Wednesday 26th November. Jacksonville, Florida -> Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Okay, which excuse do you want? My shoulder hurt. I couldn't find the interstate. I was so far behind with my journal that I couldn't bear to stand by the road all day. There was a plague of locusts. A famine.

I did try to hitchhike. Summer had dropped me at an on-ramp downtown, but I didn't like it. Can't remember why. So I caught a little space age overhead monorail out to the Convention Centre, closer to the edge of town. I walked around out there in a maze of concrete overpasses, trying to find a good place to hitch from, but it was all screwed up. I gave up and retreated back to the centre of town. After the last two days hitching from Wilmington, I couldn't bear the thought of wasting a whole day standing by the road, especially when I was so far behind with this journal. So I found a Kinko's store, and spent the next three hours catching up with my updates. Then I broke the budget and climbed aboard a smelly dog to Tallahassee.

I'd forgotten that tomorrow was thanksgiving. No-one else in America had. The Jacksonville Greyhound station was a madhouse. The bus to Tallahassee was overfull. I managed to get on, but people in line behind me were 'bumped' to a later bus. Remarkably, I did manage to get a little sleep on the four hour trip, even manging to provide some brief entertainment for those passengers around me when I woke suddenly from a dream. In my dream I was driving a car, and a cup of hot coffee was falling off the dash onto my lap. Just as I snapped both hands out to save the cup of coffee, I was woken by my own shout. Try to get away with that on a crowded bus!

From the Tallahassee Greyhound station, my hosts had told me to cross the road and catch a number 4 bus to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Rosemary and Jefferson both work there, on the 3:00 to midnight shift. It was about six o'clock by the time I reached the hospital. I followed their instructions and found Radiology where Jefferson worked. He walked me over to the Pshychiatric section where Rosemary works, so I could say hi to her before he whisked me back to their house.

We interrupt this transmission for an important announcement!

A friend of mine sponsors a Tibetan orphan girl who is living in Tawang in an orphanage run by a Buddhist Lama. Tawang is in a village high in the Himalayan mountains up in the far N.E. corner of India at an elevation of 11,400'. You can google Tawang and the Manjushree Vidyapith Orphanage for more information. Tawang has the second largest Tibetan Buddhist monestary in all of Asia, and you can read about it online along with the Arunachel Pradesh area of India. It is in a very remote and isolated part of the world.

I AM WRITING BECAUSE THE CHILDREN ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF WARM WINTER CLOTHES. Please look to see if you have anything you can send. A pair of gloves? Hat? Wool socks? I am doing this as a grass roots clothing drive, not soliciting any money from you, although the orphanage would be most grateful for any donation you might wish to send, however small. The children are all ages and your cast-off winter gear would be such a huge help. If you have children, get them involved. Encourage them to write a letter introducing themselves, enclose a picture of you and your family, reach out person to person. There is no non-profit or organization administering this clothing drive....it's just one person reaching out to many, and hoping you will pass on this message to your friends. CLOTHES AND DONATIONS (check made payable to the orphanage) are to be sent to:

Lama Thupten Phuntsok
Manjushree Vidyapith Orphanage
Tashi Jong
P.O. & Dist: TAWANG
Arunachal Pradesh, India 790104

If each person sends a small package and pays the postage, then every effort goes directly to the orphanage with nothing needed for "administrative" expenses. This way, it stays grass roots, simple, person to person.

If you wish to sponsor a child, which I whole heartedly encourage, feel free to ask Lama Thupten about this, or email me for more information. There are also other Lamas, elderly Tibetan refugees and other children seeking sponsors. You can get more information about them at www.gyudmed.com and www.tibetanlivingcommunities.org The Manjushree Vidyapith Orphanage is in the mountains, and the gyudmed monks are located in southern India. I am writing on behalf of the children in the orphanage, and your assistance to any of them would be most appreciated.

Make a difference. Send something warm, and thus warm your heart and others. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If anyone wishes to get more involved, please let me know! It would be great if a school class decided to get involved and "adopt" the orphanage. The children could use school supplies and other things as well, but the GREATEST NEED this time of year is for warm winter clothes.

And now back to the show...
Jefferson made me a cup of tea, and gave me a tour of the house. In fact, I enjoyed the cup of tea from the very mug that I'd sent Rosemary and Jefferson from Vancouver several months ago, as my very first completed challenge.

The Beluga Whale mug, purchsed in Vancouver on the 3rd day of my trip, almost five months ago. .

Jefferson was still on call at work until midnight, and it wasn't all that long before his phone rang, signalling his attendance being required back at the hospital. I settled down to write my journal, and was still busy on the computer when my hosts got home from work at 12:30 p.m.

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