Ophir – Tiny Town in the Oquirrh Mountains of Utah That Refuses to Die

“Then thou shalt lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks”

Job 22:24

About 4 miles up a deep canyon on the west slope of the Oquirrh Mountains is a town that was too tough to die and that town is called Ophir. In this article I will give a brief history of the place and pay tribute to a town that really epitomizes the old west and spirit of a growing Nation. It all started back in 1863 when General Patrick Edward Connor granted leave for a large number of his soldiers at Fort Douglas to go and prospect in the mountains of Utah for gold.

Mr. Lineback, a soldier in Connor’s prospector army located the first claim about 300 feet up Graveyard Gulch from what would become the center of town. Soon afterwards many other claims were located by soldiers hearing the stories of claims as rich as those of King Solomon’s mines in the land of Ophir from the Old Testament. The soldiers were lured to the Oquirrh Mountains by the fact that the local Indians for years had been making lead bullets and crude ornaments out of gold and silver from ores they found in the mountains. Mr. Lineback with the help of a Mr. Moore, laid out the town of Ophir and continued working his claim and even though it never paid the dividend’s he had hoped for, he ended up operating a lucrative property near the mouth of the canyon where he had several orchards of fruit trees.

The population of Ophir began to swell with miners, prospectors, merchantmen, gamblers, women of ill repute, and outlaws swarming in from California, Nevada, and Colorado. Many claims were staked and numerous profitable mines were opened. The names of these mines were interesting in and of themselves, some of which were the Ophir Hill, Cliff Mine, Chloride Point, Buckhorn, Montana, Hidden Treasure, Miner’s Delight, Pocatello, Wild Delirium, and Velocipede.

The usual collection of buildings sprang up in the deep narrow canyon, stretched out in a ribbon. Ophir had several saloons, 2 general stores, 2 hotels, a post office, churches, jail, and all manner of other establishments one can imagine. One miner described the town when viewed from above as a fantastic collection of shacks, saloons, brothels, and dance halls. The leading business was the Ophir Mercantile which was said to carry a most complete line of general utilities. As increasing amounts of ore came forth from the mines, and enterprising individual named Mack Gisborn opened a toll road Stockton to Ophir and heavy, ore laden wagons rumbled back and forth along this road nearly all hours of the day and night. Some of the ore went to the Stockton Smelters and some of it went to Lake Point where it was put on barges and floated across the Great Salt Lake to Corrine and the Railroad.

In 1873 traveler and writer John Codman visited Ophir as part of his research for his book “Mormon Country – A summer with the Latter Day Saints”. As his stage wound up the steep canyon towards town Codman was surprised to find the following tucked away in the mountains of Utah. “As we approached town we saw a French Sign in the wilderness stating CafĂ© et Restaurant kept by a Monsieur Simon. He and his wife were fresh from Paris and were trying to keep up Parisian style in the mountains of Utah complete with white apron, menu, and white cap”.

Several very prominent men made their fortunes in Ophir and went on to become famous. One of these individuals was Marcus Daly. Daly was fired for some reason or another from the Emma Mine at Alta and drifted as miners did in those days from camp to camp until he landed in Ophir. The Walker brothers decided to take a chance on Daly and hired him as superintendent of their “Zella” claim. With money earned and saved from this rich mine Daly went on to Montana to open up a new prospect which would later be known as the “Anaconda Mine” and he would become wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. Daly was eventually elected to represent the people of Montana as a United States Senator.

Another individual who struck it big and quite possibly did more for Ophir than any other person was Mr. William A. Clark. Clark made his fortune from Ophir’s largest and oldest producer – The Ophir Hill mine, and was instrumental in bringing heavy machinery and state of the art mining technology to Ophir including intricate tram systems that would carry the ore from the mines high up in the hills down to where it could be processed and sent via wagon or train to far away smelters. Mr. Clark interestingly enough would also become a U.S. Senator for the State of Montana. Even more interesting than that is the fact that Marcus Daly and W.A. Clark both married the daughters of a Mr. Evans of Ophir.

