Sunday, February 9, 2014

Five Places to Go Before...A Volcano Erupts (Again)

A ticking time bomb is a fabulously useful element for increasing the page-turning factor in your novel. For the Novel Travelist, a ticking time bomb can come in the form of a location or setting that won't be around forever. I hereby inaugurate the "Five Places to Go Before..." series, featuring threatened locations around the globe.

In this first post of the series, the threat is a volcanic eruption. Each of these sites lies beneath an active volcano, one predicted to erupt again in the near future...

Pasto, Columbia
The Las Lajas Sanctuary is a spectacular cathedral built into the side of a gloriously green mountain. But it might not be around forever, because Mt. Galeras sits right above it. See this architectural wonder in person before it is destroyed!

Las Lajas Sanctuary, Pasto, Columbia
Saint Pierre, Caribbean
Once known as "The Paris of the Caribbean," St. Pierre has already been completely obliterated once by Mount Pelee. Much of the old city has been rebuilt, so come see this lovely French community before it is gone once again.
Saint Pierre, Caribbean
 Pompeii and Herculaneum, Italy
Of course, this list would not be complete without the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum - the ticking time bomb in my novel, The Vesuvius Isotope. Another eruption of Mount Vesuvius is long overdue, and these priceless sites might not survive the next one. I love the image in this fresco from Pompeii showing Mount Vesuvius covered in green - sort of like Mount Pelee above...yikes!
Fresco of Mount Vesuvius From Pompeii
Shimbara, Japan
This glistening white castle is just one of a series of similarly constructed beautiful castles in Japan - but it might be the one most in danger. Looming above the castle is the active Mount Unzen, just one of Japan's dangerous volcanoes.
Shimbara Castle, Japan
 Seattle, Washington
Although quite a distance from Mount Rainier, Seattle lies in the path of destruction should the volcano erupt with sufficient force. It is expected that lava flow from a major eruption would pour right into the downtown area. And then, you'd be confined to the space needle replica in Las Vegas. The horror! See the real one when you can.
Seattle, Washington
The impending eruption of Mount Vesuvius lends a ticking time bomb to the action in The Vesuvius Isotope, the best-selling debut novel by Kristen Elise. Buy The Vesuvius Isotope on Amazon.

When her Nobel laureate husband is murdered, biologist Katrina Stone can no longer ignore the secrecy that increasingly pervaded his behavior in recent weeks. Her search for answers leads to a two-thousand-year-old medical mystery and the esoteric life of one of history’s most enigmatic women. Following the trail forged by her late husband, Katrina must separate truth from legend as she chases medicine from ancient Italy and Egypt to a clandestine modern-day war. Her quest will reveal a legacy of greed and murder and resurrect an ancient plague, introducing it into the twenty-first century.

Kristen Elise, Ph.D. is a drug discovery biologist. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, stepson, and three canine children. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Building the Future in a Novel

The not so far future as shown in the film Elysium.

From Contributor Lance Charnes

With Google, Flickr, YouTube and all the rest, you can get a pretty good idea of what other places look like now, and what they used to look like (see this post for my experiment in remote location scouting). But there’s one thing you can’t get yet: what places will look like in the future. Or can you?

South, my latest thriller, is set in Southern California and the

American Southwest in 2032. In my version of the future, the local, state and Federal governments have been starved of money; what little government spending survives is entirely devoted to the military and police. The elimination of most regulations, taxes and the social safety net have brought back the pre-Progressive Era, pre-New Deal America of 1890, except with the Internet and drones. In this new Gilded Age, the wealthy live extremely well, while the other 90%+ of the population are poor and hopeless. (If any of this sounds familiar, that’s exactly the point.)

So what does this look like, exactly?

Two of my own decisions complicated the world-building process.

  • First, the story is set only twenty years from now. You can get away with almost anything if you project out fifty or a hundred years in the future (such as J.D. Robb’s …In Death series, or William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy). But twenty years? That’s practically tomorrow. So whatever I did had to use the people who are alive today, and technology that (at the most extreme) exists in the labs today. 
  • It’s been said that the future comes slowly to the poor. My main protagonist, Luis, and his family are poor. He spends most of his time in the poor areas (where 90% of the population lives). So he (and we) will be seeing twenty years of devolution, not progress. 
Let’s look at one of South’s locations to see how this worked out.

