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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post 25 Days in Cuba
Created by John Eipper on 09/21/15 4:52 AM

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25 Days in Cuba (Massoud Malek, USA, 09/21/15 4:52 am)

I just came to Cancún from Cuba. I spent 25 wonderful days in that country. I have never met nicer people than Cubans.

Among the 94 countries that I have visited, Cuba is by far my favorite.

Now I understand why they say that Che Guevara carved the word "altruismo" in the hearts and minds of Cubans.

Although there is Internet in Cuba, I decided not to use it.

Depriving Americans from some of the best music on the planet is shameful.

JE comments: I'll take this post as a teaser for what's to come, Massoud! Please send photos and more text.

With the arrival of normalcy in US-Cuba relations (actually, it's "anormalcy"), we'll be seeing more Cuba travelogues in the coming months.

How many of you, like Massoud, have tallied a total of countries visited?  I have not, but I'm probably somewhere in the 30s.  Ninety-four might be a WAISer record.  What about Tim Brown?  Tim has lived in a dozen or more countries.


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  • Countries I've Lived In (Timothy Brown, USA 09/22/15 5:21 AM)
    To answer JE's challenge of 22 September: I served in no particular order in the following countries:

    Nicaragua, Guatemala, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos (just declassified!), Israel, Vietnam, Paraguay, El Salvador, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, France [FWI] and Honduras, and worked in the State Department desk offices that manage US relations with Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Chile. I also worked on a few IOs--the EU, IAEA, IEA, IMF, NATO, SEATO, the OAS, UN Peace operations, and Cuba. (I'm getting dizzy!)


    As for countries I've visited more than once, in no particular order:


    Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Italy, Germany, Austria, Panama, Belize, The Bahamas, Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Andorra, Switzerland, the Dutch West Indies (do they count?), UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), Monaco, San Marino, The Vatican and SMOM.


    Oh, and I'm the Foreign Minister of the Principality of Paradise.


    Oh, oh, and the USA.


    This has made me tired, so l'll let John count them.


    JE comments: I had guessed a "dozen or more," and I now count fifteen for Tim Brown's countries of residence. Pat on my back! Want to know more?  See Tim's excellent memoirs, Diplomarine. Tim will have copies available for purchase at WAIS '15 (10-11 October, Bechtel International Center, Stanford).  I'm sure if you ask, he'll sign a copy for you or a loved one.

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    • Countries I've Visited (Randy Black, USA 09/23/15 4:26 AM)
      Regarding Tim Brown's amazingly impressive international diplomatic career (22 September), I started recalling my own travels. The following is my list of nations and US territories visited on vacations and or lived in due to work:



      USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico, France, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Japan, Guatemala, Honduras, St. Kitts-Nevis, Venezuela, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Maartin, St. Martin, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Monaco, Austria, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Antigua, Belgium, Liechtenstein, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Amnesia, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Belize, Roatan.



      Most beautiful and romantic (tie): Isle of Capri (Italy) and Austria. Most unique (a relative term): Japan. Most life-changing and most beautiful women: Russia. Most surprisingly great (award for "I wish I'd gone there sooner."): Spain.



      Best barbecue and chili: Republic of Texas.

      When Tim closed his post with, "I'm the Foreign Minister of the Principality of Paradise, I knew that I must share my special title.


      I am the "Minister of Something, I Forget, Probably Rum or Kava" for the Sovereign Republic of Amnesia.


      It's one of those tiny island-nations in the South Pacific way past Hawaii, somewhere near Micronesia and Polynesia. I go there often but forget exactly how often or why or how I even get there.


      JE comments:  Passport stamp is below.  I nearly forgot (!) to append it.  Today I have to proctor an exam, so I might spend the time assembling my own list of countries visited.


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      • Countries I've Visited (John Eipper, USA 09/25/15 6:42 AM)

        As promised a few days back (see Massoud Malek and Randy Black, 21 and 23 September), here is a more or less definitive list of the countries I've visited.  Compared to my predecessor Ronald Hilton, or to Masoud's 94, a tally of three dozen is adequate but not dazzyingly impressive.


        Solution:  More junkets!  I'd like to visit 'em all, but in no particular order, these countries are at the top of my Wish List:  Romania, Portugal, Vietnam, Paraguay, Japan, and South Africa.  Also, I'd like to return to Russia.  It's been thirty years.




































        Canada


        USA


        Mexico


        Dominican Republic


        Cuba


        Puerto Rico


        Guatemala


        Nicaragua


        Costa Rica


        Panama


        Colombia


        Venezuela


        Peru


        Chile


        Argentina


        Brazil




        Iceland


        UK


        Ireland


        Sweden


        Finland


        Denmark


        Russia/USSR


        Poland


        Hungary



        Lithuania


        Czech Republic


        Slovakia


        Germany


        Luxembourg


        Austria


        Switzerland


        Italy


        France


        Spain


        Morocco




        Australia

         

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        • Countries I've Visited; from Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA 09/25/15 6:07 PM)
          Ric Mauricio responds to Randy Black (23 September):

          Randy, a most impressive list, along with the lists of others on WAIS. Currently, my list of countries visited is not so impressive, but I hope to improve on it: Canada, Mexico, the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands so far make up my list.


          Hoping to add Italy, San Marino, and SMOM very soon.


          But wait, the Republic of Texas? Yup, been there too. Somehow I missed the best BBQ and chili, so I need to revisit.


          Randy, have you not been to the California Republic?  (Did you know that the California Republic only lasted a few weeks, but it looks great on our flag with the big bear stalking the lone star?)   Home of the best movie making and plastic surgeons. Hmm. Also, home to the worst movie making and plastic surgeons. And you must visit San Francisco, home of the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars to the stars as well as the best comedic act in the country, City Hall. Of course, we have the great Silicon Valley and Biotech Valley as well, with Stanford University as its centerpoint.


