Refugio Del Mejor Amigo – Caring for Cuenca’s ‘Homeless’ Dog Population

No place in the world is perfect.  Every place has things that make it unappealing.  While Cuenca is very close to perfect in my estimation, the one big thing that really bothers me is the large population of stray dogs.  Being a dog lover and treating my dogs in the same manner that I treat people, it breaks my heart to see dogs wandering the streets, dirty and unwanted, having to scrounge for food.  If I had the money, I would buy a large farm and welcome all of my…

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Cuenca’s churches: a history of faith

As travelers or dwellers, we have all felt a city’s heart beat in tune with ours. Breathing in a new place is a unique type of falling in love, an inner rapture with its rhythm and beauty. Every city gives off a singular scent, a singular sensation to whom may experience it; to describe such a thing poses a challenge for words, thankfully “wonderful” and “magical” come to our aid. Most central cities of our modern world are made up of globally-cultured people, free-thinkers believing in an array of Gods.…

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A Relentless Pursuit of Excellence

There is an urban myth about an art history student whose assignment was to write a 2,000 word essay on Michelangelo’s statue of David.  As the story goes, he pasted a couple of pictures onto a piece of paper and wrote the following: “It is said a picture is worth a thousand words.  Here are two of my favorite pictures of the Statue of David.”  The myth goes on to suggest that the student received an A for his creativity and outside-the-box approach to the project.  This story has inspired…

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Pixie dust and other thoughts

I have been home from Ecuador almost two months now. I am ashamed to admit that I have managed to gain 25 pounds since I got back. I have eaten at all of my favorite restaurants, indulged in malt and barley beverages and almost got thrown out of di’lishi because I slipped into a sugar-induced craze and went to town at the toppings bar after devouring 20-plus ounces of frozen yogurt. Luckily Marlo had me escorted out instead of calling Asheboro’s finest or I might have found myself incarcerated on…

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12 Hours of Indoctrination

Ed. Note: If you haven’t read my encounter with US Customs when returning to the country, read it here.  It was a very eye opening experience to say the least. I landed at the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport at around 7:30 a.m. a week ago today.  I had a 30-minute delay at customs, but quickly found my way to the rental-car area where I was to pick up a car for the 12-hour drive home – Sherry (my lovely wife) had made the reservations with Alamo.  After my experience with…

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Profiled on Re-Entry

Profiling, racial or otherwise, is something most people have experienced. I don’t know why, but up until re-entering the United States, I had never been profiled, to the best of my knowledge. Unless you have been subjected to profiling it is difficult to be empathetic to those who have. I would even go as far as saying that I found profiling hard to believe. And then on Sunday, while coming back into the country from Ecuador, I was profiled as a potential drug dealer or person of nefarious dealings by…

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First Time Home Buyers

The real estate industry has seen the greatest amount of sales in the past year since the market crash in 2008. This tremendous economic change has Americans believing the “dream” of home ownership is attainable again. In fact, Bankrate.com stated “59 million Americans are looking to buy a house in the year of 2017.”  With the National Association of Realtors reporting that 6 million homes were sold in 2016 nationwide, a similar outlook for 2017 would mean 59 million, or 1 in 4 adults, are competing for a chance to…

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