Today’s Santa Ana is the seat of Orange County, California. Over 78% of its 324,000 people are Latino, mostly working-class. The city isn’t rich by any means. Still, it has a vibrant downtown arts district, a bustling Latino commercial area, and all those government jobs…most of which have gone away in South’s scenario.

We all know what American urban decay looks like: a blossoming of liquor stores, no new development, empty storefronts, peeling paint, chain-link fences, and so on. Those exist already off the main streets in Santa Ana. However, this is so familiar that I knew I had to push the place’s future poverty to the next level – to the Third World. Since this is all seen in passing as Luis is going about his business, I could add in only the most emblematic features of a future Third World Santa Ana.

  • Street markets. When you can’t afford the rent for fixed storefronts, when your grocery stores go bust or move out, you set up a pipe stall and a couple tarps and keep selling. Street markets like these are omnipresent outside the developed world. Right now they’re affectations in the U.S. (the yuppie “farmer’s market”); in South’s world, they’re necessities. 
  • Surgical masks. If you don’t have regulations, you have pollution and constant epidemics. Surgical masks are a common fashion accessory in many parts of the developing world. I saw a lot of them just recently in both Hong Kong and Tokyo – both part of the developed world – and they’re ubiquitous in China. 
  • Advertising overload. Poor people don’t get to have aesthetic standards for their public areas. It’s hard enough to control billboards and outside advertising now; imagine how hard it is when city and county governments don’t have any money or people. It was interesting to see that even in the ratty parts of Hong Kong, ads covered every square inch of available space. Of course, the state of the art in advertising delivery will keep marching on even (or especially) when people don’t have any money to buy things. 
Street Markets in Honduras
Advertising Overload
Surgical Masks throughout China

Here’s an excerpt that shows how this goes together on Santa Ana’s 17th Street:

The car drove eastbound on 17th, crashing over potholes and busted pavement, Pitbull rapping on the oldies feed. The pipe-stall-and-tarp jumbles of street markets in the parking lots of failed strip malls added back some of the color lost from the faded signs and bleached paint. Vidboards flashed splashy moving ads for booze and cigarettes and guns. Gray smoke and smog hid the hills in the distance. Luis was glad for the car’s A/C so he didn’t have to smell the place.

Another excerpt, with ICE Special Agent McGinley driving Luis down Fourth Street toward downtown Santa Ana:

“Well, I just found out this morning, but I ain’t first on their mailing list, if you know what I mean.” He stopped to let a mixed group of Latino women and kids—faces half-covered by grubby surgical masks—cross the road on their way to a street market set up in front of a dead gas station. “Let me tell you how this works…”

Other indicators of change:

  • Business mix. Modern-day slums attract certain types of businesses: liquor stores, pawn shops, payday loan outlets, bodegas, dive bars, the worst possible fast food. What kinds of similarly exploitative businesses might be common in South’s world? Tire rentals (it’s already happening). Slate (tablet PC) rentals. Overpriced Internet cafes. Storefront clinics run by unlicensed doctors. 
  • Tuk-tuks and pedicabs. Mass transit is just a memory in Orange County by 2032, but cars are expensive to own and operate. How do people get around? The same way they do in the developing world: tuk-tuks, pedicabs, and microbuses. They’re cheap, easy to maintain, and don’t take a lot of skill to operate. 

McGinley and Luis continue their drive into downtown:

Luis tried to find a way to sit that didn’t hurt and kept his face turned away from McGinley. He watched the busy sidewalk as the car nosed through the tuk-tuks and pedicabs jamming Fourth Street in Santa Ana’s Latino business district. “Someone else already made a play for her. Not the FBI.”


[McGinley] threaded through the northbound traffic on Main, heading away from downtown and La Paloma into patchy low-rise commercial buildings and a blight of vidboards, pawn shops, tire- and slate-rental stores and payday lenders. The gold late-afternoon light didn’t make the area any more attractive. “Do you know a Jorge Casillas?”

It wasn’t hard to find precedents for the world of 2032 in South; what was hard was resisting the temptation to overdescribe it. Because we’re so familiar with this type of cityscape – we see it on the news every night, or in our own blighted neighborhoods – readers need only a little prompting to fill in the details themselves. The excerpts I’ve included are South’s most extensive descriptions of the Santa Ana of 2032, yet readers have commented on the realism of the settings.

