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Mar 29, 2021
Large images are at the bottom: I love beaches and know many Florida and Bahamian ones well, others in Michigan and California, and one on Lantau Island a long ferry trip from Hong Kong; this one was different from the others. We explored giant rock formations, walked through its tunnels, hidden grottoes, stone arches, and tidal pools between the rocks and waves. The sand was white and hot, the water was azure blue where it rolled up on the sand with many kinds of green in the shade. Oh those rocks, veined with red and orange, beige and pink! The first mystery wasn't revealed until returning home when I discovered a catamaran perfectly framed by a triangular window formed of the rocks. There it was as if I'd planned it! By nature I plan and manage, adjusting as required. But that catamaran was a specter, a ghost ship I missed at the time. It was a lucky accident! Sometimes we're blessed with that kind of good fortune. Further down the beach at rounding a corner there was a perfect natural spa in a grotto, shallow warm water secreted behind immense boulders walling in a private space, shafts of sunlight streaming through gaps, one perfect sun star to capture, and there beyond me was another woman with camera aiming hers toward the sea. Both images may be seen at the bottom of this page--and if you'd like to own a print for your home, click either to go to its page in my Store. FYI, they look beautiful together!
I love to travel and have done a lot of it. When I was twenty-six and starting off on a long university career, my first discretionary money took me to the Soviet Union. It was a wish inspired by my grandparents and a family history no one wanted to talk about. I knew just enough Russian to cause a bit of trouble when one night I left Moscow’s Hotel National on Red Square (Gostinitza Natzionale гости́ница Националь). I took a subway into the suburbs to join a regular but spontaneous street festival alive with young and old and their music.
Hours later at my return to central Moscow, I was met with questions: why did I leave, where had I gone, what did I do, who was I with. I was intimidated but not really scared when perhaps I should have been. At the time Russia was newly reopened to Western travel and Soviet Intourist managed everything. I was part of a group; freedom to travel and explore was an American advantage not shared in Soviet Russia. My American passport had been taken at arrival and locked in the hotel safe, “for security” I was told. I shiver at the thought of what might have happened but didn’t.
Something I learned on my nighttime adventure is that common folk all over the world share common things. I saw laughter and dancing in the street, lively instruments played by enthusiastic hands, little children up late with their caring parents, people in love with one another, people in love with life, too much alcohol to flavor their fun, a transportation system that worked pretty well, and officials doing their job but going easy on me. The next day the woman at the head of the stairs moved her chair outside my door and there she remained for the rest of my stay. In each of the hotels in which I stayed, these dezhurnaya were always women, usually old, supervised citizens as well as foreign travelers, answered questions, replaced bathroom tissues, and reported any untoward behavior to authorities. There would be no more unsupervised excursions for me!
If you enjoy my ramblings and haven't joined my followers, won't you consider doing so now? There are links right here and at the bottom of the page. Oh, I almost forgot: There’s a wonderful book by Amor Towles featuring fictional Count Rostov sentenced to life in the Hotel Metropole during the Soviet Era! I loved every word of it and you might too: A Gentleman in Moscow (2016).
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