Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

I want to be in Venice, too!

We are getting ready to take a journey to a whole new set of petroglyphs, so I have activated a new AirTag. I love these things. I am taking a checked bag this time, for a stop in Denver where I will initiate my niece’s twins into the art of quilting. Just basic stuff, rotary cutting and beginning piecing, and the idea of a quilt. I’ve had a lot of fun planning this, and I have a suitcase full of resources for their exploration.

The set-up is so easy that a technologically impaired elder can do it in under a minute. How cool is that?

So as I set up, I also checked on independent AirTag, the one that disappeared in Barcelona, traveled the Med, crossed the Atlantic, went up the Amazon and crossed back the Atlantic to Barcelona and is now in Venice. Venice! I love Venice. AdventureMan loves Venice. We find Venice endlessly interesting.

And the Villa del Geologia. Wow. I don’t think I even knew it existed. I love that this little AirTag has this fascinating life of its own.

We are taking our son and his family on a trip next year, and I think I will gift them AirTags, for their luggage, for their backpacks, maybe even for their kids. How handy it would be to be able to keep track of all the individuals traveling together as they scattered out in an airport! Of course, you have to get their consent, otherwise, as the instructions tell you, it would be stalking, and against the law.

May 10, 2023 Posted by | Adventure, AirTag, Bureaucracy, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Privacy, Technical Issue, Travel, Venice | | Leave a comment

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

Roaming AirTag Lands in Puerto Rico!

December 18, 2022 Posted by | Technical Issue, Travel | 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

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 πŸ™‚

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

My AirTag Has a Life of Its Own

For our recent trip, I bought four Apple AirTags and was amazed at how easy it was to use them. You just Google “How do I set up my Apple Air Tag?” and clear instructions appear. Some people have even done videos that show you exactly how to enable and disable your Air Tags.

So I set one up to be for my Carry-on, and another to use for my other carry-on, called Backpack, except that as I was packing I changed to a duffel, and didn’t change the name.

My duffel has four outside pockets and no inside pockets. I tucked the AirTag deep into one of the pockets and stopped thinking about it. Then it came time to leave our hotel and head for the ship, so I put both bags out to be transferred.

Since I pretty much always had them with me, I never bothered checking. Not until coming back, I checked one bag on our complicated route home, and when things got screwed up in Montreal, I checked my phone to find my CarryOn. It showed me exactly where it was, and it made the next flight with me.

But at the same time I was checking, I noticed an anomaly. My “backpack,” which was with me, was shown to be in the Gulf of Lion, close to Montpellier. How could this be? Sure enough, I have the duffel, but I do not have the AirTag. The AirTag is gone missing.

But someone has it.

Honestly, to me this is hilarious. First – I have all my baggage and its contents. That’s what matters. The only thing that is missing is the AirTag. Second – my AirTag is traveling, I am thinking on one of the Oceania ships, and I could probably find out which one if I wanted to spend the time finding out which ship is in what spot (there are apps, I have discovered, which can tell you – and show you – exactly where any ship is, how cool is that?) Meanwhile, every now and then I check to see where my old AirTag is now, and it is always in a different location. It’s kind of fun for me to see where it is.

Why would someone carry around someone else’s AirTag?

Yes, I am planning to tell you all about our trip. First, I have to get through the jet lag, get my life in order, get Christmas under control (ho ho ho), and process some of what I experienced. Narrative and photos coming soon. It was a GREAT adventure. πŸ™‚

December 1, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Air France, Christmas, ExPat Life, Geography / Maps, iPhone, Technical Issue, Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Chasing Petroglyphs: Dinosaur National Monument

I love it when I underestimate an attraction. This is the day we visit the Carnegie Quarry/ Douglass Quarry. I am going to quote from the Dinosaur National Monument Day Trip 5 folder now: The Visitor Center contains a fine bookstore, exhibits explaining the fossils, petroglyphs, and other park features, and information about how to see fossils in the park. The Carnegie Quarry . . . is one of the best Jurassic Period dinosaur finds in the world. Between 1909 and 1924, Paleontologist Earl Douglass discovered 10 species of dinosaurs, twenty complete skeletons and skulls. The Carnegie Quarry and other fossil quarries in the park have greatly advanced the study of dinosaurs. Current research in the park is focused on understanding the ecosystems the dinosaurs lived in, which has resulted in the discovery of new species of dinosaur, salamander, frog, lizard, mammal and plants. By protecting fossils, we can better understand the past. By understanding the past we can better understand the present.

