Latest Entries »

Marriage Sucks

After all these years of enduring young married couples and their issues I have finally cracked.  I have tried to be understanding.  I have tried to be patient.  I have begged, pleaded and cajoled but nothing works.

First these people start out all in “love” and think that their partner has no faults.  The “magic” of the wedding ritual is overpowering.  So they finalize their relationship by locking each other into a legal contract that basically says “you are MINE, you belong to me”.  Not a good start at all given the frequency of divorce and all the heartbreak and unhappiness that it brings.

fennes_wedding

Happy Happy Happy — Forever

I know  a couple who  have lived together as friends for 50 years and raised five happy healthy children.  They never bothered with a contract and they knew that they could leave just any old-time but they stayed together because they loved each other and they loved their children.

iStock_000041008906XLarge_-Happy-old-couple

Still Hanging In There

Newly married couples think  that there are no little irritating things like farting,  slurping their coffee,  leaving their hair all over the sink,  throwing their clothes down just any old place,  leaving dishes in the sink,   adjusting the mirrors and seat in the car,  getting bored with hearing the same old complaints and stories over and over again, feeling neglected, feeling hurt, leaving tooth paste spatters on the mirror, changing their mind over and over, not appreciating  the shitty food prepared by their partner, not doing their share of the cleaning, not doing their share of taking care of the kids or pets and in general JUST GETTING BORED WITH THEIR PARTNER!

bored man   Boring

 

 

What the hell did they think it was going to be like?  If they weren’t prepared to be friends for the long haul and make whatever adjustments that are necessary to tolerate each others idiosyncracies they should have never signed a contract.  People live together all the time and they can leave any old-time so why sign the contract unless you have something special enough to work and fight for?

o-TWO-PEOPLE-ANGRY-facebook

I know everyone wants to hear my advice so here it is.

First, just because you have both signed a contract requiring you to fulfill certain legal obligations doesn’t mean that you “own” another human being.  The person you married had a life before you and they will have a life after you so figure out a way to let them keep a little of their personal life and habits in exchange for you keeping a little of yours.

Second, keep the expectations down, you didn’t marry Jesus or the Virgin Mary; your partner has some faults but you can work around  them if you care enough.

Third, give each other a little space; no one wants to be smothered with anything including love and affection.  Take a break from  one another now and then.  It won’t kill you and if your other half runs off with the first vacuum cleaner salesman that they meet then it wasn’t worth a shit anyway.

Forth, don’t take life too seriously.  You aren’t Einstein and you probably won’t find the answer for world peace.  Even if you get a PhD in rocket science you may wake up someday and find there are no longer any rockets.  Learn to laugh at your and your partners foibles together.

youngcoupleshutterstock_113167744_2

Lastly, always keep a little thought in the back of your mind that when your partner walks out the door or you huff away in a vapor over something silly you may NEVER see that person alive again!  The words you say now, the smile or frown, may be the last ones they will ever hear.  Make sure that you will be able to live with the words and actions should the unexpected happen.

ListSad1

The Marriage Expert

 

Advertisements

Shitholes

Of course I couldn’t let this one pass.  After our “president” referred to other countries as being “shitholes” except obviously Norway and other white countries of Europe and Russia, I reflected on what my experience has  been in some of those “shithole” countries.

First, I have spent a lot of time in many of those countries that Trump has in mind and know a good deal about their history and people.  I will admit that some of their LEADERS are “shithole” leaders.  They are corrupt, liars, squanderers of the people’s resources, warmongers, racists, undemocratic and keep their people in poverty for their own benefit.  On the other hand, our own president could be considered a “shithole” president for the same reasons.  There aren’t many leaders in those countries who are more corrupt than our president and most of congress even though we are quick to lay blame on others.

The United States is now a third world country itself if it is weighed on wealth distribution, universal health care, education, poverty, political corruption and racial integration.  MANY people from the very “shithole” nations that the president referred to are actually better off in many ways than we in the United States are if you go by UN standards.  Certainly very few people from Europe would consider living in the United States an improvement in their standard of living.

