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street art in San Francisco

Spotted in San Francisco

I moved to the Netherlands from San Francisco about 17 years ago. The last time I visited was only two years later. Now I’m back, and I’ve spent the past week rediscovering this fascinating city: wandering through different neighborhoods, reconnecting with old friends over delicious food from all over the world, and generally playing tourist…

San Francisco city skyline

Being a Tourist in San Francisco

Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz: these are typical tourist destinations in San Francisco. Those of us who travel a lot like to see ourselves as something other than tourists. Some use the term “traveler,” or “visitor,” for example. We avoid like the plague any…

view over Lake Tahoe

A quick trip to the Sierra

Old Sacramento You’ve probably seen it in a hundred cowboy films: a main street lined with wooden buildings, fronted by a wooden sidewalk shaded by a roof. The storefronts say “Bank” or “General Merchandise” in formal, old-fashioned lettering. Cowboys stumble out through the swinging doors of the saloon. Women of ill repute beckon from a…

How Americans see the Dutch

(Nederlands vertaling beneden) A couple of weeks ago I posted about how the Dutch see the Americans. It wasn’t particularly complimentary, so I promised to write the opposite post: how the Americans see the Dutch. Here’s the problem: the Americans don’t see the Dutch. What I mean is that America is big and Holland is small,…

Zuanich Point Park

Bellingham is far more interesting than I ever expected it to be. When I looked it up on-line before coming here, it sounded like a rather sleepy, rather hippy-ish place, with its once-a-week organic market and its encouragement of biking. And, to be honest, that’s what it is: a sleepy, hippy-ish place. The residents even…

T is for Travel

What is it that we like about travel? I think people would give a variety of answers. Here are a few that come to mind. Experiencing different cultures and ways of life This is what interests me the most. I am constantly curious about how other people live. As we were driving along today, for…

Odd Little Things in America

When I first moved to Holland there were a lot of little things I noticed that were different than at home. Nothing of importance, so I just noticed and moved on. Now that I’m back visiting, all sorts of little, unimportant things are striking me as different and odd: things that normally people would never…

Thinking about immigration at the Tenement Museum

Three of my four grandparents were Ukrainian Jews who immigrated to the US around the turn of the last century. The other one was born in the US, but her parents were also Jews, probably from Lithuania, who immigrated a bit before the turn of the century. They came for the same reasons as the…

G is for Grief

The 9/11 memorial was on my “To Do” list today. I went there once before, though I’m not sure exactly what year it was. At the time, it was just one huge pit in the ground. It had been cleared of debris, but nothing had been built on the site yet. I’m not sure why…

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