Archives for posts with tag: travel

Da wa ee! — “Thank you” in Keres.

Happy St. Esteban’s Day to the people of Acoma Pueblo! Here is a haiku in honor of your special celebration. Feast on!

The Place Prepared*

Ancient seabed bluff.
Windswept views; mica leaves let
light in. Sacred still.

*Translation of “Haak’u”



Or is it the curb-matching tree? Whichever view you take, this specimen never holds back.

Back (roads) stage pass.

It doesn’t take much to get me out the door and exploring. Especially the storied Route 66, a lot of which I have covered…and more than once. I love the name, logo, tagline and shape of the can.

While not a nutritional label reader, I was curious (and all signs pointed to the side of the can). That little detour is where I learned of a new fruit: acerola. Didn’t sound like anything I wanted to pop in my mouth, let alone sip.

Lo and behold, it’s none other than the West Indian, Barbados or Puerto Rican cherry and related to the hawthorn, which the Chinese eat along with their tea. To my etymological surprise, the fruit name is rooted in Arabic al-zu’rur (al- = the + zu’rur = medlar) by way of Spanish. Yet the medlar itself is actually related to (but much smaller than) apples, pears and quinces and has an amazing story of its own. Bletted are its ways.

Laurel Grove North (Savannah, Georgia)

Today is All Souls’ Day. To some it is the Day of the Dead (“El día de los muertos” or “El día de los difuntos”). Despite the name, it is a happy, not-so-solemn occasion. As a follow-on and complement to yesterday’s All Saints’ Day, which commemorates children, this is a time to honor deceased adults.

Bonaventure Cemetery

You can tell a lot about people and their culture by learning how they bury their dead. Cemeteries fascinate me for that reason. Today is All Saints’ Day. In Mexico, November 1 is also called “El día de los inocentes” (Day of the Innocents) or “El día de los angelitos” (Day of the Little Angels) in honor of children and infants.

These little girls look like they were born and died about a year apart from one another (1860 and 1861). Fall babies who both were taken away in the Spring. Mary at 1.5 years and Emma at 4.5 months. This is one of the prettiest memorials to children I have seen. At over 150 years old, the details and legibility are outstanding.

Ascending danger.

Happy Haunting from the Moomins! Now, get your screechy, spooky, frightening scare on.

If you don’t know who the Moomin family and its quirky friends are, you’re not too old to find out! For a taste of what you’re missing, check out their crazy but meaning-laden names. If that isn’t enough, read the adventures of the hippo-resembling main characters yourself in one of Tove Jansson’s many books. It’s masterful storytelling that knows no audience age limit. Playful, offbeat creatures with a sinister streak.

To indulge, fortunately, there is no need to know Finnish. Nope, the lady’s published in over 30 languages. Here’s an image of Tove herself together with some of her adorable protagonists.

And, hats off to Oy Moomin Characters Ltd., that tightly manages the creative rights of what began as a one-woman show. Thankfully, the brand has not succumbed to being Disney-fied. It’s as magical as ever. Just ask any Japanese.

Land of the Thunder Dragon

There is more happiness in Drukville, or as the Bhutanese call their country, Druk Yul (“druk” means thunder dragon.). The royal wedding took place today, October 13, the 16th day of the 8th Bhutanese month. It is an auspicious day, a “good day to propitiate god and deities, do Chagu, learn astrology, give promotion, shift house, start new business, name places and villages, deposit wealth, meet superiors, sow seeds, plant plants and flowers.” (It is “not a good day to do charity work in the name of the deceased.”) The first of a three-day national celebration. But, don’t take my word for it. Read about the traditional religious ceremony here. To the royal couple, I send a virtual butter lamp, a khadhar offering and prayers for Their Majesties’ long-lived happiness.


The first few times I experienced this store, I was impressed. That was a decade or thereabouts in Seattle. Time has been relatively good to this brand, but I am not their target audience (if I ever was). I used to enjoy the mix of seemingly old and new, different labels under one “house,” and the discovery that was always a part of their brand. Just seems that they’ve been on a slide to bland. The clothes look and feel much cheaper now, there’s too much of it out (the racks are clogged). The need to hit the refresh button. The merch is increasingly poorly sewn, knit designs are stamped instead of woven, the countries of origin of the independent labels are more and more those hawking cheap labor, the fabrics are flimsy and lack hand, the amount and sizes of goods put on sale reflect a disconnect with the knowledge of their audiences. The one constant is the catalogs — amazingly concepted and shot — and learning about the occasional label that is one-of-a-kind, sometimes from former Anthropologists. The ‘logs “transport” you, even though they keep their locations a secret, which is silly. Their online vintage offerings are remarkable particularly with respect pricing. The stores are still fun for a quick walk-through now and then, less now and more then.

All puffed up and no air to go.

Let’s get one thing straight. The World Wide Web is not a product of Lufthansa. Keep reading…the disclaimers get more granular, yet nebulous as you go down the page. Lufty, I’ll take your word that you offer broadband Internet service across the ocean. But wait. The fine print says it’s only on transatlantic flights. Oh, and with my loupe I now see that it is available only on “select North Atlantic routes.” This ad is as shifty as the onboard service is sketchy. True, there IS a better way to fly, but it’s not with you.

Portable Polynesia

I’m a sucker for packaging if you’ve not figured that out by now. I’d just had my first surfing lesson on Maui, and the waves were calling me back. Since I couldn’t get to Hawaii, I had Hawaii come to me, Kona-style and bottled. They brand the heck out of this carton, yet it still feels as free and open as being out on the Pacific. The story on the bottom of the packaging sets the mood, but it’s what’s on the top that makes me grab for the 6-pack in the first place: “Liquid Aloha.” Aah, Coca-Cola can’t touch that for “refreshing” and “happiness.” There was fun under the bottle caps as well, with each one teaching me a word in Hawaiian:

“Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take ya…”

Moana = ocean
Kanaka – person
Wai = water
Honu – turtle
Mano = shark

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