a master at twisting the actions and words of others, conforming them to my particular needs at the moment. But with age comes wisdom and I think I'm now a good judge of character, though human and certainly capable of being deceived. Usually I'm only close with a few people at any given moment and these people I know extremely well, so well that I can almost read their minds and anticipate their actions and responses in most situations. People still disappoint and surprise me on occasion, but it's now much easier to weed out toxic people and conserve my time and energy for those worthy of it.

Sometimes this game of illusions can be fun, particularly in travels. In every city, I photograph people from afar and occasionally in close proximity with permission. Certain faces, smiles or behavior attract my attention and then my mind begins to wander. Who is this person? From where do they come? What's their life story? Has it been an easy or hard road for them? During a recent trip to Tennessee we encountered a lot of colorful people. A joy to photograph them and many wanted to take time to chat. Something recently where everyone on the street wants to speak with me. I have no idea why, but it's a good thing for travel stories.

I know most of my readers are intelligent, but how creative are you? Let's play a game and focus on the people in the following portraits and cover photo.Read more... )

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