Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.


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6th Day on Colorado River – May 28th

One of the first things we saw this morning was Kirsten and Duffy standing on their hands.

I didn’t catch a photo of Kirsten when she was actually walking on her hands.  Amazing.

Of course we had another bag line and Ken photographed us.  By now we were counting down how many more of these we had.

It hasn’t warmed up very much yet but we were in our first rapid.

Sue was teaching us. I think she was talking about what she said was the unconformity.  I think I amazingly remember the word she said, but I cannot explain it other than there are gaps in the intervals of time spans that are represented in our knowledge.

Yep, we were getting wet in the rapids.

Even when the walls of the Canyon are not really colorful, I loved photographing them.

Duffy is certainly getting everybody very wet.

It would have been amazing to have been there when these rocks tumbled down.

I loved the water flowing over these rocks.

More beautiful moments.

 

Mija was such a jokester.

There is a little kayak in this photo.  It amazes me that it makes it through the larger rapids

I could never do that.

I will likely never be in the canyon again so all these photos will be in my blog to bring back these beautiful, serene moments.

It was a real treat to see these bighorn sheep on the shore in the distance.

Audrey and Sue are having a good time today.

We are on another walk up a slot canyon.  Of course I had to do my favorite thing – take many photos.



This was clearly one of my favorite places.  I loved the rocks and wish I could have taken a few home with me but I had to settle for photos.

I asked JJ to stand under opening in the rock so I could take a photo showing the size.

This was another place where I could have stayed for hours.

It was nap time for Ann and Sue.

We docked at Cove (Mile 173).  We made about 37 river miles today.

We celebrated Linda’s and Mike’s birthdays at dinner tonight.

Duffy sure makes a great cake.

This was definitely a good day on the river and walking around in the canyon..


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5th Day on Colorado River – 4/27

We woke up this morning to a wet day with actual hail – unusual for Memorial Day.  Starting out with the bottom of my pants wet and sandy was not very exciting.

I went down to the river and just washed them off.  We were going to get wet anyway.  Audrey was dressed for the wet and cold…

… as were Pat, Mike, and Liz.

But, wait! Is that sun coming through in the distance?

Not really.

It was Mija’s turn to brush her teeth on the raft…

… and braid her hair.

I don’t know whose hand that was sticking out of the tarp but Liz was clearly wet.

Aud did not look very happy.

Then we ran a rapid.  Sue looks like she is hanging on in Duffy’s raft…

…and Ken looked like he had fun going through that one.

I love these rock structures.

Everybody was pretty cold and the weather looked ominous…

 

…so we made an early stop.  Kirsten led us in warm up exercises.

 

Audrey was trying to dry her pants that got wet in spite of the rain pants.  I laughed out loud as I was uploading this photo.

 

We walked around after lunch and saw these beautiful flowers.

Ken took a great photo of a Sacred Datura rolled-up before opening.

It was a quick lunch and we were on our way again.

Rain or not we had great views of the canyon …

 

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…and rock formations.

If we wanted to fill a water bottle, we had to get onto the edge of the raft.

There must have been some sunshine because this rock formation is slightly reflecting in the water.

I love the pink color in the rocks.

I am pretty confused about where we actually had lunch but I know we must have docked again because we saw more fossils…

…and we climbed up a hill to watch some smaller vessels come through the rapids.

 

It must have been very exciting (and totally wet) to go through in those small boats.  I know there was a kayak down there but I didn’t have my Lumix with me to zoom in close enough.

We took a walk up the creek-bed through the water (we were wet anyway) to see a small waterfalls.  I think it was Stone Creek Falls .  I love taking photos of the people so I was clicking away…

Panoramas of waterfalls make the water look strange.

I wish I could remember but I think this was Stone Creek Falls.

Wet  and cold were the words for the day.  

Food was served under the umbrella.

In spite of the weather, the views were great.

What a cool cave in the rock.

That passage was a bit narrow.

Ken took a photo of this Pirate Dory.

I may be very confused but I think we also walked to Stone Creek Falls because the time stamp on the photos was different.

Getting back from this one was even wetter.

Bernie and Eliaine were happy even though we were so wet and cold.

 

We stopped early (after only about 17 miles of river) at about mile 137.  Emily said the campground was called Football Field.

