Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back In The USA

Hey, Everybody -

I have returned from my most fabulous, awesome Mediterranean cruise. I was met by three of the puppies (Lucky, Lani, and Leila), who are BIG now, running up and down the stairs to go outside, running all over the yard, playing, playing, playing. So cute. Hopefully, we'll find homes soon that will work out (a few fell through). In the meantime, romping around and cuddling on them is fine by me!

So, this cruise was amazing - we left from Barcelona, and went to Rome, Athens, Izmir (Ephesus), Alexandria, Cairo, and Malta. Just in case you were wondering, yes, I do have a photo of me on a camel in front of the Pyramids (the wind was blowing like crazy - hence my hair all over my head, as we say down South):

While a cliche, it is absolutely true that this was a trip of a lifetime - the sights we saw, the people we met, the history we learned all combined for an incredible time.

And we did meet some very interesting people on the cruise. I want to tell you about two sets of them, one funny as all get out, and the other definitely more serious. So, the first was a Canadian couple we met while eating in the French restaurant on board ship. They were sitting at a window, and we were at the table next to them. We'd done the nod and smile thing already, when my partner just started cracking up. The man had his dessert plate tilted up with a spoon in his hand, trying to get every last drop of his dessert. He said, "What? Ice cream and booze - what more could you want?" They ended up joining us for our chocolate fondue, and much hilarity ensued.

The second couple was Iranian, living in Canada to escape their current regime. The wife was a lovely, affectionate woman (I thought we Southerners were touchy - not even close - it was so dear the way she would gently grasp my arm while telling me something important). She told us that they had to flee from their homeland after her father-in-law was executed for being a "spy for Israel." She said that was the charge they always used - being a spy for Israel. Her father-in-law had never stepped foot outside of Iran. Ever.

She then brought up the young reporter, Roxana Saberi, the American/Iranian who was sentenced to 8 years in prison for being an American spy, seen here:

Our Iranian friend said that Iranian prisons are absolutely deplorable, disgusting places, ones we could scarcely imagine, and in which life would be very hard on this 34 year old woman. Ahmadinejad has said that she can appeal. Yeah. I'm sure that's going to go in her favor. Ahem.

She is not the only one, though. There has been far less press on this (at least that I have seen), but there is a Californian grad student, Esha Momeni, who is being detained in Iran. She was working on her Master's thesis there and was picked up on a traffic violation (alleged). She also holds both American and Iranian citizenship. And, she, too, is being accused of going against national security. How? She was meeting with women's advocate groups and filming them when her life took this turn. Her communication is being monitored, her video footage and computer confiscated. Wow.

That certainly coincides with what our new friend at dinner volunteered. She said that life for women in general in Iran has gotten much, much worse under the current regime. Before, women were much freer to study, travel, and work, but now, they have gone far, far back. These two recent cases seem to confirm her opinion. The treatment of women combined with what happened to her father-in-law, prompted them to leave the land of their birth. They are waiting, hoping, for a better time so they can return in safety.

That is but a quick glimpse of my adventures abroad. You know I'll be writing more about it as time goes by, but I did want to pop in and say hey, I missed writing, for sure, and your comments. And it's good to be home again.


Mary Ellen said...

Well, it's about time!!!

Glad you made it home safely and thank you for sharing your stories. I'm sure you have a million more to tell.

I missed you and your posts a lot, but I'm so happy you had the opportunity to take this wonderful trip. Not much has changed since you left...Obama is still a lying asshole and our government is corrupt to the core. That about sums it up!

Enjoy those puppies!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, ME!

Thanks so much, I appreciate that! It means a lot to me coming from you, you know.

And it really was an amazing trip, one we had planned for over a year now. Hard to believe it's over, but, oh, what a great time we had!

The puppies are so much fun - I wish you could see how big they've gotten!

Yeah, no kidding abt Obama, and the rest of the gov't. Can you believe Pelosi is now acting like she didn't know nuttin' abd nuttin'?? Typical.

Anyway - thanks for coming by!