Manuel Noriega, leading a heavily
armed patrol, detained Freivalds in the midst of a guerilla uprising in the
mountains bordering Costa Rica. Noriega assumed he must be a communist, put him
in handcuffs and forced him to march 20 miles.
Freivalds asked "Am I under arrest?" Noriega responded
"if you were it would be worse."
Cuba. Fidel Castro, wanting to attract American investment, invited Freivalds to come a take a look. He knew he was a capitalist.
Moscow. After buying a bunch of little and heavy things to take back to the States and seeing they were put in a groaning-thin plastic bag, he asked the clerk for a double bag. She stuck her menacing finger in front of his face and uttered "One purchase, one bag."
Tokyo. After checking into a 5 star hotel, he wanted some extra pillows. He called down to the front desk. The answer was "Would you like soft, medium or hard?"
Almaty, Kazakhstan. 12 time zones from Chicago where the TV was Turkish with Chinese subtitles, it was his job to manage a neurotic expat employee who wore a bullet proof vest at all times, carried a loaded gun, always had $5,000 in cash stuffed in his pockets, and never left his passport so he would be ready to flee the country at a moment’s notice.
That's what noted world traveler Richard Carvel said of John Freivalds
new book. No stranger to good reviews,
The NY Times Book Review stated
"Mr. Freivalds is a natural story teller."
Ramblin' Man' s 300 pages features articles written by and about Freivalds from the NY Times, New Yorker to the Los Angeles Times, Roanoke Times and the Bangkok Post, to mention a few. A close friend of his claims he is nothing more than a CIA agent. But the NY Times has a new term for this "curious culturalist."
Freivalds blogs show he has gone from Latvian refugee fleeing communism to a shirtless gun toting cowboy in Colombia to connoisseur sipping champagne on a first class flight to Paris.