Funny how the sun came out just as we docked.

 

Most people in our group set up camp pretty close to the water.

 

Even Emily/Mija and Duffy/Kirsten even set up tents on their rafts.

Ann and I found a pretty secluded spot.

 

Sun Setting on the rocks was so beautiful. It even reflected into the water.

A great ending to a rainy, cold day.


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4th Day on the Colorado River – 4/26

Taking down our campsites was a  morning activity for all of us.

 

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Ann and I had finished so Ann was helping Bunny who had her own tent.

Kathy had her own tent and was able to quickly take hers down so she had a bit more time.

Stretching was a good thing to do.

Liz amazed me when she did pushups.

We had to be sure we secured the dry bags correctly.

We stuffed several dry bags with tents (3 to 4 in each bag).

Everything had to be brought down to the rafts.

Loading the rafts was made easier when we all helped but it was still a lot of work.

Climbing onto the raft took some work and balance.

We went through 4 rapids before we were almost at Kaibab Suspension Bridge which was built in 1928. You can see it in the distance.

I zoomed in the camera lens to see the people who were crossing the bridge.

I can’t remember what this was but I like the photo.

Duffy and Emily docked the rafts. We were ready to walk up to the bridge.

Filling up our water bottles with water that did not have chlorine in it was a treat.

Audrey, Ken, Ann and I were ready for the short hike to the bridge.

 

The Kaibab Trail Suspension Bridge was the first span across Colorado in the Grand Canyon… It’s a foot and mule bridge only.  This is the path that we walked to the bridge.

The Kaibab Bridge is also on the outskirts of Phantom Ranch, where many rim-to-rim hikers spend the night. We could have walked from here to Phantom Ranch but we didn’t go there.  I thought about the time Bill, Erin, and I stayed at Phantom ranch after riding the mules down from the South Rim and how I had wished that I had walked down instead of riding.

After crossing the bridge I saw Ken taking a photo of the bridge with the rafts below…

 

…so I took a photo of him.

 The Kaibab Bridge is over 90 years old, but there is archaeological evidence of indigenous peoples having lived near present-day Phantom Ranch almost 1000 years ago.

 

Some of us took a lot of photos of the view from the top.

Sue was wearing one of her great geologist shirts.  We were bound to see Schist today.

It was fun to take the short hike to the bridge.  We got to stretch our legs for a bit after riding on the rafts.

We were back to the rapids in less than a mile. I am not sure which rapid this was, but Cher sure was having fun.

I learned from Ken and this photo that this is a Travertine formations. The green in the foreground is vegetation, but the dark green on the cliff is mostly Travertine limestone

Emily often brushed her teeth on the raft.

We just finished the run through the rapid and were waiting for Duffy’s raft.

They sure were having fun.

It must be much more exciting for this small rafts – especially the kayak.

Very shortly we were in another rapid.

 

I am thinking the rapids must have been Pipe Springs Rapid followed by Horn Creek Rapid.

Sue and Liz were sure enjoying this.

Here comes Duffy again.  We were in calm enough waters for me to take these with the Lumix camera so I was able to use the zoom and get clearer photos.

 

They sure got wet.

We stopped for another great salad wrap for lunch.

With time for me to take photos of a cacti…

… and for our guides to relax a bit.

Everyday there were more wonderful rock formations.  Oh, Sue, I wish you were here to identify these as I write the post.

I love the way these look like trails through the rocks.  Ken wrote that the wavy lines in this cliff are granite dikes which forced their way within the schist.

Kathy was sure having a great time.

Liz was in her favorite spot on the raft.

The views of the canyon while going through the rapids were awe inspiring.

I love this view of the drop …

…and more rock formations.

 

Wouldn’t it be fun to do the rapids in this dory?  That is what my brother-in-law, Mel, did as the 3rd trip he took through the Canyon.

I wondered how this great rock just sits there without falling off?

I don’t know how this boat was left on the rocks.

Another day of rafting came to an end.  We unloaded the raft, set up camp, and were ready for dinner.

This was quite the day.  There are not many more beautiful places to eat dinner.

We were camped at mile 120 – Michael Jacobs – and we again hit the sack pretty early.

 


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3rd Day on the Colorado River 4/25

Ken caught a shot of the moon rising over the cliffs.

