Dad Jokes

The pillion rider asked me what I wanted for Father’s Day. How about some Dad jokes.

It is coming up on two years since we last played parents hanging out with our daughter and cooking her favorite foods. We are in Malaysia; she is in New Zealand. Our paths diverged at Nadi Airport, Fiji. Since she is not here to be embarrassed, I’ll publish ten bad jokes for everyone to groan.

  1. Here’s a new word just for today: Plagiarism. (I copied it)
  2. I find moon rocks are more delicious. They are a little meateor.
  3. I get suspicious of trees on sunny days. They seem a little shady.
  4. Bikes fall over because they are twoo tired.
  5. When Math Acorns grow up they exclaim, “Gee, Ah’m a tree.” (They probably have square roots.)
  6. I was an ugly child. When I was born, the doctor looked at me and slapped my mother.
  7. Time flies like a arrow, fruit flies like a banana.
  8. My yearly income is six figures. I’m not saying where the decimal point is.
  9. It’s apparent that this bad joke has become a dad joke.
  10. Do you speak Esperanto? “Yes, like a native.”

Wild Coasts, The northern edge of South America

We spent over three weeks traveling through the Guyanas (in colonial days called French Guyana, Dutch Guyana, British Guyana).  Today, they are Guyane, a department of France, Suriname, and Guyana. This is the unique linguistic enclave of South America where one hears French, Dutch (Netherlands), English, and Creole. I also heard Sranan Tongo, which I came across in a Sociology course long ago at the University of Minnesota.  In those days it was described as Taki-Taki, a derivation of English Talky Talky unless it was more formal, then Dipi-Taki (Deep Talk) was used.

Travel was a little tricky.  There is only one flight a week from Belem, Brazil to Cayenne the capital of French Guyana. There are no flights from Cayenne to Parimaribo capital of Suriname.  We booked a share taxi for 4:00 AM to Saint Laurent de Moroni, the river port across from Suriname.  A share motorized long boat called a Pirogue took us over the river.  There another share taxi took us to the door of our host’s apartment. Three others made the trip with us all the way from Cayenne. Along with getting in and out and watching our bags, we went to French immigration to get our exit stamp at the ferryboat port in Saint Laurent and stopped in Albina, Suriname to show our visitor card and passport.  The visitor card we obtained for 35 Euros from the Suriname consulate in Cayenne.  This gave us one of the few chances to show our Yellow Fever certificates. We flew from Paramaribo to Georgetown in Guyana.  The Suriname airport was built many years ago 40 km from the city on solid land away from the marshy savannas.  Similarly, the International airport in Georgetown is an hour drive to the city.

This sampling of photos shows coasts and colonial houses typical of the region.

Cayenne, Guyane Française (French Guyana)

Side trip to Kourou, Guyane Française

We rented a car for one day to drive down and tour the Space Port. It is a huge complex.

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Launch pad in preparation for the Ariane Rocket Launch that occurred two days later

Paramaribo, Suriname

Georgetown, Guyana

Impressions

There are many national forests and parks that we could have visited that are still quite natural and rustic.  Mostly, they must be visited on tours or using a personal vehicle.  These are not popular enough to have regular bus service that allow independent travelers to visit.  There were a lot of flashbacks to my early days traveling around southern South America in the 1970s. This trip was a mixture of unique experiences that keep alive the memories of the so-called “colonial backwaters.”

 

A couple of words about Melbourne

We have been in Melbourne for a week.  So many interesting things to see and do at so many different levels.  Instead of posting a handful of photos, this post tries to capture a number of contrasts from two short phrases.

One Shot – Graffiti

Hosler street is famous for exhibiting the products of spray cans. Catching a denizen rather than a tourist walking by was a rarity.

