Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Strange and Distant Shores

I meant to do this a couple of days ago, but I've been swamped lately and the time just keeps slipping by.

I got a postcard from Anne in India on Saturday last.

Post Card 1

Post Card 2

India, I've always wanted to go there, ever since I read Kipling as a kid, and especially The Man Who Would Be King. For me India will always be an exotic foreign land, full of mystery and strange magic, elephants and tigers, ancient temples and teeming cities ... and, well, tech support.

When I joined the Navy, all those years ago, one of the reasons was to see the world. I had a list of places I wanted to see. The black volcanic sand beaches of Iceland. The great markets of Istanbul and the Golden Horn. The Valley of the Kings and the Giza Plateau. Pompeii and Herculaneum. Gibraltar. Hong Kong. Singapore. The Straits of Malacca. The Galapagos Islands. The Panama Canal. The Serengeti and Kilimanjaro. Freemantle, Sidney, and the Great Barrier Reef. Tasmania. Masada. And India.

I made it almost everywhere on my list and many others places too - but somehow I never made it to India. I never set foot there, and it's unlikely that I will. I've been around the world and walked on every continent except Antarctica, but the closest I've gotten to India is sailing around the sub-continent's southern horn. I've seen the Indian Navy up close though, and they are excellent and professional sailors as only the descendents of a thousand years of seafarers can be.

Anyway, thanks, Anne, for thinking of me and for reminding me of India.


Update: I was still waiting for the coffee to brew when I typed the original post, so I was just a tad fuzzyheaded and forget two things:

1) I really, really like the stamp - International Physics Year with a picture of my favorite scientist, Ole' Albert himself.

2) Question, where is it that you always wanted to go, and why?


  1. My pleasure, Jim.
    I'm really glad I went, and I'm still amazed by some of the things I saw. I didn't get to see a tiger (I didn't go far enough south), so there's one thing to regret. I did, however, see a painted elephant -- which I haven't posted yet... excellent, blog material!

  2. Where have I always wanted to go?

    The Holy Land.

    Despite the fact that I have no faith, I am fascinated by the idea of going and seeing the center of the faiths of Abraham.

    Jerusalem. Damascus. The Dead Sea. All the areas where those who wrote the Torah lived and walked. Where Christianity started. The heart of the Crusades.

    So much that has shaped the modern world happened there. So much that has shaped our political and religious climate happened there.

  3. Hmmm... I've been thinking about the question for a while now and I don't really know. There are places I've been that I'd like to go back to, but nothing particular comes to mind for must-see before I die. I guess I'm more for visiting people rather than places.

  4. Michelle, I've been to all of those places - well, not Damascus, though I've always wanted to follow the ancient caravan routes. And you're right, they are indeed fascinating. Though it took two showers and three days to get the smell and the salt of the Dead Sea off.

    MWT, I like your idea, visiting people rather than places. If you're ever in Alaska, you know where to find me.

  5. Hmm... if I had to pick one place, one trip, I guess it'd be Greece... all that ancient history fascinates me. And I could probably cheat and squeeze in Italy, Cyprus and Malta, they're practically spitting distance.

    Or - there's the Panama Canal. I would LOVE to take a boat through the Panama Canal - whether it's a cruise ship or a smaller private boat - it's a dream trip.

    OK, that's far more than one place. I have problems with limits. ;)

  6. At the risk of sounding like a Yes-man: I want to go to Alaska. I've been almost everywhere, other than Australia and Antarctica. Most places I would like to go back to. But I've never been to Alaska, and that's my must-go spot.

    My parents did the dome-top train. Is it as good as they remember?

  7. Cam, It's expensive, but still the best trip in Alaska.

    And again, should you get up this way, by all means look me up.

    See, now that Janiece has modeled the UCF, I'm pathologically driven to acquire the most "Meet" links ;)

  8. Well that should be easy enough. Just wait for Scalzi to unleash another traumatizing phrase, and we'll be making plans to fish for salmon with you again. :D

  9. I've been doing quite a lot of traveling in Europe the last few years, but I haven't gotten practically anywhere outside of it (and North America, of course). There is close to fifty places in Middle and Far East on my target list for the next few years, but tops right now would be Israel.

  10. What a good question -- but a hard one to answer.

    If I pick a domestic destination, it would Alaska, hands down. In fact when I was young I used to say that I was going to live in Alaska when I grew up. Jim, I'll drop in someday.

    As for somewhere outside the US -- Kenya and Tanzania. I want to see the animals of the plains of Africa close up (or reasonably so). Want.

    I've been to Israel 3 times, and it lived up to my expectations each time.


  11. For me, my dream trip would be to walk the same paths my grandmother did in Ireland. But while there I would have to pop over to Scotland to see the places Papa played at when he was a child.


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