Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Errant AirTag in Exotic Tortola

I’ve never spent any time in the Caribbean or Central or South America. As I recover from Christmas activities and transition into New Years and Mardi Gras (yes, in the South it is a Thing) my errant little AirTag is enjoying adventures I’ve never hazarded. I can only wonder where this little creature will go before I lose it completely?

December 29, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, Technical Issue, Travel | 2 Comments

The Great Sea Voyage: Barcelona to Abu Dhabi

So, my friends, I promised you a new trip, and I apologize for making you wait. We got back just in time to step back into our normal Pensacola routines and then to whirl into the celebrations of Christmas. I like to plan, I like to execute, and I like to give myself time to process. It’s time to begin.

We chose this trip three years ago. We loved the destinations, and we loved the idea of this journey, especially going through the Suez Canal. We love the idea of visiting new places, and we loved the opportunity to revisit some old favorites, especially Wadi Rum, in Jordan, where we lived in another life.

The trip itself took three weeks. We went early to Barcelona. I had been to Barcelona for an international quilt show years ago and loved it; I’ve been so eager for AdventureMan to experience the aliveness of Barcelona. We chose to go a few days early to enjoy the city.

We were traveling with Oceania, a line we haven’t sailed with before. People handle air reservations differently; we choose to let the cruise line set up the travel so that if there are changes (and in the last three years we saw lots of changes) the cruise line is ultimately responsible for getting us where we need to go.

It’s tough giving up our autonomy. This time, it was a struggle, and we finally paid extra for “custom” reservations when they kept offering us bizarre routes we didn’t want to take. At one point, we had reservations that were direct, and we liked, and then they changed, again, because of an airline time change, and we found the new ones unacceptable. At some point, we gave up. We accepted a bizarre routing and the fact that we were responsible for getting ourselves to Atlanta and back, not such a big deal, except for when things change. Right?

This is how we were routed to Barcelona: (Pensacola) – Atlanta – Detroit – Paris – Barcelona.

And here are the bags I took, except at the last minute I took everything out of the backpack and put it in a duffel, not much bigger but the space was more flexible.

We decided to go minimal and to carry everything with us. It caused a lot of agonizing, but in the end, I had everything I needed. It was enough. I think carry-on is a great idea, except it is such a hassle, I like the luxury of checking a bag and carrying a purse and a book. Having had bags go missing so many times in my life (they always caught up with us – eventually), we opted for this illusion of control.

Our first travel day was, in almost every way, a breeze. Our son picked us up on his way to work and dropped us at the airport, giving us time for a leisurely breakfast after an uneventful check-in. The flight schedule was eccentric, even convoluted, but every flight left on time and came in minutes early. Our last two flights of the day were with Air France and were delightful.

Getting to Barcelona took almost two days. We flew from Pensacola to Atlanta on our dime and picked up our cruise-related reservations in Atlanta. We checked in and had time for lunch at PF Changs. Out of Atlanta, we flew to Detroit – I’d never been to Detroit before. I had never seen a Great Lake in person. I was blown away by the vastness of Lake Erie and Lake Superior – so HUGE. I thought of Detroit and its terrible water problem and crumbling infrastructure, surrounded by water, and it seemed so infinitely sad. 

Our flight out of Detroit was an Air France flight – we love Air France. Once we board an Air France, the vacation begins – they take such good of their passengers. 

We had a late dinner on board; Air France does a really cool thing. They serve an appetizer course, an entree, a dessert, and drinks. They also have an express meal which is just the appetizer, bread (with French butter, better than butter I have had anywhere else), and desserts, and the dessert course features really tiny tastes. We chose the express, and then curled up and went to sleep.

I usually sleep badly on planes, but on this flight, it was all grown-ups and somehow it was mostly very quiet. I remember vaguely hearing a bell once when the air got a little turbulent, but it only awakened me slightly and I went back to sleep. My quick breakfast was yogurt and fruit and coffee, and boom, we were at Charles de Gaulle.

Big difference from prior times. While we love Air France, we always dreaded the bag drag through CdG. In years past, there were crowds pushing and snaking for hours, people pushing in line, people crying that they were going to miss their flight – it was a kind of purgatory for travelers. This time, however, it was streamlined, a piece of cake. We had a close connection, which we made with time to spare. 

On the flight to Barcelona, we had a snack meal, and AdventureMan had wine, I had coffee. I asked for more, and Sophia, our flight attendant said “Oh, you like my coffee?” and I said “yes!” because it was really good. Then AdventureMan said “And I really like this wine” and she brought him a small bottle of white wine to take with him, then turned to me and said “And which wine would you like? White? Red?” and I chose a red Bordeaux, the start of our cabin collection since we don’t buy the ships drink package, but pay as we go.

We found the Oceania representative waiting outside the immigration door, and very shortly, she had us taken to our hotel with Ingrid and Juanita, who had also been on our flight. We heard Ingrid speaking harshly to Juanita, and Ingrid caught our exchanged glance and said “Oh I’m just bossy. Juanita is 92 and I have to keep her organized.”

While Juanita was toting two large bags, she might have a hearing problem and might need Ingrid’s explanations and organizing. I was amazed at how strong Juanita was.

This is a longer trip than we usually take, with a variety of temperatures. I have a small carry-on suitcase and a small duffel. They were not stuffed. Our airports are huge, however, and when you have to tote two bags from gate to gate, even take trains or underground trams and still walk a long way, those bags can get heavy. I told AdventureMan that it is different when we go West and wear jeans and casual clothes all the time and no one cares, a cruise ship is a different situation. If our future is carry-on, we will need to go on shorter cruises.

The upside is you just whiz through customs – no waiting around at the baggage carousel. So I like the carry-on idea, I just don’t like the reality of toting bags.

The limousine driver was kind and helpful and gave us lots of good information on the way to our hotel, the Hotel Barcelona Almanac.

December 23, 2022 Posted by | Travel, Family Issues, Adventure, Customer Service, Geography / Maps, Experiment, Quality of Life Issues, Air France | , , , , | Leave a comment

AirTag Vacations in Barbados

December 23, 2022 Posted by | Adventure | Leave a comment

Roaming AirTag Lands in Puerto Rico!

December 18, 2022 Posted by | Technical Issue, Travel | Leave a comment

Take a Wife With You

Our church has daily readings, called The Lectionary, and the one I read also features Saints of the Church, people who have served in faithfulness. Today’s reading had an impact on me for several reasons. I was immediately caught by the fact he was assigned, and told to take a wife with him, at which point he immediately proposed to a woman he thought suitable who accepted. So interesting, and so different from the way “courtships” are conducted these days. (With more reading in Wikipedia, I discovered his education was funded by donors, he was trained as a blacksmith and he actually had a fiancee, and she was the one who married him and went with him to Moose Bay. She worked with the women.)

The union was fruitful. John Horden and his wife were able to accomplish great things among the Cree and Inuit, learning their language, preaching in their tongue. It sounds like more than the preaching, his life and his love of his parishoners attracted converts to the faith.

JOHN HORDEN

MISSIONARY BISHOP IN CANADA, 1893
 John Horden (1828 – January 12, 1893) was the first Anglican Bishop of Moosonee, Canada.

On May 10, 1851, he received a letter from Church Missionary Society, informing him that the bishop of Rupert’s Land had made a request for a schoolmaster at Moose Factory, in northern Ontario, and that he had been appointed to fill the position. They also told him to prepare to leave within a month, and indicated that they desired he marry and take his wife out to assist him in his missionary work. Although he was less than enthused about the appointment, he immediately prepared for his new position. He contacted the woman of his choice, a young lady who herself had missionary inclinations, and she agreed to marry him. On June 8, 1851, they set sail for Canada. Horden spent much of his time on the trip by continuing his studies of the Greek Testament and beginning the study of the Cree language.

He went among the natives, writing down new words as he heard them and, after eight month’s effort, was able to preach to the natives without an interpreter. He was ordained a priest during this period. Soon Horden had prepared a prayer book, a hymnal, and translations of the Gospels in the Cree language.

Then in 1865, Horden and his family, which now included five children that he and his wife had had in Canada, sailed back to England so that his children could be educated. Upon Horden’s return to England, he found he was very well-known throughout the British Isles, and became a popular and sought-after speaker. In 1867, Horden returned with his wife to James’ Bay.

In the autumn of 1872, Horden received a message to return to England to be consecrated as a bishop, and on December 15, 1872, he and two others were ordained in a ceremony involving eight other bishops, including Bishop Anderson, who had first ordained Horden 20 years earlier.

He continued to serve as bishop of his huge territory, making pastoral visits to as many parts of his huge diocese as possible, despite his having a serious problem with rheumatism. In his later years, he also worked diligently to finish his translation of the Bible into the Cree language.

December 15, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, ExPat Life, Faith, Lectionary Readings, Stranger in a Strange Land, Women's Issues | Leave a comment

Errant AirTag Nearing South America

I love that as I age, I am learning skills I never dreamed I would have – or want! And yet, I am glad I have learned to live with mystery, with contradictions, with ambiguity and ambivalence.

I don’t know how my AirTag left my “backpack,” which is really my duffle. I know it happened in Barcelona. Maybe I dropped it? The duffle was taken from my room with my carry-on and taken to the port where it went through inspection all on its own. It then appeared miraculously in my room aboard the Nautica. I say miraculously, because I never take anything for granted. Yes, it was supposed to show up in my room.

No, I am not so trusting as to believe it will. I’ve been without baggage too many times. So, I am just thankful when things happen as promised, and I have clothing and shoes for the trip.

I’m so glad that it really doesn’t matter to me that much that the AirTag didn’t make it with me. Its purpose is to keep track of my bag, and as long as I have the bag, the important things are covered.

What a shock it was when I was in Montreal, checking on my carry-on, which had become a checked bag in Abu Dhabi, and discovered my AirTag from the duffle is still reporting to me. It made me laugh. And now, trip over, back to the routine life of Pensacola and the unsettled month of December, it gives me a small thrill every day that I check for its location and find it in a new spot.

I am living vicariously. Although I am not in motion (nomad that I am), a part connected to me is heading off into the unknown.

