Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Where is Coimbatore, India?

Today the church prays for the district of Coimbatore, in Southern India, which I learned, when trying to find it, that it is also referred to as “the Manchester of India” for it’s industrialization and textiles.

 

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The map is from Google Maps.

May 27, 2016 Posted by | Faith, Geography / Maps, India | Leave a comment

Pensacola Summer Setting In

This morning, as I checked Weather Underground, I could see that the summer weather pattern is setting in. Today it isn’t so bad. As long as we have northerly winds, it isn’t so humid.

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May 24, 2016 Posted by | Pensacola, Weather | Leave a comment

Old Habits

“Why would you want it?” by boss asked, as I rescued a box from the recycle station and asked if she minded if I take it home.

Old habits die hard. This was such a perfect box! It has no markings. It has no dents. It’s a strong box; you could mail books in it, or carefully wrapped things you want to arrive in one piece. You could mail things to Doha or Kuwait or . . . oh wait. I don’t do a lot of mailing any more.

Old habits are hard to break. I’ve been on the watch for good boxes most of my life – through college, through my early married years in Germany, through all the years of mailing Christmas presents, through all the years of scouring for good cardboard boxes in Tunis, Amman, Riyadh, Doha and Kuwait. Even though I rarely mail a box these days, I still have a hard time passing by a really good box. I am learning to resist . .

Still, I have a garage with too many “rescue boxes.”

May 24, 2016 Posted by | ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Moving, Quality of Life Issues | , | 1 Comment

“Through You and In Spite of You”

Just a small post on a reading from Father Richard Rohr in today’s e-mail. It gives me great hope:

 

In the journey of prayer, as you sink into the mystery of God’s perfect love, you realize that you’re nothing in the presence of God’s goodness and greatness, and that God is working through you in spite of you.

 

LOL, it’s the “in spite of you” that gives me hope:-)

May 24, 2016 Posted by | Character, Charity, Faith, Values | Leave a comment

Leaving Sidney on the Anacortes Ferry, Return to Pensacola

Life isn’t fair. Ferry lines are just one of those things. First there are not necessarily first boarded or first unloaded, or first through the lengthy customs lines coming back into the United States. We have a saying “Every monkey gets his turn in the barrel.” This ferry ride was our turn. It wasn’t bad, it’s just after all the thrills of this vacation, this was an unwelcome hit of reality. We had a special vacation, but that doesn’t mean we are special, LOL.

Leaving Sidney:

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The weather has changed. It is heavy overcast. We don’t see any whales, not a single sea otter. It is a great morning for catching up on our reading.

We arrive in Anacortes and the customs line crawls.

We need to stop at the Marina motel and pick up the skirt and shirt and scarf I left hanging in the closet which they have bagged and tagged “customer will pick up”. I had packed lightly, and it didn’t take me long to figure out where I left my clothes; we had been in a hurry to be on time for the ferry to Sidney. But this is a great stop, next door is Bob’s Chowder House and Salmon BBQ and we are starving.

 

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Bob’s Salmon Chowder is out of this world. SO good.

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Bob’s BBQ Salmon burger is also fabulous. AdventureMan ate every bite and said the salmon was perfect. It had a lemon sauce that was a surprise and a delight.

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My halibut tacos were the special dish of the day. My bad; I like lettuce in my tacos, not cabbage. I only ate the halibut, but I had also had the chowder, so I was OK. Oh, yes, they also have great big home baked chocolate chip cookies, maybe that is also why I was filled up:-) but I split it with AdventureMan.

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AdventureMan spotted this sign, and took this photo. Whoda thunk that we would find a sign to Pensacola in the parking lot?

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This is the rest of the vacation. Really the “vacation” part is over, and this is all business. Driving through Seattle on I-5, thank God it’s Sunday, no big trucks but heavy traffic. It’s always heavy, unless maybe it’s 0430. Checking in to our hotel where there are a huge bunch of people about to debark on a cruise. Dropping our bags and heading to the Car Rental place to return our car. Taking the shuttle to the airport, calling the hotel shuttle to come pick us up. Back at the hotel, packing our bags in a hurry so we will be able to watch Game of Thrones. Actually, to our surprise, a good night’s sleep. Up way too early to catch the shuttle to the airport, a surprisingly easy time through security, and the long flight to Atlanta and the shorter flight to Pensacola. The taxi home. Sigh. The unpacking. The laundry. Every day demands. . . .

