Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wednesday, September 9

Today a few colleagues and I visited a flood-damaged bridge site in Dunn County, (western) North Dakota. This county is sparsely populated (even by North Dakota standards) and breathtakingly beautiful – with rolling prairie hills and a hint of “badlands” geomorphology and geology. This is truly “Big Sky” country – not taking anything away from my former homeland – the real land of “Big Sky” : Montana.

Aside from the rugged beauty we bore witness to throughout the six-hour or so sojourn, the reason I am making a blog entry this day is to pen a few words on two incidental parts of our working day. First, we visited the Assumption Abby in the small town of Richardton, Stark County. The complex is architecturally very beautiful and interesting.
St. Mary’s Church (Third Avenue) is the centerpiece of a pretty large Benedictine Monastic complex built by Swiss Priests in the early years of the nineteenth century. The site is well worth a visit and there is a marvelous view of the northern prairie hills and the Knife River Valley right behind the church. The associated cemetery (a few hundred meters to the southwest) is filled with many intricate early twentieth-century iron markers (see my Flickr photo blog for many more photographs).

Our environmental and structural trio then repaired to the city of Dickinson (Stark County) for lunch at the suggestion of a colleague, Good-Ole Boy, and long-term citizen of the Peace Garden State (my pal Lou). We dead-headed to Jacks Restaurant (1406 West Villard Street) to try some of the fabled borscht and broasted chicken. Needless to say, and in concurrence with various reviews (including a purported spot on a nationally syndicated television program and an article in a famous gourmet food rag), the soup was stupendous! I have eaten many a bowl of this peasant stew whilst vagabonding through Mother Russia, Eastern Europa, the Baltics, and Scandanavia. In fact, I have kept a log on the most interesting varieties of this delicacy that I have had intimate knowledge of. Jack’s borscht was on par with the best Russian (and Polish, Finn, Czech, and Lithuanian) beetroot soups (both hot and cold and meat and vegetarian) I have tasted. Jack’s creation seemed to be in a chicken stock base, had lovely bits of smoked ham, along with shredded cabbage, diced beets and potatoes, celery root, onion and all the rest of the standard ingredients.  All I can say is mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-good.  The “broasted” chicken was also super-delicious. I have munched on many a piece of this sort of delicacy and again, Jack’s "pressure-fried" fowl rivals the best I have eaten in the heartland of this method of cookin’ good – Iowa.  

I managed to have an audience with Jack whilst paying our bill - we talked about borscht and his plans of making a whole lot more! Jack was very proud of his handiwork – and so am I - good on you Jacko! This was a special lunch interlude in the high plains work-a-day world of mine and one that I will remember most fondly!

For additional photos see my Flickr blog:

Ciao and God Bless America and the Dakotas,  Chinese-Buffalo (at large)

Ciao and adios amigos,

Monday, September 7, 2009

4th of July Weekend,
North & South Dakota

This entry is, as usual, late. However, I started writing it as I was sitting on a plane returning back to the USA from a fortnight’s holiday in Central America. And, as I am now resolved to put down notes of my travels on a much more regular basis, I want to catch up. Even though most of this blog was written whilst I was still on a Middle Americas high, I really wanted to capture a marvelous long weekend I enjoyed two months ago in North & South Dakota and have now just got around to finishing it.
So, July 4th (Independence Day) fell on a Saturday and I had the day off from my job in the EHP Cadre of FEMA. I had at this point been in North Dakota for five weeks and was enjoying the deployment. Saturday is a normal working day for us, but because of the larger holiday weekend we were given the option of taking the day off on Friday and having a long weekend. Many of my colleagues at the Joint Field Office in Bismarck decided to leave and to fly home. However, from my perspective there was so much going on locally that I decided to make this a holiday weekend to remember! 