While these two gentlemen made their fortune and fame in Ophir and then went on to bigger and better things, some prospectors, even when they struck it rich, could not stand to leave the place. The following tale comes from Codman’s book “A poor German named Hirsch discovered what would become the Kelly Consolidated claims. He worked himself weary, starving himself so that he could employ necessary assistance, and then selling his ore to develop still further with the proceeds. Finally he sold his property to Col. Kelly for a very high price which would enable him to live in luxury for all his remaining days. But now he insists that the little hut, half stone and half log, in which he has lived the life of a hermit for so many winters and summers, shall remain his property, for he cannot live anywhere else. Here then he will remain, prospecting for another mine. He has mining on the brain. He can think, nor talk of nothing else. Mines are the idols to which he is joined and he prefers to be let alone”.

Some of the hardest workers in the mines were not miners but mules. If you go to the Northwest Utah Heritage website you can read the interesting story of old “Jeff” of Ophir who was a hard working mule for sure. Another hard worker who loved the mines at Ophir was a horse named “Old Charlie”. Charlie’s story is told by Mary Helen Parsons in “History of Tooele County – Vol I”. Charlie used to haul ore cars out of the mine to the mill at the Ophir Hill mine. He worked at this job for many years with only the light of a candle placed in a gallon can to light his way. Even though it was dark in the mine Charlie knew all the stations along the drift. Charlie was very business like and he knew where to go to be loaded, how fast the cars should be going and he would use his hips as breaks if they started to get out of control. He slept in a barn very near the entrance of the mine every night.

When the company finally installed an electric pump to take the place of Charlie’s labor, the mine manager arranged for Charlie to live out his remaining days in a green pasture in the canyon bottom. The next day after Charlie was taken to the pasture however, when the miners arrived at work, Charlie was standing tall at the mine ready to go to work. He was then transported back down the canyon to the pasture. The following day he showed up again at the mine. This cycle repeated itself until finally one day Charlie died, many of the miners believe of a broken heart because he loved his work and loved the mine from which he was separated.

Miners and mules were not the only residents in Ophir however. Gamblers and card sharks a plenty there were too. One of the most notorious tales of the wild days of Ophir was that of a famous poker game where the stakes got really high. One evening a man named Frank Payton sat down to a game of Poker with a miner named Digger Mike. Digger started betting with a poke of gold dust. Payton raised him $250.00. A friendly game this was not. Digger saw it and raised Payton $500.00 in gold dust. This exchange continued until there was more than $12,000.00 in various denominations and collateral heaped in the middle of the table. Digger, being out of cash called for a showdown. By this time many people had gathered all around the table. Payton had been bluffing and laid down a pair of “4’s”. Digger had run an even bigger bluff though and angrily slapped down a pair of treys. Payton happily and lustfully scooped up the pot. Unfortunately for him however, Payton was found several days later in a ravine outside of town with his skull bashed in. He had been drygulched and all his money was gone. It is said that no culprit was ever arrested.

As Ophir continued to grow, it settled down a bit from the crazy days and men like W.A. Clark got serious about making improvements to their properties. His main dream was to have a rail spur built into Ophir so that he could haul more ore to be processed and make a better profit. Finally, primarily through his hard work and capital, the St. John and Ophir railroad was finished in 1912. In some areas its grade reached 7% and was very steep. In order to deal with this type of incline, two climax type locomotives were used to haul trains 2 times a day each way. This service lasted for 16 years when in 1928 the railroad ceased operations. In 1938 the tracks were taken up and an old combination car that was deemed unsafe to travel the rails, was left in place and it’s skeletal remains can still be seen today on the south side of the road as you enter town.

