Operas, My Interpretation

So, this is what we did last night.  What a hoot.

2017.10.14 CavPag Event Banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editor’s note:  I wasn’t able to figure out how to get the spacing between the picture and my prose right.

Let me explain beginning with the fact that I have only attended one other opera, Aida, in my life.  I don’t speak Italian.  I’m a highly dubious person when going to this event because of the second fact, language issues.  Since we are in Gozo, and the operas have Italian sounding names…chances are they will be sung in Italian.  However, I am fond of following the old rule, “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do”, I’m game for the opportunity.  But, I did not google the plot line of either opera.  Laziness?  Lack of curiosity?  The same reason I don’t read movie reviews?  I report, you decide.

Before the opera, which were scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., we suppered on the terrace of a restaurant that was down the street from the opera house.  Gozo is a small island, with few people.  The village of Gharb (spoken as Arb, with the Gh remaining silent), has 5 churches.  Big churches.   The capital of Gozo is Victoria with a population of about 10,000 people  They have managed to erect two opera houses.  Being a Catholic country, me thinks there is a co-mingling here of church and state.  How else could they afford all this?  Below is a picture of one of the churches.

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But, I digress.

The restaurant had a terrace (terrazzo, I’m guessing) that afforded a view of the square below.  In the square, stood large green trees.  In those trees there must have been 5,000 birds all talking at once.  The clamor was amazing and somehow perfect.  I admit being a bit concerned that some of those birds might fly directly over the bamboo slatted “ceiling” we were sitting beneath.   Insofar that none of us wore hats, “Would they poop on us or our food?”, was a vivid concern in my mind.  (no, they did not).   Attending the opera with our dress-up clothes with bird poop in our hair, I’m am fairly certain would be frowned on.  I did feel as though the concern was legit.  (Mentioning this to the group seemed likely to be a mood swinger, so I refrained from doing so and just soldiered on).

Dinner was good and inexpensive.  Four cocktails before dinner, a bottle of wine, dinner for four and tip came to 100 euro.  And the birdsong was free.

On the way out our waiter snapped our pic.  Here we are.

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From left to right, Greg, Nancy, moi, Teri.

So, off to the the opera we went.  Here’s a picture of the opera house inside.  As you can see the opera was well attended.  And everyone was in their finest duds. 

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The opera started with the introduction of the maestro.  He looked like a cross between Danny DeVito and Gene Wilder!!  Then the curtain went up.  Oh, my.  So, much Italian.  What was happening?  The first opera (there were two because it was the 40th anniversary celebration) opened with a woman stage left setting the table.  Chianti bottles were placed on tablecloth she has spread out.  Glasses were placed.  I understood all that.  Then a waif appeared.  It took a long time of pensive looks and wondering around by the singers before a note was sung.  But then all hell broke loose.  Singing galore.  Men came on stage.  Some had “white grease paint faces”.  Why?  Don’t know.  A younger man, an older man (he had a Santa Claus body shape).  Most of the songs sounded like the singers were imploring each other for some reason.  The waif kept throwing herself on the floor.  Then lots of people came on stage and sang the only songs that didn’t sound emotionally desperate.  The mood in the theatre lightened.  But then the chorus faded away, and we were back to the begging, pleading mode when a woman in a red dress appeared.  I think she was a harlot.  The younger man seemed smitten.  Knives appeared, kettle drums were struck down in the orchestra pit.  The maestro at this point was really animated flailing away with his baton.  The lady in red vanished from the stage, the waif sang an aria.  The chorus returned and a priest was involved.  Did I mention that the waif was bearing a wooden cross on a neckless.  The cross was torn off and heaved to the ground after the non-singing bishop left the stage.  OH, my.  Then there was a scene with a little girl.  The waif seemed to be attached to the little girl, her daughter perhaps?  The little girl went away.  The younger man came back and appeared to argue with the waif.  A knife was branished.  The mother swept the floor.  The older guy came back.  He did an aria.  Then the stage was occupied by the woman who had set the table and I deduced she must be the mother of the younger man.  This is because the younger man sang out, “Mama!  Mama!”  This was the only time I understood any word the entire time.  The younger man is clearly vexed.  He runs off-stage with the knife.  Screams ensue from off stage.  The young man is carried back on stage, deader than a doornail.  People appear with long daggers, surround the man, presumably cutting the mortally wounded man some more.  And the curtain falls. 