Now what about the PEOPLE in those “shithole” countries?  One can rarely find people much different country to country across the world.  A tiny handful of people have all of the money, power and resources while the rest just want to live a safe, decent life and to be able to give their families hope that they may achieve the same.  Most people who I have ever met in Africa, Asia and elsewhere would like for their children to grow up in a stable country, get an education, have access to healthcare and earn a living sufficient to provide for food, shelter and clothing.  If all countries resources were directed to the betterment of its citizens there wouldn’t be much “shithole” anywhere.

That’s my view anyway.

Every now and then the issue of voter registration or voter suppression arises.  After a while it seems that nothing much is done to make everything simpler to vote and so the issue dies away.  Voter suppression  isn’t new, it has been around since democracy itself and has always been a case of one group trying to prevent another group from having their say.  In a true democracy EVERYONE needs to be able to speak out and be heard.  Not just one party, not just one age group, not just one class, not just one race, not just one religion, not only those with an education and not just those with their own self-interest in the forefront.

precinctCard

Voter Registration Card

 

Although somewhat Orwellian I have a suggestion.  Perhaps over simplified but nevertheless worth considering.  In the United States starting in 1987 infants were issued Social Security cards right there at the hospital if the parents wished.  Because infants were dependents for tax purposes most people wanted them registered as soon as possible so it has  become the norm.  That Social Security Number remains with them for the rest of their lives and is arguably the most important document that they carry from birth to death.

Social-Security-Card

Social Security Card

 

Voter registration is in many ways no less important than a Social Security card and should also be part of the initial documents along with birth certificate for every American child.  When that child turns 18 he or she must register for the draft and receive a draft registration card.  Presumably it isn’t possible to figure out that from the date of birth and the first registration a period of 18 years has lapsed.  About the same time that same child will want to get a driver’s license.  Then a professional license, credit card, passport card, student id card, military id card and perhaps veterans administration card.

HidellDraftCard

Selective Service or Draft Card

DLsample-Old-CDL

Driver License

 

 

So while we are about it, why not just have one damn card for EVERYTHING instead of the 180 cards we are now required to carry around with us.  Think of the money saved.  One card for practically everything.  After all, the government, the internet, computers, credit  reporting companies, advertisers, banks and tax bureaus already know EVERYTHING there is to know about you.  What, you’re  surprised?

It is possible that ONE identification card could be  issued for each individual at birth that would encompass Social Security, Voter Registration, Draft, School ID, Military ID, etc.  Yes, I know it sounds like Nazi Germany but you have NO privacy now, what the hell difference does it make.

When you die they can just bury the damn card with you.

 

 

While flying around Africa in a corporate owned airplane I had several occasions to criss-cross the continent both east/west and north/south.  When we needed a safe harbor where we could sleep comfortably, eat some of the best pizza on the continent and buy gasoline for our airplane I always headed to Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso (Upper Volta at the time).  Bobo was a commercial center for the country, the people were helpful and friendly and the customs agents let us call in from our hotel to report our presence which made the stopover very easy and pleasant.  On May 8, 1973 I arrived with a crew of three other people from Dakar, Senegal in our trusty DC-3 N189UM.  We spent the night, ate pizza and flew on.  There has been much turmoil over the years since then but the people there deserve the very best.

Courtesy Google Maps

On December 21, 1949 in the land locked French colony of Upper Volta Thomas Sankara was born the 3rd of 10 children to Joseph and Marguerite Sankara.  His father was a policeman was of Mossi-Fulani descent and his mother was Mossi.  His father was stationed in the town of Gaoua in the south-western part of the colony not far from the Black Volta River which separates Upper Volta (now Burkina-Faso) from Ghana.

It was here in this tropical part of the country that young Thomas grew up, a Roman Catholic youth, who loved to play the guitar and played at church on occasions.  As the son of a police officer he was relatively privileged and attended primary school in Bobo-Dioulasso.  He attended secondary school at the Lycee Ouezzin Coulibaly in Bobo.  Although his parents wanted him to become a priest he chose instead to enter military service.  He could, after all, attend the military academy without cost and he did not have the money to attend other higher education opportunities.

