Retired journalist, editor and publisher, now a harbour ferry skipper in Victoria, BC, Canada during the summer and a playwright the rest of the year.

North America » United States » Oregon April 17th 2010

CHEESE, PLEASE: After roaming along the beach, drying our damp towels and bed sheets at the RV park's clubhouse (I make the mistake of airing them outside on a fence, not realizing that sunshine is fleeting here) we get away in the early afternoon. Soon we cross the Columbia River estuary on a bridge high enough to allow ocean-going freighters to enter Astoria harbour on the Oregon side. This state charges no sales tax on goods and services, and so Kathryn wants to take advantage early on. We shop at Costco for a new memory card for her old digital camera and have a frugal lunch by indulging in food samples on offer at almost every aisle in the store. Then we scour the neighbouring strip malls for a heater to help take the chill out ... read more

North America » United States » Washington March 31st 2010

RAIN FORESTS, SWAMPS AND SAND DUNES: We're travelling through quite a varied landscape. At first we continue along the eastern outskirts of the Olympic Mountains with various national wilderness parks and their tall firs. Heading toward the Pacific we come through sawmill towns such as Aberdeen and Raymond and the accompanying clear-cut logged hillsides scarring the landscape. Closer to the shoreline -- especially where river estuaries flow into the ocean we see wetlands which no doubt host many species of birds. On the spur of the moment we decide to head for Long Beach on the southernmost tip of Washington's Pacific coast, instead of using the slightly shorter route to Oregon via Clark's Dismal Nitch. Here the Lewis-and-Clark expedition reached the west coast after traversing the continental USA. We choose a private campground over the State ... read more
Lighthouse detail
Long Beach

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Victoria March 30th 2010

INTO THE UNKNOWN: This is going to be a trip into the (partially) unknown. What I do know is that I need to return by the end of April to start my summer job as a Victoria Harbour Ferry skipper. What I don't know is how long it will take to reach Los Angeles, and if there will be time to carry on eastward into the desert states with their Native American cultures which fascinate me so. My travel companion, Kathryn, and I are planning to meander down the Oregon coast in her burgundy VW Westfalia camper van to eventually end up in her hometown of Venice Beach, CA. PORT ANGELES: We're taking the MV Coho vehicle/passenger ferry across Juan de Fuca Straight to Port Angeles, WA. Want to find a higher elevation to get a ... read more
An umbrella in the forest?
Point Hudson Marina
Rose Theatre

I'VE COME FULL CIRCLE. After six weeks of travelling old Europe, being shown around Tallinn, Rostock, Halle and Hamburg by city tour guides, I'm back at my job as Victoria Harbour Ferry skipper -- now telling tourists about my town. But things have changed. Travelling alone one cannot fail to learn about the world and about oneself. Of course, much of that will still take time to absorb and digest. What I can say is that along the way I have learned to put myself into other people's shoes, how to talk to them and to sympathize with their needs. Strangely enough I have also found such empathy in the theatre. When a director learns about the characters of a play or an actor takes on a role, they intimately learn about other people's lives. But ... read more
Provincial legislative building
Fireworks over Ogden Point

Europe July 19th 2008

In Tallinn, Estonia: Karoli (tour guide) for the private tour of Old Town and for finding my grandfather's apartment building; Kulno (music retailer) for giving me such detailed information about Estonian artists and cultural events in Tallinn; Viive (communications manager) for teaching me some useful Estonian language phrases and an insight into the Russian-Estonian dilemma; Kustav-Agu (costume/set designer) for generously spending his birthday afternoon to take me on a private tour of Tallinn City Theatre. In Halle, Germany: Andrea (English teacher) for inviting me to her language school's closing party; Barbara (fashion merchant) for getting me in touch with two great friends, helping me find that canoe rental, and making me laugh with her impressions of the local dialect; Ines (hotel proprietor) for all those breakfast chats and the delicious Ayurveda tea with ... read more
What I like best about Halle
Trivia question:

13 July: "AND THE LIVIN' is easy..." Up at 4:45 a.m., off on subway, regional train and express bus to Hamburg Airport (yes, that's what the sign says, not "Hamburger Flughafen" as it would have years ago). The trains are busier than one would think, with early workers and late night revellers. But then this is a port city that never sleeps, and public transit runs around the clock. Hamburg - Frankfurt 55 minutes, then onto an Airbus 330-300 for the flight across the Atlantic. The best seats in Economy Class -- as I found out on the flight out -- are located in a small cabin immediately behind Business Class, encompassing seats 24-27. Going online last night I was able to choose only the first of my two Lufthansa flights' seat assignments. The long flight ... read more
Now this looks more like it!

Europe » Germany » Hamburg July 12th 2008

12 July: THE ARTIST who conducted guided tours in the Bergedorf castle park had told me, "On Saturday you must go to the Deichtor (dike gate) exhibition grounds." Problem is, when I get there I find not one but two art retrospectives going on simultaneously in separate buildings. Which one was I supposed to view? I should pay more attention. At first I'm not interested in the show of fashion photographer F.C. Gundlach, but find it increasingly fascinating as I wander around looking at location shots taken of models in such bold natural settings as the Sahara desert or grandiose man-made structures as in Brasilia. There are also black-and-white documentary photos taken during film productions, gala parties and the like in the late 1960s. In one room, which features fashions from the op art and flower ... read more
Question(able) bowl
Self portrait of the artist
Humorous clay sculptures

Europe » Germany » Hamburg » Hamburg July 11th 2008

10 July: AFTER THE SECOND NIGHT at the guesthouse I again get lucky. A small ground floor bedroom -- the only one with internet plug-in -- becomes available. I move... in a hurry. I now can post these scribbles with snapshots again, even in the middle of the night, if I wish. When my mother was pregnant with me after the war, she was warned about high infant mortality statistics at the hospital in Bergedorf where she lived, so off she went to deliver her baby just outside the boundaries of Hamburg. Today I am checking out Reinbek, this small town where I was born. First stop, the local hospital nestled at the side of a forest, a 20-minute walk from the train station. "Sorry, we only keep records for 30 years," an administrator says (I ... read more
Alster ferries
Downtown skyline
Lunch at the lake

Europe » Germany » Hamburg July 9th 2008

8 July: TRAIN TRAVEL IN GERMANY is a joy. Halle - Hannover 2 hours 15 minutes (travelling by car on the Autobahn you'd have to add at least another hour)! Thirteen minutes wait for the InterCity Express to Hamburg, 1 hour 20 minutes. And they are on time... by the second! I have a six-seater compartment -- like you see in those old movies -- window seat all to myself for much of the trip. Ah, feet up on the seat opposite (shoes off, of course), write on my laptop computer for a while, then doze as the landscape whizzes by -- from east to west. Conductor slides open the door to check my ticket, but of course no border police appears, like in the old days. After all, this is now one Germany, a united ... read more
Not just another castle
St. Petri and Paul church
Baptism pedestal and altar

Europe » Germany » Saxony-Anhalt » Halle an der Saale July 8th 2008

5-7 July: AN OPERATIC PLAY about Joan of Arc with full orchestral complement set in St. Marien cathedral; a Dr. Marcuse horror show interpreted by a dance troupe in two-dimensional fashion behind a black-and-white screen to a constant underlying droning sound. One earns ten minutes of applause, the other yawns and walk-outs. This is the nature of the performing arts during this Theater der Welt festival -- so varied, so unpredictable. Then a rather conventional play with corner staging -- audience on two sides -- three men fishing (not an exciting premise to start with) in an abandoned underground shaft (that's better), the dialogue full of allusions to Argentina's political past. Sunday's finale is a collage of graphic arts and photos projected onto two buildings at University Square, various visiting multi-media artists capturing Halle's theatre history ... read more

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