The kickoff occurred Thursday evening when colleagues and I attended the opening night of the Bismarck-Mandan Rodeo – a wonderful celebration of all things cowboy and a real rodeo. The event was held across the mighty Missouri River from Bismarck in Dakotah Centennial Park, Mandan. The ticket price included hot dogs, soda (or pop as the locals say), chips, and cookies – the beer was extra. The grounds were packed with spectators who came from miles around to watch some very talented cowboys and cowgals in action. Especially notable were the competitions in bareback and saddleback bronc riding, tie-down calf roping and steer wrangling, bull riding, team roping, barrel racing, and the ever popular and dangerous mutton busting. I had not been to a rodeo since my tenure in Montana back in the 1970s. My how things have changed – rock music blasting (Springsteen, B-52s,Rolling Stones) orchestrated by the ring announcer who obviously was a veteran rodeo man and who really pumped up the crowd. My favorite musical interlude occurred when the Steve Miller Band’s song “Space Cowboy” came on loudly during the bull riding set – a real crowd pleaser!  I also very much loved the macho names of the broncs and bulls.  The audience was great and the event was truly old west Americana. The festivities ended with a fireworks display whilst Roy Rogers and Dale Evans “Happy Trails to You” blasted from the PA system. 

Friday morning (July 3) – having mostly digested the many hot dogs I ate the night before and washed the rodeo dust from my eyes, I arose early and took a long drive down to the Badlands National Park (South Dakota) by way of the very northern tip of the Black Hills and through Sturgis. The trip down the west side of the Dakotas was scenic and interesting. I have a variety of photographs posted on my Flickr blog site (see below for address). Although I only skirted a small portion of the Black Hills, they were remarkably beautiful and deserving of a special trip of exploration soon.  Sturgis, South Dakota, a fairly old town for this region and named for Brevet Major General and Colonel Samuel Davis Sturgis (United States Army, 7th Cavalry), was a magnet that pulled me in. There are many nice older houses, but many more rough-tough hombres that compliment the overarching theme of the annual motorcycle rally. Although I like the Harley Davidson brand of iron horses and Dennis Hopper and Marlin Brando, the bars and t-shirt shops reminded me too much of the downside of the Jersey shore and did not impress me. However, the draw is clearly the beautiful scenery of the Black Hills.

A short distance outside (east) of town on Interstate 90 is the Black Hills National Cemetery – a beautifully sited 100+-acre burying ground established in 1948 and containing over 21,000 interments. Farther on down the Interstate (ca. 160 kilometers) is the entrance to the Badlands National Park. I took the ca. 50-kilometer-long scenic loop and was bowled-over by the beauty of the rugged landscape. Again, my Flickr blog has many photographs.


I exited the National Park and traveled south and east through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation along State Highways 44 and 73. My route then took me due north on Interstate 14 and State Highway 63 through the beautiful and interesting Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservations. The Standing Rock Reservation is large and straddles both North and South Dakota. I regularly work with the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer in Fort Yates, N.D. and have gotten to know the locale pretty well over the past 3½ months. Whilst driving through the reservation lands I found a tremendous Tribal radio station – KLND – 89.5 that had me rocking all the way back to Bismarck.

Up early on Saturday, July 4th in total anticipation of the gala Independence Day parade in Mandan. I arrived and got a great spot on Main Street on the east side of town. This was the 128th anniversary of the parade and what an event it was – I may have never, ever felt as patriotic and proud to be an American! I gleefully watched and clapped through the many hour-long home-spun spectacle. Some of the highlights included:

  • The Mayor of Mandan leading the parade – out in front by herself and proudly representing this terrific small town.
  • The crowd’s very vocal appreciation of the life-sized cardboard cutout of John Wayne (displayed by itself on a tractor-pulled hay wagon).

  • Being thrown candy and waved at by the North Dakota Dairy Princess and her retinue.

  • Regular folks sitting in folding chairs on tractor-pulled hay wagons, waving to the crowd.

  • Spectators clapping and yelling at the convoy of huge super-tractors and other massive farm machines (especially the ones driven by pretty ladies).

  • The applause, appreciation, and salutes given to the North Dakota National Guard and older Vets on parade.

  • The applause and appreciation given to the Congressman and Aides on parade (now how often do you see that).

  • Families riding horses on parade and interspersed behind and in front of classic cars.

  • The local grocery chain’s float (tractor pulling a hay wagon) – giving out bottled water.

  • The local dentist’s consortium float (tractor pulling a hay wagon) handing out toothbrushes.

  • The float of a local antique automobile restorer that consisted on an old ford truck (placed on the bed of a hay wagon pulled by a tractor - get the theme) surrounded by weeds and bushes – like the way he found his treasure!

