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Stories by Jeannette De Wyze

Campout in the Sahara

Morocco's dunes offer a travel experience like no other.

Hassi Labied (population: 2,000) is one of the places you go in Morocco if you want to sleep in the Sahara. It's about 30 miles from the Algerian border; and its dunes (Erg Cheggi) are ...

Wine and dine in Baja's Guadalupe Valley

The culinary scene in this close-to-home wine region is taking off.

Recently I went back to northern Baja's Guadalupe Valley. I hadn’t been there since the late 1980s. Back then, it was just emerging as a serious wine-growing region, with two giant producers (Cetto and Pedro ...

Kenya's elephant orphanage

Safe haven in Nairobi National Park from black-market ivory trade.

Greater Nairobi, home to more than six million people, has a reputation for mayhem. Its international airport just burned; the Kenyan capital’s nickname is Nairobbery. But visitors can still find some extraordinary pleasures. Ranking high ...

Uganda's Batwa Trail

Pygmy tourism in Lonely Planet's "top country to visit" for 2012.

In Uganda, gorilla tourism is an economic engine. It benefits not only the mountain gorillas that the tourists track, but also the human communities in and around the forests in which the animals live. It's ...

Ethiopian Time Travel

The Omo River empties into Lake Turkana, not far from where Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya come together. The river valley is difficult to reach; from Addis Ababa the road trip takes the better part ...

Ricardo Loves Dinosaurs...

The gigantic art project unfolding on the unlikely canvas that is Borrego Springs appears to have reached completion. Sculptor Ricardo Breceda says, “That’s it.” There will be no more additions. But Dennis Avery, the man ...

When the Horses Are Gone

I asked Sergeant Bret Righthouse about the bad old days, back in 1994, before a cadre of mounted San Diego Police Department officers began routinely patrolling Balboa Park. Transients and illegal aliens had set up ...

The Fall of King Eucalyptus

Plantsmen’s vision for a green future.

On the morning after one of those record-breaking cold nights this past January, Mike Rasmusson checked on his charges. Rasmusson supervises the Kate O. Sessions Balboa Park Nursery -- the city facility where many of ...

You'll Never Find a Better Pal than a Bowler

Cocktails, corn dogs, and camaraderie

At night, the exterior of Kearny Mesa Bowl is not inviting. Set toward the back of a big parking lot on the south side of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, about a block west of Convoy, the ...

90 Years of Curl

Who caught the first wave?

Who Caught the First Wave? There's a good chance Ralph Noisat caught the first wave in San Diego. He died in 1980, and as he wasn't a man to brag, his pioneering role might have ...

We're on Vacation, Here to Play. Don't Let Facts Get in Our Way.

Playing tourist in San Diego.

I had taken eight or nine guided tours of San Diego in two weeks when a friend asked if I was tired of sightseeing. I had to say no. Being out on buses and boats ...

They See You, Have You Seen Them?

What has been here? Trackers know.

Retired American Airlines pilot Barry Martin has been called the best animal tracker in San Diego County. I asked how he first came to be interested in this arcane discipline. A lanky athlete with probing ...

Our friend the opossum

Nocturnal Misunderstood Resourceful Independent Marsupial Spunky Speedy Curious Shy Funny Cute Evil

Lion-Shaped Means Wider in Front

After 30 years, Jeannette De Wyze revisits the Krishnas.

I first met Robert Morrill in 1979. He was 27 and had moved the year before to San Diego with his wife and two young children. The family had settled into a modest apartment on ...

It's the Big "E" Word — Empathy

They love to act sick.

We're sitting in a room that's maybe 9 feet wide by 20 feet long, lined with countertops that hold 12 TV monitors. The screens let us spy upon what's normally one of the most private ...

You Could Hear a Pin Drop At Night!

A proposition for Salton Sea and its far ripples.

I've flown over the Salton Sea many times. From the air, it doesn't look real. The blue expanse and the green fields of the Coachella and Imperial Valleys that butt up against the sea's northern ...

The Late Long-time Queen of the Cafe Critics

A life in food and literature remembered.

One of the ironies of Eleanor Widmer's life is what she ate in her last months. Widmer had become a restaurant critic in 1974, back when brunch at La Valencia featured molded Jell-O "Seafoam," made ...

Top Dogs: San Diego's K9 Unit

To serve, protect, and scare the hell out of crooks.

Bobby looks like a black Labrador, except that his ears stand upright, forming two stiff peaks. They're quivering now, as Bobby crouches, ready to lunge at me. He's not making a sound, but his body ...

Challenge X: How San Diego State May Build Your Next Car

War on the internal combustion engine.

The chassis that’s sitting in a workroom on the campus of San Diego State University is painted a shade of red you’d expect to see on the lips of an attention-starved woman. On a car, ...

Nurses on the Run

Adventures of mobile medical personnel.

When Mariette Parsons, RN, tells her patients she's a traveler, she says they often look puzzled. "They're, like, 'You work for a travel agency or something?'" Parsons explains that travel nurses fill assignments all over ...

When the Loud Bell Rang

Beginnings are always difficult.

My first day in school was really my second day. It was September 1950, and that first day my brown uniform shirt scratched, the heavy corduroy pants were stiff with newness, my suspenders would not ...

Mom

The woman we never forget.

As Thin as Butterfly Wings My mother was born in the high desert of northeastern Arizona. Even now it's a hard place to thrive, with rain unlikely and resources few. Her father built their house ...

Why Do They Die?

Does publicity cause suicide?

ON THE MORNING OF AUGUST 4, 1963, the front page of the New York Times carried the headline "Dr. Ward Is Dead; Suicide Note Calls His Foes Vultures." The story revealed that the 50-year-old Ward, ...

