"" Writer's Wanderings: April 2019

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Through My Lens - The City of Ghosts

Posting some pictures to go with my podcast from yesterday's Majesty. The episode talks of our trip on the Yangtze river with a stop in the City of Ghosts near Fengdu, China. If you'd like to hear the podcast, click on this link::

Majesty, Exploring the works of His hands.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Monday's Majesty --The Ghost City

My weekly podcast continues this week with our China land tour and a stop at the Big Goose Pagoda. From Xian we travel to Chonging to board a Chinese riverboat for a three day cruise. Our first stop is Fengdu, the City of Ghosts.                                                                                    You can find the podcast at this link:       Majesty--The Ghost City

Friday, April 26, 2019

Texting At Sea

Whoa! Before you get too excited I'm talking about texting between friends and family aboard the ship. If you decide to use your phone to text those folks back home, you are gonna pay for it. I was amazed to find though that there are quite a few apps available on many of the cruise lines that allow you to text each other on the ship.

We've enjoyed the apps that let you book specialty restaurants and find out what's happening on the ship for the daily activities but I didn't know that many of them also allow you to text other passengers who have downloaded the app as well--for free. You don't have to buy internet minutes to do it and it works on the ship's WiFi.

While I don't like the idea of being tied to a phone on a vacation, I do like the idea of being able to check in when you are separated and need to meet up. FYI the cruise lines offering this are Norwegian (not all ships though), Royal Caribbean (not all ships), Princess (most ships), Holland America (all ships), MSC (not all ships), Disney (all ships--how great is that for traveling with kids!), and Carnival (charges a small fee for app but you don't need an internet package).

Guess I'd better sharpen my texting skills for the next cruise.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Planning For Safety When You Travel

Several articles came to my attention recently on travel safety. One of the articles showed ten new gadgets to travel with that included some unusual key chains. One of them had a metal cat head with sharp pointy ears I assume for poking and gouging an attacker and another that looked like brass knuckles gone wrong. I doubt either would make it through TSA so if you are so inclined, I would keep them in checked luggage.

The device that made me chuckle thought was a "slap hat." It's a ball cap with the back side weighted with something heavy so you can whip it off your head and whack your attacker. A little less inventive were pepper spray that looked like a ball point pen and small portable tazer guns. Again--not gonna make it through security.

Rather than worrying about defending against an attacker, I'd take the advice the CIA hands out to employees in the field. Plan ahead. Another article, a little more useful I thought was 10 Travel Tips You Can Learn From the CIA. Basically it has to do with planning ahead and planning to stay out of trouble. These were common sense tips like trying to blend instead of standing out like a tourist. You do this by researching the country and learning a bit more about its customs and traditions. With Google maps you can also get a feel for where you are going to be out and about.

Dress appropriately. Don't wear your Caribbean clothes in Europe. You will stand out as a tourist for sure.

Stay aware of your surroundings. Good advice no matter where you are.

Make sure someone knows of your plans and where you are going and when you are expected back. You know, the same kind of instruction you give to your kids.

The wisest advice is to travel in groups whenever possible especially when it is in unfamiliar and totally foreign territory. Even CIA agents have contacts.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Through My Lens--Terra Cotta Warriors

The Terra Cotta Warriors are the subject of my podcast this week: Majesty, Exploring the works of His hands. Thought my listeners might enjoy a few visuals.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Monday's Majesty

This week's podcast takes the listener to Xian, China, to visit the Terra Cotta Warriors., an amazing work of men's hands. How much more amazing is the work of the Master Potter's  hands in the creation of man.

"Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8

Click here to listen in: Majesty, Exploring the works of His hands

Friday, April 19, 2019

Visiting Jerusalem

Yes, we've been around the world. Yes, there are fewer places that we haven't been but one of those places is Jerusalem. One of the reasons is that we have seen what tourism has done to so many other places that we really didn't want to see the place that is so fundamental to our faith with a frenzy of tourists and those who are hawking souvenirs.

The other thing that makes me wary is being shown places that are said to be the legitimate place where a significant event in Jesus' life happened and wondering if it truly is. Are they sure this is the route He walked? Are they sure this is actually where the site of His crucifixion was? His sepulcher? Etc. I'm such a skeptic.