At this point, I turn to Nancy and we burst out laughing as we clap along with the audience.  “What just happened?”, Nancy squeezes out between peals of laughter. 

That was the first play.

There was a 30 minute or so intermission.  Afraid there was only one toilet for women, I decided to stay in the box.  Did I mention that we were seated in a box?  Before you get impressed, let me state that very uncomfortable chairs (think kitchen chair style) were in the boxes.  And we were the box closest to the stage.  The problem with that was that I could only see half the stage.  Luckily it was stage left where much of the action took place.  Nancy and I were in a box with another couple.  They had the best two seats in our box in that they could see the entire stage without leaning in toward the railing which is what I had to do to see stage right. 

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The photo above is Nancy in our box.

But, I digress. 

The maestro returned after the orchestra took their collective seats.  And with a swing of the baton, the curtain rose.  This play started with a “Fantasia” light show projected onto a screen whereby pictures of people were morphed into circular lines and back.  Then the screen rose.  There were clowns on stage.  Singing commenced.  A woman appears in a goofy looking outfit with knee high boots.  The mood is more jocular.  The songs were more uplifting.  The woman is not as good a singer as the waif from the previous production.  (I feel like I am becoming a good critic.)  She sings an aria.  Then the stage fills with circus activities.  Jugglers appear.  Acrobats perform somersaults, cartwheels, balancing acts.  An unicycle and it’s cyclist dart across the stage.  Everything seems happy. 

But then a young man appears.  Same opera star from the last play?  Not sure, but probably.  He does an aria while clinging a rag of a coat.  He is beseeching us about something.  The tune sounds familiar to me.  The audience likes his performance judging from the enthusiastic applause he received.  He exits the stage.  The chorus comes back as the screen comes down ever so slowing.  The screen has a bell ringing (up and down) projected onto the screen as the chorus sings, “Ding, Dong.”  (The only other words I recognized all night.)   It was an upbeat number.  Then the screen goes back up and the mood instantly goes down.  The songs get serious sounding with lots of chords using lots of flats.  Oboes kick in.  Flutes disappear.  At this point, a light from the other side of theatre shines directly into my eyes.  What the heck?  It is so annoying, I get up and stand behind the couple in our booth for quite some time.  That light turns off and I return to my kitchen chair for the duration.  While I’m standing, the costumed woman (I loved her dress of primary colors and white set off with red shoes) sets a table. Wine and glasses are placed.  Do all operas have tables that get set?  I don’t know.  Then she seems to hold court.  Then younger man number two comes by.  They seem to be in love.  They roll around on the stairs together singing at the top of their lungs while trying to appear intimate.  He leaves.  The older man comes by.  Knives start appearing.  Do all operas have daggers?  I don’t know.  The mood sours.  Another younger man enters stage right.  He is not happy.  The man that had left returns.  The kettle drums are engaged again.  Perhaps the cymbals clash.  The knives are bantered about.  The chorus reappears.  The mode lightens.  Bowling pins are juggled.  A woman jumps up on a man’s shoulders.  Circus time.  But suddenly, the chorus leaves.  Foreboding returns.  Arias are sung.  Daggers reappear and then the woman in the lively dress gets toss around by the other man, not her lover (actually the women in both operas get toss around the stage quite a bit and it bothers me, all this violence against women).  Her lover intercedes and he gets stabbed by the second young man.  Then the woman protests by attacking the killer, and the killer whacks her by slitting her throat. 

The curtain falls with the Santa body-shaped singer, standing at the front of the stage with hat in hand.  Why?  Don’t know.

And that was our night at the opera.   

On an Island in the Middle of the Ocean (technically Sea)

Trump inspires the title of this blog.  Remember his description of Puerto Rico?  Spoken like he just discovered where it was located.  In my case, I knew Malta was in the middle of a body of water…the Mediterranean.  And that’s where I am now.  Gee.  I could be President.

dinner on Gozo

My debit card didn’t work at the airport.  So, I’m penniless.  This is beyond embarrassing.  So, I jumped on the phone and texted the Rayman.  SOS.  The machine didn’t like my PIN.  Could he help me?  In a word no.  Not because he didn’t try.  I do not know the PIN.  And the bank will not give me a new one unless and until I waltz into the bank with two forms of I.D.  Then they will do it.  Good grief.  Criminals are making our lives so hard.  Because of larceny we suffer.  Where will it end? 