Audrey, Ann, and Elaine were chipper and ready to begin the day of rafting..

Ken is bringing his “Pee Pot” down to the river to wash.  We each are given one every night to keep near our tent.

Sue was always trying to teach us something about the canyon.  This iwas the chart for the day.

She gave us a lesson on the names of the formations at each level …

…using an anagram.

Then she showed us the anagram that the rafting community uses to remember.

We had to walk in the water to get on the rafts this morning so Nancy Chase was determined not to get her feet wet.

Elaine and I sat together on the raft.

I had a great seat on the raft because I was sitting up high and I just kept taking photos. I was using 2 cameras.  If I was not nervous about getting the camera wet, I used the Lumix.  If it was possible that we may get splashed, I used the Fuji waterproof one.  I think I may be posting some photos for this day out of order.  That happens when I use 2 cameras and cannot upload them until after the trip..    Oh well, they are all great memories of the trip for me.

There was a rapid very shortly after we began our day.  I think it may have been Nankoweap Rapid which can have a drop 25′ over the course of the rapid.  Emily again demonstrated her skill.

Then just a couple miles later was Lava Canyon (Chuar) rapid which was much smaller.

Sue Holmes was her in her regular cherry mood.  The gloves are to protect her hands.

We were just cruising down the Colorado enjoying the sites.

LIz was in one of her favorite seats.

 

I think these may be limestone layers that rose in Marble Canyon

The ducks were far away and pretty small in this photo, but just for the memory I am posting it.

Emily and Mija got very excited and I  zoomed in the camera lens to see what was exciting them.

It was the robin’s egg blue at the Confluence: where the Little Colorado River flows into the Colorado. Emily said that they weren’t expecting this surprise because they were expecting the water to be mucky.

They docked the rafts and told us that because the water was clear, we were going to be able to take a swim.  A couple of us climbed up the rocks to take some photos.  Ken got a great shot of the confluence.

We had to take photos of each other…

… and desert flowers.

Audrey and I were excited.

We used a variety of clothing choices for swimming.

I am the smallest looking person in this photo. I had to dip down deeper for this photo because I chose to go naked on the top.  The current was strong and Sue Holmes helped me get out of the water.

Ann wasn’t going to go in the water in her clothes but when she found out that I took my top off, she immediately went for it.

Ann surprised me when she swam further out than anybody else had gone.

 

I read that the turquoise blue color of the Little Colorado was from the high alkaline content and minerals in the water.  We are so lucky that it was not mucky today.  Some of us had to have one final photo taken before we left this oustanding spot.

 

We continued on down the river.  We were now officially and geologically out of Marble Canyon (which is also in Grand Canyon National Park) and had officially entered the Grand Canyon.

Just past the confluence, Emily told us about the 1956 Grand Canyon TWA-United Airlines mid-air collision.  The FAA was created as a result of this accident.

Very shortly after lunch we stopped for lunch.

 

I loved what we think was a Desert Spiny Lizard that joined us at our lunch spot.  Ken said it was about 10 inches long.  It hardly moved so it was easy to take photographs.

Our lunch spot had great views of plants and more – including Audrey.

I loved our lunch spot.  After lunch I continued taking many, many photos.  Going over them for this post makes me aware of the variety of the formations.  I love them all.

The people in Duffy’s raft were covered in the tarps as he negotiated the rapid.

The views just kept coming.

Sue stood on the side of the raft to give a talk about the geology.  I sure wish I could remember what she said. There were people on the trip that really could follow all of her lectures.  I was not one of them but I thoroughly enjoyed her.  Sometimes she rode on Emily’s raft and other times on Duffy’s.

 

How in the world did these branches get stuck in the rocks?

I could see that we were coming to another rapid soon.

This photo might be soon after he came  through a rapid because many of them are still covered up with the tarps.  He must be giving a talk to them.

We sure got wet on this one.  Of course the people in the front were the wettist but it did splash all the way over the bags and soaked us in the back.  I am not allowed to sit up high through these but I hold on with one hand and hold the camera over my head.

I am not sure, but this may be Duffy’s raft just finishing Hance Rapid.  It drops 30 feet in 1/2 mile and was at the start of Granite Gorge.