He entered the military academy in Kadiogo in the capital Ouagadougou at age 17.  While attending the academy he witnessed the first military coup of Maurice Yaméogo.  Thomas was exposed to the exciting revolutionary ideas of the time.  He also continued his passion for music and playing the guitar.  He was sent to Madagascar to the Antsirabe military academy where he combined military skills with agriculture, history and military history.  He also studied Marx and Lenin.

After returning to Ouagadougou Thomas continued with his military career and also joined a band called Tout-a-Coup Jazz.  He met current president (now under indictment) Blaise Compaore.  They were both members of the Communist Officers Group.

He was appointed Secretary of State in September of 1981 but resigned.  In January 1983 he was appointed Prime Minister but was dismissed in May following a mysterious visit by French diplomats.  Another coup organized by his friend Blaise Compaore made Thomas president in 1983.  He was inspired by Castro and Guevara but his main goals were more practical;  fighting corruption, promoting reforestation, averting famine, and making education and health real priorities.   He renamed the country from Upper Volta to Burkina-Faso (meaning land of upright man) Thomasand he wrote the national anthem himself.

He set out to organize agriculture into a viable reliable and self-sufficient machine that produced the people’s needs from food to clothing.  He was responsible for getting 2.5 million people vaccinated for polio, measles and meningitis.  He was the first leader in Africa to recognize the threat of the aids epidemic.  He set in motion vast tree planting activities and nurseries.  He caused roads and railroads to be built.  All without loans or aid from outside the country.  (To the chagrin of the western banks and countries.)  He started a comprehensive education program.

Thomas set up courts to try former officials of corruption, tax evasion and anti revolutionary activities.  Those charged were not allowed lawyers but had to defend themselves.  The courts were not as successful as had been hoped.  The blame for the failure of the courts was placed on Thomas.  He himself admitted that they were a failure.

He was an outspoken advocate of women’s rights.

The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. Women hold up the other half of the sky.

— Thomas Sankara
The following information is taken straight from the Wikipedia account of Sankara:
His government banned female genital mutilationforced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions and encouraging them to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant.
To be sure there were human rights violations of several kinds, execution without trial, unwarranted detention and the country’s human rights record with world organizations dropped.
  • He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of theministers.
  • He reduced the salaries of well-off public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets.
  • He redistributed land from the feudal landlords to the peasants. Wheat production increased from 1,700 kilograms per hectare (1,500 lb/acre) to 3,800 kilograms per hectare (3,400 lb/acre), making the country food self-sufficient.[5]
  • He opposed foreign aid, saying that “he who feeds you, controls you.”[5]
  • He spoke in forums like the Organization of African Unity against what hedescribed as neo-colonialist penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance.[5]
  • He called for a united front of African nations to repudiate their foreign debt. He argued that the poor and exploited did not have an obligation to repay money to the rich and exploiting
  • In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country).[1]
  • He forced well-off civil servants to pay one month’s salary to public projects.[1]
  • He refused to use the air conditioning in his office on the grounds that such luxury was not available to anyone but a handful of Burkinabés.[6]
  • As President, he lowered his salary to $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer.[

On  October 15, 1987 Thomas, age 38, was murdered in a coup staged by his former friend and the person who had put him in office Blaise Compaore who is now under indictment following a people’s coup in 2014.  Ironically, or perhaps expectedly, the coup was primarily lead by women bearing wooden spoons.  After the coup Thomas family recovered the body and an autopsy show that he was murdered, dismembered and buried.

Thomas-Sankara-2

Yes,  he was greatly influenced by communism and the Castro group at the time and the French and western countries had reason to fear him, especially since he wanted his country to be self-reliant and not be hooked on the colonial powers and their banks for the well-being of his country.  Still, he had great ideas, love of his fellow neighbors and overall made great strides in his country.  One only wonders what the country would be like today had he been successful in promulgating his plans.

He left a wife and two children.