In the meantime, I’m without money.  And if I did get a new PIN, we would need to take the taxi to the wharf, ride the ferry from Gozo to Malta, take another taxi back to the airport.  There are no ATMs on Gozo.  It’s a step back in time here.  Quite lovely though a bit inconvenient.  So, what to do?  If Rayman can’t FedEx me another debit card, I’ll be borrowing money (Euros) from our hosts.  We (Nancy’s debit card didn’t work either)  are running a tab. 

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I’m not worried about Teri and Greg running out of money enough for me.  Pizza was 4.50 euro.  Things are dirt cheap here.  Great place to retire except they will only allow you to stay 3 months at a time.  That’s why Teri and Greg are leaving in December for Panama.  Then they will return here for 3 months.  Their life is so interesting and varied and I’m a total fan.  They are expanding their minds and their hearts and their knowledge of geography.  Crossword puzzles will be easier for them.  So many good things to say about this life they are living.  Will they do it forever?  Who knows.  I’m grateful to call them my friends. 

Gozo receives about 25 inches of rain annually.  It is dry and rocky.  The two lane roads make streets in Portland seem like parkways.  Horns are used here by the drivers that are seated on the wrong side of the automobile and drive on the “wrong” side of the street.  The islands were colonies of the British until the 1960s when they achieved independence.  Hence, the villagers speak either Maltese or English.  The country is a member of the european union and they use euros as their currency.  Today I met a woman that is an editor of a newspaper on Malta.  She was against brexit but didn’t vote because she has lived in/on Malta mostly.  A lovely woman full of grace and good fashion.  Also met an ex-pat from San Francisco.  She moved her a few years ago when her siblings decided to sell the family home in which she lived.  She has applied for citizenship here.  Costs about 10,000 euro to apply.  Currently she is cashier at a local market.

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Lunch today, Friday the 13th.  Poor fishie.

The market is interesting.  Filled with essentials.  The produce looks aged in many cases.  What looked great was the case full of broad beans marinated in garlic and oil, the fresh olives, the locally made goat cheese.  The goats live in town behind a garage door.  You know they are there when you walk by.  They have a certain smell.  Just sayin.  Teri assures us there is a yard behind the door.  Unique but functional on a small island in the middle of the sea. 

We took a walk today after we napped (still tired from the trip).  The sidewalks are about 3 feet wide where they exist.  Streets are cobblestone.  It looks deserted except for all the cars (mostly very small cars) darting to and fro.  Walking is dangerous but necessary since Teri and Greg have no car.  The houses are all attached and every one of them are named.  Their rental is named Ta Terez.  We saw one named Two Blossoms.  Some have religious names with statuary of religious people (think Madonna).  There are no front yards.  It looks like a bomb went off.  Eery in a way.  Again, though, the cars make it known that people do live here.

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Weatherwise, it’s in the 70s  this week.  Mild and wonderful with blue skies and cumulus clouds scattered here and there like cotton balls drifting by.  We are thrilled because we are going on a boat ride around the island at some point.  And we are taking the ferry over to Malta a few times.  And we will be walking a lot so sun, not rain is a good thing.

The only thing I did today, I screwed up.  I julienned the basil, quartered and cut in half the tomatoes (Nancy made me do it that way), and cut up an avocado for the salad.  Teri unfortunately discovered a quarter of an avocado peel in her helping of salad.  Good grief.  I have no earthly idea how THAT happened. 

Update on the debit card.  Received a text from the Rayman this a.m.  He said he was on the way to San Luis to the FedEx office.  I called him immediately and told him not to go.  He had three of his friends at the house for two days of golf.  FedEx was going to charge him $70 to send the debit card and we’re not even sure it will work because only certain cards work according to our host, Greg.  What a sweetheart.  I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful guy in my life.  He turned around and went back home.  Guess I’ll just be running a tab.  I am very fortunate to have such wonderful friends to extend me credit!!  Although…they did ask me what my credit score was!!!

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One of the 5 big churches in this village of 1,200 people. There are 30,000 on the entire island. Oh, and see the sea?

Missing the Rayman

Missing the Rayman

Gee wiz. How is this going to work? My dearly beloved is staying home while I go globetrotting to Malta. With my friend, Nancy.

