Friday, January 30, 2009

A Chilly Day in Duluth

Previous post: Before Sunrise

It never really does warm up.

I leave my meeting at 3 p.m. to find it is still far too cold for my taste. However, I also discover that the parking ramp where I stashed the car for the day has a fabulous view of Canal Park and the lift bridge.

Despite the cold, I make a quick stop in Sivertson gallery (to buy a Valentine's gift) and then it is down to the ice-covered waterfront. . . and I do mean ice covered!

Before Sunrise

Previous Post: The Lake from My Window

My colleagues here advised that I get up to see the sunrise, swearing that every morning has been spectacular lately. While not really a sunrise sort of girl (getting out of bed to stand around in the dark really isn't my thing) I am awake as they sky is first starting to show color. . . ok, I'll try it.

It is freezing out (9 below zero - colder when the light breeze comes around) and I have forgotten to grab my gloves. The Lakewalk is a solid sheet of ice, but I actually have practical shoes with good traction, so I pick my way along to a likely spot, set up the tripod and wait.

The wait is cold, but amazing. I can hear the lake's quiet conversation as the shifting ice crackles and pops. Fog drifts past the light houses, making them look ethereal against the brightening sky. (If it weren't so icy, I'd be over there taking pictures.) It's gorgeous, a bit other worldly. . . and cold.

Next Post: A Chilly Day

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lake Superior from My Window

I'm in Duluth for a meeting and have a hotel room with a view of the lake.

Mostly it just looks really cold. (That's ice out there, not water.)

Next Post: Before Sunrise

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mango Thai

We have discovered a great new restaurant in our neighborhood - Mango Thai Cuisine on Selby Avenue.

We've eaten here a couple of times and have been pretty pleased with everything we've tried, although the Pad Thai is different from what is served at most of the other Thai restaurants in town. It's all fresh and tasty and beautifully presented. . .

Crab Avocado Rolls

Spring Rolls

Pad Thai

The space is also nice, but it is a REALLY small place with cold air rushing in whenever someone opens the door, so you might want to order take-out and leave the table by the radiator for me!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Iconography on Exhibit

This isn’t really a heads-up (since the icon show at the Museum of Russian Art ends Saturday), but I thought it might be a good time to make sure people know that this museum exists. Often the exhibits draw on the owner’s immense private collection, but the work is always fascinating and wonderfully well displayed.

The show we went to see, Transcendent Art: Icons from Yaroslavl, Russia, was great and, of course, made me want to travel to this community to see the fascinating churches for which these icons were originally created. It was also fun to compare them to the icons I saw in Egypt – most had the same stylized, slightly elongated features seen in icons there and many also had the unusually large eyes and curled hairstyles of early Coptic art. At the same time, many were dressed in elaborate robes unlike anything seen in icons in Egypt. A couple of the icons actually had faces that seemed more Russian in character – a contrast that was a bit startling, but fascinating since all of these pieces were created within the span of 100 or 150 years. Most also included a lot of architectural detail in the background, which I always find a fascinating window into the past.

If you have time this week, go over and see this show before it closes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Northwest Airlines Vanishes - Literally

Thanks to Bob Collins at the News Cut blog for noting this Delta video of a NWA jet being repainted. (He also notes that it takes 12 days to paint one of these, hence the speed at which the video runs.)

They are a bit more blunt over at the Wall Street Journal's blog the Middle Seat Terminal, where they note:
Delta sends us a heads up on the latest turn of the screw in its marriage with Northwest: the first of Northwest’s 16 red-tailed 747-400s has been dipped in Delta blue.
This is a 747-400, which is one of the lovely new planes in NWA's fleet --I think it's the plane we flew to Paris on that I was so fond of. My big fear is that, the few new planes NWA finally brought to MSP will end up in Atlanta and we'll be back to flying only junk out of here again. Arggh!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My (and Everyone Else's) Dream Job Is Open

Apparently the tourism board of Queensland, Australia, is seeking a "caretaker" for Hamilton Island.

The six-month stint pays about $100,000 dollars and includes lodging in a a three-bedroom beach home complete with plunge pool. To qualify, the applicant must be a good swimmer, excellent communicator, and able to speak and write in English.

I'm qualified.

In return, the successful candidate will stroll white sand beaches, snorkel the reef, take care of minor tasks, talk to the media, and maintain a weekly blog, photo diaries, and video updates.

I am sooooo qualified. I'd be GOOD at those things.

Unfortunately, everyone else seems to think they would be good at those things too.

I'll let you know when I make it to the final interview.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Flooding in Fiji and the Amazing Interconnectedness of the World

In 2003 we went to Fiji for a friend’s wedding. Through a series of unexpected circumstances, Lane and I ended up at a sort of make-shift resort on the north end of Viti Levu near the city of Rakiraki. Safari Lodge was (and still is) run by a friendly Australian named Warren Frances. We ended up spending a few days with him, his girlfriend, and friends of theirs from New Zealand – days that were nothing like we were expecting (due to torrential rains and a village trade war), but that turned out to be some of the most memorable of the trip. We left feeling as if we had been staying with friends.

Since that time, Warren has upgraded and expanded the resort on the neighboring island of Nananu-I-Ra. We’ve sort of stayed in touch over the years and I still look forward to visiting them again some day and staying with them on the island.

I’ve always been interested in world news, but I’ve come to realize that world news really becomes meaningful only when you can connect it directly to something that you know, so news from places I’ve visited, like Fiji, tends to catch my eye. And – with ethnic tensions, a government that is periodically subject to a coup d'├ętat, and the occasional cyclone – tiny Fiji seems to end up in the news more often than one would expect.

So imagine my surprise to notice a brief reference to “the flooding in Fiji” as if this is something everyone has been hearing about for days on end. What flooding on Fiji? When? WHERE?

Pretty much everywhere, as it turns out.

But, of course, none of the (rather limited number of) stories I found gave any indication of how Warren and his family may have fared. Were they even in Fiji at this time of year?

I’m young enough to be reasonably well-connected to the larger world via the web, but old enough to still be amazed by the fact that I can send an electronic note to someone halfway around the world and, within moments, receive a response from back. (He and his family are fine.)

It really is pretty incredible not only to think that I actually know people half a world away in Fiji, but that I can so easy to keep up with them and what is happening in their world.