Throughout its lifespan Ophir’s mines produced nearly 50 million dollars in Silver, Lead, Zinc, and Gold. In those days the mountains were a wild place where journals talk of how the residents would hear the Mountain Lion’s scream at night as they ventured near the settlement looking for food. The large number of catamounts that lived in the area are the reason Lion Hill has its name.

After the railroad left town, Ophir dozed into a state of lazy rest for over 70 years with the weeds, and elements reclaiming old mining shacks, homes, and structures one at a time. In recent years however, Ophir has seen a revival, due in great part to the hard work and community service of several preservation minded individuals. Through generous donations from local citizens and Mr. Leo Ault in particular, a picturesque and quaint little historic village has revived the center of town, not far from where Mr. Lineback made his first claim.

If you go there on a Saturday before 3pm you can usually find friendly people there who are more than willing to walk you through the collection of historic structures that have accumulated there, including an original caboose from the St. John and Ophir Railroad which was donated by Mr. Ault. A walk through this old rail car is a fascinating step back in time.

On the occasion of my visit, a Mrs. Maxine Shields walked me through house #5 and explained how generations of her family had lived in it for years and years. She then told me a tale of how in 1910, her grandfather, Patsy Vario emigrated from Italy to America at age 7. It was a classic tale of a young boy who couldn’t speak a lick of English, hit the shore alone and the people he was supposed to meet never showed up. Somehow he made his way to Ophir and there have been generations of Varios in Tooele County ever since. This tale and many others were related as Maxine walked my family and I through many other old structures including the post office. Several other family names live on in the canyon from the earliest days of Ophir including the relatives of early camp pioneer George St. Clair who operated and worked in the Chloride Point mine on Lion Hill.

I also visited Minnie’s which is the only type of store or establishment in the town. It is owned and operated by the current Mayor Walt Schubert. He is a laid back old fellow who is obviously enjoying life up in Ophir and has put in many, many hours of work making Ophir the wonderful place that it is today. The town council still meets in the old city hall building which dominates the center of town. This structure which was built around 1908 is quaint and charming inside. The council members hold their meetings here every Tuesday as they have done for many, many years and there is an antique ballot box, and old wood stove in the corner. Across the street in the park you can see the old fire apparatus that used to be housed in this building.

One article is not nearly enough to describe the history of this place or the interesting things that one can still see in Ophir today. As always, do a little bit of research before you go up there and your visit will be much more meaningful. 90% of the Canyon is Private Property so be respectful of that fact and always request permission from land owners before you enter such places. I have found that the people there are friendly and willing to answer questions about their pretty little town.

To get there, take Utah Highway 36 south out of Tooele, through Stockton to the Junction with Utah Highway 73. Turn left on highway 73 and in about 5 miles you will come to a sign at the edge of a ravine which points the way east to Ophir. Turn left on this road and follow it for about 4 miles up to town. Along the way up the canyon, look for the old remains of a train trestle that can still be seen in the wash.

As you stand in the middle of town, gazing up at the towering limestone cliffs covered with pines, think about all the stories of Old Ophir. Visit the sites and take it all in, remembering the old adage, “take nothing but pictures – leave nothing but footprints.”

Spirit of the Dragonfly

The metamorphic act of emergence from nymph to Dragonfly strips away our beliefs of containment of our actions, our limitations, our doubts, and our self doubt. ‘The Spirit of the Dragonfly’ reminds us that everything is possible, we can achieve our dreams and our goals, we learn to understand about ourselves, and our self belief. The Dragonfly Spirit is the keeper of our dreams, seeing out true potential and ability, giving us the capability to fulfill our birthright. 

The wings of the Dragonfly reflect the colours of our Universe and connects us to their energy.  The power of the individual colour or colours help us achieve our aspirations.

The choice of colours of our clothes, the interiors of our surroundings, even the colour of our car can have a positive or negative influence on what we wish to achieve in life. The wearing of dull or drab colours sends out a negative message, saying inside we really don’t want to achieve or fulfill our ambitions, the colours we surround ourselves with reflect back to us the message we send out, just as the reflection of the wings of the Dragonfly.