 

 

 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and several other social media sites are at times convenient, fun, interesting and a great way to stay in touch with friends, relatives and people of like minds.  On the other hand the same sites are loaded with mis-information, outright trickery, fraud and deceit.

2018 is going to be a year in the United States of protest, marches and elections.  Everyone on social media is going to be bombarded by people wanting donations, trying to sell something and trying to mislead people.  There will be people trying to give you the wrong date and times for marches or meetings and even voting.  People will post purposely erroneous information to influence you one way or the other.

As in the last election there will be no end to trickery from foreign and domestic crooks.  They will be out in force to try to sway your thinking and thus your vote.  Be sure that before you listen to any stories, give money to any cause or rally for anyone that you KNOW who it is that is trying to influence you.

Voting Booth

It isn’t easy but there are a few guidelines.  First, if anyone is trying to sell you something they are probably not legitimate.  If they are zealously trying to influence your opinion thoroughly check out just who they are and who are supporting them.  If a particular candidate has a “Donate” button under their advertising do NOT hit the button.  Go to the candidate’s own site and donate there if you want.

The year is going to be one where we all need to be involved, cautious and careful.

AND THEN VOTE!

Save Democracy

There are two things that have happened in the last 20 years that have affected our democracy more than any thing else.  They are the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court of the United States and failing to enact term limits for members of the Senate and Congress.

The Citizens United opinion granted powerful corporations, whether American or Foreign, to invest any amount of money into the political campaigns of people running for office.  Prior to that time no one could contribute more than $2500 per individual.  The decision is unfathomable since it clearly opened the election process to outright purchase of political positions with the obvious presumption that those large contributions would be repaid in some way.  The Senate and Congress could pass a bill to fix the contribution limits but because they are all the beneficiaries of the contributions they are not likely to ever do anything.  After all, people who come to Washington DC in poverty leave as millionaires.  It’s the way it works.

The term limits issue is similar and would act as a check on some of the abuses mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Back in the 50’s congress saw fit to place term limits on the president and passed the necessary legislation.  The idea was that no president should be in office so long that they literally became dictators.  Oddly enough congress didn’t have the foresight to extend the same term limits to themselves.

Even federal judges who are now appointed for a lifetime should be limited to perhaps ten or twelve years service.

corporate bribery

It is a dismal state of affairs and a direct threat to our democracy that the two issues stand.  The millions of American working families do not have the power to overcome all of the millionaires in congress who now serve themselves instead of their constituents.  Sad.

That’s My View.

Less than 30% of the population in the United States have investments in the stock market.  Mostly in the form of 401K’s and IRA’s.  I would suggest that you look back to the collapse of 2007 and 2008 when the stock market lost a substantial amount of its value.

For those of you who don’t know, a 401K allows you to have your “trustee” invest your money in various stocks or other investments.  In 2007 most 401K owners who were anywhere near retirement age had their pension investments in bank stocks, insurance stocks, bonds and investment brokerage firms.  Those were the stocks that the all-wise and all-powerful economic sages touted; Jim Kramer for instance.  I could substitute bank stocks with Washington Mutual Bank, insurance stocks with AIG and investment brokerage firms with  Lehman Brothers.  All went bankrupt and  with the exception of AIG were not bailed out.  The people who had investments in those types of stocks in their 401k retirement funds lost BIG money.

rich32

The next big collapse is just around the corner so if you have ANY money invested in any stocks convert it to cash NOW!  Remember, 401K’s can invest in most anything providing you have the trustee who is willing and able to do so.  Real estate can be bought and sold though a 401K  by way of a trustee.  Horses held for racing or breeding can be part of a 401K.  Sheep can be part of a 401K.  You aren’t just limited to stocks although your trustee may only want to invest in stocks.  Just find another trustee.  As long as you transfer the money from one trustee to another directly without it touching your hands you are good.

Frankly, for the average American we should all do what we can to sink the stock market and drive it down to sensible levels.  It is all speculative gambling done by millionaires and it certainly won’t hurt Joe Bloe if some foreign sheik’s fortune drops by half.

