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Maria Ruiz

New Shoes

IN THE March 25 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz




Ted was never one to spend a lot of money on his clothes. He had a pair of sandals that he had purchased from a bin at Safeway before we left on our worldwide trip. The soles had once had ridges which had worn off years before. They now were flat and slick.

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Strange Things We Saw While Traveling

IN THE March 4 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



We entered Turkey at the end of January and began our tour of the country. The first thing we needed to do was buy some groceries. Ahead was a mall that looked like any mall in the world. We found a place to park and entered to find the grocery store. The first thing I noticed was the store windows covered in red Valentine hearts. Another window had men’s jockey shorts covered in red hearts and red Xs, and risqué red panties with black ribbons and little gold hearts hanging from a bow.

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Snow in Greece

IN THE January 21 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



“Where are we?” Ted asked.
“I don’t know.” I answered. We were driving through the large Greek city of Petras, and the road signs were big and legible. However, they were written using Greek letters mixed with English letters. I was completely lost. Finally, he spotted a sign pointing our way out of the city.

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The Night in the Airport

IN THE December 31 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz




We visited Peru, walked Macho Pichu and the streets of Cusco and Lima, and fought dysentery. We had been traveling for ten years, some time in motorhomes, some time in trains, cars, and planes. Now we were tired and depleted. We flew from Lima to Bogota, on our way to Mexico, where we were to live for the next six years.

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Camping

IN THE November 5 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



“Let’s go camping.” my husband, Bob, said.
Visions of families around campfires flashed through my mind. Stories of camping families were everywhere. Why should we be different? It is almost un-American to deprive ourselves of the fun of camping. “Sure, I’d love to,” I replied. I would learn to regret those words.

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Bolivian Salt Flats

IN THE September 3 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



We researched the best way to visit the famous Bolivian Salt Flats. They start from a little town in Chile, San Pedro de Atacama.
We took a bus to San Pedro and found a small hotel, which made the arrangements. “Just stand by the adobe wall at 6:30 tomorrow morning and they will pick you up for the trip,” the manager at the hotel said.

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Catnip Catastrophe

IN THE June 11 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz




Standing in the backyard, holding the hose at 3 a.m., aiming for the targets, I thought back to how it had happened.
I had a lovely vegetable garden in San Diego. I hauled out rocks, built raised beds, applied lots of manure and compost, love, and time. Finally I had a fertile garden. My family ate the freshest, and pesticide-free tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, chard, and asparagus.

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A Zanzibar Travel Adventure

IN THE May 28 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



The train from Zambia back to Dar es Salaam passed through another animal reserve. We watched giraffes race along on one side of the car, and on the other, a herd of antelope. The car we were in was filled with tourists, and all of us were crowded at the windows, trying to film the galloping animals. The work strike between the train and the dining room personnel had not yet been settled, but this time we brought enough food to see us through.

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The Top of the World Travel Adventure

IN THE April 9 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



We were in Darjeeling, India for the week between Christmas and New Years day. High up in the mountains where the British used to go to escape the heat in the summer, it was now freezing. The fog was thick and the sun hadn’t peeked through the clouds for a whole week.

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Tazara Express

IN THE March 5 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



“What do you mean? We have to go home.” I thought I had misunderstood the man behind the desk and the custom office.
We had popped over to Tanzania for the weekend, expecting to return to our apartment in Nairobi on Monday. Now the officials at the border were telling us that we would either have to return home, go to Somalia, or to Zambia before we could return for another six months. The first two choices were out, so we thought, ‘Why not?’ Zambia and the Victoria Falls it is.

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I Broke my Leg in the Jungle

IN THE February 20 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



“I broke my leg,” my husband, Ted said as he crawled up the step in the motor home.
“Oh no! How do you know?” I said.
“I heard it snap as I landed on it. I had just stepped into the jungle when my foot slipped out,” he replied.

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Africa and the ATM

IN THE January 9 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



“Your transaction cannot be completed.” The ATM machine refused to spit out any money. “Why?” I whined to the clerk at the store.
“You need a local account,” she responded.

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New Years 2002 Sicily

IN THE December 26 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



Another holiday season, and the shops were full of gifts and magnificent candies or cookies. We were driving in southern Italy and crossed to Sicily on a ferry, two days before Christmas.

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Season Memories

IN THE December 19 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



The holiday season starts early for children; Halloween is the unofficial start for a three-year-old. Accompanying their moms, they notice Christmas lights on a tree at the local department store. There are packages—boxes trimmed in gold—and twinkling lights around the doors and windows. Moms may say, “Christmas is still two months away,” but the Santa on his sleigh in the store window calls, “Christmas is coming.”

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Small World: Italian Travel Adventure

IN THE November 7 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



My husband and I were visiting Venice, Italy with our little dog, Sherman, and a friend from the USA, Joyce. Hunger drove us to explore some side streets in search of a light lunch which wouldn’t require a bank loan to pay.

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by Maria Ruiz



I was on a trip with an older friend. We had ridden the train from the Pacific Coast up the Copper Canyon and from there, flown to Mexico City. The weather was warm without being too hot to enjoy walking around in the afternoon.

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The Italian Accident

IN THE September 19 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



Bang! Crunch! “What did we hit?” my husband yelled as he brought the motor home to a stop.
“It’s a kid!” I yelled back. Looking out the passenger window, I saw a pair of little legs and a bicycle wheel sticking out from under the side.

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The Bus From Hell

IN THE August 15 ISSUE

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by Maria Ruiz



“Hey! We can take a bus from here to Flores to see the Komodo Dragons!” I yelled as I passed a shop with a sign in the window. We were in Lombok, an island in Indonesia next to Bali. We’d planned on visiting the Island of Flores where tours to see the giant lizards started.

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