And here we are getting soaked again at another rapid.

The water was churning.

… and it got us.

Sometimes Emily could maneuver just perfectly and actaly keep us partially dry.

It was time to call it a day at Mile 80 p Grapevine Campsite. I believe we went through 10 rapids today.

We have another great place to put our tent.  We still had some organizing to do.

Kerstin and Duffy are busy working on salad and dessert.

Tonight we had 2 lizards hanging around at the bathroom spot.  They sure aren’t bothered by humans.

They decided that the rocky path to the secluded bathroom had to be moved to make sure nobody would trip over the rocks in the night. So Duffy set up an umbrella to shield the view from the people in line.

So here is how the bathroom works.  They set up a toilet and a large pee pot in a secluded spot (usually with a great view).  The toilet paper is kept in a bag near the wash station.  If the bag of paper is there, we knew not to go up to the toilet. When the paper was returned, we knew the next person in line could proceed.  It was important to pee only (or at least mostly) in the pee pot or in the river.  If that didn’t happen, we would run out of space in the toilet.  What fun.

What a calm, peaceful evening at the end of a great day.

 

 


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2nd Day on the Colorado River 4/24

Duffy was greeting us this morning with his colorful hat.

Ann was in the tent.  My shoes were near the corner of the tent and still a bit wet.

How many times do you get to wake up to this?

Ann is  getting ready for the day….

… and Ken and Audrey are almost packed up.

I love this photo Ken took of their neoprene socks and shoes.  Quoting Ken, “There’s nothing like slipping into wet neoprene socks and dripply shoes to start the day! ”

Personally the neoprene socks and gloves were one of my very best purchases for this trip.

We all have breakfast together.

I love the duck tape that Sue Tanges gave to Dave to repair his rain suit.

Emily started us off with a story – not a great photo of her but a memory.

Sue started us with lessons.  She gets even colder than I do so she is totally bundled up for the day.

We have loaded the rafts and are ready tp go.

Ken is already taking photos.

We are entering a rapid and are happy to see the sunshine on the rocks ahead.

Here comes Duffy’s raft through the rapids.

They are all bundled-up.

The river must have been very high to wash up whatever is on that rock.

Emily always had such a great attitude.

Ken took a photo of the outboard motor within the raft, inside the rear “donut.”

He also took this photo of Bunny, Pat, and me admiring the “Awe-inspiring, (Ken’s words) sites.

Ken and I both took photos of Vassie’s Paradise Waterfall.  The rocks are covered with beautiful moss and ferns.  It was named Vassies in honor of a botanist that traveled on the river last year.

 

People who ride in the front of the raft get the wettest but most exciting ride.

Ann decided to rest for a bit.

When we stopped for lunch, we walked to the back of Redwall Cavern to take a couple of photos looking out.

Our geologist, Sue. pointed out fossils in the rocks.

Using a hand helps show the size.

How is that rock just sitting there.  I wonder when it is going to fall.

Our crew prepared lunch….

… then Emily demonstrated how to fold the tortilla into a cone to contain our salad and Kersten showed us how to fill it.

It was delicious.

We came to a small rapid….

… and held up afterwards so we could film Duffy’s raft coming through it.

Some people brought beers that they hand them off the back of the raft in a mesh bag.  Sue is enjoying hers.

More Agave.

And fantastic sights.

 

I wish I could remember what Sue told us about this.

We made it to mile 52 and stopped to cam at Main Nankoweap.  Duffy took a group of us on a hike up several hundred feet along a steep trail.  He pointed out this foot-bridge tucked into the rocks.  It had been created by the Ancient people

The views were spectacular…

Especially looking back down the river below.

We sure didn’t want to fall on this cactus.

These are some photos along the trail.

 

Our goal was to reach the Ancient Pueblo Granaries. I read that these granaries date back to Ad 1100. They are tightly constructed structureswhich protected food from rodents and preserved corn and seeds for long periods of time in the dry climate.  Duffy told us not to touch them because they could crumble and he pointed out one of them that somebody had touched and it was now a pile of rubble.

Katny had already climbed up to the granary and was happily sitting there.

Ken and I then climbed up to the ledge. We left our poles down below.  It was not easy.  This is Ken’s photo of Duffy standing below the ledge.  You can see the crumbled rubble of on the left dies of the photo not far from the windows.