We constantly hear that it will hurt the “economy”.  Bull, I say, there is no connection whatever between the economy and the stock market anymore.  The stock market is just a casino for worldwide millionaires and corporations to gamble.

Get Out Now!

Fascism

Reagan allowed the FCC to repeal the Fairness Doctrine which had for years kept broadcasters from engaging in unbridled lying and acting as propaganda mouthpieces for any political party, president or other group.   There were reasonably stringent rules about how many radio stations or TV stations that any one person or organization could own.  That  is all gone.  We now have propaganda and hatred being spewed by Fox “News”, Breitbart and others.  We are seeing more and more communications companies being gobbled up by individuals or corporations with the specific purpose of broadcasting propaganda directed for or against one particular person or idea.  The idea of controlling broadcast information or thought for the purpose of propoganda is a FASCIST undertaking.  Period.  No if’s, no and’s or but’s.

Our democracy was once based on people being educated about various viewpoints and then each person  casting their sole and independent vote.  Of course there has always been gerrymandering and vote-buying but never to the extent that it is today.  Then along comes the supreme court decision “Citizens United”.  The courts basically said that corporations were “people” and that people could contribute as much money to any candidates that they chose.  That’s what corporations do through secret PAC’s where they can contribute millions without being scrutinized.  That is a FASCIST undertaking because it eventually leads to the purchase of political “representatives” who will do as they are told.  The whole idea of corporations being “people” is ludicrous in the extreme.

corporate bribery

The money and PAC’s triggered by the Citizens United decision ultimately lead to our current dilemma.  Lobbyists representing the rich  and powerful have easy access to politicians to influence not only their votes but the actively participate in the writing of bills being presented to congress.  The stream of Lobbyists from the oil industry, tech industry, drug cartels etc. was constant during this last tax bill legislation.  There have been some bills that were simply written by lobbyists, handed to a Senator or Congressman and it was submitted as a bill.  These Senators and Congressmen are bought and paid for because if they don’t vote the way the lobbyists want they will be out of a job.  That’s not how it’s supposed to work in a democracy and it is FASCIST in design.

A country, this country, that has long prided itself (sometimes incorrectly) on its fairness, consideration for others, one man one vote and rule by and for the people is now teetering on the brink of being swamped by FASCIST ideas from  the very top.  The presidential power to appoint lifetime federal judges lends itself to FASCISM.  The attempt to silence the press who opposes the “friendly” propaganda press is FASCISM.

corporate tax cuts

Make no mistake about it, this is a critical time in our history.  Ask yourself what our founding fathers would do; those people who risked their entire fortunes AND their lives so we could live peacefully under a system of government that is “for the people”.

What can we, the little people do?  Be vigilant and be ready to loudly protest and march in the streets if necessary.  Vote every politician even remotely tainted by lobbyist and PAC’s money out of office.  Be supportive and cooperative with others from different parties.  This is an American issue, not a party issue.

FB_IMG_1496077389811

From Halloween until the end of the year we in the United States experience a period of fantasy.  Originally Thanksgiving was supposed to give thanks for the blessings we have and to honor the Pilgrims first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.  Never mind that the Pilgrims were a despicable bunch of people who stole land, murdered indians who were their guests, abused children and were generally religious screwballs.

Later the fantasy was perpetuated by decent people who used the day as an opportunity to visit relatives and friends, share an abundant meal and travel “over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house”.  It didn’t take all that long to turn the holiday into a festival of gluttony, avarice, over indulgence, commercial greed and just downright silliness.

Once big business and soulless corporations caught onto the possibilities of selling stuff for Christmas shortly after Thanksgiving it was off to the races.  Now the shopping melee begins on Thanksgiving day with the con job that “Black Friday” is a massive sale day where if you don’t buy something you are losing out.  Except that Black Friday isn’t Friday any more, it is Thursday, or Thanksgiving day.  People begin camping out at the stores where they have been tricked into thinking that they are getting something free or nearly free instead of having a pleasant dinner with their families.  Store employees can’t spend the day with families anymore because they have work.

