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2002-07-19 - 1:57 p.m.

Friday Five.

Our vacation was great and I'm working on the Far North entry. It will probably be done later today. For now, here's the Friday Five.

1. Where were you born? Anchorage, Alaska at Elmendorf Air Force Base Hospital.

2. If you still live there, where would you rather move to? If you don't live there, do you want to move back? Why or why not? This is very appropriate, given that we just got back from visiting my parents in Anchorage and discussed the possibility of moving there. In some ways I'd like to--it will always be my hometown and I miss the mountains, water, and my favorite places. But I know that I'm focusing on a skewed picture. The last two times I've been back have been for a week during the summer and we've had perfect weather. Not at all the usual way of things. I know I'm discounting the long, dark, cold winters and the months of crappy, rainy, hypothermia weather in the spring and fall. Plus, there are no professor jobs in The Scientist's field, so it's really just a hypothetical situation. I'd love to move back to Minneapolis-St. Paul someday. I really miss the Cities. I think of the places I've lived it's the one I can see myself settling in for the long haul. I miss so many things (people, places, atmosphere) about living there.

3. Where in the world do you feel the safest? Feeling "safe" has never been a high priority of mine and isn't something I think about very often. I haven't lived anywhere overtly dangerous. Although I heard gunshots occasionally and saw frequent arrests in my South Minneapolis neighborhood, I never felt truly unsafe. I didn't feel unsafe when I lived in London and certainly not in Anchorage or here. I guess at this point I feel safest (or at least most secure) when I'm with The Scientist, wherever that may be.

4. Do you feel you are well-traveled? Sometimes. I've been various places in the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), a bit of Canada and Mexico, a number of places in the Caribbean, quite a bit of the UK (including Scotland), France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Gibraltar, and the airport in Reykjav�k, Iceland. But I've never been to any of the Scandinavian countries, any of Eastern Europe, Greece, Italy, any of South or Central America, anything south of the equator, or anywhere in Asia. So my list starts looking kind of lame. But I definitely feel like a seasoned traveler. Airports, train stations, boats, buses, rental cars in foreign countries, finding random places to sleep, ordering food when I don't speak the language--I have done and can do all of these things so that gives me a certain measure of confidence in unfamiliar situations.

5. Where is the most interesting place you've been? Morocco, definitely. I was only there for four days, but it was a remarkable and eye-opening experience. I was traveling with two other women, one Canadian and one American. The Canadian was gorgeous and friendly and was forever hooking us up with different people to hang out with. She had the ability to meet and charm people wherever we went. The other American was Arabic by birth and spoke some Arabic, although a different dialect than spoken in Morocco. Still, she was our lead communicator and got us into a women-only public bath (called a hammas, but I'm probably spelling it wrong) where we were washed, scrubbed, rinsed, and steamed by and with Moroccan women, none of whom spoke any English. It was amazing and probably unrepeatable. We also made friends with some English soccer hooligans (yes, really--some of them were on the official European Hooligan List) on the boat from Gibraltar to Tangiers and scammed them past customs by pretending they were our boyfriends. They shared a sleeping car with us on the night train, finagled us into a World Cup warm-up Morocco vs. England soccer game (for free--we didn't have tickets and were probably the only three women in the entire stadium), and managed to hook up with the most...interesting of local characters, people we would never had met or hung out with. It was such an experience, the most random, fascinating, crazy, adventurous four days of my life.

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