----------------------------------------------- Google Site Map ----------------------------------------------- Cindy in ...: November 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

USA: Painted Horses

I saw the sign on my way to Raoul's in Massachusetts. Carousel Museum. Since I've decided I'm no longer going to do eight hours driving in one day, instead shooting for a maximum of six, I have some time to stop along the way, take my mind off the highway, and play tourist. Tha timing for the Carousel Museum was bad though. It showed up while I was looking for a motel for the night. It would just have to wait.

On my way back to Pennsylvania, though, I planned ahead and went in search of the museum. In keeping with what seems to be a general Connecticutt idea about 'tasteful' signs, the museum was a bit hard to spot. In Connecticutt, any sign that can be easily seen and recognized as such has been deemed to be in poor taste. Enter small signs, low-key and low-contrast colors, and old-fashioned script that can be really hard to read. All of these are wonderful attributes that endear the state to those of us who are getting older.

The museum, fortunately, was just the opposite, with rooms of bright colors,big horses,and bejeweled animals. The museum is also a workshop, where old carousel animals are brought for restoration and repair and new sculptures are created. Some of the items have been restored, while others are left in faded glory, paint rubbed off by hands and thighs and the excited kicks of children.

I thought I should mention that the Carousel Museum is in Bristol, Connecticutt.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

USA: A Long Stay

This visit to the US lasted forever. OK, it lasted five months. I just couldn't decide where I wanted to go, probably because I got so caught up in the presidential race. This race was the most fascinating of my life, and I remember Kennedy/Nixon. It was a drama, a soap opera, a drinking game (one shot for every 'my friend' or 'Joe the Plumber'),or maybe an episode of the Amazing Race. Who would have thought that presidential candidates would be talking about tire inflation and suspending campaigns? That CNN's Wolf Blitzer would interupt a substantive answer to one of his own questions to discuss Sarah Palin's wardrobe? That the Republican candidate would make a celebrity and, to some extent a joke, of someone who attended an Obama rally? And of the governor of Alaska? Who? Sarah Palin?

The media went wild with more than 24/7 coverage, and I was hooked. I knew the swing states and the latest polls and analyzed every ad and statement. I watched Saturday Night Live for the first time in ages, and had opinions about the opinions of all the opinionated pundits on TV.

I also visited friends, spent a lot of time with my brother watching and discussing that 24/7+ coverage, dealt (poorly) with my rapidly deteriorating car, visited doctors, and drove a lot. I loved watching TV, hitting my favorite fast food places (ah, Taco Bell, Popeye's, and Arby's, the ones I can't find overseas), and eating Cheerios. American stuff.

I gained weight, and probably lost all muscle tone. When you haven't watched more than ten hours of TV in five months, it really is a treat to visit a brother with a big flat screen TV and seemingly all the channels in the world. Maverick reruns, Penn State football, The Closer, and Primeval - it was great. Yes, Virginia, I was a couch potato.

My road trip took me up and down the coast, finally getting me to Florida just before the election. I picked up my absentee ballot and delivered it to the election board office, avoiding the early voting lines. Ten days later it was over, I was a traveler again. I was in Mexico.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Panama: Looking Back

Looking back, I think I developed a severe case of writer's block in Panama. I'd sit down in New York Bagel, and nothing at all would come to me. Nothing. So, eventually, I gave up.

Looking back, I actually have a lot to say about the time I spent there. I could write about having my bag stolen in Subway. The owner of the shop, who felt guilty because the security cameras were on the blitz, reimbursed me for what I lost. Maybe he thought one of his employees was responsible, or maybe he was just a nice, generous person. Either way, I was amazed, impressed, and grateful.

Looking back, I could have written about meeting a man who calls himself 'the only honest politician in Panama', as evidenced by his living in the same building as my hostel. A former ambassador to the US, he was rooting for Hilary to win the presidential nomination.

Looking back, I could have written about my favorite hangouts, the bagel shop with free wifi, and the coffee shop. I could have written about the people I met there, including the owner, a Canadian woman whose careers include pastry chef, bookstore owner, and private investigator.

Looking back, I should never have stopped writing. So here I go again.