Ken climbed up and I met him there.   The ledge where we sat was just big enough for to sit down – very narrow.

 

I looked at Ken and could tell that he was just about frozen. This is what he wrote on his Facebook page with this photo. “I’m smiling on the outside, but trembling on the inside!) My friend Curly (right) said she’d never seen ‘that look’ in my eye before. Getting up the last 10 feet to the hole in the wall put it there!”

I was the last one to climb back down to Duffy who was waiting to make sure that we didn’t fall over the ledge below. I was happy that I climbed up to meet them.

Ken was even happier when he got down off the ledge so safety.  I think Duffy was also happy for us to start on our way back down the trail.

For me was much easier for me to hike down than up because my lungs didn’t have to work as hard. It still took some negotiating because there were some pretty sketchy places were we had to negotiate over large drops. I almost had to sit down on a couple of the rock to make the next step.

I was pretty tired after doing that hike to the granary.  Ken and I decided that future hikes should be rated based on this one. Ken said we should call it the, “Duffy Dale Granary Rating Scale.”

It was a pretty chilly evening.  Nancy Chase is warming her hands over our cooking dinner.

It gets dark pretty early and it had started to rain a bit so we hunkered down into the tents.  I think we were in our tents by 8:30.


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Rafting the Colorado River through Grand Canyon 4/22 and 4/23

I am again writing a blog after (actually almost 2 weeks after)I finished the trip.

We arrived in Las Vegas in the late afternoon on May 22nd.  Ann and I took a Lyft directly to the pub to meet Audrey, Ken, Sue, and Liz for a bite to eat and Ann’s treat drink.

At 8:00 pm we went to our orientation meeting.  The presenter generated excitement but left a bit to be desired in her organization of the presentation.  So, of course, I asked questions.  We were given our dry bags (I got 2 because of my CPAP) and an ammo box so we could pack up all of our stuff.  We scheduled wake-up calls for the morning (mine was at 3:45 am) to get up, have breakfast and take off on our adventure.

On the way we stopped at both Walmart (where I purchased an extra dry bag for my backpack) and at a store where I purchased an extra fleece jacket.  Yes, extra fleece jacket because there was snow.

During the 6 hour drive, our geologist (Sue Tanges) began explaining about the geology of the canyon.  The talk was very quickly over my head.  Okay – back to 5th grade: sedimentary; igneous, metamorphic – but she was going way beyond that.  Thanks to Ken Kan and his posts on Facebook, I may be able to identify some of the photos.  I may use many of Ken’s photos (and credit him) because he did such a great job.

We finally arrived at Lee’s Ferry in Marble Canyon and loaded the two 14 passenger rafts. Looks like Ken is handing Aud her raincoat because we are going to be wet.

Everything is loaded and Emily is giving us final instructions.  These rafts are the largest vessels that raft through the Grand Canyon.

Emily Dale and Duffy Dale (cousins) were the leaders for each raft  We also had a a  “swamper” on each raft. Mija with Emily and Kirsten Dale (his wife) with Duffy.  It is amazing that the swampers are not paid any money for this trip.  They just rely on tips from the passengers.

I was on Emily’s raft so my photos are mostly of Duffy’s.  This is one of our first little rapids.

 

Okay. Keeping these photos in order is going to be very hard because I was using two cameras.

Was this bird poop or did Sue tell us something else.

The rock formations were amazing – so amazing that I could not stop taking photos.

Because of Ken’s notes I know that the bottom of these rocks are called “Desert Varnish, iron and magnesium deposits which turn the surface of the rocks black.”

 

I believe that this dory is “one of” the smallest vessels on the river.  The rapids would sure be more exciting in that.

This slide must have been something else.

These are my first couple of photo of a Utah Agave plant in bloom. The common name is Century Plant and they actually only bloom about once every 30 – 35 years and then they die.  I probably took 50 photos of these so they may show up again in this blog. I was just really excited about the first one.

More scenery:  We are so lucky to be here.

 

Our first camping spot was at Mile 17.  It is called “Hot Na Na.” We formed a human bag line (which Ken called the Drugery Line) to off load all of our gear. I think I have photos of this later in the trip. But on the first night we needed to gather around for demonstrations.