Death Traps

Hundreds of buildings pose earthquake risks.

The City of San Diego has a website (www.sannet.gov/development-services/industry/pdf/urmpn.pdf) that contains a list of 706 local buildings supposedly built out of unreinforced masonry -- that is, bricks held in place with mortar but not tied ...

Caution: Young immigrants lose hope

The hopped trains, took buses, spent long days walking. When their path took them through remote areas, they went hungry.

Live to Be One Hundred

Centenarians seize the day.

At the start of 1904, the U.S. population included 82 million people. Almost all of them are dead now, but Bert Wilbur, Geneva Chester, Pearl Alsten, and Archie Owen have survived. In 1904, five-year-old Bert ...

Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Scientists tackle sleep.

The next time you lie in bed fuming over your inability to doze off, you might think of Randy Gardner. In the realm of sleeplessness, Gardner once made San Diego the center of the universe. ...

Site 151’s Four Million Dollar Mansion

Wealth has nothing to do with luck.

Ralph Genovese doesn't use the word "mansion" to describe the three dwellings he will construct on a mountaintop in Rancho Santa Fe. He prefers "estate." He's building one of the homes for himself, and he ...

Who's Got Your Trash?

We squabble over recycling at my house. I see no reason why the pizza boxes can’t go into the blue bin, but my husband says I’m wrong, that the melted cheese and grease stains make ...

Surfer Girls

Some women have always surfed. Three hundred years ago, Hawaiians of both sexes rode the waves, and when the sport moved beyond the islands, when the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku in 1915 traveled to Australia to ...

Still Crazy After All These Years

Sometime in the next few months, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases will publish an article that describes an unusual experiment with newly diagnosed schizophrenics. This experiment randomly assigned young people with that diagnosis ...

Bad Knees

Sometimes I wish I could slice open the skin that covers my knees so I could poke around inside a bit. Without pain, of course. Without spilling any blood or other vital juices. And only ...

Creation Myth

This year the electronic-gaming industry expects to beat Hollywood at making money. It’s happened once before. In 1998, entranced with a new generation of gaming consoles that included the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Sega ...

Garden Master

It is Vincent Lazaneo’s job to answer any question about a fruit, vegetable, herb, flower, or ornamental shrub that a San Diego gardener might ask. How many plants is that? “It’s a little mind-boggling,” he ...

They Won the Biggest Family Contest

Almost everyone who skimmed the San Diego Union on May 9, 1964, would have noticed the photo that ran at the top of the front page of the local section. She was smiling broadly and ...

Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss

Christie Ridgway’s 11th published novel, This Perfect Kiss, opens with the heroine, a vintage-clothing dealer, heading for an afternoon appointment. She’s dressed in a tight-fitting, flesh-colored chiffon evening gown out of which her voluptuous breasts ...

You’re Worth Over 800 Million Dollars. Is it Enough to be Considered Old Money?

I have a friend who’s lived in San Diego for more than 20 years but grew up in the Old Money enclave of Washington, D.C. I’ll call him Andrew. He claims his parents weren’t Old ...

Rich Man in Heaven

Jim Benson Wants to Send You into Space

Jim Benson, founder of the world's first private space-exploration company, has a knack for coming up with slogans. "We put the 'Pow' in Poway" is one of the things he likes to say. Poway is ...

How Guidebooks See Us

When the Chamber of Commerce published a brochure entitled San Diego: 503 Things to See in 1930, its suggestions included activities still touted by guidebooks today: touring the bay on one of the daily harbor ...

No One Ever Dances

By all accounts, it was Dan Siskowic who conceived the idea of creating a place in cyberspace for the Mission Bay High School Class of 1975. Dan did this in January 2000. He and a ...

One Hundred Years Ago Today

One hundred years ago, fewer than 18,000 people lived in the city of San Diego. Fewer than 40,000 lived in the county, which then was twice its current area. The San Diego Union was one ...

The Contract from Hell

Confronted with the issue of music piracy on the Internet, the San Diego Union-Tribune took an unequivocal stance in a May 4 editorial. "Property rights must be protected," the newspaper declared. "Legitimate companies will have ...

Cold Quest

On January 14, 1993, San Diego resident Sunniva Sorby and three women companions arrived at the South Pole after a 67-day journey. Starting at a point on the Hercules Inlet, they had trudged 700 miles, ...

Something Stinks in Mission Bay

Between July 1952 and December 1959, the City of San Diego operated a landfill in Mission Bay Park between Sea World and Interstate 5. For ten hours a day, seven days a week, ity trucks ...

Coffin Nails

I was born on a Sunday evening in May 1953, so I probably first tasted cigarette smoke, first inhaled it, the following Wednesday. If my dad smoked as he drove my mom and me home ...

One Hundred Years Ago

his sister-in-law’s. Only as an afterthought did he mention the quake. A few days later, the San Diego Union speculated on its cause. “Is it the pressure of gases? Of electrical forces? Of steam generated ...

Blame the Computer

If you're a law-abiding citizen and you've lived in San Diego for a while, you can get complacent about crossing the border. The lines at the San Ysidro checkpoint, the perfunctory exchange with the inspectors, ...

Make the Bed & Light the Light

Meet a maid at the Hotel Del

These large first-floor rooms at the Hotel del Coronado overlooking the tennis courts and picturesque beach are some of the most expensive in San Diego. And they’re a mess. The bedding in them is rumpled; ...

You Can't Fight Rose Lynne

Meet the most remarkable person at city hall, and find out why she makes certain public officials wish they could repeal the First Amendment.

Feds Seek Pond of Flush

Just how smelly are thirteen acres of raw sewage? Soon, very soon, we shall find out. Next Monday a federal agency is planning to start building an open pond for raw sewage just over the ...

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