The best way to proceed with any story at the beginning and I have decided that the beginning started yesterday when i bid my fond adieu to Rayman and Beau and headed out to Ridgecrest which is located in the Mojave desert. And I set out in our new Ford C-Max, a hybrid. And all was going along as expected until I reached Bakersfield. The yet-to-be-named GPS woman directed me a different way using a long, dusty road between I-5 and 99. Oil derricks, dust storms (eek the paint on my new car) and fruit trees. The wind was blowing the overused gray soil airborne and if one was outside on foot, a person would get a free face peel complete with grit between the teeth. Once I reached the 99, I encountered a sign announcing congestion on 58 which the road I was taking. Transitioning on 58 there weren’t any trucks…yet. Then BAMB. Screeching halt. And I found myself parked on the freeway. I finally rolled down the window on the passenger side and asked the trucker parked next to me if he could see anything. Did he know anything. No, he did not. About that time I called Nancy to report my dilemma. She looked on the internet. A fire. She advised me to turn around and go find highway 178 that goes through Lake Isabella. So, I followed fellow deserters and made a u-turn in the median and headed back to highway 99. I got lost because my GPS lady didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going…just like me!! Finally, I turned off on Merle Haggard Parkway and wove my way thru housing developments, oil fields, Del Webb Retirement community, a big city park and finally came to a turn that took me to 178.

And while all this was going on, my friend, Diane, called me to visit. Happily my phone worked. At this point I must make some interjections.

New cars have new technology and I fall on my sword here because I have not read, hence I don’t know how the car works….completely. Example. I stopped at a Pilot station on highway 41 to gas up and stuff. I couldn’t figure out how to open the gas tank. I called the Rayman. Boy, was I missing him. Turns out the button to push is on the middle of the instrument panel. Every other car I have ever owned had a lever near the floor on the driver’s side. Progress got the best of me.

My phone worked through the car’s system but getting it to work with verbal commands? not yet. I’m still working on it. Same with the audio. And it is tough to figure it out when I’m alone at the wheel. Without running into something.

But I digress.

Highway 178 was fabulous. It took longer but the rock formations were breathtaking. The Joshua trees were impressive. And yellow flowers were blooming. It looked like spring. Lots of curves, slower speed limits, the highway follows the river Kern. And the Kern was running, cascading over rocks, raucous at times. Slow and languid at other times. And no big rigs. I arrived about an hour late, but the drive was worth it.

Alps alert. We are currently flying by the Alps. FAB, baby. (yes, I’m blogging at 38,432 feet as we jet toward Frankfurt, Germany.)

The day today was completely different. Set out from Ridgecrest headed to LAX. Spent a lot of time standing in lines. Security detail as it were. After finally passing muster, we entered the main cavity of the Thomas Bradley International Terminal. Boy, have they fixed it up. High scale retailers, restaurants. Before boarding, I think I had charged $70 worth of stuff I had to have. Quite an experience.

We flew (are flying) on a huge bird to Frankfurt, Germany. It was a lovely flight. I had about 50 movies to chose from, all kinds of audio. TV, sports, news. You name it. I tried to sleep in-between meals. With my new memory foam pillow, I managed to count sheep on our 11 hour flight.

Now we’re on a 2 hour flight from Frankfurt to Malta.

So here’s my mea culpa for the day. Before I left home, I cleaned out my wallet. Something about simplification. Tiding up. When I checked my walnut this a.m. I could not find my debt card for my bank. Then I could not find my debit for my brokerage account. Panic set in.

I called the Rayman who told me he was very worried about me!! I re-searched my purse and the Wells Fargo card was swimming in the bottom like a flounder. Must have fallen out. A big sigh of relief by everyone concerned, me, Nancy, Rayman. OMG.

To be continued. Did I mention how much I miss the Rayman?

Floating Through Fog

It was as though we were suspended on fog.  The road was difficult to see, let alone navigate our 33 foot behemoth towing a car, rounding curves, avoiding traffic cones, oncoming traffic, while taking into account the cars behind piling up like a line of women waiting to use the two stalls at the sporting arena. 

It was difficult.  It was beautiful.  It hinted of splendid sights that were invisible to us, shrouded in the fog. 

The decision was made to trek along the coast of Oregon, going south so we could be on the outside of the cliffs in order to see all those purported huge rocks sitting amongst the waves of the Pacific.  Only, Mother Nature had a different idea.  And, as usual, she was right.  She is always right. 

When crossing the bridges especially, there was nothing to see underneath.  It was just gray.  Sullen, almost.  But since we were on our lark, we tended to regard the gray as erethral.  Check speling>>>>>gliding along almost like a plane flying amongst the rain clouds.