 

Emily demonstrated hot to put up the tents and put the cots together.

Sue, opur geologist, helped demonstrate how to wash our hands in the slightly chlorinated water and let them drip dry.  We were going to have to repeat this exercise more times than I want to remember.

Ken, Audrey, or and Cher were listening well.  Not sure they were thrilled.

Our leaders were preparing dinner as we struggled with our first attempt at setting up tents and cots. The tents were easy.  I struggled a bit with the cot, but Ann helped me so – success – yea.

What an incredibly beautiful place to camp.  I think I am going to repeat that phrase over and over again.

Meet Ann’s and my neighbor.  This cute little creature never bothered us.

In spite of the weather and the work, watching the reflection on the rocks brought a beautiful end to our day.

Life is pretty good and we are so privileged (another phrase I will probably repeat over and over again).


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Last Day in Tehran – End of Iran Trip – April 25th

I was so excited this morning because Nadereh actually arranged for me to visit a local synagogue.  I went to the lobby at 7:00 am  and we took a taxi to the neighborhood where the synagogue was located.  We were going for morning prayers.  The synagogue was not open when we arrived so we walked around the area for a while.  Naderah had never done this before so I took her upstairs where the women would be.  There were about 3 or 4 women there.  Naderah was very nervous about my taking photos but I asked the women and was given permission.  A man came upstairs to talk with us.  It wasn’t the man that had invited me for Passover, but he knew we were coming. He welcomed us and assured me that photos were be okay.

It is hard to explain the feelings I had. Although I do not attend a synagogue at home and the prayers are all in Hebrew so I don’t really understand the words, I loved being there.  The only way to explain it is that I feel connected to my grandparents, great grandparents, and my cultural history when I visit synagogues in other countries.

I have visited many synagogues in other countries, but I think this is the first time I have been there when they took the Torah out to pray.

After we left, I asked Naderah the name of the synagogue, but she didn’t know.  I am so glad that I pushed Naderah to assure that this visit to the synagogue happened both because it was wonderful for me and I think this morning was an education for her.

Writing posts over a month after I return home is really crazy.  I completely forgot to include something important in my last couple of posts so I am going to write about it today.  On the 23rd, Bob was not feeling well at all.  We were very concerned about him.  Sally also decided to rest on that day.  By the time we arrived back at the hotel, Bob was doing very poorly.  Naderah took him to the hospital in an ambulance.  Phil went with them.  It was not until the end of the day that we got a report about from Phil about how he was doing.  The were rehydrating him and the doctors were taking good care of him.  He had to rest for several days.  We were all happy to see him back at the hotel and ready to travel home on our last morning. I  am writing about this because it is an example of how we were taken care of on the Road Scholar trip.  This is the second time on this trip that Road Scholar assurance program took care of medical needs of people in our group.  Others Americans (and perhaps Bri

This is a letter I had the opportunity to read from a person who traveled in Iran in March – about a month before our group.  Since it was posted on the web already, I feel okay about sharing it on my post.

An American Casualty of US Economic Sanctions on Iran

By David Hartsough,

March 6, 2019

I went to Iran with a peace delegation of 28 Americans organized by Code Pink, a women-led peace activist group.

The first day in Iran we had a very fruitful hour-and-half conversation with Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran. He listened to our thoughts and concerns and then shared his perspectives about what is needed to help move our countries to a more peaceful and mutually respectful relationship.

Unfortunately, during that day I got increasingly severe chest pains. Friends encouraged me to go a hospital to have my heart checked.  We went to the Shahram Hospital where they quickly did tests and discovered that there was major blockage in the arteries of my heart. The doctor in charge encouraged me to undergo surgery immediately (angioplasty) to avoid having a heart attack.

My heart was heavy in more ways than one. I had been working on and looking forward to this trip to Iran for many months. I hoped that our delegation could contribute to moving our government from extreme economic sanctions and threats of war toward building peace and mutual understanding.

The hospital was ready to do the medical procedure the next morning. My health insurance in the US is with Kaiser Permanente, and Kaiser tells all their members that they are covered for any medical problems while traveling outside of the US. However, when we checked with Kaiser, I was told that they could not send the money to cover the procedure because of the US economic sanctions against Iran.