  • The crowd’s applause and appreciation given to the Bismarck animal rescue team and vet hospital – the hay wagon crowed with friends, colleagues and family holding adorable animals.

  • The gang of teen-aged skateboarders on parade.

  • The float of the Space Aliens restaurant.

After the parade I cruised back to Bismarck and went for a long walk along the left bank of the mighty Missouri River. I then rested a bit and got ready to attend the Independence Day concert and fireworks display at the State Capitol.  It was a lovely night with a large crowd. The “mall” in front of the unique capitol building is a wonderful place that hosts all sorts of events. The musical fiesta was preceded by speeches given by the mayor, the General of the North Dakota National Guard, and even by the current and past Governors and their wives! The Bismarck Symphony was in great form, but I could not wait until the finale of John Philip Sousa patriotism and fireworks – I was not disappointed!  I have witnessed fireworks displays and symphonies in places like New York City and Washington, D.C, and the one in Bismarck was certainly on par with them! What a terrific night!  I walked the many blocks home and was once again filled with good old-fashioned Western American pride.

Sunday, July 5 was the last day of the great holiday weekend and I was resolved to end it well. I heard good things about Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park - the infantry and cavalry post from whence Geo. Armstrong Custer led the men of the 7th Cavalry to fight at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in June 1876. The park is only ca. 12 kilometers south of Bismarck along scenic State Highway 1806, but I arose early and headed down to explore as much of the 1,000-acre park as I could. Located at the confluence of the Heart and Missouri Rivers, the state government has done a really nice job of restoring and interpreting the various 16th- to 18th-century Mandan Indian earth lodges and elements of the 19th-century military post (especially Custer's Victorian house). The interpretive center and other parts of the park were in the 1930s by the Civillian Conservation Corps. The landscape is serene and the views northeast and southeast from the bluffs above the rivers are outstanding. The associated campground is also top-notch - KUDOS and PLAUDITS to the State of North Dakota!


My day (and long weekend) ended with a trip up and down the mighty Missouri aboard the Lewis and Clark Riverboat. Sausage pizza and ice-cold Corona beer were on the menu and what a great way this was to spend a couple of hours in the early evening and to close out a most memorable 4th of July weekend.

For additional photos see my Flickr blog:

Ciao and God Bless America and the Dakotas,  Chinese-Buffalo (at large)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial,
Pennington County, South Dakota

43.88614 North Latitude
103.45010 West Longitude

Sunday, August 30 – I woke up well before dawn and headed down to South Dakota to visit two places that I have longed to see – Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mountain. I have been fascinated with these extremely large granite carvings ever since I was a child – their history, the magnitude of the stonework, and the complexity of the engineering. I had some time ago dabbled in the production of granite countertops when the archaeological consulting business was at a low. I know full well how difficult it is to work with this material. My trip started as per usual by taking roads that I had not yet traveled on – easy enough to do in these two large states. My trip began by driving down North Dakota State Highway 8 to the South Dakota border. I then hopped on South Dakota State Highway 75 below Hettinger, ND and crossed over to Highway 79 down to Sturgis. From the Mecca of Harley Davidsons I took scenic Highway 14A into Deadwood and then 385 through the Black Hills (National Forest) into Keystone and a short distance later to Mt. Rushmore. This drive was beautiful beyond description and my neck hurt from the constant twisting and turning.
The profile of Mt. Rushmore came up quickly as I headed into the park – lots of room for cars and motorcycles and motor homes to pull off and stare in awe – and that’s just what I did! Couldn’t wait to get into the memorial and get up close. The monument nicely accommodates touristas and it is IMPRESSIVE! The scenery of the Black Hills is a sight to behold. There were hundreds of visitors from all over the country and abroad, but the viewing areas and trails below the sculptures were so large that you never got the feeling of being crowded or caught up in a fast moving line. The figures were nothing short of completely and utterly amazing – a masterpiece! Kudos to Mr. Gutzon Borglum and his hundreds of colleagues for their many decades of work and to our government for doing such a great job with this park. I left feeling very much inspired with patriotism and nationalism.