But God is good. My first night back a good friend greeted me and said “are you depressed?” I was so taken by surprise that I said “Yes!” and she said she always is too, coming home after a great vacation. It just felt good, my guilt at feeling depressed was taken away.

Our grandson has a cold and has been with us the last two days, to our total delight. His mother and sister came by last night to visit and to celebrate another stoke of good fortune which has struck our family. God is good. Thanks be to God.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Faith, Family Issues, Food, Living Conditions, Parenting, Pensacola, Quality of Life Issues, Relationships, Road Trips, Seattle, Survival, Travel | Leave a comment

China Town, Fan Tan Alley and I Get Some GOOD Chinese Food

We try to limit what we attempt, when we travel. If we try to do too much, we sometimes fail, or we get so busy trying to accomplish that we don’t really get to enjoy what we are doing. Or worse, we get cross with each other, crabby! On our vacation! So we make choices, AdventureMan wanted the Victoria Butterfly Gardens; I wanted GOOD Chinese food.

Our son knows us. When we decided to settle in Pensacola, to be near him and the coming grandchild/ grandchildren, he sat us down and told us things we needed to know about Pensacola. The first thing he told us was that there was no really GOOD Chinese food. Honestly, for me . . . well, I don’t want to say I thought twice, but no good Chinese food? Chinese food is my comfort food!

We asked the concierge at the Grand Pacific for a recommendation for GOOD Chinese food, and she, with great delight, directed us to the Fan Tan Cafe in China Town, just a short walk down Government Street. It was an easy walk, past the grand historic Empress Hotel (we didn’t stay there because the views, in my opinion, are not as good), and down one of the most fun shopping streets in the world to China Town.

We know we are getting close:-)

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The entrance to China Town on Fisgard Street

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Fan Tan Cafe – it’s small, and crowded. You are bottom to bottom with the chair behind you and you are almost sitting next to the next table. It’s fun. You get to see what everyone else is eating. We were hungry, we were early and that was a good thing because we got a table. There are maybe 16 – 18  tables at the Fan Tan Cafe, and some of those are for two people. They do take reservations.

Fan Tan Cafe

This was the absolute best. AdventureMan chose the Spicy Shrimp appetizer, and it was delicious, top to bottom. Even the bedding vegetables were delicious. This was the highlight of the meal.

Spicy Shrimp Appetizer

 

We didn’t intend to order deep-fried pork. It was good, very General Tso kind of taste.

Hot Sweet Pork

The scallops and shrimp in black bean sauce was too delicate for us. We decided everything about it was beautiful, and the problem is probably more our palate, which likes more intensity.

Scallop and Shrimp in Black Bean

 

All in all, it was a very tasty meal. If we were to go back, which we will the next time we are in Victoria, I would try the Cantonese Chow Mein, or one of the noodle dishes for which they are famous. We saw them all around us, glistening and gorgeous, and they looked divine. Cannot wait to go back:-)

I still miss the Taiwan Tourismo, in Jordan, where we had authentic, amazingly tasty Chinese food and never even knew how extraordinary it was. I miss the China Queen, later the Great Wall of China, in Mahboula, Kuwait, a little hole in the wall where the Chinese workers ate and I could point and say “I want that, please!” Real Chinese is different from North American Restaurant Chinese.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Food, Jordan, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel, Values | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheminus, Victoria, Fan Tan Alley and the Grand Pacific in Victoria, B.C.

I will admit it, I was a little depressed leaving Ucluelet. If you are a frequent reader, you will know I am a believer, and sometimes my heart is just so full of gratitude to our enormously generous and open handed God that I can’t even think of the words to adequately give thanks. I take comfort in knowing he knows my heart. Ucluelet and Tofino were everything we hoped they would be. I could imagine myself living there happily. And leaving . . . it was painful.

