A Note: Posting Order

FYI, the posts to the Weblog are in ascending order by date.  So, to read the entries in chronological order, go to the bottom, and the newest (except for this post) will be at the top.

Note:  You no longer have to click from page to page.  The entries self-scroll.  The order is still newest to oldest, however.

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Istanbul and Beyond — The Beginning

HeadShotRMSGetting ready to embark on an upcoming trip to Turkey. Murphy will not be left alone this time. She’s been adopted by a couple in San Antonio — and I hope she’s fat and happy. (She’s definitely fat – my bad; and happy will come with the food).

So far, I’ve gotten shots (here and there), visa, €, £, ₣, and Turkish Lira cash and Debit cards. So, I’m as ready as can be – except for packing.  But check this out: My flight leaves Austin on September 17. I fly first to Dallas, then to Houston, then to Miami, then to London, then to Istanbul.  You want to bet what kind of shape  I’ll be in?  Luckily, I’ll be met at Ataturk airport (named after, uh, guess) by a representative of my employer.  (See englishtime.com)

Just finished shipping school-related books to englishtime in Istanbul. Three medium boxes — cost me $Bunches. But, it would take a Sultan’s ransom (how much you figure that is?) to buy (if I could get Amazon to ship to me) them again from my destination.

Eventually, I’ll be in the city of Izmit to the east of Istanbul. In the next post, I’ll try for a short history of that city, Turkey, and the English language — or not. Later . . .

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How to start a trip to Canada

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Not Another One

Apparently, I’m going to eat Asian food all the way from Vancouver to Winnipeg. I’ve fed Hui road sandwiches from Subway and Canadian victuallers, but we always come back to Chinese as her choice for dinner. She also seems over fond of sushi.

No, wait a minute! (At this point in our travels, someone stole my iPad. I wrote no more.)

However, Bob and Annie will return to these pages in June of 2013. They’ll be accompanied by a new companion as they ramble across Canada and the western US.

But first, there’s the little matter of Chris A. Scott & Eva De Angelis being sworn in as new Tennessee attorneys. Stay tuned @ rmsrambles.com (new name; same old Bob)

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Wait A Minute! Or so . . .

Yesterday was . . . well, it was . . . long.
Annie’s flight arrived essentially on time. It was scheduled for 11:40 AM arrival and actually landed at 12:20. So far, so good. Annie’s Canadian contact, Amy (who works with immigrants) told me to expect Annie to be out of immigration in about an hour.
She was off by three hours! Ms. Li finally clumped out of the immigration hall at 4:40. Bob, by this time, had leaned, sat, walked, and plopped on every available surface and body part.
Discouraged, down-at-the-mouth, angry? Yes, I was all of those, but not Annie – She was bubbling with excitement and anticipation. She, for the first time in her 30 years, was NOT IN CHINA!
I would like to say that her enthusiasm and joy were contagious, but Bob was having daydreams of that soft, air-conditioned Jeep seat.
So, Annie called Tom and Bob and Annie tried to push her 18 over-filled bags to the parking lot (which was, thank the gods, just 100 yards away). OK, OK, there were just three, but they massed 18, or seemed so to me.
Out onto the highway and into the evening rush (which apparently begins 5 minutes after the morning rush) and to the motel which had moved 50 miles east from its location in the morning.
We got Annie moved in and got ready to go eat. She told me that she needed some “things” from a store – and after a consultation with our hostess decided that Wal-Mart was our best bet (I’ve learned, over the years, to never inquire what “things” are needed.), and we set out looking for Wal-Mart.
First, Bernice (being the temporary name of that voice coming from the navigation display that screams “U-Turn! U-Turn!” all the time) wouldn’t take the address. Then, when we got to the destination, it wasn’t there. I mean, the street address was there, but Wal-Mart wasn’t. Luckily, it had moved only a few blocks down and earnest inquiry of several street bums gave up the location.
It’s comforting, in a strange sort of way, to watch/hear someone who knows a language, but has never dealt with a language in its home environment, deal with that language’s real-life differences. Annie kept turning to me when talking with Wal-Mart employees, asking “What did he/she say?” I could only answer, “How the hell should I know, he/she’s speaking Canadian English!”
We ended the evening at a restaurant across the street from Wal-Mart (Chinese, of course. I mean, why not travel 9000+ miles just to eat your native cuisine?).
Tomorrow should be another adventure. We go to the Royal Bank of Canada for Annie to “pick up” her credit/debit cards. It ought to be interesting.

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O Canada!

The difference between the country between Wyoming and Idaho and Washington is startling.  Wyoming is Big Sky country, after all – and the sky IS big.  Rolling hills that stretch for miles and miles and miles.  Traffic so light that you can almost consider yourself alone under that sky.  Just you, the hills, the two ribbons of the Interstate, and the sky – and the truckers, the dead prairie dogs on the side of the road, the irrigation sprinklers.

Idaho?  Well, I only saw 60 miles of it at the Panhandle end (Yes, boys and girls, Idaho has a Panhandle too), and that went by quickly enough.  By the time I got accustomed to it, Idaho had disappeared into the rear view mirror. I saw no potatoes.

Coming up out of the Columbia River basin, the Interstate climbs steadily upward for 20 miles and pops out quickly – Kaboom!  There’s a huge (and I mean huge considering it’s over 100 miles away) magnificent white inverted cone investing your line of sight.  Mount Rainier is impressive anyway, but when it suddenly appears as it did this morning, it gets your attention quickly.

The western Washington mountainsides (another mountain pass – Snoqualmie this time are starkly different from their southern counterparts.  Where Colorado and Wyoming are lightly forested, Washington is bursting with firs, aspen, and other flora I have no way of identifying.  The trees jostle each other for space on the mountainsides, and it’s green, green, green.

Seattle is crowded.  I’m here at 9:45 AM.  Most rush hours in most cities have begun to taper off, but, apparently, not here (maybe it’s the bridges and ferries that slow everything down – and these people start out 3 hours behind New York business hours!).  Traffic finally began to slacken as I neared Bellingham near the border.  Nothing remarkable in the geography here, but you’re quite aware that this is a sea-going climate.  Salt air and dead fish smells permeate the atmosphere.  Better, some say, than a cattle auction atmosphere.  I have no opinion.

Crossed the border without incident after a 20-minute lineup wait.  My girl Bernice (navigation) got me to the hotel easily enough (I didn’t know she spoke Canadian, but she does), and I was quite surprised to find that my host and hostess are Chinese-Canadian.  Just sitting around waiting for Li Hui’s flight to arrive this afternoon.

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Why Not Idaho?

As far as I can remember, I have never spent a night in Idaho.

So, I picked Coeur d’Alene as my destination of choice.

I also, apparently, picked one of the most tiring crossing of the Rockies that I can remember.  Spent most of the day winding through the mountain passes.  The traffic has been relatively light, and there have been no construction stoppages.  There have been several one-lane slowdowns, but no stops.  For that I am eternally grateful to the macadam gods.

Coeur d’Alene is a lovely city on the banks of what appears to be a very cold lake.  Put it on your western adventure sheet.  I’m not pausing here, but going on to Vancouver tomorrow.

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Still Too Dry

What immediately strikes the cross-country traveler is the extreme dryness.  Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and now Wyoming.  From Cheyenne to Sheridan, the countryside is brown.  Maybe some occasional patches of green, and it did spatter shower south of Sheridan.
And in the rain, something funny happened.  I have automatic windshield wipers on my car.  When the showers started, they didn’t.  I had to turn the wipers on manually.  I figure that so many months in Austin, they just no longer recognized rain.
Moving on.  Night in Sheridan.

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