Crazy Horse Mountain,
Custer County, South Dakota 

43.83772 North Latitude
103.62269 West Longitude

Feeling some time and mileage constraints I headed west across the incredibly beautiful Highway 244, and then south on U.S. Highway 385/16 to the Crazy Horse Monument – a project in the Black Hills started in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, and still under construction by members of his family and a tremendously dedicated non-profit group. This monument is dedicated to the Oglala Lakota leader, Crazy Horse. The carving depicts the famed warrior on a horse and majestically juts out (facing south) from a large granite outcropping on what Tribal groups refer to as Thunderhead Mountain. This work of art is located 10 or so kilometers southwest of Mt. Rushmore, a short distance north of the lovely old town of Custer (named for one of the main Black Hills Expedition camps of Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer). Crazy Horse Monument rivals the more famous National Memorial both in scope and grandeur. Seeing it fulfilled a life-long ambition! The associated Indian Museum of North America / Native American Cultural Center is terrific, and the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has ambitious plans for a Native American university and medical center!

Highways 16A and 36 took me through the incredibly beautiful landscape of Custer State Park. From there I headed north into Rapid City and Sturgis and then back into North Dakota on a set of as yet still untraveled highways (212/73).

I have been living in this part of the High Plains for over three months and still cannot get enough of the prairie landscape! This was a very long, but rewarding day of traveling for the old Chinese-Buffalo. For additional photos see my Flickr blog:

Ciao, Chinese-Buffalo (at large)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dakota Zoo, Bismarck, North Dakota

46.8000 North Latitude
100.7990 West Longitude

I had originally intended to blog on a very regular basis. My thought was to get these missives out twice a week -- there is so much going on in my life that I want to make a record of it. However, finding the time after rising before light and putting in 10 or more hours a day at work, exercising, and going to the Elks Club for happy hour and camaraderie, is definitely challenging. I have recently returned from a short trip to Central America and thereabouts resolved to dutifully blog away upon my return. Well, a fortnight has passed and I have yet to live the dream!

I have found many times in my life that when I am faced with a difficult or inconvenient task it is best if I jump right in and start – as an old and very wise fellow once said “just do something, and deal with it that way!” So, here goes what I hope will become regular posts (and I will make up for lost time and past events that really ought to be recorded as the blogs get transmitted).

Upon returning from my excursion to Central America in early August I was promoted to Team Leader of FEMA’s Environmental and Historic Preservation Cadre in Bismarck, North Dakota (Disaster #1829 – Ice and Winter Floods). I thought that my days were full before as a project specialist and SME (subject matter expert) – I am now extremely busy with meetings, task management, reviews and reports – in addition to my archaeological and general historic preservation duties. This past Saturday the amount of projects in our cadre’s review queue was at a manageable level and a few colleagues and I decided to take part of the afternoon off and go to the zoo!

The Dakota Zoo, located in Sertoma Park along Riverside Park Road, dates from the early 1960s and occupies a little under 100 acres of ground adjacent to the east bank of the mighty Missouri River. A generous donation by a local dentist opened the zoo without charge to the proletariat. What a splendid gesture on part of a local businessman, and typical of the generosity of many North Dakotans that I have met! The day was beautiful and the zoo was absolutely packed with a couple of thousand visitors. I live in a hotel near the zoo and regularly walk and jog on a footpath running along its east and south sides. Large mammals are always watching me strut by and I am glad that I had the chance to make their acquaintance on a more formal basis. Some of my favorite inhabitants include: the horned frog, Burmese python, Emu, golden pheasant, Chinese Barking deer, brown faced spider monkeys, redneck wallabies, macaws, otters, tigers, Bactrian camels, gray and Mexican wolves, elk, Dall sheep, Highland cows, tamarins, lemurs, cockatoos, brown bear and, of course, the bison!

Our group had a great time on our outing. We walked and walked, listened to the band, and marveled at just how wonderful this zoo really is – and started by a family who simply loved and cared for animals – KUDOS and PLAUDITS!

I left the zoo late afternoon and proceeded to do some laundry. I used to drop my clothes off at a local tanning salon and the nice (bronzed) gals would wash and dry and fold for me (the tanning salon is adjacent to a laundry). I loved chit-chatting up the part-time laundresses and appreciated the convenience. However, the math worked out that it was far cheaper for me to enter the dreaded facility and do my own work. I now happily sit and read my FEMA Public Assistance Guidebook whilst my duds are dealt with!

I am off very early on the morrow to visit Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mountain, and hopefully will continue to pen a communiqué or two. Check out my Flickr blog for additional photos of my trip to the zoo ( ).