We appealed that decision but were told the decision was final. No money could be sent to Iran for medical care, even of an emergency nature for US citizens. The doctors also told me that if I were to fly back to the US without surgery, I could very possibly have a heart attack – which could be fatal.

For each of three days they prepared me for the surgery, but for three days the answer came back “NO. No money could be sent to Iran for this procedure. It was not permitted by US government.”

Fortunately for me, two wonderful women at the US interest section of the embassy of Switzerland in Iran, heard about my situation and were able to convince the US embassy in Switzerland to loan the money to me to be used for my medical procedure. Within hours I was moved to The Pars hospital, which specializes in heart work and the procedure was done by Dr. Tiznobeyk, a very skilled heart surgeon.

I spent another night in the hospital and then went back to the hotel to recuperate.  I am, of course, very grateful to be alive but am acutely aware that people in Iran can’t turn to the Swiss embassy for help.

While in hospitals in Iran I talked with doctors and nurses, and heard many stories about people who could not get needed medicines for their illnesses, and died as a result. For example, one person had cancer and the medicines were available in Europe, but they could not do the financial transactions to buy them and she died.

The economic sanctions have also caused extreme inflation and the cost of food, medicine and other necessities grows almost daily.

I have come to understand that economic sanctions are indeed acts of war. And the people who are suffering are not the government or religious leaders of Iran, but the ordinary people.  I hope my personal story may be helpful to assist Americans to realize the violence of economic sanctions in which millions of people of Iran continue to suffer and die because of our government’s policies. I fully agree with what the Iranian Foreign Minister told us: You cannot get security for one country at the expense of security for other countries. We badly need to learn that real security can only be found when we have security for all nations.

I come back home with a heart which is much stronger but also with a much greater commitment to stop US policies of economic sanctions which I believe are acts of war.  I will continue the work of getting the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement and get on the track of peace-building rather than threatening acts of war.  I hope you will join me.

David Hartsough is a Quaker from San Francisco, author of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, Director of Peaceworkers and Co-founder of World beyond War and the Nonviolent Peaceforce

For more info on the trip see:  codepink.org/iranblogs

For more info on the effect of US sanctions on Iran see:

https://worldbeyondwar.org/iranian-sanctions-iraq-redux/ and  https://worldbeyondwar.org/fear-hate-and-violence-the-human-cost-of-us-sanctions-on-iran/

Throughout this trip, I have had contact with warm, friendly people in Iran.  I am still overwhelmed with the insanity of what our governments (both of them) are doing.  I am embarrassed by mine.

Now for our last day both in Tehran (actually the last day in Iran). We visited 3 sites.

  • Azadi-Tower (Freedom Tower)
  • Former US Embassy
  • Golestan Palace

The Azadi-Tower (Freedom Tower) formerly known as the Shahyad Tower was commissioned by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran to mark the 2500th year of the foundation of the Imperial State of Iran.


Of course we took a group photo.

These plastic sculptures were across the street from the Tower.

I loved the sculpture of the man taking a selfie.

we drove to the former US Embassy.  It was a bummer not to be able to get out of the bus and walk by it especially since there weren’t even any demonstrators near the site.  It is quite interesting that the sign in front of it says, “US Den of Espionage Museum – Former US Embassy.”

These are other photos of the walls near the former embassy.

These men were playing music outside of the “embassy.”

Again, we had a lot of traffic.

 

The place were we had lunch served the strangest drink made with Hershey’s syrup.

There were some cute decorations around our lunch place.

I loved watching the children practicing with a soccer ball.

The last place we visited on this trip was Golestan Palace.It is a masterpiece of the Qajar era. These people stopped to talk with me ad take my photo. Of course, I took a photo of them.

The walled Palace, one of the oldest groups of buildings in Teheran, became the seat of government of the Qajar family, which came into power in 1779 and made Tehran the capital of the country. It was built around a garden featuring pools as well as planted areas.

Here are my photos.

 

 

The palace complex houses the Versailles-inspired, mirror encrusted Marble Throne Hall used for the coronation of the last Shah and several other mirrored rooms.

 

All of these mirrors made us dizzy.

I enjoyed talking with this woman and her daughter when we were inside.

This woman is getting water from a public source near the complex.