If you know the politics and economics of your future world, you can find an example of how they turned out somewhere on Earth, and there’ll be pictures on Google. Once again, the interwebs come to a writer’s rescue.

Lance Charnes is an emergency manager and former Air Force intelligence officer. He’s the author of the international thriller Doha 12 and the near-future thriller South. He tweets (@lcharnes) about scuba diving, shipwrecks, archaeology and art crime, among other things.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Poet's Vaccine: A Novel Travelist Mystery

Edward Jenner Statue, Kensington Gardens, London
In Kensington Gardens of London stands a tribute to the physician Edward Jenner. Best known for his invention of the world's first vaccine, Jenner is frequently referred to as the "father of immunology." The plaque that graces the statue tells the story of this "country doctor who benefited mankind:"
In Jenner's time smallpox was a dreaded disease worldwide and caused many deaths particularly in children. Survivors were left badly scarred and often blinded or deformed.  
In 1796 Jenner vaccinated James Phipps with cowpox and showed that the boy was then immune to smallpox. He predicted the worldwide eradication of smallpox. This was finally achieved in 1980.  
Jenner was born, practiced and died in Berkeley, Gloucestershire and studied at St. George's Hospital, London. 
Plaque on Edward Jenner statue, Kensington Gardens, London
Another tribute to the world-renowned physician stands in Gloucester Cathedral, a monument to Gloucester's most famous hometown boy.
Edward Jenner Statue, Gloucester Cathedral
The story on the Kensington Gardens plaque is the accepted version of historical events: Milkmaids, exceptionally prone to a much lesser disease called cowpox, rarely contracted the frequently fatal smallpox. In 1796, Jenner diagnosed cowpox in a milkmaid named Sarah Nelmes, who had contracted the disease from a Gloucester cow named Blossom. To test his hypothesis that cowpox could prevent smallpox, Jenner drew material from a pustule on Nelmes' hand and used it to inject an 8-year-old boy named James Phipps, the son of his gardener. Lo and behold, the boy became immune to smallpox; upon deliberate later exposure to the disease, he could not catch it.

The word "vaccine" was thus coined from the Latin "vacca" for cow, and the world's first example of deliberate acquired immunity was born. Jenner was inaugurated into what is now the Royal Society of Medicine, his vaccine became standard-of-care in London, and he later became the personal physician of King George IV. And all of this success was the result of his observation of cowpox, his groundbreaking research with a young milkmaid and a boy, and his invention of the world's first vaccine. Or so the legend goes.

The truth, however, is a different story. Edward Jenner was neither the inventor of the world's first vaccine in general nor the discoverer of cowpox specifically. Indeed, he might never have lived long enough to take credit for the find, had he not been personally vaccinated against smallpox as a young child.

The inoculation that vaccinated Edward Jenner against the deadly disease was brought to London by a brave, headstrong, outspoken woman: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. And she introduced it almost thirty years before Jenner was even born. 
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
The use of cowpox to prevent smallpox was also nothing new: it had been performed as early as 1774 by a Dorset farmer named Benjamin Jetsy, who was finally recognized as the true inventor of the technology in 1805. 

And still, the name known to history is Edward Jenner.

In this Novel Travelist Mystery, we ask the question: Why was credit for the smallpox vaccine so heartily bestowed upon Edward Jenner, who in reality had very little to do with it? This quest will lead us from Bath to Istanbul, from Jenner to Alexander Pope, and into the war between poets that eradicated smallpox forever.

Protagonist Katrina Stone chases Lady Montagu's vaccine to stop a powerful 21st century cult in The Queenmakers, the forthcoming sequel to The Vesuvius Isotope. Buy The Vesuvius Isotope on Amazon.

When her Nobel laureate husband is murdered, biologist Katrina Stone can no longer ignore the secrecy that increasingly pervaded his behavior in recent weeks. Her search for answers leads to a two-thousand-year-old medical mystery and the esoteric life of one of history’s most enigmatic women. Following the trail forged by her late husband, Katrina must separate truth from legend as she chases medicine from ancient Italy and Egypt to a clandestine modern-day war. Her quest will reveal a legacy of greed and murder and resurrect an ancient plague, introducing it into the twenty-first century.