Ciao, Chinese-Buffalo (at large)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Five Months on the Road!
Bismarck, North Dakota

Today is my birthday and I am very much loving and appreciating life! My tenure with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency - Department of Homeland Security) working with disaster relief efforts in Iowa and North Dakota has been filled with hard work, long hours, sobering reality regarding loss of property and infrastructure destruction, and limitless learning opportunities. I have also met many wonderful colleagues and members of the communities where I am stationed - many of whom have become fast friends, mates, pals, amigos & chums!

I am resolved to regularly post to this blog site. Thanks to all who have commented and otherwise contacted me about it. One of the reasons this particular endeavor has lagged a bit is that I have spent quite a lot of time and brain power getting my Flickr photo site up and running ~ and up and running it is! Here is the title and address:

The Chinese Buffalo ~ Tales, Travels and Photos Thereof

Please check it out and leave comments - sign in to receive updates (which I enter on a weekly basis).

One note I must make is that although I received birthday greetings this morning from a number of friends, family, & colleagues, I received three very special shout-outs -- one from my lovely and wonderful wife and two from my two best friends (Carolyn and Tommy Z). Even though hard at work I reflected on and off just how important family and friends are. I often turn to these thoughts whilst on the road -- normal bit of loneliness, but the true value of amigas and amigos is easily understood.

I journeyed out to North Dakota over Memorial Day weekend, leaving Iowa and my duties there for a little while (due to return sometime later this summer). I drove north through western Iowa and into southwestern Minnesota, stopping at Pipestone National Monument to view the historic Native American
catlinte quarries. From there I crossed into South Dakota and over the beautiful Bois de Sioux and James rivers, and ran across the northern tier of the state. At this point two pheasant cocks (Phasianus colchicus), weighing about a kilogram each, flew into my car and hurt it pretty badly. These beautiful (and tasty) birds were introduced into the Dakotas from China in the early 20th century and are thriving! A short mechanical delay ensued and I rolled into North Dakota during a great thunder storm late in the evening. And so began my deployment in the land of the "Fighting Sioux."

I am signing off as there is threat of a tornado - and if the tornado does not materialize, then at least there is likely to be high wind, heavy rain, and hail. I am off on the morrow (weather permitting) to visit the Spirit Lake Sioux Reservation.

Ciao, Chinese-Buffalo (at large)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Three Months on the Road!

Des Moines, Iowa

Today, Easter Sunday, marks three months that I have been deployed to Iowa as a DAE (Disaster Assistance Employee) with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Ninety days on the road – and I love it! My work is truly enjoyable and I am part of a very large group of dedicated people who are there to help others in need. True to form I try to make every day an adventure and to embrace the moment. This is easy to do when in a new and unfamiliar and super-cool place. And Iowa fits the bill nicely. My job as an archaeologist in the “Special Considerations” Cadre takes me to various project sites across the state and I have seen quite a lot in the past three months. I hope to continue to see even more – especially to watch Mother Corn grow and grow!

I am trying to update this blog on a regular basis, as I have found it difficult to remember details if I don’t regularly pound my thoughts down on a keyboard. I keep a notebook with me at all times and am always scribbling notes – this and an annotated road map and digital images are the primary data for my blog. Many of my traveling mates have Flickr accounts (online photo management and sharing application) and I have been so impressed that I have decided to link many of the digital images that I am so fond of taking to my blog. However, this is a bit easier said than actually accomplished! But, soon my Flickr website (The Chinese Buffalo ~ Tales, Travels and Photos Thereof) will appear as a direct link.

So, since I have been here in the Midwest for such a long time and have only just started to blog it up (as of last week), I am going to just spit out some semi-random thoughts and experiences I have had in this wonderful state and working for FEMA.|

• Iowa is agricultural and it is really wonderful to drive around (or fly over) and to see expansive ag fields as far as the eye can see. Tractors actually share the road with automobiles and people wave to you on rural roads whether they are on foot or in a passing car. The Iowanians are friendly and gracious beyond (IMHO) the norm! Serious weather reports, plowing and planting dates, soil conditions, and hog and grain and pasture and range reports are facts of daily life and are taken seriously. The wide-spread flooding across the state last spring affected both rural areas and towns and cities. The swollen rivers and creeks took their toll on housing and infrastructure and there are many areas that will not return. I am amazed to see how much help FEMA and various State agencies are providing to many hard hit communities.

