I want to let anyone know who put comments on my blog while I traveled that I had to remove them for now. The problem is/was that I was getting spammed too much in a very quick look I counted about 400 in the last month. I tried to ban IP addresses but it wasn’t working, I disabled the “add comment” button and left the comments so the comments that were already posted could still be read, but that didn’t stop the spam. In the end, the only thing that seems to work, and I want to stress, seems to work, was removing the comments all together. It’s funny too, because at one point I tried to figure out what the spammers were doing, the garbage they were leaving in the comments was just that, garbage. They left links that didn’t go anywhere, the text that they left wasn’t legible in any language, all they were doing was just making a mess. The same people are also spamming my “contact me” page, but there’s not a lot I can do about that except to change the email address. I wish these guys would get a clue! Anyway, I apologize to those who have left comments, and I will get them fixed, it will just take me time.

It’s Sunday evening and I’ve got jetlag. When I first got home I went to bed at one am and slept to seven, that is about perfect for me, maybe it’s going to bed a little bit late, but not bad. If you’ve every had jetlag you know how much it can screw up your life, falling asleep at five in the morning and sleeping to three in the afternoon is typical, but it can get worse. So Friday, my second day back, I couldn’t sleep until about midnight, but I woke up at noon… getting a little bit of the jetlag. Last night I couldn’t sleep until four in the morning and I slept until two in the afternoon. Crap! Jetlag really sucks… now watch, I won’t be able to sleep until six or seven in the morning.

Sat 28/08/10 03:48
Meeting with friends

Today my first goal was to drive around Clovis to see what has changed since I was last here. I did a little of that earlier, but today I took it a bit more seriously, stopping at the more important locations instead of just driving by. My old house that I lived in while I was here is for sale so I spent about twenty minutes checking it out. It looks like it’s been empty for quite a while. The windows to the garage are broken out, the yard looks like it hasn’t been mowed all summer and the front porch has two huge wasp nests. It really makes me want to see how much they are asking for it. Wouldn’t that be kind of funny if I ended up buying my old house back? My only problem with that is the neighborhood has gone down even lower than it was when I lived there, and it wasn’t the best when I left in 2004, but if I could pick it up for cheap, it possibly could be a good investment.

Ken Curtis, Clovis, New Mexico Summer 2010   Sunset over Clovis, NM Summer 2010

About eleven in the morning I made it to ENMU to see some of the friends that I missed the day before. I was kind of nervous because it’s been something like two years since I last saw them and I haven’t kept in contact as much as I should have. My fears were soon dismissed when I saw Mic. I wrote about Mic and all that she has done for me in a page on my regular site (not the blog). I don’t want to go into the details, but let me say that seeing Mic, Cathy, Greg and Greg was one of the best experiences I’ve had, next to seeing my brother, this summer. All those names are professors that I first met in 1997 when I started attending Eastern New Mexico University as a student, and friends when I started teaching there in 2001. I consider them all to be nothing less that my family. They are, along with a few other friends that live in Clovis, the reason that I still consider this area to be my home even though I haven’t lived here for six years.

I hung out with one of the Gregs at his house for lunch and a beer and then later we all went out for an early dinner. It was a great time and reminded me of how much I miss living in Dubai. I’ve been in Dubai for three-plus years and still don’t have any connection to anyone or anything like I do here. It’s probably my fault, but the fact remains that Dubai really doesn’t feel like home to me.

After dinner I headed back to Canyon, Texas for my last night before taking the long trip back to Dubai. As a side note I stopped at an ATM to check my balance and all the money that was stolen from me was back in my account. What a nice thing to see!

I had a pretty good night’s rest last night and have been up for about an hour, maybe a little bit longer writing for the blog and trying to figure out my timings for the day. My flight to Dallas leaves Amarillo at almost three in the afternoon. I have to return the rental car, look for some clothes that I still need to buy, and there are some computer parts that I like to see if I could find. I don’t think that I’ll have any problem doing all that, but you never know. I also have to consider that I have layovers in every stop on my way back. I have two hours in Dallas and two in London, so that will mean that means the next time I will be somewhere to actually relax will be (with the time difference included) eleven at night tomorrow, about forty hours, or about twenty-six actual hours. Speaking of time, it’s about time that I start to get ready. Just like I started to miss my brother before he left about three days ago, I’m already starting to miss Texas and New Mexico. My next post will most likely be from Dubai, unless there’s Internet access from any of the airports that I stop at.