And then the fog turned to rain about the time we entered the Redwood Wonderland.  Giant redwood trees, the few remaining.  How could people cut down these wondrous trees?  Purportedly, only  5% remain of the original forests of northern California.  How could you take saw to tree?  It would kill me.  I don’t think I could do it.  They are too majestic, too vulnerable even with their size, standing like ancient wooden monuments to nature with no defenses against the saw, against man yielding saw, against progress such as it is. 

We are in awe. 

While traveling south, we come upon blockages in the road.  One way traffic is in order because of the mudslides from this last winter.  Crews are laboring to shore up the road in various spots along 101.  All clad in yellow rain gear today.  They stick out in the yellow like a daisy does in a floral arrangement.  Your eye always goes to the yellow.  There in the raining fog, they labor on laying rebar, pouring cement, working mightily against nature to undo the damage so we motorists can drive from point A to point B.  We appreciate the work they do. 

Then suddenly, in the romance of the moment, Rayman cries out, “What the hell are you doing?”  I have managed to almost balance the RV on all the wheels on just one side of the RV as I race around a curve.  Oops.  This RV is a lumbering, hard to drive, machine.  Straight away, not a problem.  Curves, a problem.  Why do they make them so top heavy?  When we’re leaning into a curve, it feels like we are going to topple.  Over.  And over.  Down to the ocean from the cliffs we traverse.  Are cathedral ceilings really necessary in an RV?  A foot shorter might be less likely to roll.  Just because they can design it, doesn’t mean they should build it.  Driving becomes more difficult, even at 55, which is about 13 miles an hour slower than I was going when the Rayman freaked. 

But, I digress.

We arrived in our first RV spot within the state of California today.  We left the state in June.  It’s been quite a summer sojourn.  Happy we are to be back in the Golden State.  Home is what it feels like.  Here at the Sounds of the Sea RV park a bit north of Trinidad, CA we are spending the night.  And we had a reservation to eat at Moonstone Grill.  A hidden gem of a restaurant.  The food, the drink was fine.  The view, even with the fog enveloping the coastline was sublime.  It was here that we confessed our deep felt feeling of gratitude to each other.  A special evening.  A tear was shed.  A look in the eye was forthcoming.  Great evening.  Blessed by each other.  And on the way back to The Dog House, we each remembered the first time we ever really discovered the heavens.  For Rayman, it was on a cross country trip, looking up when everything around him was dark and seeing the Universe.  For me, it was a “sleep outside” occasion with my neighbor, Nancy Jordan.  I can remember looking up at the stars, the Milky Way and feeling completely overwhelmed and insignificant.  A wondrous occasion for us.  Young, good eye sight, fabulous imaginations.  Viewing the stars.  Wondering, “what the hell?”. 

Even at that young age, I didn’t get religion.  Religion did not explain the Universe.  It did not explain the reasons.  It did not advance one’s curiosity to look forward.  It seemed to me always looking backward at a book with the same old stories.  Blaming Eve.  Building arks.  Really?  Nah.  Not this kid.  Way too limiting.  However, even though I was always a doubting Thomas, I did like the hymns, the bonnets at Easter, the Christmas caroles.  But I never bought the manger story, or the immaculate conception story.  Especially after I came to understanding sex. 

But I digress.  Rayman, gently reminded me tonight over dinner, that there is a nick in the front tire and rim when i hit the curb in Portland.  This was back in July.  It’s September now.  He is amazing.  Waiting, lurking for the right moment to suggest that maybe, just maybe, i should be a bit more careful when driving The Dog House. 

I’ll try to do better.  On our way home.  To our beloved Morro Bay. 

Crossing the Border

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Our view on the hike this a.m. in the L.L. Stubbs Stewart park in Oregon.

It’s Thursday evening and we find ourselves in the L.L. Stubbs Stewart State park in Oregon.  Perched on top of a high hill and close enough to the ocean that the breeze is cool and constant.  Blew the smell of our mahogany barbecued bone-in pork chops all over this campground.   In addition to pork chops, I made homemade applesauce and coleslaw to round out the meal.  Yum.

The last few days have been a whirlwind.  When we left Whistler, we drove the Canadian/U.S. Border while remembering the tale of a couple that had crossed not a week earlier and it took them 4 hours with search of their RV included.  We were dreading it.  So, this is how it went.

We took a more obscure crossing location.  Did not want to use I-5.  When it was our turn to be grilled, I drove up to the kiosk, handed the man our passports and waited.  Turned out, he was a friendly sort.  So friendly that we were informed that he had moved up to Lynden, WA not too long ago from San Diego.  He had been to Morro Bay many times and Cambria too.  He’d been married twice.  Now lives in a 2500 square foot condo in Lynden and is very happy with his new life.  Without asking we heard all about his travel plans with his children to go see the eclipse.  When he asked what we had done for work before we retired and we replied “Stockbroker.  Both of us.”, he became very animated.  Told us, “I bought Apple and doubled my money but I sold out too soon.”  He went on to tell us how he studied stocks and how well he was doing in the market.

Getting back to business he asked if we had fruit.  Yes, we had fruit.  We relinquished all our citrus to him and he was quite pleased.  He then gave us directions to the campground in Lynden, just a few miles down the road.

The only thing he knew about us is what was in our passport and our last job.  His information was much more interesting than anything we could have offered.  It was a hoot.  And then we drove away.  Sort of reminded me of the pitcher’s mound.  You know, when the manager comes out and the catcher struts to the mound.  A long conversation ensues.  We always wonder what they are saying.  Are they discuss their stock picks?  contemplating a move to Timbuktu?  So, the truck driver must have thought we were getting the interrogation to end all interrogations.  Not.

We spent two days in the KOA at Lynden.  Nice little ‘Norman Rockwell’ kind of town.

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On a main street in Lynden, WA

Agricultural place with the last night of their fair going on when we arrived.  Everyone in town was there.  We particularly liked seeing the square dancing couple…her in her bright yellow shirt that stood perpendicular to the sidewalk she was strutting on.  All those starched petticoats underneath.  Brought back memories.

And remember the hoops?  When I was a Rainbow girl, we had to wear formals and we always wore hoops under them.  So, when you sat down, if you weren’t careful, your underwear would be exposed when the hoop sprang up skyward.  Finesse was required.  And practice.

But I digress.

While in Lynden, a small homemade RV parked next to us the second night.    Here it is.

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12 years and it came to this!! Awesome.

It turns out, a young girl of 12 years of age and her father, made the RV and it was her inspiration.  We were extremely impressed and it buoyed our spirits to know that there are bright spots everywhere!!  And she was a definite bright spot.  That girl is going places.

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She also did the decorating inside. It not fully finished says Mom. We were duly impressed.

 

Leaving Lynden, we headed back to Silver Lake Cove RV park near Mt. St. Helens.  Loved it the first time.  Really loved it on the return because it was almost empty.  And because we saw an osprey…killing another bird in the tree.  Nature and all.  But this time,  Silver Lake Cove was a two day stopover.

We left there today and made a stop in Vancouver, WA to get our RV repaired.  And here we now are on the hill in Oregon.

Rayman had a day of accidents.  He stubbed his toe, cut his chin while shaving, hit his head, braised his thumb, tripped going up the stairs into the RV.  I don’t know what to do?  Buy a life insurance policy, refuse to let him drive, invest in Johnson & Johnson (band-aids etc), or hope tomorrow is a safer day.

Speaking of tomorrow, we are meeting up with my cousin and her husband for Chinese food in Beaverton, OR and a movie.  We’re not to far out of Beaverton.  You go from major metro area to country in no time at all.

We’re here for a week, without TV.  Nice.  And we saw on the bulletin board that this is star gazing territory because of the absence of big city lights.  Looking forward to seeing the Milky Way tonight.  But I’ll be carrying my driver with me.

Bears and Berries

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The lake, the mountains and us.

Good day, dear readers. It’s been a few days since I have had a chance to pontificate….ehr…author a blog.

Dining out and drinking wine have taken place. We’re up in Whistler, B.C. It’s like a playground for those with money. Saw a lot of Tony Burch shoes. Prada. Mixed in with a lot of expensive dirt bikes. Gondola rides are $50 smackers. Main courses on the menus start at $35. Salads will run you about $17. And all the beautiful people seem to be here. And they all parade around the main village square coming and going and going and coming. There are poses struck. The dirt bikers have interesting headdresses on. They remind me of gas masks. Perhaps to keep the dust to a minimum.

We, of the older set, mosey along, mostly dodging foot traffic to get to the various eating establishments. We feast on the eye candy. Oh, to have tight skin again…like high school. No wrinkles or hitches in our get-alongs. We spend time getting lost because we excel at that. We also excel at repeating ourselves. But, what can you do? Have fun with it.

The other thing we do is play golf now that the smoke has cleared. You can now see the mountains.

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Me and Ruthie pause for a photo.

My heaven’s, they are beautiful. All roads wind along the rivers here. Everything is located at the bottom of canyons. More eye candy. The mountains. They surge up from the rivers and lakes like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Many are snow capped. A sight for sore eyes. The mountains are littered with forest and aspen and other species I don’t know. Must be beautiful in the fall with gold and red leaves on the trees that are not conifers. It’s entirely green now.

But I digress.

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We traveled north out of Whistler to the town of Pemberton. A farming community with several new buildings like the city library, the school. And then there is the Big Sky Golf course. It was hard to keep my head down when I took a rip at the ball. Those mountains were so beautiful, I longed to look up. One of the prettiest mountain courses I have ever played. We were having a grand time until the Rayman drove his cart where he shouldn’t and then hightailed it over to the loo. The golf cart trail did not lead by the loo which is unusual. About that time, the women playing behind us arrived and took note of his transgression. The one woman, let’s call her Blondie, reprimanded our friend Tom. Her tone was antagonistic. Tom told Blondie he did not park the cart there. Then she spoke to Ruth in the same tone. Ruth informed her that Tom would not do that. Then Blondie said, “And speed it up while you’re at it.” And where was Rayman? oh, that’s right. In the loo. When he returned, he knew nothing of these exchanges. It was only when we had teed off (perhaps in more ways than one), that he was brought up to the speed.

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Sculpture at the gate leading in to the golf course.

Rayman was madder than a guy who found his wife having a drink with another man. He wanted to go back and have words. He was disabused of that notion by the rest of us. Then at the turn, we went by the starter’s shack and Rayman jumped out and talked with the starter. The starter said that the women were members of Big Sky and sometimes get overly protective of the course. That’s when Rayman informed her that we had paid a lot of money and come from a great distance and we didn’t appreciate Blondie’s attitude.

For the rest of the round, people came by to make certain that we were happy, that everything was okay. The staff really bent over backward to make us happy. We had a happy ending!!

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Ruth and moi at Whistler Chateau.

Then, we played Whistler Chateau golf course. On the third hole as we were getting ready to hit our second or in some cases fourth shot, a bear came lumbering out of the trees onto the fairway at a distance of about 100 yards with a creek between us. What a thrill. That bad boy was big. He looked healthy and strong enough to kill and eat someone. No one had their camera so we missed the photo op. Biggest disappointment of the day. This course had stunning scenery on every hole. One thing we did not do was go in the trees to take a leak (man joke), or go in the trees to look for our balls (also a man joke). Bears might be lurking.

Today, Rayman and I drove to Pemberton to go to a laundromat so that we could get all our laundry done in a short period of time. Three loads. While there, a man and his dog came in. The man, let’s call him Willie, told us dogs were allowed. He also told us about the local park. Once the clothes were in the washer, we drove down to a lovely little park so Beau could have a good run. That’s where we ran into the Indian woman. She was just returning from picking blackberries, did we want to buy some? Sure, we said. Then she told us the story.  I have nicknamed her Listening to Crows.

Listening to Crows was out in the fields where the blackberries grow. She picked about 5 quarts and she had sold all be one, would we like to buy it she inquired. “Sure”,  I said. So, while we were buying all these freshly picked berries, I told her I really liked her town. She was quite pleased. She said she would have picked more berries but the crows started, well, crowing. Loud and often. That’s when Listening to Crows informed us that she had to leave. In a hurry. The crows were a warning sign that a bear was in the area. Good local knowledge that could save a life. She was convinced and I’m  convinced that Listening to Crows knew her stuff. So, the next time you are out in bear country, say, Morro Rock, keep your ears open for the sound of crows. And listen to them. And head away from the Rock.

Then it was back to the laundromat. The laundromat was now teeming with people and the same dog. Thursday must be laundry day in Pemberton. Anyway, Willie told us some interesting facts. Whistler he said, was a place the stars used to come to for R and R. Sort of like Vegas, perhaps. Oh, yes, he assured us. This explained why the laundromat had framed pictures of Hollywood stars all over the walls. He then said that Pemberton was a no-where town. A potato growing town. But they don’t eat the potatoes. The potatoes get sold to people far away. Rayman in sympathy, said, “That’s too bad. So where do you get your potatoes that you eat?” Willie said, “We grow them.” Okay, then.