• It is also heart warming to see so many people dressed in Carhartt work clothing! I no longer feel alone in the world dressed in canvas pants and coat. I feel accepted and like I belong, especially since I now sport a genuine Dekalb corn seed cap (with the winged ear of corn soaring across the crown). I recently gave a presentation to the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist wearing a coordinated canvas vest and trousers and felt better than if I were wearing a custom-made Thai silk suit from Bangkok.

• The weather has been very cold (no, I mean incredibly cold) for the first couple months of my stay, but spring is on it way. I was up north of Cedar Rapids late last week and corn stalk discing, fertilizing, and seeding has begun!!!! – Booyah!! I also hear that the mighty Walleye are beginning to run pretty dang well – can’t wait to do some fishin’. For better or worse, low-till, no-till, conservation, or scratch plowing is widely practiced hereabouts. Good for the conservationists (although with some debate), but not so good for the archaeologists who use surface reconnaissance as a primary method of prehistoric site identification.

OK, forgot how fast time flies by whilst inside the blogosphere. I have an early call on the morrow – monitoring some demolition in a prehistorically sensitive area along the mighty Cedar River. Happy Vernal Equinox to all - celebrate.

• One last thing before I retire for the evening. Colleagues and I ate at Oasis Falafel (206 N Linn St, Iowa City) on Friday. This was my second visit and I will be back again and again when in this university town. We had terrific falafel, hummus, babba ganoush, beef kababs, and whole wheat pita. Their hot sauce, tahini (garlic sesame), & mango curry sauces were outrageously scrumptious, as was the Turkish Coffee! Great place & great staff – but avoid the high noon rush.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Time to blog!

Des Moines, Iowa, USA

It has been quite a while since I started this blog - with great intent to share information on my travels and life. Well, as per usual, things piled up and i just did not have the time or energy or motivation to get back to it. I have traveled to a bunch of new and exciting destinations since I wrote the initial entries and am bursting to impart the highlights. I quite often send long-winded emails to disparate sets of friends and colleagues and family about my trips and adventures. However, for many reasons I still think providing this information
vis-à-vis the blog site of the Travels and Tales of the Chinese Buffalo would be a wicked cool idea! So, let the blog begin (sort of like the start of the great Italiano horse race - Palio di Siena). Speaking of Siena, I visited this absolutely and incredibly beautiful Tuscan city a year ago and will remember it as one of the most lovely places on earth -- Viva Italia!

I am now employed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and am deployed working on flood damaged sites in the Midwest (Iowa) -- AND I LOVE IT!!!!
I have traveled widely throughout this most interesting and beautiful state and intend to share some of these experiences with the blogosphere. I am going to make a point of posting on a regular basis and I do hope that some find it interesting. I have long ago found it important to treat every day as something special and to enjoy and appreciate where you are at at any given moment. I also try to reflect on the events in life that got me to the place where I am and to frame them from both a narrow perspective and that of a much broader picture that is my life.

The photo shown above is a marvelous Hindu Temple under construction a short distance northwest of Des Moines (where I currently reside). My job takes me into the field quite a bit to evaluate the archaeological potential of flood damaged properties across the state. I was driving with a FEMA colleague (architectural historian) and good mate of mine from Laos
(Tai Dom) and alternatively chit-chatting about SE Asia and prehistoric Iowanian archaeological sites when we crossed the mighty Des Moines River, rose up a steep hill talking about how the area is a great location for Native American habitation when this large temple came into view (surrounded on all sides by cornfields). We stopped and investigated and took pictures. My thoughts immediately went to the interesting temples I visited in Southeast Asia and the Indian communities I have seen in Great Britain and Ireland and then got stuck on the fact that I have not yet visited Mother India -- an issue that will soon be rectified!

I have experienced another interesting part of the East Indian immigrant population in Iowa early on in my stay hereabouts - visiting the Maharishi Vedic Organic Agricultural Institute in Fairfield, (southeast) Iowa. I hope to find and post some of the images and notes I took of the Maharishi University during a cold Sunday in February - very amazing and worth a trip!

Namaste mates.