Many friends have gone on Holy Land tours and been impressed and inspired. It does make me curious.and now I guess we will be finding out first hand. We have signed on for another World Cruise in 2022. This cruise will take us around the world again albeit on a little different route. That route will take us up the Suez Canal and includes a stop in Ashdod, Israel, which gives us a gateway to Jerusalem.

We will be there long enough for a fairly good visit to Jerusalem and look forward to seeing for ourselves what others before us have.

On this Good Friday, I can't help but wonder what it will be like.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Zoo Babies

It's spring!! We set off to do our zoo walk around the other day and ran into a zoo volunteer who asked us if we'd seen the new babies yet. No, we hadn't and didn't know there were some. She quickly pointed out that there was a new baby sloth bear and a baby reindeer and where they were. I love zoo volunteers! If she hadn't shared with us we wouldn't have been looking for them.

The baby sloth bear was about a month old, born in March. He/she could be seen clinging to mom's back. The two were coming and going from their shelter. We had to wait a few minutes for them to appear but it was worth the wait.

The sloth bear is from South Asia and feeds on insects and fruit. Their favorite food is termites and they dig into termite mounds with their long claws and then suck the insects out. Guess that long nose helps.

Our next stop was the reindeer area and right before us was mom and baby. This baby was quite young, born early April according to the volunteer. Mom stationed herself between us and the baby so it was a little difficult to get a good shot at first. Eventually she moved away and tried to coax the little one to follow her.

Eventually we wandered around to the Australian outback area of our zoo and saw another volunteer standing there (knitting with hands that had to be cold--it was chilly) and I decided to ask if there were any joeys (baby kangaroo) this spring. She smiled and quickly pointed to a small kangaroo near us who had a joey in her pouch.

Maria, the kangaroo mom had produced a baby the year before but had rejected it. Fortunately the grandmother kangaroo accepted the baby and raised it. The volunteer said they were happy to see that this year the kangaroo mom had taken good care of her little one. His head popped out several times but he wasn't ready to leave the warmth and comfort of mom's pouch yet. Soon though. He was really getting too big to carry around.

The snow leopard cubs, the spring babies of last year, are getting big. Still cute and beautiful.

It was quite a good morning for us. When you have interesting things to look at, exercising isn't so bad.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Through My Lens--Beijing, China

If you listened to my podcast yesterday, Majesty, Exploring the Works of His Hands, you might be interested in a few of the pictures we took. We took the trip about 13 years ago but it was truly one of those trips of a lifetime.

Our arrival and later our trip to Xian was quite foggy. I talk about our time waiting on the tarmac.

Our hotel was very nice. The Crowne Plaza.

The bathroom was quite modern but the water not drinkable.

And of course I had to take a picture of the squat toilets we encountered. Thankfully there was usually a "Western" toilet or handicapped toilet offered in most places although sometimes without a toilet seat.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday's Majesty

It's Monday's Majesty! A new podcast is now up and ready for listening. This week we begin a journey to China. It starts in Beijing. Travel with me as I experience the sights and sounds and smells of China. Just click on the link below.

Majesty, Exploring the works of His hands

Friday, April 12, 2019

More Fireflies of the Ocean

Sometimes just traveling to the nail salon can be an adventure and educational. As I sat waiting for my turn to get my manicure, I watched the television program they had running on the TV. Sound was turned off but closed captioning was on. It was a nature program and suddenly it had my full attention. On the screen were sparkling bioluminescent squid!

I've posted here before about the little glow worms that cycle in the Florida Bay after a full moon making the waters sparkle with their blue-green glow. And I've seen Portuguese Man O War jellyfish light up the nighttime waters in the Bahamas. I have never seen Firefly Squid, however. Okay, let's put it on the bucket list.