20171123_120025

20171123_121237

You Can Sell The Clothes Right Off Your Back So You Can Go BUY BUY BUY

20171123_124303

Best Buy Noon Thanksgiving Day 2017

Let’s not call it Thanksgiving day.  Lets call it Avarice Day.  The day where fools have bought into the corporate line that more is better and that you should never be satisfied with what you have.  You ALWAYS need MORE!

For the next 30 days after Thanksgiving day the most amazing, disgusting, reprehensible  thing happens.  Rational, sensible, frequently poor people are constantly bombarded at every turn with advertising.  It says that you MUST buy this product or you will be out of fashion, missing the latest gadget, mis-treating your children and possibly causing the planet to implode because of what it will do to the stock market if you don’t BUY BUY BUY.

20171123_120931

50% off WHAT?

Because the big international corporations who run these ventures have nothing in common with the people who buy their products they don’t care if you don’t need the stuff.  They don’t care if the billions of pounds of plastic and other waste generated by these actions pollutes the planet.  They have NO FEELINGS.  They are not your little mom and pop store down the block.  Their billionaire owners want more money and they can hire advertisers who play into your every motion, especially greed.

20171123_114724

It’s Only November 23!

 

 

20171123_115310

BUY BUY BUY, No Credit Required

The December 25th date set aside by Christians to honor the birth of a Jewish man who apparently was born over 2000 years ago seems to have been lost somewhere along the way.  All of the information attributed to him seems to have been completely distorted into a shameful commercial con.

If I understand correctly this guy you call Jesus was a pauper and actually promoted poverty and giving up worldly stuff.  Didn’t he give to the poor, not take from them?  Wasn’t he opposed to money-grubbing and amassing wealth?  Do you think he would be camped out over at Best Buy on November 23, 2017 in order to save a few shekels on a cell phone?  How many “things” do you think he would suggest that you aspire to having?  Just how many “presents” do you think he would suggest you give your children on his “birthday” to buy their love?  Is there any other religion in the world that condones this shameless greed.

20171123_121222

Is There Any?

 

20171123_121800

Is There Any?

I am ok with the American public acting like damn fools, lured into buying literal crap made by slave labor in some far away country,  packaged in several layers of earth polluting materials.  I am ok with people pretending that it is in some way “christian” or “patriotic”.  I am ok that we are all such morons that we can not recognize the con game going on to con us into buying crap we do not need.  WHAT I AM NOT OK WITH IS OUR SUPPOSED REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT PERMITTING THESE CON ARTISTS TO CLAIM THAT THEY ARE “PEOPLE”.  THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE!!!!!

May I suggest, and I am trying to practice what I preach, that we all take a step back and begin paying serious attention to our NEEDS, our EARTH, our CHILDREN and the example we give them.

 

Walmart

Wal-Mart has no Black Friday.  They never close anyway.

 

Verizon

Verizon is a massive corporation against free information flow on the internet.

Fernando Po

In May of 1973 the company instructed me to pick up a Douglas DC-3 airplane in Lisbon and take it to Angola, then a Portuguese colonial territory,  to conduct  work that they had contracted for.  The airplane was one of the best and most beautiful planes that we had in the fleet.  It was registered as N189UM and had previously been executive transport for the 3-M company.

IMG_20160412_0001

It was a time of turmoil in Africa during the 60’s and 70’s.  Nigeria was engaged in a civil war with a breakaway province of Biafra from 1968 to 1970.  The North and the South were split along old colonial lines with the southern part still under colonial rule and the northern part breaking out into independent states.  Oil had been discovered in several places so the interest of the global oil industry was intense.

My dilemma as a pilot was that it was forbidden to fly from any of the northern countries to any of the southern countries.  Most planes of the day did not have the capability of flying all of the way from European territories to southern Africa.

