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Life is so condensed and exciting. My friend Michal Houston still has a house in Murphys but lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. She loves it there. She came to visit old friends for a whirlwind week. Michal, Madelaine Krska,  and I, Mary, Maddie and Michal once called ourselves the Three M’s. Maddie is retired and living in Arizona. For lunch, we went to our favorite old haunt, Camps in Angels Camp, and toasted our missing friend. I expect someday, the three of us will find ourselves together once again.

Michal and I had a great time looking over pictures of a trip we took to China. It was such a refresher course to read over my old journal and remember fun things we did, and stuff we saw.


Michal and I with a Chinese woman in a roadside village. What would happen if a bus load of tourists pulled up to your house in Murphys and asked if the people could come in and talk to you and see inside your house, and ask you personal questions about your life and how you live?

She lives in the country and is allowed two children, instead of one. Her boys both graduated college. She lives in her family home where she and her husband grow cotton. They have a hog to butcher, and a pond filled with edible plants shared with neighbors. The tiny house had two rooms a large gas wok in the kitchen with a table;  one bedroom where the bed was in a corner with little room to walk around it.


Michal with the ladies of a small Naxi (Nah-shee) village, all dressed for town to meet with a government official. Everyone friendly and accommodating.


I looked for a picture I had of Michal watching a talented cryptographer showing how to paint Chinese script on a papyrus, but I couldn’t find it. Here, in the lobby of one hotel, we are both fastened by an ancient, intricate, carving in jade.

We talked about the places on our bucket list, favorite or memorable experiences on the road. I love what famous travel host Rick Steves said about travel:  “You cannot be a bigot when you understand other cultures.” He is so right.



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