Guadalajara vs. Barrio de Santa Maria

We spent over a month in Mexico.  After a couple of weeks in the Yucatan peninsula we flew over to Guadalajara for almost four weeks.  Our first week was in the Centro Historico, or the old city with many historical buildings and churches.  After that, we moved down to Tlaquepaque.  Not exactly Tlaquepaque, but a little neighborhood called Santa Maria about a fifteen minute walk south.  Tlaquepaque (officially known as San Pedro de Tlaquepaque) is famous for pottery, crafts, and art galleries along with pubs, restaurants, and live mariachi. In contrast, Santa Maria is a thriving little village with lots of community spirit along with energetic neighborhood festivals.

I have many wonderful photos that capture different aspects of this contrast. Instead of a pictorial essay for a freshman writing course, I only include a few that made this experience special.  A few facts for a presentation follow.

 

 

  • Guadalajara Centro Historico is undergoing a lot of renovation.  Some by government, some by businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Tlaquepaque is the home to many ceramic workshops and galleries.
  • The artist, Sergio Bustamente, formed his workshop in Tlaquepaque in 1975.
  • Cat spotting in his gallery at Independencia 238
  • In Barrio de Santa Maria, el Dia de la Santa Cruz (May 3) is celebrated much more than Cinco de Mayo (May 5).
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RTW01 1980-81

In 1980, my company, NCR Comten, sent me to NCR Japan for software support of the first installations of our Networking Communications Processor.  Recently, a reply to my comment in Cook the Beans blog reminded me of that trip and my visit to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo in 1981.  This was one episode of that first trip aRound The World (RTW). This brings me back to the original idea of this blog to reflect on journeys and paths that brought me here.

I saved the diaries of my travels during those times for many years.  With our moving on, I wrote up some summaries and highlights and saved on Google Drive.  Much of the information written was technical notes and contacts.  Certain parts of that fourteen month trip are very vivid; other parts are just a mesh of several trips through the same areas.  My notes suggest I left Minnesota around 1 October 1980 and returned to my parents home for Thanksgiving in late November 1981.  Unfortunately, only a few blurry pictures and some scraps of mementos remain from that trip.  The many transitions of life and work resulted in a box or two purloined in various archives and the dumpsters of life, later to be left for collection at the side of the road.

Collecting and Collating digital searches, memories, and artifacts for this post reminded me of several amazing coincidences and connections that played out over the years.

First, a link to the itinerary contains a few notes gleaned from my diaries.  It’s a placeholder for my memory as details begin to fade.  The experience was so new and fresh, I never expected the frustrations trying to remember details today.

Itinerary RTW 1980-81

Itinerary1980-81

Here is the list of cities I visited in approximate order.

St. Paul, MN; Tokyo, Japan; Nikko, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; Kamikura, Japan; Busan, Korea; Seoul, Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Hongkong; Macao; Manila, Philippines; Batangas, Philippines; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei; Singapore; Melaka, Malaysia; Georgetown and Penang, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar); Rome, Italy; London, UK; Paris, France; Milan, Italy; Belfort, France; Bitche, France; Basel, Switzerland; Mont Saint-Michel, France; Cherbourg, France; Windom, MN

Three artifacts:

Three meetings:

The hardware tech assigned to NCR Japan was Sanford “Charlie” Brown.  After Japan, we worked together in South America, New Zealand, and SE Asia. Our paths still cross.  He taught me how to wirewrap.

In a Singapore hostel shared breakfast table with sisters Bea and Ev from France.  Years later they would pick me up from Luxembourg airport after spending ten days crossing the Soviet Union.

Anura Guruge at ICI UK.  He sent me to consult in Paris and Milan on a remote printer problem.  Some years later, I would find and read his first book, SNA Theory and Practice, in the NCR Japan technical library.  Some years after that, I would work with Lisa Lindgren an associate of Guruge’s consultancy.

Three things learned

Don’t be surprised.  Different cultures, different languages, different circumstances all have their ways of dealing with the situation of the moment.  Some of these will be completely different to what you might find usual.  Observe and Appreciate.