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Latin Scribbles – Marginalia

The State Library of Victoria houses two wonderful exhibits.  In the World of the Book exhibition they show Ptolemy’s master work.  It’s not in Greek.  All of original Greek editions were burned or destroyed.  It’s in Latin that was translated from Arabic by a monk 800 years ago. First, I did not know the works of Ptolemy had been lost for 1500 years.  Second, I am intrigued by all the notes written in the margins like a student’s cribbing.

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So until next time: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut vitae tristique tortor. Duis et risus in lorem laoreet facilisis at eget sem. Nam feugiat malesuada lectus, quis eleifend magna gravida sit amet.

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:

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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

Panama: Three Things

We spent almost a week in Panama, flying from Barcelona via Frankfurt on Lufthansa.

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Over the Alps

We did three really touristy things that every traveler should see.  Rather than do it all in a day on a tour bus, we went by ourselves on local transport.  The links in this list open to tripadvisor.com pages where you might find my reviews for more details.

  1. Old City called Casco Viejo, views from the rooftop of our apartment.
  2. Panama Canal, specifically the Miraflores locks.
  3. Panama Canal Railway.

The way we went about planning this, getting directions from locals, and actually boarding the local buses gave us many insights to life in Panama.

Here are three things I have always known about Panama:

  • The way the Central American Isthmus bends in Panama, the Pacific Ocean is in the East and the Caribbean Sea/Atlantic Ocean is in the West.
  • S. I. Hayakawa summarized a century of American Policy in Central America with this quote, “We should keep [the Panama Canal]. After all, we stole it fair and square.”

  • “A man, a plan, a canal – Panama” is a Palindrome (reads the same left or right).

I had some problem getting my reviews accepted by Trip Advisor.  I described how to access these activities using local transport at local prices instead of a more expensive (albeit more personalized) tour operator.  It’s understandable since Trip Advisor receives advertising revenue from the operators.

FYROM (Purple Rain in Macedonia)

Back in April when we looked at the Google map of the Balkans, I found Skopje as the capital of FYROM. Later, I discovered this was an abbreviation for Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia. This unwieldy name stems from Greece’s insistence that Macedonia only refers to Greek territory. I only wish that sometime around fifteen years ago, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince would have performed in Ohrid, Struga, and Skopje in the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. It would have been headlined as: AFKAP in FYROM.

Here are some images along the way.

Google Map of Macedonia
Google Map of Macedonia


Through the mountains from Tirana and Elbason, Albania to Struga, FYROM
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Lake Ohrid

View of Lake Ohrid from our stopover in Struga.

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Struga Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in Struga looks just like it did in 1956, even the displays are the same. From the guest book, we were the first visitors in a week.


Impressions from the capital of Macedonia, Skopje

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Happy street musicians in Skopje

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From the castle walls towards modern Skopje

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Skopje – a city crazy with statues and monuments

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The old market from the Ottoman Empire Days

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Turkish Bath House Converted to National Gallery Venue

Reality Check?

This weekend was one of those artistic moments where everything seems to synchronize together.  I have been reading The wind-up bird chronicle by Haruki Murakami.  Friday night, we attended the play, These Shining Lives at Normandale College.  Today, we watched the Video of Isabel Allende’s book, The House of Spirits.  In Murakami’s book, I reached the part where an old Japanese WWII veteran tells his adventure of survival in Manchuria and Mongolia during the Japanese occupation beginning in 1937.  He survives knowing that he will not die on the continent, but returns as just a shell of a human with no feelings.   The House of Spirits follows three generations in a South American country from the 1920s to the 1960s.  The father who is a fighter but also a controller until it almost costs him this daughter and granddaughter.  Finally, These Shining Lives was performed on an experimental stage with only seats for 80.  We were right in the midst of the action of women working in a watch factory during the 1920s and 1930s.  They painted the radium dials on the faces.  The opening quote, “This isn’t a fairy tale, though it starts like one.  It’s not a tragedy, though it ends like one.” really catches my take on the world this weekend.  Life is life and all that we can do is live it.