If we want to change we need to show we are ready and willing to allow the changes to occur through the energy generated by the vibrations given off from the colour connected to particular energy of the experience we are seeking. If we want to stand out work for our contribution in the workplace we should wear shades of red and violet. If we wish to start afresh we should wear shades of green, and for a feeling of greater empowerment we should wear shades of yellow.

To develop a greater intuitive ability, and feel more deeply connected with the Universe we should wear shades of blue and indigo.

We should use colours to express who we are, our aspirations of desire and experience in our lives. We should learn from Mother Nature, with its vast array of colour, and how nature uses colour, whether for the pollination of the flowers, in the cycle of birth and rebirth, or the use of colour to deter or drive away predators. Through the ‘Spirit of the Dragonfly’ we can use colour in the same way as nature to attract or deter through the messages we send out to others, and the reflective reactions of others to the messages we send out, to help the greater understanding of our self.

In the beginning of the life cycle of the Dragonfly the Nymph emerges from the egg, spending as long as five years beneath the water surface, using internal gills to breathe, the use their extendable jaws to cut away at other invertebrates, and even vertebrates such as tadpoles and fish, In the same way the Spirit of the Dragonfly can teach us to combine emotion with rational thought, by gutting away at the parts of our lives, that we cannot control. This is especially helpful in dealing with addictions, such as over eating, drinking to excess and drug addiction, other addictions such as procrastination, gambling, over spending, daydreaming, overworking and other addictions, which do not allow us to live a balanced and fulfilled lifestyle.

Most addictions are due to suppressed emotional energies and traumas that are being compensated through the addiction. Over eating often compensates for feeling unloved, and drinking for depression, or a depressive life style. There are often other parts of ones lifestyle that are out of control and need addressing, before they can be resolved.

Often one has to peer beneath the emotional waters, into the murky depths, to understand the causes and what is really happening inside oneself.

When the Nymph is ready to metamorphosis into an adult, it climbs up with the assistance of an emergent plant at night, and as it does its breathing pattern changes inside the larva’s body, then skin splits at a weak point behind the head , and the adult Dragonfly crawls out of its old larval skin, waits for the sun to rise, pumps up is wings and swiftly flies off, the Dragonfly is the worlds fastest flying insect, propelling itself at speeds of 19 to 38 miles per hour, dependent upon the species. In the same way using the energy generated by the Spirit of the Dragonfly one can swiftly come to conclusions and new insights that help you propel yourself from the old larval skin into new ways thought, action and lifestyle. This is the point of metamorphication , the most important time for ‘seeing’ through illusions, and being receptive to the messages being sent to you from the Universe directly through the Spirit of the Dragonfly. We must leave behind our old beliefs of powerlessness, irrational fears, and false limitations, you have the choice of your beliefs and your focus for the future. Although one always the power to change ones circumstances, this is a pivotal point and with the energy from the Spirit of the Dragonfly, one clearly shows one is ready to leave behind all the excuses for not making changes, and taking on the full responsibility for what we make of our life, by making the appropriate changes now while one has the energy, support and power of the emerging Spirit of the Dragonfly.

People who have absorbed and retain the energy from the Spirit of Dragonfly are often good healers, and understand the use of Colour for Healing, they can sense or see the colours that one carries in their aura, and can learn how to assist that person by changing the colour rays so the person can be a part in their own healing process, rather than being dependent on others to carry out the healing process for them, which hardly ever works. This can be shown by the following examples, if a person carries a heavy murky colour of red within their aura, leading to power struggles, constant irritations, and things always going wrong, the healer can assist in replacing the heavy murky reds, with lighter clearer reds to empower the person with confidence, Or if a persons aura is depleted in vital energy and colour the healer can teach the person to learn to draw in the energy rays through the colours of the Universe, both seen and unseen to repair and invigorate the aura.