The Quarry offers the public an opportunity to put your hands on a real dinosaur bone

There is so much I find both impressive and moving about this site. First, Douglass discovers this amazing site where an ancient river regularly flooded, killing local species in an early version of climate crisis, the bodies would be stuck in the mud, the mud baked hard, like concrete, and the cycle continues, layer on layer of bones, many with skeletons relatively intact, piled up in this location.

He had the genius to know it was a paleontological gold mine. Workers extracted skeletons that are now in the finest paleontology museums in the world. To me, here is where true vision comes in – Douglass had the vision to preserve an entire partially excavated wall of fossils, to create a beautiful, light-filled building to protect the wall, and to open this wall of fossils to the public, at no charge.

What better way to build public understanding and public support?

We drove to the visitor center, and caught a shuttle, which makes the circuit every 15 minutes. Soon we arrived at the Wall of Bones.

On the upper level, there are interactive stations which will help you identify exactly whose bones you are looking at. It’s amazing stuff.

All kinds of informational displays help you understand exactly what you are seeing.

I had never heard of Dinosaur National Monument. I saw it on the map and thought it would be an interesting stop on our way to Moab. I had no idea I would be so blown away by the Fremont Petroglyphs at McConkie Ranch or this Wall of Bones at the Dinosaur National Monument. Life remains a great adventure.

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Circle of Life and Death, Climate Change, Environment, Fund Raising, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Road Trips, Spiritual, Technical Issue, Travel, Values | Leave a comment

Accidental Early Adaptor

iPhoneXR

Yesterday was a stressful day. It happens every now and then. The last one was when Ragnar-the-street-cat ate the cord to the foot pedal on my Pfaff and I had to get it fixed. While I was in the store, I bought a new Bernina (the price was right and it was the machine I had always wanted, very quiet.) The problem with new technology is that you have to learn new ways of doing things. The old ways don’t work. It stretches you and it stresses you.

AdventureMan has been after me to update my iPhone. We are about to travel again, and he wants us to be accessible. He is right; it is my turn to upgrade. I’ve had my iPhone since 2011, and it works wonderfully. I am happy. It does everything I need it to do . . . except it doesn’t work overseas.

I’ve dragged my feet. To me, a phone is a tool and the tool I have does everything I want it to do, including . . . making me not too accessible. But (audible sigh) I know he is right. What if there is an emergency and they need to contact us?

I am also skeptical. When we upgraded AdventureMan’s phone, we went on the Viking Ocean Cruises Wake of the Vikings trip (which was awesome)Β and his new phone didn’t work, didn’t get texts, didn’t get phone calls, while my old phone occasionally got texts (I believe it was a Wi-Fi thing for me).

But I also know that AdventureMan is wise; things happen. We often take off from the group, and if our connection changes, if the shuttle back to the ship changes departure time and we are not on it, it causes all kinds of complications.

So Thursday night, AdventureMan said “Our travel time is getting close, and what are you going to do about your phone?”

He is a smart man. He knows how to ask me in an open-mannered way so I don’t go all defensive and nasty because I am feeling cornered and inconvenienced and wary of having to master a new technology when I have a lot of other things going on right now.

“I’m going to do it tomorrow,” I tell him. He is satisfied. He knows that when I say I will do something, he can count on me to do it. I didn’t sleep well; I was full of dread.

So I am working at my computer when AdventureMan gets up and says “So when are you going?” and I know that the day has a limited number of hours and some of them are already committed and I really need to do this, so I do.

When I arrive at the store, the door says the store opens at 10:00, but it is 9:30 and the door is unlocked and people are waiting inside for customers, and tell me to come in, it is a special sale day. I get a really great guy, Mark, and tell him what I need.Β 

He was astonished. “You’re not here for the NEW iPhoneXR?” he asks, like he cannot believe what he is hearing. I tell him what I need, and he says “You need the new iPhoneXR.” He tells me all the things it will do, and then starts showing me how it will work. I tell him what I need is a phone that will work in these countries, and he shows me two ways it can work, both of which I feel comfortable I can do.

And the phone is beautiful. And handy. Within five minutes, I have said “yes” to the phone, have picked out chargers and phone case and protectors, and he is transferring all my phone stuff from the Cloud to my new phone. Of all the things that delight me, at the time, one is that I found a sturdy pink phone case that sparkles; my granddaughter will love it and think I am very cool. It makes me laugh; I am not a woman who would ever have carried a pink sparkly phone in my professional life.