Grammar and Language: “Order word not necessary is.” Along with: “Verbs not necessary.”

In those days, I could live in Melaka, Malaysia for U$S 3 / day.  Knowing that, I only worked for fun from then on. I always knew that I did not have to put up with a bad job after that.

Here is the full map thanks to Google:

RTW_1980-81.JPG

In the years that followed, I circumnavigated (both westward and eastward) the earth many times providing onsite computer networking support.  There were some trips to South America and to Africa.  The type of technical career I did no longer exists.  In the past years, we have deviated from the original route more and more as we have free time to venture to different countries.  Here is my TripAdvisor Map:

TripAdvisorMap

Posted in blogging, Brunei, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, language, Macao, Malaysia, memory, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, technology, Thailand, Travel, United Kingdom, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maya Ruins in Mexico

Back in July 2016, I visited Flores, Guatemala and Belmopan, Belize.  This afforded me the chance to visit and climb among the ruins at several Mayan cities.  Coming to Cancun in the Yucatan peninsula, we took advantage of visiting three different locations of Mayan cities.  El Rey was just a local bus ride along the Hotel Zone and beaches of Cancun.  We joined a tour to see the pyramids and central city at Cichen Itza.  Finally, we moved from Cancun to Tulum to visit a final location along the coast.

In contrast to the ruins I scaled in Guatemala, Chichen Itza for some years has banned any climbing.  The cities at El Rey and Tulum were commercial and trading hubs that were still active when the Spanish arrived.  Although not so magnificent, the ruins here were very accessible.  Chichen Itza was an administrative and religious center until about the year 1250. Current research suggests Maya still populated the area in the 1500’s but it is not certain whether they inhabited the ruins that exist today.

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Stops Along the Way

After reuniting with Wife’s family in Tapah, Malaysia, we began what has turned out to be an epic journey in less than four weeks.  I hope a timeline helps me make some sense out of this.

Feb 14-16 Petaling Jaya, a suburban district to Kuala Lumpur.  Wife and I met up with her brother, David, and her sister, Vicki, visiting from Sydney.

Feb 17-21 Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.  A short side trip before our return flight from Kuala Lumpur.

Feb 23-Mar 1 Malpensa Airport, Milan, Italy. Met up with Daughter and classmate on their way to and from Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. This must be our favorite airport as we most often post from the airport’s Art exhibits.  We stayed in the city of Ferno which borders on the actual MXP runways allowing us an afternoon walk of plane spotting.

Mar 2-6 San Diego.  We flew into LAX, Los Angeles for a drive down the coast to visit Brother George and wife Gloria.  A chance to celebrate her birthday and his final chemo sessions.

Mar 7 Los Angeles. Travel Inventory Day. Last sunny day.

IMG_8355

Leaving the cloudless skies

Mar 8-11 Seattle. Home (sort of).

Mar 12 Vancouver, Canada. Lucky we planned to relax and recuperate as it was the wettest, cloudiest March on record.  Our apartment was in Metrotown section of Burnaby city, just east of Vancouver.

IMG_8409

The day without rain

Here’s the whole map courtesy of Google in case you are curious.  For simplicity, not all flights are shown.

FebMar2017

 

 

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Saying Goodbye

I struggle with how to make this post.  Almost two months ago, my father-in-law crossed to the next life.  Although a somber time, it was also a chance to reunite with family and meet in person with those I only know from emails and facebook.

I found this picture of Chai Lian Hing at Daughter’s birthday in Frankfurt.

scan-meg4birthday2001b

Daughter 4th birthday at Heinrich-Hoffmann-Museum Schubertstrasse

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Stopover in Muscat

Booking a last minute trip to Malaysia involved a forty hour stopover in Muscat.  I was able to book a room somewhat close to the airport.  Only on arrival did I realize it was in the Bawshur dunes in the outskirts.  Muscat is not known to be a city for walking, but in early February the temperatures were just in the 20s with a nice breeze off the Gulf of Oman.  I could join Al Ghubrah Street after a short 20 minute walk from my room.  There were no sidewalks but I and some immigrant workers found the median an excellent path.  I followed this to the city and then on to the bay.