Kristen Elise, Ph.D. is a drug discovery biologist and the author of The Vesuvius Isotope. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, stepson, and three canine children. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Eavesdropping in Mr. Huntington’s Gardens

Occasionally I am invisible. If I sit in one place long enough and draw, people start treating me as part of the environment. This is good when people don’t ask me questions while I am trying to draw. This is bad when people step right in front of me and block my view. This is what happened last week at the Huntington Library.

So there I was sketching a fountain on the North Vista lawn with Mr. Huntington’s mansion in the background, and I must have been making myself very invisible because an entire tour group walked right in front of my view and turned their attention to a rather pedantic looking older gentleman in a tweed coat, barely ten feet away from my spot on the grass.

I had just finished the block in and was starting in on the details, only now all I could see were a bunch of big touristy backsides. I tried craning my head awkwardly to get a view between their legs, and you think at least one of them would take the hint, but my view was completely blocked by yards of khaki. So I waited. And it turns out I was rewarded with a bold bit of fabrication.

The older gentleman stroked his mustache and beard and nodded very seriously and tapped a finger to the temple of his glasses. “Now this lawn wasn’t part of the original plans," he said. "Mr. Huntington created this lawn for a beautiful young French girl, Arabella, who was Mr. Huntington's mistress for many years. The young lady was a frequent visitor to the house, but Mr. Huntington could never convince her to leave her beloved France. ‘No, I could never leave the beauty of Paris,’ she would tell him. Arabella would stay with Mr. Huntington for a while, then go back to Paris for months and months. Now you should know that Arabella was very beautiful. And Mr. Huntington very much in love with her. So he began collecting art to impress her. Every season, he would buy some new painting or sculpture or furniture, and he would travel to Paris and go straight to Arabella and say, ‘You must come back to Pasadena and see this marvelous thing I have bought for you.’ Flattered, she would always accept his invitation and travel back to Pasadena with him. And they would have a wonderful journey. She would arrive at the mansion full of excitement for this new marvelous thing and for Mr. Huntington. Mr. Huntington would host a grand party to show off his new acquisition, and he would parade Arabella around on his arm, and they would seem to be radiantly in love for a few weeks. Then Arabella would begin to miss Paris, and she would go to Mr. Huntington and say, ‘I cannot stay. Your house and its art and its grounds are beautiful, but I miss the gardens of France.’ Soon afterwards, she would pack up her bags and leave.”

“As you can imagine, Mr. Huntington was distraught. Every wall in his house was full of fine paintings, and every possible space held beautiful sculptures and figurines. The furniture was rich and wonderfully French. His house was full of artworks for Arabella. Yet it was not enough. She always left him and returned to Paris. One day, Mr. Huntington sat in the window on the second floor and looked out over his grand driveway running through his woods to his grand gate. And he almost gave up. Then an idea came to him and he smiled. If Arabella wanted gardens, he would turn the grounds around his mansion into gardens that would rival Versailles. Then he got to work. This lawn we are standing on was the first of Mr. Huntington’s gardens, and he filled it with fine statues from around Europe.”

One of the women raised her hand and asked, “Did it work? Did Arabella come back to stay?”

“No,” said the older gentleman, “It did not work. Arabella came to see Mr. Huntington’s lawn, then returned to Paris as before. He tried again and again and again. He built the Lilly Ponds, and the Australian gardens, and the Rose gardens, and Arabella came to see them all. And she was always excited at first. But in the end, she always returned to Paris. Frustrated and hurt, Mr. Huntington took Arabella back to Paris, and left her there. He wanted to be alone for a while so he went on a journey to far off Japan. He stayed in a small village for a year and a day, in an old wooden and paper house that he came to think of as a second home. When it was time to return to Pasadena, Mr. Huntington decided to build a new garden just for himself. He brought the old wooden house back with him from Japan, and had it rebuilt on his grounds, board by board. And around the house he created a garden that reminded him of the small village where he had stayed. When all was done, Mr. Huntington looked over his new garden with pride and love, and he thought no more of Arabella until he saw her at a party in New York. They talked, awkwardly at first, then spilling into their old affection for each other. At some point he invited her to Pasadena and she accepted, but Mr. Huntington did not think she would visit. He went back to Pasadena alone. To his surprise, Arabella followed him a few days later. It was a beautiful autumn day and they walked through all of the gardens Mr. Huntington had made for her. Then they came to the garden Mr. Huntington had made for himself. Arabella gasped and gripped his hand. She fell in love with the Japanese garden, and with Mr. Huntington, and she stayed with him here in the gardens until his death. Now if you follow me, we will go and see the gardens that Mr. Huntington built for his one great love.”

