Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Park Your Car Ride the Bus

Posted: May 7, 2007 in Travel
… And Leave the Driving to Us


With no apologies to Greyhound Bus Lines (they owe me after the 3-hour-late bus on February 19, 2007 from Seattle to Olympia) I want to use this cute little slogan to promote public transportation. I won’t ask their permission. In the words of President Bush 41, “I’m just not going to do it.”

I have found that riding the bus yields all kinds of great companionship. Whether I engage apparently receptive co-riders in a conversation, sit – or stand – and listen to another conversation, or just sit – or stand – and listen to my mind engage me in a conversation, the old saw half the fun of getting there is the journey is absolutely true!

One of the most delightful people I have ever enjoyed the company of is an elderly British lady with a charming British accent that makes you pray that she never meets Professor Higgins. Elisa Doolittle, eat your heart out! She loves poetry and I heard her recite one of her own compositions that I wish she would deign to make a copy and give to me. I would treasure it.

Another young man (he’s probably in his late 30’s, but that’s definitely young to me) wears dark glasses almost all the time and for the longest time just sat there looking out through those intimidating shades and said nothing. Then, one day, he raised his glasses and began to speak. He even smiled. So, he wasn’t the recluse I had him made out to be. Since then I found him to be quite a pleasant fellow to talk with.

Many people have issues; but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable to ride the bus with. If you just open up your horizons of your mind you can believe that these people are a joy to engage, or not, in a conversation.

All the usual arguments for riding the bus are extant. Our busses in Kitsap county are mostly clean and efficient in their consumption of fuel so that makes them an extra bonus if you are at all interested in saving your planet from impending doom. Of course you have to accept the idea that every little bit helps when considering thrift in money economics or any other material consumption.

Here is one final argument: I just heard the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel. If there was ever a theme for public transportation that’s it.


A Moment of Euphoria

Posted: March 23, 2007 in Travel
  I am sitting here listening to the Jazz Masters Channel of my on-line music service. The selection is probably Sonny Rollins’ most famous piece, St. Thomas. An indication that my memory is actually getting better is I used to have a problem remembering the name of that selection when I heard it. I do not any more.

I explain to my grandson that St. Thomas is one of several islands in The Virgin Islands. While I have never visited St. Thomas, I have had the good fortune to have been to St. Croix. It was on our D.A.S.O. cruise on the newly commissioned George C. Marshall. We tied up to an extremely long concrete pier. The water was so clear that we could see the bottom through at least 50 feet of water almost as if the water was not there.

On liberty my friend, Calvin Underwood, and I went to the upstairs bar in Frederiksted, a small town across the island from the main tourist attraction, Christiansted. We decided to imbibe the most famous drink in the Caribbean, Rum and Coca Cola.  I can hear the Andrews Sisters Singing. Now, the Coca Cola – so they tell me – is more expensive than the rum there. Accordingly, they mixed the drinks for the best economic return.

After a couple of drinks, (believe it or not, we were still standing) we decided to take a tour into the residential area of the town. My friend is from Alabama and I’m sure he felt the similar uneasiness as I felt when we saw that the town looked to be 100% Negro. I told him, “Calvin, if we see one white person in this town I will kiss your (expletive deleted).” His derrière remained inviolate.

What was more remarkable was what I saw as we passed a small, what appeared to be, one-room home. The front door was open. In full view of passersby were a man and a woman seated across from each other at a table. I do not recall what they were doing; maybe they were eating. What is important is what was on the wall facing the open door. It was, what seemed to be, at least a 36” by 36” portrait of John F. Kennedy. Where is your camera when you need it?

When I related this to somebody later, he acknowledged the believability of it with the reply, “Oh, yes; the people down there think of J. F. K. as a god. It was because of what he did for them.