For the recharging of the aura, which is particularly necessary during periods of stress and trauma, and is needed by healers and by all of us at least several times a week, or even once of twice a day. One of the easiest and most pleasant ways or restoring or building up ones aura is to get comfortable in a placid place where one feels at home, and to focus on all the colours of the rainbow and to visualise them entering into the aura via the Universal flow, if one needs additional energy they can call upon the Spirit of the Dragonfly, by visualising the rainbow colours reflecting of the wings of the dragonfly as it flies over meadow, gardens and streams, if one is a novice to this and there is some apprehension, one can incorporate remembered fond memory places into the flight of the butterfly, one can also do this before going to sleep at night ensuring a good nights rest and awakening in the morning feeling fully rested and invigorated,  or one can take some short timeout in the lunch break to be fully restored for the rest of the day. With practise one can learn to be able to this in almost any place and situation.

For the first time one can use a tangible item, which can be focused upon, a glass paperweight is to be recommended as it performs both functions, the glass is made from silica from rock crystals so stores energy, a Dragonfly Paperweight will help to bring harmony in the environment.

People with the Spirit of the Dragonfly are very good at deciphering the colours of ones emotions and homing in on what emotions control our lives. We get so used to how we feel, it becomes the norm, we may not recognise that we are depressed or hold levels of anger or hostility, or we hold within grief or remorse from events that occurred in the long past. We project these emotions onto other, and find ourselves attracting like people who are depressed or hostile.

In our Western Culture we are often brought up not to show and to stifle our emotions, so this energy get forced down, trapped and built up in our lower chakras, Using the energy from the ‘Spirit of the Dragonfly’ calling it into the lower chakras, the energy can stir up this trapped energy, which has been manifesting itself through the body, we can get it moving again. This removal is not really painful, in fact it is less painful than having all this trapped energy attracting more of the same. If you do not know a person who is empowered with the Dragonfly Spirit to help you through the process, call upon the energy of the Dragonfly Spirit through your mind.

Think about the energy moving through the lower chakras, infusing them with clear brilliant colours, which you can use reflecting from the wings of the dragonfly for additional potency, and well being. You may feel a little emotional, this is a good sign it shows the process is working it does not take long for the energy to clear, and you need to be feeling these emotions, cry yell, stamp you feet, do whatever it takes to get that energy up and away, always bearing in mind you have a powerful companion in the form of the Spirit of the Dragonfly working within you, and for you, and supporting you during this process.

If you do not feel confident or afraid about carrying out this process on you own you should consult a registered alternative healer, or other qualified therapist before engaging in this sort of healing work. It is a true sign of oneself to know when you require help and go out and seek it. If you do need any assistance in finding a qualified you can find the regulatory authorities on the web, or you can contact us directly and we shall give you the details of you nearest registered qualified healer, all our services are free, we are here to help you whenever you need us.

People working with The Spirit of the Dragonfly often work using Crystals and other Semi Precious Stone, where energy can be drawn from the bright colours and the bright inclusions within the stones, all ‘Dragonfly People’ can boost their energy and lift their spirits by including the stones throughout their homes, and a feeling of well being throughout the household can be achieved. Sunstone is particularly if they are of good quality, with many sparkling inclusions.

Just as the Dragonfly, it can be some considerable time for your transformation to take place, from Nymph grubbing about below the surface to sparkling new Dragonfly, with the freedom to propel yourself into the bright new world, At times it will seem difficult or even impossible, but just think of the metamorphosise of the dragonfly, and remember always you are gradually empowering yourself, and these changes are growing stronger little by little every day, and you are learning to know and understand more about yourself. You will come out into the daylight with Higher Power and Spirit, which will always remain inside you, and continue to grow, as you continue in the Knowledge of Your Inner Self and the Power of the Universe.

