Shetland, No Ponies

Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland:  The Shetland islands, no ponies, but we did see a goat.  He was raising money to buy an infrared camera to be used by the Lerwick Lifeboat Society, the local search and rescue.  We met him in a shop that sells hand crafted soap made from goats’ milk packed in little Shetland wool pouches.  Since we arrived on a Sunday, one … Continue reading Shetland, No Ponies

Rising to Sea Level, the North Sea Canal.

We are onboard and underway, on our cruise to Iceland and Greenland.  But we weren’t sure that this would happen.  I had complications from surgery the week before we left for Amsterdam and I didn’t get clearance from the docs until Friday afternoon.  We flew to Amsterdam on Sunday.   While waiting I could not bring myself to do things that I normally do in preparation.  … Continue reading Rising to Sea Level, the North Sea Canal.

Amsterdam Thoughts

  Our Cruise to Iceland and Greenland leaves from Amsterdam.  Given the vagaries of Alaska weather and our desire to avoid jet lag on the cruise we arrived in Amsterdam with four nights and three days to acclimatize.  Amsterdam is a good city to do that because we already know it well, we can relax and not feel compelled to see everything.   We can visit … Continue reading Amsterdam Thoughts

A Joyful Noise in Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Folk Festival is an annual compass point for our family, an annual highlight.   This year was the 44th festival.  We’ve been to 38. We go to connect with friends and introduce our grandkids to the joys of a multicultural festival, just as we did with our own kids.  We also go to discover new acts, and sometimes get a nostalgic kick. There’s the … Continue reading A Joyful Noise in Winnipeg

Wild and Scenic, 50 years on.

Fifty years ago we weren’t sure.  The Wild and Scenic Rivers act was before Congress and if it passed the St. Criox, the boundary river between Minnesota and Wisconsin, was to be one of the first 8 rivers included in the system.  Landowners along the river would have restrictions on what they could build, especially if that building could be seen from the river.  The … Continue reading Wild and Scenic, 50 years on.

“THIS is why we’re American…  baseball.”

Bases loaded, one out, a long shot to center right, fielded on one bounce.  One run Sioux Falls Canary scores but with a great throw to third the St. Paul Saints turn a double play, third to second, inning over.  Jake turns to me and says “THIS is why we’re American…  baseball.” We are in the new 7,200 seat CHS stadium in Lower Town, downtown, … Continue reading “THIS is why we’re American…  baseball.”

Art Deco Hospital

I was born in a magnificent Art Deco hospital in Jersey City, the Margaret Hague Maternity (named after Boss Frank, “I am the law,” Hague’s mother) Hospital.  It was part of the Jersey City Medical Center.   The Art Deco medical center provided virtually free health care for all Jersey City residents.  Now it’s a condo called “The Beacon” and is not available to virtually all … Continue reading Art Deco Hospital

Victoria’s Totem Poles

One of my favorite walks in Sitka is through Sitka National Historical Park, we call it “Totem Park.”  I have been friends with many of the poles in the park since my first walk through in 1973.  In the 44 years since then I have made the acquaintance of several new poles, carved for different occasions, commemorating the Park Service, or the Battle of Sitka.  … Continue reading Victoria’s Totem Poles

King Street Station, Seattle

The first time I entered the King Street Station in Seattle was when I stepped off the “Coast Daylight/Starlight in 1973.”  A couple of days later Suzi and I got on the “Pacific International” to head to Vancouver.  The impression the station left me was of a dark cave.  The ceilings were too low, made of acoustic tile.  It was a chintzy modern interior that … Continue reading King Street Station, Seattle

Sustainable Propaganda (But Nice Pictures)

October 4, 2016 Much of our trip to Cuba is defined by conditions set by the late Senator Jesse Helms in the Helms-Burton act.  The act limits the conditions under which Americans can travel to Cuba.  We are here on a Person to Person, p2p, program.  Technically we cannot come as tourists but must come on an approved p2p itinerary.   It used to be that … Continue reading Sustainable Propaganda (But Nice Pictures)

Sailing into a Havana Sunset.

Our bus tour took us through different neighborhoods of Havana, through the Miramar and Vedado neighborhoods and we arrived at the pier in time to do a little shopping.  At each place we stopped the seller said “See you Saturday.”  We are not scheduled to return to Havana but Hurricane Matthew is headed toward Santiago in Eastern Cuba so it seems reasonable that we will … Continue reading Sailing into a Havana Sunset.

Cooperative Farm, Cowboys and Cheese

October 6 In many ways Cuba is not the type of Communist country I am used to.  I have traveled in the Soviet Union before the collapse and have visited various parts of the old Soviet empire both before and after the collapse. Cuba is not colorless gray world we encountered in, say, East Germany.  It is colorful and vibrant.  The customs and immigration people … Continue reading Cooperative Farm, Cowboys and Cheese

Waiting for Lunch in Cienfuegos, Communist Problem Solving

After the cooperative farm we are supposed to have lunch at a restaurant between the farm and town, about 20 km out of town.  When we get there two other buses from our ship are at the restaurant.  There is no room for us or the passengers off the bus that pulls in right after us.  The guide tells us we will have to wait … Continue reading Waiting for Lunch in Cienfuegos, Communist Problem Solving