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Showing posts from September, 2008

Before leaving

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For several weeks now, I've been mostly living in earphones, attempting to learn enough Italian to communicate with my deceased husband's family in Italy. Besides CD's Buongiorno Italia also provides a reading supplement. I've completed all the exercises in the book but find myself strangely tongue-tied when asked to "say something in Italian."

Do I treat the listener to an "ordering a meal" dialog (lots of meal-ordering, and direction-asking in this little book) or do I describe the house that Geraldine wants to buy near Orvieto?

Sometimes I create imaginary conversations as I busy myself with other things. Inevitably, however, I lurch off into Spanish. I don't know a lot of Spanish, just enough to confuse others.

The dialogs on Buongiorno Italia, however, aside from the repetitiveness of their topics, are marvelous aids in determining where to use "da" or "di, " or "ci" and "si," and the like. Hear a phras…

The Pyramids at Teotichuacan

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Mario Perez has been driving taxis since he was fourteen. The chauffeur assigned responsibility for the safety of Bill’s consulting team, Mario works eighteen- and twenty-hour days. As he cannot afford a car of his own, he must take some other form of transport to and from work, which means his day starts at 4 AM and ends after 11 PM. He never complains. Such hours are just a fact of life.I met Mario in May 2000 on a whirlwind trip to Mexico City. This trip included a day spent with my husband Bill at work—attending meetings, touring site facilities, meeting fellow consultants and team members, a day alone spent touring the awesome National Museum of Anthropology, and two days of compressed sightseeing in which we visited various ancient sections of the city, shrines, pyramids, and a day trip to the distant mountain city of Taxco. But over-riding the experience of such wondrous and memorable sights was getting to know the Perez family.
Mario’s broad face beamed next to Bill’s from th…

Ely flaunts its bears, wolves, and root-beer

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Though I usually focus on away-from-home travel stories, travel stories from one’s home state are worth the telling. Ely Minnesota is one of those places. Since taking my grandson there last year, I returned again this summer, this time with two grandchildren in tow. Here’s a story from that first trip in August 2007.

Ely is more than the entry to the Boundary Waters. Ely is home to Ted, a local celebrity who could once shimmy up trees with the best of them. He could gambol in play and run faster than others. Ted can no longer do these things because he weighs 900 lbs.Before you gasp in disbelief, I’ll reveal his identity. Ted is a black bear – a VERY LARGE black bear. Most wild male black bears weigh between 125 and 500 lbs. But Ted cannot be called wild. He is now a main attraction at the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota which opened in the spring of 2007.900 lb. Ted Dines Daintily on Berries
When I left our North Shore home to drive 90 miles to Ely with my nine-year-old g…