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Walking Lugano

We have visited Lugano many times since Daughter started University there.  It has always been rushed with just two or three days.  This time, we booked a week.  This gave me the chance to investigate some of the back roads and paths in the surrounding communes of Sorengo and Collina d’Oro.  With a nod to a followed blogger, here are Walking Finds, 1.

 

 

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San Marino: Quirky Republic

The Republic of San Marino is the world’s smallest republic. Neither is it a member of the European Union nor does it belong to the Eurozone.  Yet, it is entirely surrounded by the European Union (Italy) and uses the Euro as its currency (as Montenegro and Monaco do).  Since staying in Andorra and in Monaco years ago, I have wanted to visit this fun little bit of history.

I enjoyed hiking and walking all over the old city perched high on a mountain peak. I ventured down into some of the lower districts knowing there would be a precarious climb up  snowy, icy paths.  It was interesting in Winter.

Come Spring with all the plants blooming and more activities open, it is a destination to keep in mind. I’m in a tourist info mood.  I used public transport taking a direct train from Milan to Rimini.  This city lies on the Adriatic Coast, a few stops beyond Bologna.  With more time, there is a beach to explore and some interesting historical walls and buildings.  From Rimini, there is the Bonelli Bus every hour and fifteen minutes to San Marino.  On Sunday it was right on time.  I waited at the stop up the street from the Burger King across from the train station.  The last stop is the P1 Parking Lot with a public elevator to the main street of the old city of San Marino.

Here are some of my photos

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Winter Break in Summer

After our two weeks in Cyprus, we met up with Daughter in Milan.  Her fall semester completed, she had a month free.  Previous years, we spent together in Istanbul and in Morocco.  Instead of a chilly apartment in Europe, we opted for summer in Cape Town, South Africa.  Wife and I enjoyed our African adventures last February.  There were still places to explore in Cape Town.

For the previous breaks, Daughter has flown a direct flight to meet us.  Traveling together, changing planes in Dubai was a chance to stretch our legs during the break of the 15 hour flight time.

As it was University break, we did not need an adventure every day.  Daughter took an all day tour of Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope.  She got to hangout with penguins and took some stunning video of the waves breaking on Cape Point.  Together we climbed up Table Mountain, watched the Kaapse Klopse (January 2nd Carnival like parade),  and admired street art emanating from Woodstock to the Gardens.

Here is a sampling of pictures from our outings.

Here is some of the street art I found along the way.  There are too many artists to mention.

Finally, one last dip in the South Atlantic.  The water feels really cold at Camps Bay.

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Cyprus -There is hope

Cyprus is full of history and contradictions.  Here is the Wikipedia Entry and here is the New World Encyclopedia Entry.

I remember hearing the news reports of the Turkish invasion during the summer of 1974.  It was just another part of the world in turmoil.  Over the years, the divided island and divided city of Nicosia became just another bureaucratic nightmare.  In the last ten years, I have read accounts of the process to normalize the divisions.  There is hope as talks and discussions continue intensely.  With some trepidation, we planned two weeks there in December 2016.

On December 4, we flew from Istanbul Turkey to Ercan International which resides in the Northern Turkish side of Cyprus.  From the Airport a Taxi deposited us at the Turkish Border for the Agios Demetios checkpoint.  As we pulled our bags over to the Greek side, we were met in the middle by our host in her SUV.  After stopping to talk to the Greek authorities and show  passports, we were taking in the sights of the Greek side.  After a week, we pulled our bags down Ledras Street and walked through the checkpoints back to the Turkish side where we stayed four more days.

Even though it was a bit chilly some days, we enjoyed both the Greek and the Turkish sides of the island.  I feel that our sightseeing was historically interesting more than spectacularly photogenic.  Here are my mementos in no particular order in the spirit of reunification.

A note on nomenclature: I use Nicosia as the English name for the entire capital city of Cyprus.  Lefkosa refers to the Northern Turkish half of Nicosia, and Levkosa refers to the Southern Greek half of Nicosia.

 

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