Sat 28/08/10 03:47
It is home…

It’s seven in the morning of the 24th, the day before I head back to Dubai and I’ve already been up for about an hour. I’ve had three cups of coffee, about four cigarettes, and now that I’m coffeed and cigaretted out I’m at a loss to find something to do. I guess I could take a shower and get ready to leave. That could burn about thirty minutes, then what would I do? I’ve got to say one thing before I go on about Clovis, New Mexico. I still miss my brother. I’m not sure why after two days I still miss him, but the fact is, that I’ve been thinking about how nice it would have been if he would have stuck around for a few more days. It could be that the two days we hung out was just enough time to talk about surface stuff, but I don’t know. I sure hope that he made it home. Since I don’t have access to the internet I’m feeling a little bit in the dark right now.

As soon as I could I headed to the bank yesterday to try to straighten out the theft of my money. I don’t know where I got the feeling that banks are nothing more than a necessity and they are, as a whole, nothing more than selfish-money-grubbing institutions that will do nothing to help you unless they benefit themselves, but Wells Fargo is really making me rethink my feelings on banks. Like I said, I went in first thing and was met by smiles, I explained why I was there, they offered me coffee and told me to have a seat. The banker came over and took control of the situation. It was really refreshing because he could see the fraudulent transactions and I didn’t really have to convince him, like I did when I called the bank from England. It took about an hour, and when I was done all the transactions were reversed and money was already being credited to my account. When I walked in, I thought that at best they would tell me that they would investigate and in about thirty days I find out if I’d get the money back. So, without a doubt to me Wells Fargo Bank has earned my loyalty as a customer, probably forever. After the situation was resolved, I stayed and talked with the banker for a little bit longer and he actually walked me to the door just like I would walk a friend to the door as they were leaving. Wells Fargo Rocks.

After the bank I headed to Clovis to see some friends. It’s been more than two years since my last visit and to be honest, I haven’t kept in contact with many of the people here. Time takes a toll on all things, and although I still consider all the people that I know here as friends it’s been a little bit strange showing up. The fact that I haven’t had Internet since I’ve been back to The States has made everything a little bit more difficult as well. I can’t warn people that I’ll be somewhere at a certain time. I did get to see two people yesterday though, and today I hope to see a few more.

This morning I woke up to rain. I don’t know if I’m the weather-jinx or it’s just coincidence that every place (except two) that I’ve gone in thirty-four days has rained, but I don’t like it. It’s August, the warmest time of the year… so why has it rained so much? Regardless of the weather, it’s been great to see all the old places that I used to go. Clovis hasn’t changed that much and for the most part I don’t think that it’s changed at all, so it feels like I never left. I can say that the “home” feeling that I get from Clovis is waning. It still feels like I belong here, but that feeling is not nearly as strong as it used to be. If things keep going as they have been, who knows, in five years I may not consider Clovis my home at all. I hope not though, I’ve always liked the idea that no matter where I lived, Clovis was my home.

It’s taken me about forty minutes to write this so it’s starting to get close to the point where I can actually find someplace to go or something to do. If I only had Internet I could kill at least another hour, maybe two and then it would be the perfect time to leave.

Sat 28/08/10 03:45
almost like home

It’s been something like three days since I added anything to the blog. There’s a couple of reasons for my lapse, but tonight I’m hoping to make everything right. First of all, I don’t have internet as I write this. I stopped at a motel and asked if they had wi-fi and they said yes, but unfortunately I’ve been unable to connect, so this entry will probably not make it to the blog until I get back to Dubai. It’s important to me though that I write now as most of what has transpired the last few days is still somewhat fresh in my mind.

I arrived in Amarillo, Texas without a hitch. I usually complain about my flights, but this time I got lucky for the most part. From London to Dallas I sat next to a very small girl from the Philippines that was probably the sweetest girl I’ve talked to in some time. She was a college student heading to New Mexico to go to school. It was her first time in The States, and she was a little bit nervous about what to expect. When we got to Dallas I have to say that it was probably the most pleasant time I’ve had on this trip, the airport was basically empty, the people were extremely polite, and for the two-hour layover I had there, I kept thinking that I could see myself living here. I’m not kidding when I say that everyone was polite either, I don’t think I’ve ever been treated as nicely as I was in Dallas. After a slight delay my flight to Amarillo landed to the warm Texas summer evening. Things were really going well. As I followed the other passengers through the gates I see my Brother standing there waiting for me. I can’t say that it was a complete shock since he wrote that he was in Canyon, but I can say that I was happy to see him. It’s been about five years since I’ve seen him or anyone else in my family and to have him make the trip to Texas, and then to meet me at the airport was one of the best things to happen to me in some time. I been on a lot of flights to nearly every corner of the world and this was the first time in about twenty years that anyone has met me when I got off an airplane.