The phone “recognizes” me. I no longer have to put in a code, but I have a back up code for when I need it, like I guess if I’ve been on a four day binge and it doesn’t recognize me, or . . . if I’ve been on an all night flight, which can have the same physical impact as a four day binge (those of you who know me know I am totally joking about the four day binge; I barely drink a whole glass of wine now.)

What I love, having played with it for a day, is that it is so easy. My eyes are really good, except for reading, and the screen of this phone is large and the writing is very readable. There are Tips! They tell me all the things I can do, whether I want to do them or not. There is Siri, whom I don’t intend to use, but I set it up because you never know, I might.Β 

(Big internal debate – who? whom? Siri is not a real person, but I would say “I don’t intend to use her” which means “whom” but who even uses “whom” anymore?)

So I just tried Siri, “Siri, open Google Maps and take me to Cologne, Germany?” and it took a couple steps, but . . . it’s a miracle! It worked!

“Siri, what is the water level of the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany?” (Blah blah blah blah “take a look!”) and the German website, one among many that she found, showed the water level in Koln to be . . . 74 cm. Hmmm. Not really enough to float a ship.

Our trip no longer shows on the company website. We have heard nothing. I am guessing they are both praying for an extended rain and scurrying to arrange alternatives should the water levels not rise high enough to float the boat along some of the narrower passages of the Rhine, which is experiencing historical lows following one of the driest, hottest summers ever in Europe.

AdventureMan and I avoid bus travel like a plague. It is too restricting on people who like to move, it is claustrophobic and not-private. On the other hand, you see a lot more on the road, and since we are really going because we miss the winter in France and Germany, on a bus (or two) we will have more actual time on the ground, eating winter food, wearing our winter clothes, more time to walk, God willing.

And . . . I have a new iPhoneXR, and I actually love it.

October 27, 2018 Posted by | Advent, Adventure, Christmas, Customer Service, ExPat Life, France, Geography / Maps, Germany, GoogleEarth, iPhone, Quality of Life Issues, Relationships, Technical Issue, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Campbell River and Elk Falls Park

Campbell River has a park going South out of Campbell River on 19A, done by the Rotary Club. It is a small park, a sweet park, full of wooden statues with a totem-like feel. It is easily walked, and even easily walked pushing a wheelchair.

The statues – an owl, an angel, a fierce looking eagle – those are just the ones I can think of easily – and the path is lovingly maintained and open to the public.It is utterly free. People can walk, take their children.

In downtown Campbell River, there are totems everywhere, reflecting the First Nation traditions, and a population of Haida.

CampbellRiverPark2

 

CampbellRiverPark

 

Near Campbell River is a huge public-private-bureaucratic project for a new hydroelectric generation complex. The old one is being replaced by one less vulnerable to seismic variations, and the government is working with private industry to set it up quickly. A Rotary club built another wheelchair accesible trail to Elk Falls, crossing over the old wooden water pipes being replaced. The trail was beautiful, and efficient. They really did a lot of work to clear the path thoroughly, no roots straggling across, no slick spots.

ElkFalls ElkFallsWheelchair

 

You really could wheel a wheelchair to the overview of Elk Falls. From that viewpoint onward, there are 11 flights of stairs and a chain link drawbridge that make further progress in a wheelchair unlikely. Actually, getting to the viewpoint would not be that hard. Getting back – pushing a wheelchair bound person weighing more than 50 lbs. or so – would require a team of four to six strong eighteen to twenty year old men trading off often. It is uphill all the way.

ElkFalls2

ElkFallsAbove

ElkFallsStairway

The falls are spectacular. The stairs are really well built, very sturdy. The chain link bridge was daunting for someone like me, not with fears of heights, but someone who finds being in high places brings on a fear of falling. I made my way across to the other viewpoint, and then back again, mostly by not looking down and not thinking about it, just walking, one step after another. The sturdiness of the stairs, that attention to detail, gave me the confidence I needed to trust that the bridge would not fail with me on it.

 

ChainBridgeEF

 

ChainBridge2

I always enjoy a hike a lot better after I’ve finished it πŸ™‚

 

May 12, 2016 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Community, ExPat Life, Fitness / FitBit, Living Conditions, Road Trips, Technical Issue, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment