Locked down with TSA in Salt Lake City

This is purely a personal complaint so don’t read it if you’ve better things to do (and you know you do).

Over our years of traveling we have been many places and gone through customs in every imaginable form. People who work customs are just doing a job, one that is highly routine and boring. They have to look at our passports, run them through scanners, ask us perfunctory questions. No, we are not carrying large amounts of money and have not purchased jewelry, and are not bringing in oranges or yams. We are tourists, and not on business.

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The dreaded travelogue: Chamonix, France

This is our third trip to Chamonix, or first in 2011 as we hiked one-half of the Tour de Mont Blanc*. We came here again in 2016, prior to taking on the Swiss Haute Route (which we completed over a two year period). This year we are here with the freedom of a vehicle, not having to walk everywhere. That said, the vehicle has been sitting in the hotel parking lot for three days now.

We could have driven to Cascade de Dard, a local waterfall. Instead we opted to walk up the thousand feet, our total day covering nine miles. There was a time when such a hike was a small thing, but after ankle surgery and a long period of relative inactivity, it was tough. The ankle hurts at the end of each day, but the next day feels new. It also counts against us that we are in our seventies.

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Americans in Paris

We just spent five days in Paris, walking 32 miles, visiting four museums and Monet’s home. We saw thousands of people. We ate in non-Michelin rated restaurants and walked the streets of various Parisian districts. This extensive survey is not scientific or peer reviewed, but here are my impressions:

Gays are among us, a few flamboyant, but mostly blending. By and large, coupling is race-based, black women with black men, whites with whites, Syrians with Syrians, etc. It is also age-based, young with young, middle with middle, and as with me and my wife, old with old. Among younger people there is little variety, as young girls tend to hang with their own race and status. Same with guys. Where I see diversity is among young school children being led by adults, quite a cacophony of races.

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Lysenko, Mann, Gore … peas in a pod

Trofim Lysenko 1898-1976) was a Russian scientist. Don’t be confused. Wikipedia calls him a “pseudo” scientist but in our day and age most science is pseudo, and yet we call our virologists, climatologists, geologists, physicists, and oncologists “scientists” nonetheless. So, I think it OK to refer to Trofim as a scientist as well.

Lysenko as responsible for the deaths of millions upon millions of Russian and Chinese peasants. He came up with new agricultural practices that were to revolutionize food production in both countries,  but instead set farming back decades.

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How to avoid jet lag …

I have long wondered how executives and politicians manage to travel great distances and yet always seem fresh on arrival. Their time tables have to be screwed up. Yet they manage to sit through meetings and do some public speaking as if they were fresh.

I cannot do that. I need at least two days on arrival (in this case France) from Denver, an eight hour time difference. We do our best to stay awake as long as possible once we get here. Last night that was until 7:30 PM, and when I awoke at 11:30 PM I took a couple of sleeping pills that got me through until now, almost 3 AM Geneva time. I feel rested and refreshed, but there is along day ahead and another night of fighting to stay awake into a normal schedule. It usually takes those two days to work my  way into the new time zone. Continue reading “How to avoid jet lag …”