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You know you’re in Texas when

--when the bas relief of the Dumas TX motel waffle iron is oddly asymmetric. You study the strange edges in the dim light of the breakfast area with a growing suspicion, but flipping the heated iron over, following the instructions, you see someone's presumed you wanted a waffle the image of Texas.

Ya’at’eeh from Tuba City, Arizona!

I'd envisioned myself hiking alone in Sedona for three magical days, vortexed into a frenzied energy, taken by wizened hippies to a hillside lair for impromptu meditation. Instead, in spite of the brazenly gorgeous Sedona landscape, I felt the whole place to be a pseudo-spiritual, wildly affluent, corporate-run and supremely phony tourist trap. I was slightly horrified to feel this way about such a beautiful place, and tried to lecture myself into giving further consideration, but to no avail. I got the hell out of Nirvana Dodge after a single (albeit lovely) hike. 7685

Let the Games begin!

BEIJING- I've run myself ragged over the past five days trying to get a sense of China as she gears up for the Debutante Ball, and so far I have a pocket full of threads awaiting a tapestry. I must say, China is a country of great contrasts. A communist country with in-your-face capitalism everywhere. A landscape of unbelievable beauty made hazy by poisoned and polluted air. Oppressive heat and humidity and noisy throngs of people outside; feng shui, gentle music, and cool crisp air inside. 4068

Lighthouse at the end of the world

While in Ushuaia, I took a boat ride through the Beagle Channel to faro del fin del mundo or, as it is more commonly known in our secret language -- known to almost no Argentinians -- lighthouse at the end of the world. This is the very same lighthouse around which Jules Verne spun his pirate tale The Lighthouse at the End of the World.   I imagine that Cape Horn, south of the Beagle Channel, probably boasts a lighthouse or two of its own. But, as with most things he wrote about, Jules was darn close to correct!

Can u say Ushuaia?

USHUAIA, ARGENTINA- Today I am in Ushuaia, on the island of Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost city in the world. Woot, woot! I took a leisurely boat ride through the Beagle Channel -- so named for the ship in Charles Darwin's famous journey -- and learned about the Yamanas, the indigenous Fuegons as they like to be called. Right. More on the Yamanas later, but I think they will prove my theory about the body's natural thermostat. 2962

Intestinal design

      Can you figure out what this is? Look closely and think, think, think. This particular item has been singled out of thousands of similar items for Best Design honors.   Check out my blog at Culture Chakra for more juicy tidbits.