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The home of the afraid

 

Donald Trump wave

It doesn’t take long, once outside of the United States, to understand the high degree of insulation we both enjoy and suffer from in our Republic.

In the four countries my wife and I have visited since we left on vacation last week, when the locals find we are Americans, a wonderful conversation usually commences,

“Is it as cool as your movies?” I’ve been asked by those who haven’t visited. We are usually asked how large our country is and do we travel around it.

I remark how in five hours I can visit five countries in Europe, but I can actually drive for 10 hours in Texas and never leave the state.

That usually gets their attention.

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Local athlete makes all the right business moves

  • Published in Sports

 

MPI 5450Injuries led one-time defensive lineman Kevin McReynolds to leave football and focus on other projects.  PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

Growing up in Montgomery County, Kevin McReynolds always thought he would play professional football one day.

McReynolds, a four-star recruit coming out of St. John’s College High School in the District, was a can’t miss NFL prospect.

During a stellar high school career competing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, McReynolds was one of the nation’s most sought-after defensive linemen. He turned down numerous Division I college programs in order to sign with UCLA.

McReynolds chose the bright lights and big city life of Los Angeles after spending his entire childhood on the East Coast.

“I really enjoyed myself,” he said about his California experience. “The time I spent in LA I’ll never forget.”

However, after suffering two concussions before his sophomore campaign at UCLA, McReynolds was forced to think about other options. His dream of playing professional football at the highest level was derailed.

“I was able to think of other things and look at the bigger picture,” said McReynolds.

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Smugglers, supermodels, scandals. Oh, my!

  • Published in Local

 

EE1 -- front page coverage of FaviolaSuper-model Faviola Dadis sailed aboard the 246-foot-long “Phocea,” the second-largest private sailboat in the world, and was caught up in the biggest recent scandal in yachting. For the first time in print, she is answering questions in this multi-part series.

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Residents vow to rebuild paradise after Cyclone Pam

  • Published in Travel

5. child surveys remains of her village home after Pam BohaneFriday, March 13, 2015 was the unluckiest day in the history of the 45-year-old South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.  Twice rated as the “happiest country on Earth,” on that unhappy day Vanuatu was struck by the worst Pacific storm in living memory, Cyclone Pam.  This killer Category 5 hurricane packed winds of up to 180 miles per hour, with gusts up to 200 mph. 

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Take the last postcard from Nakhchivan again

  • Published in Travel

C. A cave outside the city of Nakhchivan where ten children nappedThanks for putting down your mesmerizing smart phone and picking up a real live print newspaper.  Today I will continue last month’s story about the little-known exclave of Azerbaijan known as Nakhchivan, which is southwest of Armenia, east of Turkey, and north of Iran. 

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The last postcard from little Nakhchivan

  • Published in Travel

5. Snake Mountain where the Ark groundedToday I’ll tell you a true story about a sort-of country that I bet you never heard of.  What do you want to bet?   

I am talking about Nakhchivan (or Nax?ivan, or about ten other similar names), and it is just east of Turkey, northeast of Iran, and southwest of Armenia.  I’ll bet I won our bet! 

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Tall ship sailing from Malaga to the Canaries

  • Published in Travel

D. Passengers relax in bowsprit nettingLast month we began describing a cruise on the tall ship Star Flyer from Malaga, Spain to Grand Canary island in the Atlantic.  This month we will discuss climbing the mast, the food on board, ship’s tours, and a minor accident that affected the ship’s schedule.

Climbing the mast was popular with many passengers, including some in their 70s and 80s. This involved putting on a harness with a safety line, and climbing up the windward ratlines on the foremast, as high as the foretop, about 38 feet above the deck.  

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Filling the bucket list with a romantic tall ship

  • Published in Travel

5. Horseman at Royal Equestrian SchoolFor years a major item on our “dream trip bucket list” has been a voyage to the romantic island groups scattered across the eastern North Atlantic.  A cruise from Malaga in Spain in October 2014 aboard the tall sailing cruise ship Star Flyer filled part of the bill.  Scheduled ports were Malaga, Tangier, Cadiz, Funchal (Madiera), and Las Palmas (Grand Canary).   

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Obama, Lew and the coming end of the world

  • Published in Travel

E. Typical John Brum houseLast month we met Chief Isaac Las Won in his village of Lamakara in southeast Tanna, an island in southern Vanuatu.  The Chief is the leader of the famous John Brum (or Prum or Frum) tribe, which believes that American aid and their prophet Brum will someday end the world.  

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The end of the world is upon us thanks to Lew!

  • Published in Travel

1. LT and Chief at muralMany travelers have heard about the so-called John Frum cargo cult tribe in Vanuatu, which supposedly believes that a huge American soldier named John Frum is coming soon to save them.  Wrong, wrong and kinda wrong.

As usual, you have to come to “Travel Tales” to get the real truth.  Unfortunately, the bad news is that these may be the last words you ever read.

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