The Grapevine, TX location is a mystery. I’m inclined to think it is an anomaly of some kind, but I have no clue, truly, as to why I would have a brief report it was there, and then, a short while later, it is back on the ship. The mystery continues.

December 14, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, Geography / Maps, Technical Issue, Travel | | Leave a comment

Air Tag Finds a New Home in . . . Grapevine, TX ???

For a while, there was no report available on my nomadic Air Tag. I am guessing it got on a plane or – I don’t know what, because from the middle of the Atlantic, it suddenly shows up in Grapevine, Texas.

I wonder if it will travel again, or if it will settle down for the holidays and then travel? Or will it return to roaming?

I hope no one figures out how to re-program the Air Tag. I’m having to much fun checking in on it.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, Travel | , , | 4 Comments

My Backpack Visits The Great Meteor Seamount

My little Air Tag reminds me of my days in the State Department. A friend would talk of “singing for our supper,” by which he meant our obligation to be entertaining and have a story or two to tell so people would always be glad they invited us.

My Air Tag, emancipated as it became, is certainly entertaining me, and, I hope, you. Do you have any clue what The Great Meteor Seamount is? I assumed it was the site of a fallen meteor, and evidently a huge one. Wrong. It is a sea mountain, yes, but one discovered by people on a ship called Meteor. Here is more information for you, if you, like me, like to go down a rabbit hole or two.

This is from Wickipedia:

Great Meteor Seamount

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Great Meteor Seamount
Great Meteor Seamount at the southern edge of the Atlantis-Meteor Seamount Complex
Summit depth270 m (890 ft)
Height4,500 m (14,800 ft)
Summit area50×28 km² (1465 km²)[1]
Location
LocationNorth Atlantic Ocean, 1,000 km (620 mi) south of the Azores
Coordinates29°57′10.6″N 28°35′31.3″WCoordinates29°57′10.6″N 28°35′31.3″W
Geology
TypeGuyot
Volcanic arc/chainSeewarte Seamounts
History
Discovery date1938
Discovered byMeteor
Wikimedia | © OpenStreetMap

The Great Meteor Seamount, also called the Great Meteor Tablemount, is a guyot and the largest seamount in the North Atlantic with a volume of 24,000 km3 (5,800 cu mi). It is one of the Seewarte Seamounts, rooted on a large terrace located south of the Azores Plateau. The crust underlying Great Meteor has an age of 85 million years, deduced from the magnetic anomaly 34 (An34) at this location.[2]

The shallow and flat summit of the Great Meteor Seamount, ranging between 150 and 300 m (490 and 980 ft) below sea level, suggests that it may have emerged sometime in the past 30 million years.[3] It is covered by a 150 to 600 m (490 to 1,970 ft) thick layer of limestonepyroclastic rocks and bioclastic sandstones.[4] Dredged basalts from the top of the eastern and southeastern flanks of the seamount have been K–Ar dated 10.7 ± 0.5 and 16.3 ± 0.4 million years old, respectively.[5] The oldest sample has been 40Ar/39Ar dated at 17 ± 0.3 million years old.[6]

Two small seamounts exist just southwest of Great Meteor and are encircled by the −3800 m bathymetric line. These are the Closs Seamount, roughly oriented NNE-SSW, with its peak at 1,400 m (4,600 ft) depth and covering an area of approximately 390 km2 (150 sq mi), and the Little Meteor Seamount, located NNE of Closs, with over 960 km2 (370 sq mi) and a flat top 400 m (1,300 ft) below sea level.

The German research vessel Meteor discovered the tablemount between 1925 and 1927. It was given the name Great Meteor Bank, a designation still used in the official GEBCO gazetteer.

Formation[edit]

The New England hotspot formed the White Mountains 124 to 100 million years ago when the North American continent was directly overhead. As the continent drifted to the west, the hotspot gradually moved offshore. On a southeasterly course, the hotspot formed Bear Seamount, the oldest in the chain, about 100 to 103 million years ago. Over the course of millions of years, it continued creating the rest of the seamounts, eventually culminating in the Nashville Seamount about 83 million years ago. As the Atlantic Ocean continued to spread, the hotspot eventually traveled further east, forming the Great Meteor Seamount where it is found today.[7] Radiometric dating of basalt from the Great Meteor Seamount has given ages of about 11 and 16 million years old, with the bulk of the seamount possibly having formed about 22 million years ago.[8]

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Geography / Maps, Travel | | 1 Comment

At Sea on the Costa Pacifica

Who knew I could have so much fun with a missing Air Tag? By figuring out which ships were in which ports on the same days, and eliminating, one by one, those going in different directions, I identified the Costa Pacifica as the ship my little Air Tag is on. I am guessing it will always be a mystery as to how it got from my backpack to the Costa Pacifica, but meanwhile, it is so much fun for me to track where it is traveling – independent of me!

December 10, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Technical Issue, Travel | | Leave a comment

Living Large off the Coast of Morocco

Although I am back in Pensacola, I get a thrill checking on the status of my missing Air Tag. Today we are off the coast of Morocco 🙂

December 8, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, Geography / Maps, Morocco, Technical Issue | Leave a comment