Monday, October 24, 2016

Newport, Rhode Island:  It is easy to see why early settlers decided this was a place where natives living here could be pushed back into the interior of the country.  It is also easy to see why wealthy people build fantastic summer palaces on the hillsides around the harbor.  It is easy to see why the Kennedy family settled here and became a sailing family.  It is easy to see how and why that family and other families of wealthy people would spend as much time here as possible.  

For even people who are not wealthy, Newport seen from the deck of a cruise ship is beautiful. America is a place where people who are not wealthy can see that beauty and can enjoy and can think of as theirs what the early settlers stole from the native Americans.  Important to  remember is that what we see and enjoy in this country once was home to people who were pushed out of the beauty and into harsher living conditions.  Undoubtedly what we see in this beautiful place from the deck of a cruise ship seems to us to be more beautiful than the reality of it is from wherever it is in the area people go about living their every-day lives.  Asi es la vida.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday at Sea… This has been a quiet day.  The sea was bouncy.  The wind was high.  Passengers on the Rotterdam sat and played and ate and slept and exercised and swam and, and, and…  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Boston…  Coming into Boston harbor early this morning felt a little like coming home although I never had been on a boat in this place.  The streets are familiar.  I lived not far from Boston for four years once upon a time, but I didn’t spend many days in the city, but even the rain here today seemed familiar, the old buildings on the old streets seemed to belong to all the people walking or driving on them… they seemed to be my streets.  The autumn leaves belong to all of us.  The little park, perhaps the first in America,  on the same street as Paul Revere's house, belongs to all of us.  The old State House which is now a subway stop and was once the site of the Boston Massacre belongs to all of us.  This city which is the cradle of our great country belongs to all of us. 

Perhaps one of the most disconcerting things about elections this year is that the rhetoric expressed in speeches doesn’t seem to belong to any of us. I will be glad when this election day is behind us.  Perhaps the whole country will again belong to all of us.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bar Harbor, Maine, United States of America…  Fog was as thick as Donald Trump’s thinking on this first day back in the States.  Nancy and Margaret stayed on the ship this morning, but I took a tender into the little town of Bar Harbor.  Perhaps I just wanted to touch ground in the good Old U.S.A . Whatever reason, I was glad to take pictures of the home country.  I mentioned yesterday that the last time I was in Bar Harbor, I ate lobster.  Lobster is the theme of this place.  I was especially glad to find a stack of boxes filled with big lobsters on the pier.  I got the picture I wanted.  I also got pictures of main street of this small town.. and pictures of the underside of the pier… and pictures of autumn leaves.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Haifax, Nova Scotia, is our last stop in Canada.  We’ll be back in the U.S. tomorrow.  Barr Harbor, Maine, is on our itinerary.  The last time I was in Barr Harbor, I ate lobster… wonderful, lobster.  I think I’ll do the same thing tomorrow.  The weather will be cool.  Today was ideal.  I watched the debate last night, and I am convinced that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. Watching Donald Trump maneuver his way through the next couple of weeks into obscurity will be agonizing and entertaining. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sydney, on the Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, is a lovely little town on a part of Canada that gets cold early in autumn and stays cold until spring has come to New England.  I’ve been to Nova Scotia before this trip, but I’ve never been on Cape Breton.  Like some places in the U.S. New England, Sydney is a good place to get lobster.  I spent about an hour in the afternoon looking at maps and thinking about that time when I lived in New Lebanon, New York… how cold it was there in the middle of winter… and how comfortable it was to resettle in San Diego in 1987.  I was bundled snugly today in a shop near the docks and A lady in a shop told me I should be glad the wind was blowing from the south.  She said yesterday’s wind was blowing from the north and it was much colder.  

Sydney claims to have the largest fiddle in the world.  I’m not going to argue with the town’s claim… and I particularly liked the way streets appear to “southerners…” all the trees are colored and still hanging on the trees.  Tomorrow we go on down to Halifax for our last stop in Canada before we return to the U.S.A.  I’m wondering how people on the ship will respond to the last “big debate” of this election season.  I’ve decided not to talk with Canadians about the election.  As a matter of fact I’ve decided not to talk about the election at all, discretion being the better part… etc.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Arriving at Charlotteown, Prince Edward Island, at seven o’clock in the morning, I got up and went up on the top deck in the early morning cold while it was still dark. The city was becoming alive, and I watched as the big ship moved alongside the deck and stopped just short of what must be a research ship, the Issac Newton, which was tied up at the dock.  I wonder what kind of research the big ship does and if it is connected with a Canadian university. I could see what must be a below-surface smaller vessel on board that ship.  We live in an amazing time.

After Breakfast, Margaret, Nancy and I spent the morning exploring Charlottetown.  This is a town full of old houses that look as if they can stand through bitter winters.  Some of the Victorian houses are more than two hundred years old. Anne of Green Gables was imagined near here, and in the reception center at the harbor a young girl dressed as Anne stood beside Royal Canadian Policeman inviting us to take pictures. At a shop called “Cows” we had the best ice cream I’ve tasted in a long time. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday… an “At Sea” day with little to do except eat, shop and watch the water, none of which is a bad way to spend the time. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We are walking around Old Town Quebec... wonderful town...

Friday, October 14, 2016

I’m writing the BLOG late Friday afternoon, not long before the trip to the airport for a night flight to Chicago then to Montreal to connect with the Rotterdam for a ten-day voyage to see fall color.  Here the sweet gum trees are turning yellow.  Some of them will be multi-colored a little later to provide San Diego with its fall color display.  Please don’t mistake mention of the absence of a traditional autumn in San Diego as a complaint.  This is a wonderful place to see the seasons pass in other places of the world.  A couple of weeks ago the temperature got up to a notch between 100 and 105 degrees, and it was hot.  I agree with that, but it’s not a complaint.  Margaret and I are putting sweaters and long-sleeved shirts into our luggage for the trip north… but we’ll be glad to be back home by the end of the month… before icy winds glow across New England.

The pictures today are typical of autumn in San Diego.  In the first picture, that faint line of hills in the distance on this fuzzy day is Mexico. This picture looks the same as it will look in the dead of winter and in the height of summer.  Eucalyptus and Palm trees don’t change colors to indicate the season.  The Second picture includes a couple of other types of trees, but the color will be the same in all seasons.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Today was my volunteer day at MOPA…  I left the car on Park Boulevard between the Fountain and the Rose Garden.  The weather was perfect… When I came up over the little rise in the lawn to the fountain area, I was surprised to find the area filled with people, most of them students but plenty of older citizens of all completions enjoying the San Diego autumn.  I reminded myself that this is typical San Diego, and that I am very fortunate to live here.  

I walked toward MOPA and snapped three images.  When I got home and downloaded the three pictures to my computer, I was reminded that the pictures were of people I don’t know, and that each of them is a story that I won’t ever know.  I thought as I looked at the pictures of individuals that a writer can look at someone on the street or in a park and can write an entire story about him or her, and that led me to think about a writer like William Faulkner who developed stories about people he imagined, people he created in his mind, and then he set their stories in places he imagined… remarkable.