‘Travel’ Archive

Some General Observations about China: Languages, Romanizations, Air Quality, General Appearance September 4, 2015 No Comments

I am late getting out this post, which should be my last about China. China does not feel like Europe.  It feels like America in some parallel universe.  I had always hated the science fiction tales on TV that had all these parallel universes, but now I’ve spent time on one.  The biggest cities, Singapore, […]

Beijing – At the End of the Road July 1, 2015 No Comments

Because Beijing, as the capital and second largest city, gets the most media attention, most people go there first.  We made a point of going there last. The first surprise is that the air there was the clearest we had run into in China, except for Yan’an!  I guess the thick smog is a seasonal […]

Dynasties and All That June 16, 2015 No Comments

It will occur to the reader that I have been talking about dynasties and this and that without giving any clear background on them.  The time has come to clarify. DYNASTIES In case you don’t know, a dynasty is a period where all the kings, princes, or emperors descend from one ancestor, usually through the […]

Our China Journey Part V: Shandong June 5, 2015 No Comments

About half of Shandong is a mountainous peninsula that sticks out into the East China Sea, dividing it into the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Gulf. But a considerable portion of it projects into the great plain to the west.  I suspect that at one time it was an island, before the Huanghe Delta filled […]

Our China Journey, Part IV – Henan, The Center of the Universe May 28, 2015 No Comments

We bundled our luggage into a van and got on a train and headed for Luoyang, Henan, a place which has frequently been the capital of China, though a bit of a backwater now.  Here were a number of things to be seen.  We went to a place where ancient tombs of kings and nobles […]

Our China Journey, Part III – Xi’an and Yan’an May 26, 2015 No Comments

From Nanjing we got on a plane and flew 600 miles to the northwest to Xi’an, Shaanxi.  This city is now a second tier city about the size of Chicago, but during the Tang dynasty [618-907] it was Chang’an, the largest and most cosmopolitan city on the world.  It was laid out on a large […]

Our China Journey, Part II – Shanghai and the Lower Yangtze Region May 24, 2015 No Comments

SHANGHAI We next flew to Shanghai, though the largest city in the country it is not in its core area historically Chinese. Shanghai was a small town until 1842, when just north of it two large concession enclaves were carved out; the International [really British] concession, and just south of it, the French concession.  The […]

Our China Journey, Part I – Singapore and Guangzhou May 22, 2015 No Comments

SINGAPORE David, Roberta, and I started our adventure in Singapore, which is a 75% Chinese city but was ruled by the British from 1818 to 1957 and after 1965 by the late great Lee Kwan Yew, who established English as the common language.  Far from being Third World, it is a place I call ‘Toronto […]

Our Adventure in Ethiopia April 29, 2015 No Comments

In March of 2015, our family and some friends took a 3½ week trip through Ethiopia, one of the most unusual of sub-Saharan African countries.  Ethiopia is exceptional in two ways; It became a Christian culture in the 300s, whereas Christianity did not spread from there into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa; It successfully evaded […]

How Michael Dell Ruined My Vacation January 28, 2014 No Comments

For seventeen years my wife and I have been going to the Four Seasons Hualalai, on Hawaii Island [known as the Big Island] for a month every winter.  The beach in front of it is full of lava rock and unswimmable, but the next door resort, much older than the Four Seasons and indeed than […]

Where I’ve Been, And Why I Haven’t Posted In A While August 19, 2012 3 Comments

I apologize to my Gentle Readers for my long silence.  I’ve just been on a long road trip around the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia; up from Copenhagen to the top of Sweden, then down through Finland, then through the three Baltic states to Poland and Germany and back to Copenhagen.  I am […]

New York City Transit’s Inconvenient Pricing May 5, 2012 2 Comments

New York City, much to my disappointment, has discontinued its transit one-day unlimited ride ticket.  [You can still get such a ticket for a week, but I’m never in town that long.]  What you can get is cards with $10.70 worth of rides for $10.00, $21.40 for $20.00, or $53.50 for $50.00.  This sounds like […]

Urbanist Observations On A Bachelor Spring Break May 4, 2012 No Comments

[I apologize that I have not gotten pictures for this post, unlike the one about my San Andreas road trip two years ago. That I took with three friends; this one I went by myself. So I took very few pictures.] During the last week of March of this year, we had been through some […]

The Continuing Presumption of Airlines January 12, 2012 1 Comment

I am prepared to admit that the California Bullet Train may prove to be a failure, even though France, Spain, Germany, and China have them! I voted for the train originally, not so much to eliminate automobiles, but as an alternative to airplanes, where you have to jump through so many security hoops to get […]

You Know You’ve Spent Too Much Time in Europe if… January 14, 2011 2 Comments

1. You find it just as easy to think in terms of Celsius and kilometers as you do in Fahrenheit and miles.  You hear it’s in the 20s outside and momentarily think, “Oh, good, I can go outside in T-shirt and shorts!” 2. All the hotels and office buildings in America seem to be lower […]

The Pro-Life Vivaldi November 8, 2010 1 Comment

While being taken around to various churches in Venice looking at art – Italy may be working on the Separation of Church and State, but there isn’t much of a Separation of Church and Art – we happened to stumble on a situation connecting Music and care for unwanted children. Antonio is the 18th century […]

Byzantium on the Pacific, A Visit to Alaska September 13, 2010 No Comments

This summer, for the first time, my wife and I made a visit to America’s largest state, Alaska. In her case it was especially poignant, because she had passed up a chance to go there with her parents at age 17 and had regretted it ever since. We had been interested in the place, not […]

Exotic Maine July 13, 2010 5 Comments

Recently my wife and I had the pleasure of going as far as you can from California and still be in the lower 48 states. Maine is at the northeast corner of the country. It is our easternmost state and is the only one to border on one and only one other U S state. […]

New York is a Very Strange Place December 2, 2009 1 Comment

Last week I had the pleasure of being in New York City for some events associated with the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA). New York City has plenty of waterfront; most of it is on islands, and it occupies the entirety of two islands, Staten and Manhattan. And in the middle of Manhattan they had […]