Wanderings

A fine WordPress.com site

Innocence lost

WE have joined the club of terrorist massacre countries.  A fine French-Canadian gentleman has taken upon himself to open fire in Québec City’s Grande Mosquée while some one hundred were performing their evening prayers: 6 dead, 28 wounded, aged 10 to 60 years.  Just last week, mayor Labeaume, of Québec, was boasting about how safe his city was, not one murder in 2016.  Poor Régis was crying last night while commenting the events.

According to witnesses, the 6 died trying to fight off the shooter.  They should be posthumously decorated for their courage.  We, Canadians, pride ourselves on our tolerance, openness of mind and hospitality.  Diversity, used to say Pierre Elliott Trudeau, is our strenght, and it was repeated last night by everybody. Of course we have our racists and bigots.  These days they are comforted by our southern neighbours president and may be emboldened by his rheroric.   Let’s hope this will be but the act of a lone wolf and no copycat will emulate him.

Advertisements

Academics and intellectuals, please abstain

Our Prime Minister has revamped his cabinet in an effort to adapt to the incoming Trump administration.  In the process, he replaced his foreign affairs minister, a respected academician and efficient climate change negociator and his immagration minister who organized the Syrian refugees programs, by business persons who have demonstrated some affinities with some Trump nominees.

I can understand his motivations but I fear that he will become subservient to herr Trump.  Trudeau, the father, had freed us of U.S. shackles, I guess Trudeau, the son, will, albeit reluctantly, return us to those shackles.  It would confirm rule number one under Trump:”Say what I want to hear…or else!”

 

Time flows on

Tomorrow, 2016 exits and 2017 enters. Some say a year dies and another one is born.  For that to be, time would have to stop.  Preposterous,  time flows irremediably and though we may use arbitrary ways of measuring it, it never stops, not even for a nanosecond.   so, to all who may happen to wander, inadvertently, on this site, happy time continuation, however you measure it.

Long time no write

Five years have gone by since I last wrote here.  Lots has gone on but bygones are bygones.  Since then we, the wife and I have been on 9 cruises, a tenth one next February.  I’ve had a triple bypass and life has been wonderful since then.  Fortunaterly our Canadian healthcare system is universal and public otherwise, in the U.S. for instance, I would be either dead or bankrupt.  and forget the cruises then.

The  caribbean islands,Mediterranean sea and the wonderful Greek islands, the Baltic, the Canaries wonderful experiences and so enriching, next the Bahamas.  In between short stays in Mexico and Florida.

Retirement is really exhausting.

 

Magic carpet

 

 

Is this a Persian Magic Carpet?  No, just the Laurentian forest canopy viewed from 2 000 feet high while flying with my son on this sunny October 8 Thanksgiving Day, here in Canada.  Picture taken near Rawdon, in Lanaudière.  Despite it’s small size, Rawdon is a multiethnic village with a sizable Russian origin population and some beautifull orthodox chuches and bizantine inspired buildings.

 

Early Fall

Our Laurentian Mountains, or Hills as some would have it, are famous for their Fall foliage.  Here are two examples of what it looks like:

These pictures were taken yesterday September 25 2012, from the balcony of our motel room in St-Sauveur-des-monts.

Wandering clouds

 

 

Heads in the clouds you can imagine anything;  the Gulf of Mexico becomes the Red Sea, you are inthe eye of a hurricane or the hurricane has blossomed into a rainbow.

No tickets needed, no borders to cross.  Have a good trip

Sipping memories

This afternoon, I leisurely drank two fingers of Malaga Virgen.  At Christmas my son and his little family brough me back a bottle after spending their vacations at their secondary home in Fuengirola.  We spent two scorching weeks there in August 2011 and a neighbour had given us a bottle of this divine elixir.

While sipping the nectar I could see the orange tree below our balcony

Then again, walking around the corner and to the street parrallel to ours we could come upon a banana tree complete with ripening bananas

A short walk away you came the bustling activity of la Plaza de Espana, seems every city has one

of course, get around a little and you will see the famous Bull, without the Bull, Fuengirola would not be Fuengirola.

And, visualizing the Bull, brought me to another place, the beaches and I could just smell the ubiquitous sardine smoking and BBQing boats strewn all along the 15 kilometers of beaches.

Is it not amazing what one can see in a wee glass of the proper medecine?

