Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What is "Ikeland"?

This is the imaginary place you have come to:

"This is the online equivalent of a quiet moderately dark bar. There is a long bar along the left side as you enter, with bar stools in the appropriate places. On the bottom front of the bar is a footrail. There are a few ashtrays along the bar, but no salted peanuts. This isn't that kind of a place. The bartender is an atractive younger woman, who speaks English, French, German, Swabian, Italian, Australian, American and all the other various dialects we mumble in. There is a large oil painting hung over the bar. The subject is an elephant hunt and the climactic scene in the hunt is depicted there, rendered in a wonderfully realistic manner. You can plainly see the rage and betrayal in the old bull elephant's eyes, as he stomps the living you-know-what out of some white man in a safari suit. Elephant gun? Yes, but it's in pieces, there under the tree.

To the right are a number of tables, four if my aging eyes don't deceive me. There are some of those delightful old-fashioned candle holders there; you know the ones: you can light your cigarette by holding the glass under it. Several couples are there, enjoying each other's company, a bit of nice wine and a pleasant meal produced by the bar's chef. Further to the right, where a dance floor might be in a less civilized place, are a number of wing chairs and reading lamps. All three chairs are occupied by folks reading some intensely interesting material from the bookshelves. There in the far right-hand corner at a nice table are two lads enjoying a quiet game of chess. Telly? Not in here. Band? Likewise absent. Jukebox? No gottie, GI. This is where old Friends of the Elephant come to relax and let the cares of the day be carried off by the pleasant atmosphere. Can you feel the relaxation beginning yet?"

Short fiction and perhaps something novel-length if I can manage to write enough will be in my Story posts. I have one completed short story and one nearly done with about six or seven more in draft. I have the plot outline and major characters begun for the novel. I have the first three Travel articles already written, complete with photographs. Unfortunately, they are the tale of my wedding in Thailand in 1969; fortunately, they're not too long. The next Travel posts will be genuine travel pieces, but because it's the most foreign place I know the most about, most of the Travel posts will be about Thailand.

If I can figure out how to do it, the photos will open from links in the Travel articles and there will be translations of foreign words and phrases as well as brief explanations of foreign customs that are likely to be unfamiliar to Western readers. Those translations and explanations will also open in new windows, linked from the article.

I promised not to "rant" too often and will always try to be civil, understandable and accurate.

Welcome to Ikeland - the Elephant says hello. Oh, by the way - I'm Ike.

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