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas Summer 2010  

Chuck Curtis, Palo Duro Canyon, Texas Summer 2010   ken curtis Palo Duro Canyon, Texas Summer 2010

The next two days my brother and I just hung out, went to Amarillo, and I did a little bit of shopping. I kind of felt sorry that Chuck had to wait around while I went shopping, but the shopping was a necessity for me. On Sunday morning he and I went hiking in the Palo Duro Canyon. I do a lot of walking through cities, in fact it’s how I get to know a city, but it’s really enjoyable when it comes to hiking along a path in the semi-wilderness. The crunch of the rocks under feet, the buzz of insects, and the lack of civilization all come together to make it almost therapeutic. In some ways it is kind of like some of my walks in Dubai, only it’s the sand under feet, the buzz of high-tension power lines, and the haze of the skyscrapers in the distance.

Chuck left Canyon after the hike and although I understand that he has a life that he had to get back to, I really wish that he would have stayed longer.

Thu 19/08/10 15:39
so that must mean that I’m a real jerk.

So this entry is one that I just feel like whining to someone (like anyone actually reads this). I’m not going to talk about where I went, post any pictures or talk about the people that I met. Instead I’m going talk about how I hate people right now. Let me tell you a little story. Today, I was running a little low on cash and decided to make sure that I had enough for the trip to the airport tomorrow I’d get about 20 Pounds out. I stop at an ATM and my card is rejected for Insufficient Funds. I know that’s not right so I try a different ATM and get the same results, then I decide to try a different card, and the same thing, “Insufficient Funds.” Now I’m starting to feel a little embarrassed, how could I go through all the money in my account, it just didn’t make sense, no sense at all from memory at least. So I get back to the hostel and check my account and it appears that since August 4th I’ve been removing the maximum amount out I could. But not only am I taking the maximum, I’m also using ATMs in Cairo and Sophia, Bulgaria which is kind of funny because I haven’t been to either of those cities this year. So yeah, I was… I don’t know what to call it, robbed, defrauded, or whatever it’s called, my main account has been drained of all funds. I still have a little in savings, but I’m just sick right now.

So I called my bank over skype to try to get some clarification on the transactions and did cancel that card, and started to dispute the transactions, but the connection was so bad and I was getting disconnected so often that I decided that I’d wait until tomorrow when I can go into the bank when I’m actually in the US. I won’t get into the amount taken, but there appears to be something like 15 transactions that are fraudulent.

Thu 19/08/10 11:15

The bus pulled into Victoria Station in London this morning about 7 am and until now, 4pm I have been walking around the city. I’m tired and I wish it were actually like 9 so I could go to bed. As it is now I’m going to have to find something to do until then so I don’t fall asleep too early. The bus ride was pretty tough for about three hours in the middle of the ride, but the remaining nine hours was fine. The only reason I mention it is because when I go back and reread this sometime in the future I want to remember how much those three hours sucked.

Scottish Highlands, Ken Curtis Summer 2010   Scottish Highlands, Ken Curtis Summer 2010

Today I started with going to Piccadilly Circus to take some more photos, the weather was just about perfect, the sun was out, it was a bit chilly, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. After the circus I headed to the Tate museum. If you read one of the earlier posts I mentioned that I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t have time to see it when I was here before. Well, today I jumped at the chance to see what it had to offer. After that I walked over the Thames and was thinking about going on The Eye, the big Ferris wheel, but once I saw how much it costs I decided not to do it. The rest of the day was spent looking for souvenirs, getting lunch, and finally making it back to the hostel… where I am right now.

Tate Museum, London, England 2010   Tate Museum, London, England 2010

Ken Curtis, Tate Museum, London, England 2010   Queen's Walk, London England

Queen's Walk, London England   Thames River, London 2010

I’m getting excited about my plane ride back to the states tomorrow. It’s been two years since I’ve been in the US and I think I kind of miss it.