After that the older gentleman waved the tourists on towards the mansion. I caught his eye as he turned, and I raised an eyebrow at him. He gave me a mischievous wink and smiled and trotted off with a new spring in his step. With my view of the fountain clear, I finished my sketch. I laughed to myself and wondered what other tall tales that old trickster would tell his audience as they walked around the gardens.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Noveling Chef

The ego driven, perfectionist character perfect for your novel.

That Cheffing Novel
Brad Ray - Contributor

Chefs are becoming popular characters in all forms of media - from celebrity chefs teaching you new recipes on the TV, to culinary competitions. There are entire channels dedicated to nothing but food programming, Food Network being the first one that comes to most people’s minds. People are eating out more, becoming more food conscious. Chefs are at the forefront of a revolution.

Naturally, this would make a chef an appealing character in a novel. However, the depiction of chefs that you see on TV is typically a persona. By basing a character off of that, it’s not quite right. Obviously, aspects of it are correct, but there are a few differences. So then what’s a chef actually like?

As a chef myself, I have been formally schooled in the Culinary Arts, and have experience working in multiple kitchens under many different chefs. We are as diverse a lot as can be, but all of us share certain traits. There are qualifications that a successful chef must have.

All chefs have big egos. It comes with the territory. We take pride in the food that we produce, and will defend it. Our food is good food, our food is the best food. You get a group of chefs cooking in a kitchen, and the egos will come out to play. It can lead to anything from friendly competition, to heated arguments. Taking pride in your work is a good thing, but it can also lead to conflict, which is great for a novel.

The best chefs, however, have that ego, but they also know when they are wrong. One key factor is knowing that even if you are considered the best in your cuisine, area, city, etc., there will always be someone who is better or who knows more. A successful chef will listen to constructive criticism and will be able to put their ego aside in the never ending quest for perfection in their craft.

I worked in one kitchen where the chef was quite the egomaniac. I was a lowly cook, a nobody. My opinion on things meant nothing to him. Yet, it took him three tries to make a simple bechamel sauce, while I could do it on the first try. He had issues doing the math to figure out how much product to order, despite me trying to correct him. The last thing anyone in that kitchen wanted to do was to stop working the day of a big catering event and drive to the restaurant supply store in order to purchase food that we should already have had.

This chef, to put it simply, refused to listen. His ego told him that I, as a cook, knew nothing. He, as the chef, knew it all, despite the fact that he kept messing up. He wouldn't even listen to his sous chefs, as he was the big boss and knew best. Eventually you just have to shrug and let him be. His ego will cost him his business, sooner rather than later.

Busy Kitchens are LOUD!

Another aspect of a chef is that we are all loud. A production kitchen is a very noisy place. At any given time you've got multiple stoves going with all kinds of dishes. Pots and pans are clanking, the industrial dishwasher is running. It’s loud, and you have to be louder to be heard over everything. When giving out instructions, you have to shout. All kitchens have a rule: when the chef says something, you respond with a shouted, “Yes, chef!” so the chef knows you heard them.

The effect this loudness has on a chef outside the kitchen varies. Some chefs continue to be loud, even when there really is no reason to do so. Other chefs become very quiet. That has more to do with the chef’s actual personality. However, no matter how quiet they are outside a kitchen, get a chef into a kitchen and they’ll be the loudest person in there.

Chefs are creatures of perfection. They are detail-oriented and have an eye for the small things. Being a chef is akin to being an artist. Where a painter uses paint as his medium, a chef uses food. We create works of art on each plate that goes out the kitchen door. Unlike a painter, our works don’t last very long. However, that doesn't stop us from being so darn fussy about each dish.