Here are more photos from the palace area.

These men were doing repairs.

This is the Crown of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar (the first king of the Qajar dynasty – 1788- 1790). It is copper-enameled.

More mirrored rooms and chandeliers.

 

Even the ceiling where they were attached was beautiful.

We returned to the hotel to get packed and ready for our final dinner.  I wore my new tunic.  Sami, Jane, and I took a photo in the lobby.

It was such a treat to see a bride and groom enter the hotel.

These adorable children were at the hotel for the wedding.

Tonight at our final dinner, we celebrated Bob’s and Kay’s anniversary …

… and Sally’s birthday.

These men were in the hotel restaurant with us.  Somebody asked me to find out what they were smoking.

 

Of course I did.  They were from Eastern Turkey (Mardin, Sanliurfa and other eastern cities) – all places that I visited when Elaine Newland and I were traveling in Turkey.  When they told me they were smoking Nargile or Turkish Water pipe with different flavors of Turkish tobacco.  I laughed out loud remember all the Nargile centers we saw in Eastern Turkey.

Of course I had to take a photo with them.  I have no idea what the man in the background was doing when we were taking the photo.  He was not one of the men from the group.

When dinner was over, I asked Sami if he wanted to go meet these men.  He declined.  I sure hope it wasn’t because they were Kurdish.

Well after dinner I called Mahsa, another Servas representative, to tell her that Naderah had gone home with her Mom who she had brought to our dinner.  Mahsa told me that she lived way on the other side of Tehran and it would take her way over an hour to get to the hotel because it was Thursday night – the beginning of the Friday holiday.  She suggested that I wait in my room, but I told her that I enjoyed sitting in the lobby.  I am so glad I did that.

I wandered around for a bit and entered a room where the wedding was being celebrated.  There were all men in the room and some of them were dancing.  I was given permission to take a photo ..

…and then I left to sit in the hotel lobby.  A man walked up to me and asked me if I wanted to see the women. What I heard him say is “Vomen” and I didn’t understand him.  He said it a couple of times so I decided to follow him. I was thinking, “Now I may get myself into trouble.”  He took me to the 2nd floor, pointed to a room and said that he couldn’t go into the room with me.  Finally I understood that it was where the women were celebrating.

When entered the room, I was warmly greeted by many women.  They were laughing and dancing.  We took many photos but I was advised not to post those photos because many of the women were not wearing scarves.  It was okay for them because no men were in the room, but posting the photos would not be okay.  It was okay for me to post the photos of the children who were dancing and having a wonderful time …

… and the mother of the bride with bride’s aunt.

They invited me to eat with them and even though I had already had dinner, I sat down with a group of women.  I was at the party for over an hour.  Words do not express how wonderful this was for my last night in Tehran.

And it wasn’t over.  I sat in the lobby and had very brief conversations with many of the guests as they were leaving.  At about 12:00, Mahsa arrived and we talked for about an hour.

I wasn’t even tired.  I was again so thankful that I belong to Servas and that Servas representatives from Iran were willing to drive all the way to my hotel to meet with me.

It was after 1:00 am when I went to the room. We had to get up before 3:00 to be in the lobby in time to leave in time to get to the airport by 4:30 am.

I have been home for 6 weeks and finally finishing the posts to this blog.  I wish I could have remembered more details but I am happy that I at least was able to upload many photos and memories.

Although there are many parts of this trip (size of group, big bus rides, restrictions on our movement, being too short, not having enough time to be in small villages and to talk with people), I am very happy that I took this trip to Iran.  I am incredibly privileged to have had this opportunity to see sights that many Americans will never see.  The Iranian people are exceptionally friendly.  Almost every time I made any I contact, just by saying “Salam,” they would greet me back. Chetori (How are your) and Hoobam (I am well), they would smile and repeat the same to me.  When somebody actually stopped to talk with me or take photos and I said, “Iran zibast,” which means. “Iran is beautiful,” they would show their joy.   I loved the times when I met people who wanted to take photos with us using their cameras.  If there was any conversations in English, it usually was about how the people of Iran and U.S. are wonderful but the government is not. These brief interactions and connections with the people of Iran showed me once again that people to people contact is what we must have to even begin to creating peace in our crazy world.