          JE comments:  I believe Randy Black used to live in (Southern) California when he was a golf pro.  Am I remembering correctly, Randy?  In any case, Randy and Ric will be able to compare Texas-California notes in two weeks' time:  WAIS Golden Jubilee 2015, 10-11 October, Bechtel Center, Stanford.  Don't miss it!

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          • California Republic; New Mascot for Coachella Valley High School (Randy Black, USA 09/27/15 7:10 AM)
            I enjoyed Ric Mauricio's comments about his travels (25 September), and John Eipper's correct memory that I lived in the Mojave Desert, aka Palm Desert, California in the late 1960s-early '70s. That region is about 120 miles southeast of Los Angeles and is the golf mecca of the United States.



            I am looking forward to our semi-annual meeting at Stanford, reacquainting with old friends and making new ones.



            The Republic of California? I had not known that California shares such a distinction with the Republic of Texas. Speaking of California, nearby Palm Desert is the City of Indio. And, near Indio is a small area that features a high school named Coachella Valley High School.



            As I may have written in the past, as does every high school in the USA, Coachella Valley High School had and has a mascot for the sports teams.



            For decades, the high school was "Home of the Fighting Arabs." The mascot was an angry-looking Arab in full regalia, silk costume, complete with a beard, an angry scowl, a curve-bladed sword, a harem of dancing girls in the marching band and even a belly dancer at halftime of the various sports events. Did I mention what the student body back in the '70s was more than 90% Mexican-American, a scattering of Japanese, Armenian and Caucasian?



            Over the years, I've followed the school's adventures. I may have mentioned that my first wife taught there for a few years while I was attempting to make a living as a professional golfer. Occasionally, via email, we'd exchange notes about the political correctness issue and so forth.



            Lo and behold, while no one locally complained, about 2010 a Washington, DC "rights" group heard about the Fighting Arabs and made it their goal to change the image of the tiny high school thousands of miles away.



            The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee decided that the Coachella Valley Unified School District in Thermal, CA should change the image of its mascot. They claimed that the grimacing face of that mascot promoted negative stereotypes. Notwithstanding that Arab terrorists are cutting the heads off of their infidel prisoners throughout the Middle East, and that the world is treated to these images via slick, professionally produced videos posted on the Internet from time to time, the ADC made it their tasks to change a team mascot in Southern California. Sidenote: Should not the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee be known as the AAADC?



            Thus, since November 2013, the ADC amped up a campaign of change. They were finally successful this year.



            From the ADC: "'The mascot is basically an angry "Arab" head--hooknose, long beard, headscarf and all,' Abed Ayoub, ADC's legal and policy director, said in November when Al Jazeera broke news of the group's campaign.

            "At the time, Ayoub insisted that the school's representations of Arab culture--including its use of harem girls in marching band parades and a belly dancer halftime show--were classic examples of Orientalism, a term used to describe Western depictions of Middle Eastern, North African and Asian societies as backward and inferior.


            "The school's new mascot--described in a statement issued by ADC as 'a stoic, strong-jawed man with a neatly trimmed beard'--was chosen with input from members of the Arab-American community."


            The new mascot was designed by CVHS alumni and owners of a local printing and embroidery shop in Indio by Jesús Olivares and Sergio Espinoza. Presumably, their store will benefit financially as the locals throw out their old "spirit wear" and replace it with sweat shirts, tee-shirts, blankets and flags featuring the new symbol.


            Finally, the school will spend up to $25,000 to repaint the exteriors of the century-old high school and eliminate murals and other art that formerly portrayed Arabs on flying carpets, riding camels and the like. See the links below for the dancing girls, belly dancers and the new mascot's image.


            Finally, the school district remains 96% Hispanic, less than one-half of one percent black, and about 2% white.


            See also:


            http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/9/12/arab-mascot-coachella.html


            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dboqhnmGco


            http://www.movoto.com/schools/thermal-ca/coachella-valley-high-school-060907000920/


            JE comments:  I am surprised that CVHS didn't jettison the Arab name altogether, and become a harmless animal or color (Crimson, Cardinal, Big Green).  Note that the new Mighty Arab was designed by a guy named Jesus.  Not sure what to make of that.

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            • Coachella Valley Arabs...and Bugs Bunny (Edward Jajko, USA 09/27/15 6:30 PM)
              There is history behind the Fighting Arabs--pronounced Ay-rabs?--in the Coachella Valley. In the early 20th century, the US government, seeking to expand and diversify agricultural production and make use of "waste" lands, imported date palm cuttings from Egypt and Iraq and had them planted on various regions of the country. With a further import of cuttings, the only ares in which they grew successfully was the Coachella Valley/Palm Springs Region. Date-growing towns with names like Mecca and Bagdad sprang up and there was a regional wave of Arabizing.

              Now the tenders of the date palms are called palmeros. All is flux.


              The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee calls itself the ADC rather than the AAADC to make its initials similar to the ADL, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith, in my opinion.


              The Coachella Valley lies some 500 or more miles south of me. I enjoy its products, notably Deglet Noor dates, but I have only been there once or twice. Still, it has a place in my memories. Bugs Bunny would periodically pop up out of the ground and ask if he was in the Coachella Valley. Being told No, he would pull out a map and discover that "I should have made a left toin at Albuquoique!"


              JE comments: Just found this clip. Bugs Bunny was a genius, and very WAISly--cultured (like Ed Jajko, Bugs was an opera fan), and well-traveled.  In the clip below, Bugs' wrong turn seems to have landed him in Spain.  I'm surprised the Forum doesn't cite him more often.


              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOFNTfWsQrQ


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