Most chefs have a certain way they do things, and that is how their kitchen works. Plating a dish is done up to their standards. A chef must take into consideration things like colors, flavors, smells. There’s a saying that “You eat with your eyes first.” A plate has to look good. To this end, chefs have to be good at the small details. This usually comes out as them being a perfectionist, which is true. While they may not seek perfection in all aspects of their lives, chefs certainly strive to achieve perfection in their work.

For me, each new place I work at comes with learning how the chef wants things to be done. Usually that involves watching someone else plate a dish once. From then on, I’m expected to be able to recreate it perfectly. Oftentimes, I get only one day of training, which doesn’t involve learning the recipes but is instead a quick tour of the kitchen showing where everything is, then I just get tossed into the fire and start cooking.

Every dish is supposed to match the Chef's standard are look the exact same.

The final most common aspect of a successful chef is their dedication. Being a chef isn’t all the glamour that you see on TV. Kitchens are hot and noisy. Knives and fire are going everywhere. Cuts and burns are a daily aspect of the job. Often a chef is at work for ten hours a day, six to seven days a week. If a chef is also the owner of the business, that number goes up. Chefs spend most of their time in a small, hot, windowless kitchen.

Despite all that, there’s a passion for the job that any good chef will exude. On a whole, we love what we do and wouldn’t trade it for anything. We strive and work for that one customer who will send back word with the server that they loved the meal. Making just one person happy is all we want.

This is just a short list of common aspects you’ll find amongst successful chefs. If the chef in your novel is unsuccessful through their own fault and not simply the economy, then simply take one or more of these aspects and reverse them. There’s a lot more to being a chef than what I’ve mentioned here. I’ll be exploring those other components in more posts as this series continues. Until then, remember to thank your chef the next time you eat out.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Balloon Tour Over Cappadocia, Turkey

I woke up at 4:45 am.
Balloon tour day - and me and my friend are really excited!

A bus took us to a field where there were lots of baskets and wadded clothes. Men used flame throwers like cannon and the clothes blew up into balloons in a moment.

Although it was a cold morning, the fire cannons warmed us, but I still needed my jumper. Shockingly, there were four Korean girls wearing scanty clothing and high-heels. They were gathering around each other and shaking.
We couldn't understand why...
They were really out of place.

Finally all the balloons were set up.
8 persons each plus pilot for one basket.
And guess what!!
Those scanty clothing girls were in our basket!!
Basket has four corners, so the pilot was at one corner, the Girls in the second, an Aussie couple in the third, and me and my friend in the last corner. I thought this to be a tacit agreement.

But! The Girls captured one long side, taking over their corner and my corner and the pilot needed space, so we had to see the view through the heads of scanty girls and couldn't look down from the edge.

Was this normal? To not think about other people's happiness or satisfaction? To have no consideration?
The Aussie couple allowed us to share their view, but the Girls never noticed their rudeness. This would be a great way to torture a character in a novel. Lock her in a basket at 1000 feet with rude, scanty girls. Maybe a high heel can get stuck in the basket weave. Who wears high heels to a balloon ride?? Maybe they never go to bed the night before, and went straight from a club to the balloon?

Anyway, we flew up to a height of 1000 feet and the land looked like "Google earth". Rose valley looked really amazing even from the sky and cave houses looked like an ant hill.

The fire cannon was just behind me and roaring.

The pilot was amazing. There was no handle but only cannon. He controlled the fire very well - up and down, then he would feel the wind and move from right to left without ever crashing into the rock or another basket. If writing an action sequence over Cappadocia - Balloons can hit each other. It would be very easy to happen. Write it as suspense, suspense, will the balloons hit, suspense, then crash! What happens? Do the balloons collapse for a moment, then recover? Do people fall out and hang from ropes? Does the evil person climb into the hero's basket? Because the balloons move so slowly, and gracefully, it would be like a slow motion action sequence. 

Admittedly, we never felt danger, but a balloon accident happened in Egypt recently before our trip. I shivered from that news. The balloon caught fire, collapsed and plummeted to earth, killing 19 people. So yes, the danger is real.

After sky tour we had breakfast and champagne and got a certificate from the pilot. He was cool, focused and no smiles during the tour, so he was kind of scary - but on the land he was very warm and smiled many times.

We visited some places after that and left Cappadocia. 

◆Pray for the Japanese girls killed in Cappadocia....

Ai Ogata resides in Japan, travels the world and blogs from her incredibly high speed phone.