This power is within your Soul and Spirit, and the Energy is from Our Universe, how we interpret this is from our inner self, there are many paths to follow, the freedom to follow your paths is what you are looking to achieve, experience and follow. We ask you only to use your new power wisely and help us to help others. The Spirit of the Dragonfly is a very powerful spirit, we are upon this planet for such a short time, and we are never to old to make this transformation.

The Dragonfly has a 360 degree field of vision, the eyes have 30,000 facets, each of which is a separate light sensing organ. The Dragonfly has a particular optical illusion called motion camouflage, moving in such a way to project itself as a stationary object, whilst moving at great speed, as a method of self protection against all that would cause them harm.

The oldest known species of Dragonfly are 320million years old, and appear in fossils.

Dragons have often been thought of as flying dragons.

In Native American Culture Dragonflies represent swiftness and activity, for the Navajo they symbolise pure water, and feature commonly in Zuni Pottery, stylised as a double barred cross, appear in Hopi rock art and on Pueblo necklaces. It is said in some Native American Beliefs that Dragonflies are also held as a symbol of renewal after a time of great hardship.

In Japan dragonflies are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness, and often appear in art and literature, especially Haiku, A  early system of verse which remains today. In ancient mythology, Japan was known as Akitsushima, which means ‘Land of the Dragonflies’. The love for Dragonflies is reflected by the fact that there are traditional names for almost all of the 200 species of Dragonflies found in and around Japan.

Webkinz Secret Code – Top 3 Code Scams To Avoid

Webkinz is growing in popularity everyday now. This is thanks in no small part to the Webkinz secret code that comes with each plush animal purchased from an authorized dealer. With this code, the pet owner can log into the Webkinz world online – a massive and constantly expanding virtual universe for Webkinz. Unfortunately, despite how easy and inexpensive it is to get a code the right way, there are still scammers out there trying to steal codes from unsuspecting people. Here are the top three code scams to beware of.

Code Scam #1: Purchasing Your Webkinz From Unauthorized Webkinz Dealers

If you don’t purchase your Webkinz pet from an authorized Ganz dealer, you are setting yourself up for dissapointment. If the seller is not an authorized agent, you have no way of knowing if the code that comes with your pet is a legitimate and working code, or if the dealer has already sold the code to someone else.

Code Scam #2: The “Get A Free Secret Item”

Once you have your Webkinz secret code and have logged into the Webkinz world, scam artists will often try to get you to reveal your password to them so they can steal your account. One of the most common ways they do this is to offer to give you free secret items. Then they ask you for your account details so they can add the secret items to your account.

Don’t fall for this. They just want your account password so they can log in and steal your account. They will then use your account themselves or resell it to someone else.

Code Scam #3: The Trader Scam

There are many online forums now where Webkinz fans can share information with each other. Often on these forums, people will say they have new or rare Webkinz to trade with you. Remember though, once you send your pet to someone else, there is no way to guarantee that they will send you one back in return. Many of these traders are actually scammers. They only take and never give back. Then they sell the codes they have stolen to other people.

Unless you are trading in person or know the person you are trading with, avoid this at all costs.

Types of Unit Trust Funds in Malaysia

The basic feature of unit trust investment is a form of collective investment that allows investors with similar investment objectives to pool their saving, and invested in a portfolio of securities managed by investment professional.

We can classify 5 mains categories of unit trust funds in Malaysia:

1)Equity fund: The major portions of equity fund portfolios are shares of listed companies. It’s available in the market with higher risk-higher return to those with lower risk-lower returns:

·Aggressive growth fund – generally invests in companies with higher capital growth, but with higher risk.

·Index fund- normally the return will closely resemble the performance of the stock market index, both in

terms of risk and return.

·Income fund – the fund will invest primarily in stocks that earn significant dividend income, rather than

companies that are expected to pay little or no dividends.