Going home

That June 8th, at 1pm sharp, the ship left it’s moorings and headed out of Dubrovnik toward Venice.  We said good bye to the Balkans hoping we could get back…some day.  However when you are in your early 80s and late 70s hope is just about all you have since the future, uncertain at any age, is just more so as you get on in age.

Next morning early we sailed up the watery Venetian boulevards that we had sailed down a week before.  As we progressed, I spotted the MSC Divina following us as we had followed her last Saturday.  We had met her in Bari, but not since.  We had also a nice surprise: docked alongside the boulevard was this beautiful 3 masters.

A fine “au revoir” from a city that built it’s fortune and Empire on shipping and trading and sent Marco Polo all over, or most of, the then known world.

We disembarked at 8:30, the shuttle bus came at 9:30 instead of 9 as announced, (Mussolini, where are you?).  Then we stopped at another pier to pick up Divina passengers, yes the same guys that were on our plane coming in and will be again going out.  After winding our way through the morning traffic we had a picture of the airport that we had not seen coming in.  Last Saturday, it was off the plane, into the shuttle and on the ship, bingo.  Today we got into an overcrowded departure deck and were told we could not check our bagages before 1:30, 3 hours away. so we were directed to the waiting area

outside the building under plexiglass canopies.  Although grey, fortunately, it was not raining.  We took turns going in to the pizza counter to get something to eat (it was very good) on our luxurious stone bench.  At 1:30 pm though we were quickly through the embarkment proces and security.  All the room lacking outside was explained by all the room, past security, taken over by duty free shops and very nice ones at that…but no sitting room;  finally, after some shopping, we went through the Customs (La Guardia di Finanza) desk and walked down to the boarding area…lo and behold, comfortable seats.

Since our plane was way out on the tarmac, we had to board a shuttle bus to get to it.  Photo taken from my seat through the porthole.  We left on time and landed in Montreal slightly ahead of schedule.  But before we flew over the Alps, Italy gave us another beautifull sight

A very nice bye bye..

Dubrovnik, Former Republic of…

6:30am and we stand on deck 11 watching the approaches to the port of Dubrovnick.  The first sight we have is of this very elegant suspended bridge.  As we got nearer, it became clear that it was built like the draw bridges of yore.

The next thing we learned is that beyond the hills, about 3 or four kilometers away, you are in Bosnia/Herzegovina.  We are in a History laden region.  As Serbia‘s foreign minister said, during the war that occured at the former Yougoslavia‘s breakup:  “We have History, we even have too much History”.    Since the Serbs considered themselves the guardian of that History  given the mission of preserving Greater Serbia, they went to war with all those who were breaking away.  All sides committed war crimes in the name of patriotism and History.

It so happened that Croatia where Dubrovnik is situated also had History and a proud identity and Dubrovnik was the pearl of it’s eyes.  In order to preserve it, they emptied the City of all military personel making it an “open City”, thus protected from the ravages of war…but to no avail, the Serbs bombarded the old fortified city, probably to brake the morale of the secessionists, but to no avail.  That was in 1991.  Today, you are hard put to find traces of that destruction.  Everything has been rebuilt to it’s original appearance, with the same materials and techniques, quite a feat.

At left, the new city, at right,a view of the old port and part of the fortification wall that encompasses the whole old town.

The Tirena, a replica of a Republic of Dubrovnik  merchant ship that took us from our ship to the old port and the Fortified City. A very nice and realxing trip around the the rocky peninsula on which is built old Dubrovnik.

The Saint Blaise church in Dubrovnik, .  In front is a monument to the young knights no particular one, just any young one.  Here below the church picture, you have the Saint holding the town in his hand to protect it against hearthquakes.  It would seem they never had a serious one since the middle ages when the city was ravaged by  a quake and they built that church to invoke the Saint’s protection.

                                  Two last views of the Old Town.  0n top, a very old building just outside the walls, in the middle, the Stradoun, the Main Street, it goes from a gate in the wall off the old port to another gate  giving access to the less old but not quite new town. In this picture, we are looking toward the old port. On each side, very narrow alleys lead to the wall on either side.  the right side alleys all end with a steep stair ending at the wall with buildings on each sides.  The town has a permanent population of around 8 000 and sees one million tourists each year.




 A last look at the walls before sailing away back to Venice and Montreal.  But one last anecdote, shall we?  The old town has two pharmacies called the Old and the New.  They both are still in operation.  The Old, 700 years, is also a Museum; the New, 103, is…the newer.

Post Navigation