To see them we'll have to travel to Japan. In Japan they are known as hotaru-ika. The photopores that emit a deep blue light can light up simultaneously or in patterned sequences. Scientists think they are used to attract mates or disguise their appearance to predators. It is also believed that they can attract prey with the lights. I'd be attracted. Thankfully the squid are only three inches long so not really a danger to me. [To learn more go to http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/firefly-squid.html]

The spawning season, when these creatures are most visible, occurs from March to May and millions can be seen in Toyama Bay in Japan. Toyama is on the west coast of Japan and slightly northwest of Tokyo. Of course there are tour boats that take people out to watch the spectacle but there are also fishing boats. If it comes from the sea, the Japanese will find a way to eat it and the squid are considered quite a delicacy.

Here is the best video I could find that shows the squid in a collection of pictures. They are amazing.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

It Don't Mean A Thing. . .

Sometimes a song gets stuck in your head. I can understand that especially if you happen to hear that infamous Disney World song that shall remain nameless so it doesn't start replaying in our heads. What I don't understand is how I can wake up with a song in my head. There's been nothing I know of that's triggered it.

Now once in a while I've gotten up in the morning with a hymn or chorus to a hymn stuck there. I figure that might be because the first thing I do in the morning is have my devotions. If my mind is set on scripture and prayer then of course it would make sense for a melody like that to start my day off. Not the case the other morning. I woke up to It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing. Huh??

Now there's not a whole lot of words to that song as I can see but the Duke says all you gotta do is sing and it doesn't matter if it's sweet or it's hot--or was that not? Not would fit since I don't always sing on tune. And rhythm? Well, I may have had some at sometime years ago. These mornings though, it's gonna take a lot more to get all my joints going just to get me to the coffee pot.

It was a nice start to the day that morning though. There was a little lighter step in my day--a little swing maybe like in the days when I could actually dance.

Enjoy the youtube play. Maybe you'll get a little lift to your step today too.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Through My Lens--Papua New Guinea Diving

Yesterday's podcast for Majesty, Exploring the works of His hands was about diving in Papua New Guinea. I thought I'd post some pictures from our diving experiences there. If you missed the podcast, you can catch it by clicking on this link.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Monday's Majesty

This week's podcast takes you to Papua New Guinea. Discover the fun of diving there and a missionary's legacy. Click on the link.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

What's New At The CLE Met Zoo?

It was a chilly day but a beautifully sunny day and too tempting to pass up a chance to take a walk through the Cleveveland MetroParks Zoo. It's one of our favorite ways to get some exercise and fresh air and be entertained at the same time. What we didn't expect was how crowded the zoo would be. It dawned on us that it was spring break week for many but that just made it more entertaining. Nothing evokes smiles more than seeing parents with young children handling all the questions and energy. We can look back with fond memories since we are past all of that now.

As we neared the Fulton Parkway bridge over Big Creek, we noticed a fellow with a big lens on his camera pointed at the underside of the bridge. As we neared the area where he was, we saw a brand new sign and stopped in front of it. It was information about a pair of peregrine falcons that have nested under the bridge. Apparently they are the fastest animals on earth. They can fly between 40-60 MPH and when diving for their prey, can reach up to 220 MPH! I hope they have good brakes.

It was time to test out my new camera. When we spotted the bird I zoomed in and hoped for the best. The bird, which our camera friend said was the female, was a bit in the shadows but I did catch a fairly good shot of her. Our friend, who was obviously a bird enthusiast and somehow involved with the zoo or the birds or both, said that they had put up a nesting platform for the birds to build on. It will be exciting to watch a new bird family.

Another new to us animal in the zoo was the takin. I don't recall seeing them before. They look like real characters. I think they come from the Himalayas and are also known as gnu goats. Big goats!

Most of the furry large cats were just being lazy and enjoying the warm sunshine and no one woke up the bears. We spent about an hour and a half and then decided to head home.

 Lots to look forward to as the weather warms. Have I told you before? I love the zoo.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Monday's Majesty

This is probably a bad day to start this. It is April Fools Day after all, but I'm excited to introduce a new venture--podcasting. This is no joke. I have really ventured into new territory.

If you listen to the podcast introduction, you'll understand how I got into this. It is fun but it's a whole new learning curve. Each Monday I hope to have a new episode of Majesty, Exploring the Works of His Hands. Each one will be an inspirational journey to one of the places we've visited. Won't you come along?

Majesty, Exploring the works of His hands--The Majesty of Alaska
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