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Racist or Rational?

I’ve been thinking about how fearful I was on the flights coming here. The first flight was KLM, which is an airline I’ve flown quite a few times and trust. The plane, however, was a 747, and looked old. The 747 is the plane I’m probably least trustful of because it’s the one that seems…

Rocca Priori, Italy, July 9, 2009

We were in Rome yesterday and the day before, but apparently so were representatives of the G8 nations and other dignitaries. Sights/sites closed or opened arbitrarily to accommodate their whistle-stop visits. At one point, for example, we wanted to cross the road in the middle of St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Just cross the…

Outside Vicchio, Italy, July 17, 2009

So here I am in what has to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed. It’s an old farmhouse, probably dating in part from the 14th century, in the Tuscan countryside. It’s the whole cliché: ivy-covered walls, beamed ceilings, terracotta pots holding dried flowers or fruit trees. There’s a gorgeous view of the sunset…

Niederweiler, Germany, July 4, 2009

As we were driving down the German autobahn today, zipping along at 150 kilometers per hour, watching the scenery gradually change, all I could think about was how incredibly fortunate I am. I have my family, who were there in the car with me, plus one.  I will start a new job, a new challenge,…

Burundi’s canvas

I’ve been trolling youtube lately, watching videos of Burundi (like this one), in preparation for my trip there in July. In the videos – if you look past the incredibly skillful Burundi drummers – you will see a landscape and people that look just like what I remember from back in the mid-80’s, when I…

pretty sky view from a plane

Flying Ryanair

When you saw the title of this entry, you probably thought this would be another rant about the discomforts of flying on a low-cost airline, didn’t you? Well, it’s not. I write this full of admiration for the brilliance and sheer chutzpah of Ryanair’s approach. Ryanair must be one of the seven capitalist wonders of…

The Beach: Malta, Thursday, July 24, 2008

Have you ever noticed the way people behave at the beach? We’re on Malta right now and we’ve been going to the beach most days. I’m reading a book called The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It’s fascinating, but Taleb is one of those writers who doesn’t waste a sentence, so I have to…

Decadent and Self-Indulgent

These are the two words that kept popping into my head the whole time we were away last week: decadent and self-indulgent. Because that’s what we were, and enjoyed it tremendously, for the most part.   You see, we took a trip to the Red Sea coast in Egypt to practice our new hobby, scuba diving….

Australia Comment #3: No Worries!

The most typical phrase in Australia is not “G’day, Mate,” as I expected, it’s “No worries!” It’s amazing how often we heard that phrase and in how many different situations. Someone just gave you your change from a purchase. You say “Thank you.” The reply: “No worries!” You accidentally bump into someone in the grocery…

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