I have just finished my work in Jordan. I have completed my interviews and typed up my notes. I will put off writing my report until after Christmas. So now I am sitting in a hotel waiting for a taxi pickup in less than 5 hours and my thoughts are turning to Christmas, seeing my children and grandchildren, and, of course “The Battery Exchange.” I … Continue reading Amman’s Other Christmas Souk
Christmas Markets came late to the UK. It’s not that the UK didn’t celebrate Christmas. Since Victoria’s Albert brought the Christmas tree to England the Brits have done it up in grand style. Before Christmas markets, in the European fashion, came to the UK there was always Covent Garden with its stalls and decorations and Regent Street moving out from Piccadilly Circus. (Below are some … Continue reading Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets
I was all set to post today about my trip to Madaba and Nt. Nebo to look at the wonderful mosaics and take in the view of the Holy Land from the mount where Moses stood. But after I got back to Amman and had a good swim I decided to go to the Christmas Market at “The Boulevard” an outdoor walking street in the … Continue reading A Christmas Souk in Amman
Last night I popped my Jeep into 4 wheel drive for the first time in 33 months. I had begun to wonder if Sitka would ever see winter again. When you live in a rain forest the snow is a relief, precipitation in a different form. precipitation that you don’t mind walking in, precipitation that brightens up the town, even cloudy days. Today is transitional, … Continue reading It’s beginning to look a lot like…ALASKA!
December 24 will not be “Just Another Saturday Night.” It is Christmas Eve, which means the Battery Exchange is back. Here is a history of the Battery Exchange. The Tradition continues live on Christmas Eve on Raven Radio, KCAW, Sitka, streaming on www.kcaw.org. — The Battery Exchange started on KAXE in Grand Rapids Minnesota on Christmas Eve, 1976. When Suzi was a girl neighborhood parents … Continue reading The Battery Exchange, 8:00 PM to Midnight, Christmas Eve, on Raven Radio
This is supposed to be one of those “milestone” birthdays. Even the Bible mentions it, ominously. “Three Score and Ten” is the measure of man’s life. But I’m not feeling like I’ve passed a milestone. Other birthdays were different. When I turned 7 I felt that I had finally made it, out of first grade, into second. I got a Roy Rogers sweat shirt for … Continue reading Reflections On Turning 70
Sitka Whalefest has two wildlife cruises each year. This year we took both of them. According to Jan Straley there are 100 whales in Sitka Sound right now, bulking up for their 30 day swim to Hawaii and their mating and calving seasons. The weather Friday night was so stormy that I wondered if we would get out on the water Saturday morning, but as … Continue reading Whales and Broken Clouds
For 20 years Sitka’s Whalefest has occupied our town during the first week on November. The festival is centered on a science symposium but integrates the performing arts, visual arts, education and outdoor adventure into a package that engages the community and brings visitors from as far as Australia and New Zealand. The Symposium dove into topics ranging from harpoon heads found bowhead whales captured … Continue reading 20th Sitka Whalefest.
Here is the second batch of photos from the 2016 Stardust Ball. It was a great event with Sitka putting on the Ritz and whimsy. Enjoy. Continue reading Stardust Ball, 2016, Photo Tranche 2
This year Raven Radio’s Stardust Ball returned to the newly renovated Centennial Building. This is the first batch of photos from he ball. Enjoy Continue reading Stardust Ball, 2016, Tranche 1
October 3, 2016 As a kid I used to read Scholastic Magazines as part of my social studies program. They were a mix of history and current affairs laced with a lot of 50s Americanism. These magazines first interested me in Cuba. In the fall of 1958, when I was in 7thh grade, one of the Scholastic magazines did an article on Cuba. It had … Continue reading C.U. in CUBA
October 3, 2016 I normally do not like organized tours, and our Old Havana (Havana Vieja) walking tour reminds me why. While the guide is good, it is largely a standing tour, listening while the guide explains some aspect of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. I begin to wander off to find a book seller in the Plaza de Armas, or some musicians in a … Continue reading Havana Vieja
We got back to the ship, showered and went out into the cool of the evening. Our p2p obligations discharged for the day, we were ready to strike out on our own. I found a 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible, two toned red and white and flying the American Flag. We went for a ride with Ignacio and Alejandro (uncle and nephew.) Ignacio owns the … Continue reading Crusin’ the Malecon
I’ll take a break here and just sit back and enjoy the eye candy of old cars cruising through Cuba. After the revolution the state allowed people who owned cars before the revolution to keep them and even sell them. Cars from after the revolution were more difficult to get. The revolution took power on January 1, 1959 so owners of cars from the 1950s … Continue reading Cuban Eye Candy (Classic Cars)
We stopped back at the ship for a quick run to the buffet before heading out for the 9:30 show at the Café Taberna. The Café serves dinner but Lonely Planet warned us off the food there. But the mojitos were good, as was the beer and especially the music. The band was of mixed ages, races and musical styles. The trumpet player was blonde, … Continue reading Havana Night
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)
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.
October 5, This is my first Sea Interlude, a sea day between Havana and Cienfuegos. I like to use Sea Interludes to process what I’ve seen but that isn’t happening today. There’s too much going on. The Cuban band is playing at midday and in the evening. We have lectures on Cienfuegos and Cuban history. Those who want dancing or Spanish lessons can have them. … Continue reading First Sea Interlude
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
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
We had about 15 minutes in the Cienfuegos main square, time for a peak into the Thomas Terry Theatre lobby and a walk around Jose Marti Square. I had a good view of the Art Nouveau skyline from the deck of the ship as we sailed out. Continue reading Cienfuegos Art Nouveau
The sail out took us past a number of villages and past the old Spanish fortifications guarding the harbor. Normally the ship sails out of the harbor just after noon. Today it was at supper time and people in the villages lined the shore to wave at us, shout “Adios,” “See you later” or just “U.S.A.” I wonder how many cruise ships will come and … Continue reading Cienfuegos Sail Out
October 7 This is our second sea day, but I have more time to write and process today, there will be three Sea Interludes today. So all told we will have 4 Sea Interludes, just like Peter Grimes. Today’s first, and the trips second, is about graphic art. We saw a lot of revolutionary graphic art on our travels around Havana and Cienfuegos. In this … Continue reading The Second Sea Interlude — Revolutionary Graphics
My third Sea Interlude is about music. There is live music wherever we go in Cuba. There is Cuban music on the ship, at every restaurant where we ate, on the streets, in cafes and music to welcome us to las Terrazas (although not at the cooperative farm.) Much of the music is new to me, some I know from listening to recordings of Chano … Continue reading Our Third and Fourth Sea Interludes