Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

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I danced when I saw the Amazon box; rarely do I buy hardcover (hurts too much when they fall over if I fall asleep reading, too bulky to carry on planes) but this one I was on the waiting list for, mail it as soon as it is published! Khaled Housseini, author of Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns has a new runaway best-seller; thanks to him I’ve just spent three days in Afghanistan, Paris and Los Angeles.

As the book opens, I am big brother to a baby sister whose Mom died in childbirth, living in a remote village in Afghanistan. Life is tough, but through the eyes of these children, life is idyllic, even though food is scarce and winters are cold. We have a huge oak tree with a swing, we play with the other children, and we have each other. Our father’s new wife is kind enough, but is busy with her own children, and the drudgery of cooking, cleaning and making do in a very small, poor Afghan village.

Later, I am Pari, living in Paris with an alcoholic, self-absorbed mother, making a life for myself, but always with a nagging feeling of something just outside my peripheral vision, another life . . .

The tale is told through the eyes of many, and on the way to the end of the tale we meet a wide spectrum of humanity, suffer the ills of war, callousness and unintended cruelties. We find that the man with superficial charm also saves and changes the lives of many, we find a doctor who finds fulfillment serving in the poorly resourced hospitals of Afghanistan, and we feel the agonies of a dutiful daughter watching her father fade into the world of Alzheimer’s.

It’s a wonderful, wild ride, richly textured, and when it finishes, you are not ready for it to end.

June 21, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Circle of Life and Death, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Fiction, Living Conditions, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Paris, Political Issues, Relationships | | 4 Comments

More on Pensacola Beach Shooting

This is a very strange story, from the Pensacola News Journal. Continuing investigation makes it even stranger. It sounds like a lot of people on the beach for 3:00 a.m.  The victim and some friends had argued, driven off, come back . . . and he is shot by another group of people who wander by, shoot him – several times – and then run off in three different cars. They claim not to know one another. There has to be more to this story. Bizarre.

Written by
Rhema Thompson
  • A Pensacola man accused of shooting a man to death early Tuesday at Casino Beach may face a first-degree murder charge in a case that is raising more questions as new details emerge.

Damarcus Rayon Jenkins, 20, made a video appearance before Escambia County Judge Thomas Johnson on Wednesday afternoon in the shooting death of Michael Harris, 34, of Milton.

Jenkins is accused of shooting Harris multiple times after approaching Harris and his girlfriend, who had been arguing on the beach.

He was arrested on a second-degree murder charge and is being held without bond. But prosecutors will ask a grand jury to upgrade the charge to first-degree murder in the next few weeks, Assistant State Attorney John Molchan said.

Questions linger about what triggered the deadly encounter.

There is no indication that Harris and Jenkins knew each other, investigators said.

“That makes us very concerned and that’s what we are continuing to investigate,” Molchan said. “The nature of the shooting still presents a lot of questions.”

Escambia County sheriff’s deputies arrived at Casino Beach at about 3:45 a.m. Tuesday in response to a call of shots fired and found Harris lying in the sand with several gunshot wounds, including one to his sternum, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders just after 4 a.m.

According to several witnesses, Harris had been out on the beach with a group of friends that night to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday.

The group separated after Harris, his girlfriend and two other friends got into an argument, according to the report.

After the argument, Harris and another female friend became angry and walked away from the group.

The remaining two friends — a male friend and Harris’ girlfriend — got into a van and drove over the Bob Sikes Bridge before receiving a call from Harris to be picked up, according to the report.

After arriving back at the beach, Harris’ girlfriend got out of the van to meet Harris while Harris’ male friend drove to a different location to pick up his girlfriend, according to the report.


As Harris sat with his girlfriend on the beach, several witnesses said a group of males and females — who appeared in their teens and early 20s — approached the two and multiple gunshots were fired.

The suspected shooter was later identified by several witnesses as Jenkins, Molchan said.

Following the gunshots, the group ran from the beach and into the parking lot where they sped off in black Nissan Altima, a white vehicle and an orange vehicle, according to the report.

Later, officers arrived at a residence in the 4500 block of Landes Drive seeking Jenkins for questioning.

As they talked with a person who answered the door, they noticed Jenkins attempting to flee the home through a side door, the report states.

A deputy caught Jenkins, searched him and found a set of keys to an orange Kia Rio parked in the front yard, which matched one of the vehicles at the scene of the homicide.

Deputies also obtained a search warrant for the residence but found no evidence.

Jenkins was taken into custody and his vehicle was brought to the Sheriff’s Office for processing.

Molchan said there are still others being sought for questioning, but additional charges are not likely.

Jenkins’ next court appearance is scheduled for July 10.

June 21, 2013 Posted by | Crime, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Safety | , | Leave a comment