After searching the Airmans Information Manual (a publican with all of the details of the rules, landing areas, fuel, etc. ) we found one little island just off the coast of West Africa that was still listed as under Spanish control.  The airport was Santa Isabel on the island of Fernando Po.  On May 9th 1973 we filed our proper forms, flight plan, requested overnight landing clearance and departed.

equatorial guinea

We landed at the airport just as the sun was setting.  It was hot and humid.  There didn’t appear to be a soul at the airport but that wasn’t always unusual in some remote places.  There was a general rule that if there were no officials at the airport you just secured your airplane, went to the nearest hotel and reported your arrival by phone to the local customs agents.  We set about securing the airplane and were almost finished when an old truck loaded with soldiers armed to the teeth drove up shouting and pointing their guns uncomfortably towards us.

Malabo Equitorial Guinea

My co-pilot said, “Don’t worry, I can speak some Spanish”.  He spoke a few words when suddenly the guards became more agitated.  I tried a few English words also to little avail.  They obviously spoke Spanish but became hostile when we tried to speak Spanish.  Unknown to us, of course, was that our Airmans Information Manual had not been updated by Spain since they turned the country over to a local mad man in 1968.

Things began looking quite dim as we were herded toward the truck.  Suddenly swerving onto the ramp and skidding to a stop in the dust of the ramp was an old Mercedes-Benz driven by what appeared to be a reasonably high-ranking young officer.  He could speak a little French and a little English so we managed to make it known that we were just stopping for fuel and would be departing the next morning.  He smiled in a friendly manner and ushered us into the car.

We drove into the town of what was now known as Malabo and stopped in front of a five or six-story grand looking hotel.  The officer ushered us into the hotel where we found a desk clerk fast asleep with her head on the desk covered with a pile of keys.  I noticed that there were no keys in any of the little cubicles behind her, they were all scattered on the desk.  The officer shouted for her to get us rooms and then as he turned said to me that he would be back in an hour or so and have dinner with us on the top floor restaurant.

The clerk randomly handed us keys mostly on the same floor so we hiked up to the fifth floor because the elevator didn’t work.  I also noticed that all of the fine Spanish leather furniture had been sliced open with bayonets or knives.  Oh well, we were tired and just wanted to have a shower, eat and sleep and get out of there as quickly as possible.  We had no idea that this place had been terrorized by the new dictator for the past 5 years and that virtually all foreigners had left and many locals had been murdered.

As we shuffled down the hall to our rooms I heard one of the crew exclaim “there is no bed in my room”!  Most of the windows were broken out, the beds were just mattresses, there were no mosquito nets and worst of all no running water.  So we headed to the rooftop restaurant to see if we could find beer.

After an hour or so the young officer returned and ordered the “chef” to prepare dinner which was a small piece of chicken for each of us and some rice.  After dinner he insisted on taking us on a tour of the town and we had the good sense to agree happily.

We saw the old cathedral and the Black Beach prison and were thankful that we were not accommodated there.  The last stop on the tour was the U.S. Embassy.

Santa Isabel Embassy

I really should have stayed up on the news more but the officer explained to me that only two years before the U.S. Consul “went mad” and stabbed one of his officers to death with scissors in the vault of the building.  A totally incredible story that I had not heard of and have not heard of since.  It is well worth reading.  http://adst.org/2013/09/i-am-not-losing-my-mind-murder-in-an-embassy-part-i/#.WhZYC9KnE2x

Our friend picked us up at the hotel the following morning, drove us to the airport and had someone help us fill the tanks with gas from a big tank they had for storage.  We said our good byes to the officer and boarded the plane.  We never felt such relief as when the wheels were up and we were over the ocean heading direct for Luanda in Angola.  Late afternoon on the 10th of May 1973 we landed in the beautiful city of Luanda, checked in to a first class hotel and ate a good meal.  Chocolate mousse…..the best in the world is served in Luanda, or at least it was then.

Oddly enough no one ever asked us where we came from or where we were going.  We kept thinking that someone would ask and if they found out we would probably be arrested.  Maybe our friend suspected but he never said.  Maybe they didn’t consider that our airplane could make it all of the way to Angola even though we had long-range fuel tanks.  It was not to be our last issue trying to navigate around the African continent under the old rules.

Today there is a Hilton Hotel in Malabo, they have a nice airline terminal where airplanes from Europe arrive and the nephew of the mad man dictator is now the president.