We had a nice drive to Victoria, stopping in Chemanus for lunch at a small cafe which surprised us and knocked our socks off. It looked like something from the forties. Owls were everywhere. Most of the menu was breakfast offerings, nice, but breakfast. We ordered the spinach salad and the Scallop and Crab Cakes – have you ever heard of Scallop and Crab Cakes? We hadn’t either.

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We split both the salad and the Scallop and Crab Cakes. They were both taste treats!

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The Scallop and Crab Cakes were made the way my good friend who is Chinese makes Crab cakes – good, tasty ingredients and no distracting filler. These cakes were meaty, full of whole small scallops, crab meat, some green onion, pimento and some minimal binder. They were truly extraordinary. They were accompanied by an apple slaw, tart and tasty. It was a great combination.

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We made a stop at the Butterfly Gardens near Buchart Gardens so AdventureMan could take some photos of rare butterflies, or at least butterflies we don’t get to see in Florida. They had some awesome specimens.

Then on, on, into Victoria. Highway 17 empties right into downtown Victoria, and ends almost right at the Grand Pacific Hotel, where we are staying. While we were checking in, the concierge told us it would be another 10 minutes, but that we had been upgraded. I hoped it was an OK room; I had chosen our room on the basis of a view of Victoria Harbor. With trepidation, we headed for our room.

 

This is the Grand Pacific from Victoria Harbor

Grand Pacific fm Victoria Harbor

 

Lobby

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Our bedroom

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Our office/sitting room

 

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Bathroom

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Our view of Victoria Harbor (and Empress Hotel)

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Night time view. Sigh. Isn’t it lovely?

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Sunset peeking through the overhanging clouds.

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May 20, 2016 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, ExPat Life, Hotels, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Sunsets, Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Tofino Sunset

Not quite sunset, but approaching sunset from our cabin in Ucluelet. Sunset in May is around nine at night.

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May 18, 2016 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Photos, Sunsets | 4 Comments

Hiking He Tin Kis, on the Pacific Rim Trail

I think He Tin Kis is Native American for short hike, uphill both ways. We did it early in the morning, before all the people and their dogs, before the early morning walkers, before those obnoxious people who can RUN the trail, well,  not enough before, they were there at the end. I thought I was staying in pretty good shape, but these young runners who can maintain a steady pace running up the hills make me feel very humbly unathletic.

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It is a beautiful hike, and while yes, much of it is uphill to the lighthouse, you can do it. It isn’t that hard. There are beautiful stops all along the way to appreciate how gorgeous this place is.

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You can see how well made this trail is, wide, smooth, beautifully maintained.

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View from the lighthouse.
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May 17, 2016 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Exercise, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Travel | 4 Comments

Whaling and Bear Watching Out of Tofino

We are enjoying perfect weather, not a given when you are in the Pacific Northwest, and not a given on any coastline or any vacation. The mornings may dawn a little grey and foggy, but it all burns off – this week, anyway – and we are having wonderful afternoons.

I don’t even bother trying to shoot whale any more. I have one photo of a marvelous whale tale from our first trip back to Alaska and this time the boat was rocking and rolling and mostly all we would see were backs breaching and spouts. Do you really want to see the place where two seconds ago there was a whale? Hmmm, no, I didn’t think so:-)

In calmer waters, we also saw otter, seal, sea lions and lots of birds.

The next day, on the bear watch, we also took lots of photos, and I won’t show you all of them because again, as the boat rolls, that perfect shot of the mother bear and the baby bear walking down the beach cuts off the mother bear’s snout, and the next one, the mother shows up fine but the baby is indistinguishable from the shadow in which he is playing . . . or the bear on the beach, you know 40 photos of the bear’s backside as he sucks a clam for one good photo of the bear (without his legs cut off). Wildlife photographers make their money by spending hours, days and months to get those calendar shots, and then being in just the right place at just the right time.

And it is so much fun just to go watch, and to try to get those good shots:-)

Otter

 

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Do you see the little bear? He’s over to the left, in the grass; Mama Bear is looking at him.

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Now you get to see him! (And Mama’s nose is cut off, dammit!)

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He’s digging and eating clams. He is in heaven, full belly, lots of clams.

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Seeing an eagle; good luck!

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May 17, 2016 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Cultural, Environment, Photos, Road Trips, Travel, Weather, Wildlife | , , | 2 Comments

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