2)Fixed Income fund: Mainly invest in corporate bonds, government securities and liquid securities. Generally it will provide regular income with less emphasis on capital growth.

3)Property fund: Invest in real property. The fund returns are generated from rental income and capital appreciation. Most property units are listed on stock exchange, as the assets are highly illiquid.

4)Islamic fund: Investment in accordance with Syariah Laws. Main objective is to invest in a portfolio of halal stocks. Non-halal stock – companies produce or involved in activities, products or services and financial services, gambling, alcoholic, beverages and non-halal food products.

5)Balanced fund: invest in between Equity fund and fixed income investments.

By having good understanding of the above funds categories, we start to evaluate the funds to invest in, by considering our investment objectives and risk tolerance level.

Miyajima – Sacred Island

The really, really fast Shinkansen brought me from Kyoto to Hiroshima at 300kph. Whoa!

Hiro=Wide. Shima=Island. Hiroshima=Wide Island. It’s actually not an island, but a group of islands created by the numerous rivers that come down from the mountain and run through the city. Once I arrived here, I went directly to the ferry station for the crossing to Miyajima Island. Miya=Holy and Jima=Shima=Island. Miyajima=Holy Island. Once again, the Shinto equivalence of holiness with beauty – and the place is indeed very, very beautiful.

Just offshore in the water is located Japan’s most famous vermilion Torii, built originally in the 17th century, and indicating the passage into a sacred location. The island is also teeming with deer that seem to live with us humans quite fine, thank you. They are really pesky and keep nudging for food and when they aren’t provided any, they start chewing on whatever is at hand – like my jacket sleeve.

As I meandered along, I came across a wedding party enjoying some elaborate Shinto dance ritual. I didn’t understand the Bugaku or its significance, but the intricate dance was quite wild, and the live music played by a group of Shinto priests accompanying the dancing priest, was charming. I doubt the Talmudic discussion between the schools of Hillel and Shammai, regarding how one is to dance before a bride, ever made its way here. But, oh boy, this was one big and blustery boogie! I then strolled around the shrines on this most beautiful island, did some shopping and made my way back to the ferry, across the sea and to the bus, from where I proceeded to my hotel.

A little about the hotels: the one where I stayed in Tokyo was lovely. The rooms were divided between the bedroom area and the living area. Very comfortable beds, MUCH better than those I slept in, in China. The hotel in Hakone was exceptional too – very ornate, beautiful gardens, full-service only, no buffet breakfast; very high end. And it had its own “onsen” (mineral hot spring bath – more about those another time). My single room in the hotel in Kyoto was as wide as my bed plus 100cm. I kid you not. I once stayed in Amersfoort, Netherlands in a place like that. Then it was a novelty. Now it was disappointing! But that was made up by my hotel here in Hiroshima which was very, very fancy.

Late that night I went for a walk through the deserted streets of Hiroshima. Passed a Pachinko Palace (more details on that phenomenon will come along with the onsen too) where the gamblers were busy with their hands feverishly working the pull-bar. I also passed a used car lot where the cutest little Mitsubishi city cars were on sale. At 11:15 p.m. I called the front desk and requested a massage. So this 60-year-oldish woman comes to my room holding what appeared to be a bag of tools. She looked like Rosa Klebb. Remember her? She was James Bond’s sworn enemy in “From Russia with Love,” the one with the poisoned spike in her shoe. My masseuse spoke no English, but with lots of “Hai!”s, we managed to make ourselves understood. She strolled into the room, took of her shoes, hopped on the bed and proceeded to roll off the duvet, placed a special cushion on the bed, and told me in hand-language to put on the yukata (robe) that’s hanging in the closet.

Anyway, once she had me on the bed she proceeded to give me one of those good old deep penetrating Shiatsu massages. At the beginning it was seriously painful, but as she continued and I relaxed, it got better. She left, and for the first time since arriving here, I had a good, solid, uninterrupted 5 hours of sleep. Fantastic!