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  1. #901
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    Mandaloopy's Avatar
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    The school that I work at has great sporting facilties, including an Olympic length pool, basketball courts, football field, some gymnastics stuff and a gym, they are keenly used by most students. Hiking is also a popular family sport on the weekends.

  2. #902
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    Also, just got back from Khovsgol lake, it was nice to see it unfrozen.







    So a lot of fuss is made about it being too cold for swimming, seriously if Capt. Spaghetti Arms can deal with the freeze I don't think anyone has much of an excuse

    There again, I fucking hate the heat and could burn under a full moon.

  3. #903
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    Interesting reading about Mongolia in the time of Marco Polo (partly fiction, more or less)

    Gary Jennings: Journeyer
    The Journeyer - Wikipedia

    Gary Jennings Makes Like Marco Polo and Returns with His Own Tall Tale, the Journeyer

    He was marooned by a mountain avalanche in Pakistan, arrested in Turkey and almost inadvertently married in Thailand. But to hear best-selling author Gary Jennings tell it, the mishaps that befell him during the research for his latest work, The Journeyer (Atheneum, $19.95), fit his modus operandi: “I try never to do the same thing twice.”

    Jennings, 55, spent 1981 journeying to the same lands Marco Polo visited, filling in with his own imaginings the gaps in the record of the Italian explorer’s 13th-century travels. The result is a 782-page epic that made the New York Times best-seller list only weeks after its January publication.

    Jennings labored 22 years and wrote 17 books before his 1980 novel, Aztec, caught fire (Avon Books paid $750,000 for the paperback rights, and it is being made into a miniseries by Dino De Laurentiis). Born the son of a printer in the Blue Ridge mountain town of Buena Vista, Va., Jennings attended art school in New York City in the 1940s, worked as a commercial artist, then served as a front-line correspondent for the Army during the Korean War. “When I got back to Madison Avenue,” he says, “I realized that copywriters made more than artists, so I switched.” He worked his way up to creative director of a small advertising agency, and in 1958 quit and headed west to write the great American novel.

    “I starved and slept on park benches,” he says, relaxing in the airy living room of his hillside house in Marin County, Calif. “I wrapped myself in the pages of my manuscript to keep warm. For two and a half years I took odd jobs; nothing was going to deter me.”

    Unfortunately that first novel, Sow the Seeds of Hemp, flopped. Children’s books followed—12 of them—before Jennings moved to San Miguel de Allende, a small town north of Mexico City, in 1968. One night he attended a sound-and-light show at the Teotihuacán pyramids. “It made the back of my neck prickle.” This experience gave him the idea of writing a novel about the Aztec Indians in the 16th century. Ten years of extensive travel among the Mexican Indians followed.

    After Aztec became a best-seller his publisher wanted a Son of Aztec, but Jennings refused. Now intrigued by Marco Polo and with a hefty portion of a publisher’s $350,000 advance converted into five-gram gold ingots and tucked into a money belt, he left his third wife, Glenda, at home and set off.

    Unlike Polo, Jennings hopscotched around Asia and the Middle East. He began his trek in Indonesia, then backtracked to Pakistan, where he wangled permission from authorities to travel the fabled Karakoram Pass through the Himalayan peaks, “a place of rope bridges and passages carved into the sides of tremendous mountains.” He didn’t get far before he was halted by an avalanche and trapped in the pass for more than a day. To leave Pakistan, Jennings claims he bought his way into a camel caravan of smugglers who were sneaking into Iran and Afghanistan.

    Jennings then headed for the flesh-pots of Bangkok. While staying at a small hotel, he was offered his choice of women for the night, and in trying to extricate himself, inadvertently promised to marry the hotel hostess. Jennings had to pay the young woman to let him out of the marriage.

    In Turkey he and his driver pulled into a fleabag after curfew and “were aroused Gestapo-style and hauled around to the local precinct.” The two were questioned for a day and a half before being released. Next, Jennings took a break, returned Stateside to pick up his wife, headed off to China with a Smithsonian tour and finished his research in Venice, where Marco Polo began his adventures.

    Jennings, who recently bought a house near his native Blue Ridge mountains, is already deep into his next novel—this one about a circus that traveled around Europe in the 19th century. His research in cities like Vienna and Rome should be less risky than his Journeyer trek. “I figure,” says Jennings as he walks past the Mercedes in his garage, “that I paid my dues.”

    Gary Jennings Makes Like Marco Polo and Returns with His Own Tall Tale, the Journeyer | PEOPLE.com

  4. #904
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Jennings then headed for the flesh-pots of Bangkok. While staying at a small hotel, he was offered his choice of women for the night, and in trying to extricate himself, inadvertently promised to marry the hotel hostess. Jennings had to pay the young woman to let him out of the marriage.
    Yup, I bet that's exactly how it went down.

  5. #905
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    ^^ he has been dead for 20 odd years if memory serves me correctly?

  6. #906
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    Gary Jennings (September 20, 1928 – February 13, 1999) was an American author who wrote children's and adult novels. In 1980, after the successful novel Aztec, he specialized in writing adult historical fiction novels.

    His novels were known for their historical detail and occasionally graphic content. Jennings' novels are well-researched: he lived for 12 years in Mexico to research the Aztec novels, traveled the Balkans while researching Raptor, and joined nine circus troupes during the writing of Spangle

  7. #907
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    Think I will be back at work in a couple of weeks, or at least know what we are going to be doing for the coming school year. If I were a betting man I would put money on some form of hybrid learning where half the class is at home, the other in the classroom. Not gonna spend the final weeks stressing about it, can't do much about it anyway. Not sure I will be traveling out of the city, there are still a few things I have not seen in the city.

  8. #908
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    Going back to work with some pretty big changes from September 1st.
    3 days teaching at school
    2 teaching online
    Winter holiday from December 1st-February 15th. I am guessing we will do some kinda online winter "summer camp".
    Government approves phased reopening of schools, kindergartens

    Going to be an interesting year

  9. #909
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandaloopy View Post
    Going to be an interesting year
    They all are.

    Change this, change that, move here, move there .... We've all survived, so far.

    Good luck

  10. #910
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    How old are you ? Trust fund boy. Just kidding . I see now.

    I just get so jealous reading threads like this and I can't find a work/travel balance.

  11. #911
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backspin View Post
    I just get so jealous reading threads like this and I can't find a work/travel balance.
    ...you seem to have found a thread/spam balance, however...

  12. #912
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    Season is changing again


    Getting ready for round 3 of the Mongolian winter.

  13. #913
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandaloopy View Post
    Season is changing again
    They all look quite grim, though.

    Actually I take that back ... the landscapes pictured in July look quite energising.

  14. #914
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    Great to see the changing seasons.

  15. #915
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    Some more snaps from Autumn here, I've now been on this trail in all seasons.




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