There were also two men there in the laundromat discussing the finer details of clothes washing. One man, let’s call him Arthur, wanted an explanation of why he did not see suds in the washer. The other man, let’s call him Henry, explained the several different reasons that might occur in a very deliberate manner with ideas on how his theories of low suds could be proven or not proven. It was like Henry was the PhD of Laundry Science. This conversation was still going on when we folded all our clothes and walked out the door. It’s 10:18 p.m.now and this was at 1:30 p.m. It would not surprise me of they were still talking.

YAHOO OH, MY GOD…and other blood curdling screams. What do they have all on common? Give up? It’s bungie jumping. The four of us rode south of Whistler and found the dirt road that led to the sight of bungie jumping. Spectators were welcome. The Honda Fit, not so much. There were potholes the side of an old O’Keefe and Merritt oven. The Honda can hardly make it through a mud puddle.

But I digress.

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Rayman, Tom and Ruth, standing atop the bridge.


We arrived at the scene of the insanity. I mean, really. People strapped into a halter sort of thing, clipped to a “line” that looked like scrunched up purple (or was it green?) plastic. Presumably the rope is inside. Then the jumper’s arms are held out so the jumper resembled a human cross. The bridge straddled the gorge with a ranging river below. The gate was opened. And the leap began. Followed by heart-rendering scream of full-on terror. Here are some pictures.

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Like a fish on the hook.

Heck, the walk out on the bridge sent my heart a flutter. It had a grate bottom so you could see down to the river below. Several times, I caught myself inspecting the safety of the infrastructure (bridge) on which we were perched. While up there I met a young man who was the Whistler Bungie Jumper photographer. Yes. They take pictures of the people before and during the leap (could that be for body identification?)  . He asked me if I came to do the jump. “Nope. Not his kid”, I said. He urged me to try it. That’s when I had to officially inform him that my ophthalmologist told me not to do jolting activities. Now, being a person that can be very literal when required, I took that to mean I should not ride a rollercoaster (actually the Doc told me that was a no-no). But I also took it to mean no heavy vacuuming, no window washing, and certainly, no bungie jumping. The kid indicated that he got my meaning.

Then as we continued our chat, I found out that he was working the bungie jumping official photographer gig near Queenstown, New Zealand when we were there. Frankly, he didn’t look that old. And then to continue  this riveting conversation, I discovered that the kid had done 29 bungie jumps himself. Now, what would ever possess a person to put their life on the line 29 times by jumping off a bridge into a deep canyon with water gushing? He didn’t seem daft. So, I continued exploring much like Margaret Mead may have when she ran across that matriarch tribe somewhere exotic. “Did you just get used to it? These people doing this look fairly calm. If I was about to do it, I’d be wired for sound!” He replied, “Oh, no. You never get use to it. And believe me, they are really, really scared.” So, I guess there you have it. Makes no sense at all. But if you are a contrarian and decide that it can’t be that bad and you’ll have a go to find out for yourself… Well then. Good luck to you.

Oh, one last thing. It only costs $140. per person/per jump. And in the spirit full disclosure, we didn’t see any crash and burn. However, we did pass one of the jumpers with his family. He had a cold pack on his shoulder. He was about 23 years old, maybe. His mom did not look at all happy or well. She looked a bit pale…with pursed lips like she was biting the side of her mouth repeatedly.

So, as I said earlier. That’s what happened when we went bungie jumping watching.

But alas, tragedy struck. We lost our credit card. It has been so painful because I am the culprit meaning I had it last and when a credit card goes missing, it’s a big deal. Hours of 1. looking for the darn thing like going thru every pocket, every drawer, under every seat. In the glove box. In the cabinets. 2. talking with the credit card people on the phone with many layers of “proving you are who you are”. “What’s your father’s maiden name? 3. realizing that many bills are paid automatically with said credit card and when you go on line look at your statement (paperless statement), you can no longer access the info and therefore, you have no earthly idea which bills are paid with the card. It’s even more complicated but there is only so much in the way of pain that I can even talk about right now. It is too frustrating to lay it all out, like telling the story of when you got that flat tire and were stranded on the roadside for hours in the rain kind of frustrating.

On the bright side of things, we didn’t get mauled by the bear and the neither did the Indian woman, Listening to Crows and we had some great berries for dessert tonight because it all came together just this way.

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At a road side market near the golf course.