Category Archives: Travel

High Chicago by Howard Schrier

High Chicago by Howard Shrier

Vintage Canada, Toronto, ON 2009

From my mystery book shelf.

Last year I read the first book in this series and enjoyed it, High Chicago is even better.

Investigator Jonah Gelle, along with his friend Jen Raudseppr, has opened an agency called World Repairs.  They are working hard to find cases and make ends meet, so when Jonah’s Mom asks him to help out a friend who has lost her daughter to suicide he accepts the case.  What at first seems like a sadly simple story soon draws them into the fast-paced and highly monied world of development and construction that eventually reaches across the border to the Windy City.

Shrier writes noir with several modern twists.  This series has great characters, odd friendships, humor and focuses on current issues.  Great fun.  I can’t wait for the next one, Boston Cream.  Don’t tell Mr G, but it will be in his pile of birthday gifts next week.

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Filed under Books, Canadian, Mystery, Thoughts, Travel

Off to the coast…

Mr G had a surprise for me a couple of days ago.  We are spending some time on the Washington coast!  I need this break as I haven’t really been out-of-town for a couple of years.  No TV, no internet, no computers! It doesn’t even matter if   the sun comes out.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I will be back at the end of next week!

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Filed under RandomPost, Travel

The Road To Oxiana by Robert Byron

Road2621afe940da8605934637255414141414c3441 The Road To Oxiana by Robert Byron

Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007

In 1933 Robert Byron,  British author and art critic, traveled through the Middle East to Oxiana, the country of the Oxus, the ancient name for the river that forms the border between Afghanistan and what was then the Soviet Union.  On his journey he stopped in many cities, including Jerusalem, Baghdad, Teheran and Herat.  The Road To Oxiana is his travel journal and it contains many different elements, like a collage.  Newspaper clippings, letters, official forms, essays and dialogues make up a wonderfully intimate and witty description of his travels.

Most of Byron’s journey involved visiting mosques and monuments but the really entrancing  parts of the book are the descriptions of the people Byron met and the things that happened to him along the way.

Yesterday morning we got up at three and were out of town by six, intending to make Isfahan in one day.  After ten miles the road became an ice-floe; a drift had thawed and frozen again.  I accelerated.  We crashed on twenty yards, nearly overturned, and came to a lugubrious stop.  At  this moment the sun rose, a twinkle of fire lit the snowy plain, the white range of the Elbuzr was suffused with blue and gold, and a breath of warmth endeared the icy wind. Cheered by the beauty of the scene, we returned to the capital.

Then there are the conversations, which never failed to make me burst into laughter.

I met a young Swede at dinner, whose expensive jewellery and talk about his father’s estates made me wonder why he was living in Teheran.

Swede : I am in the business of cases.

R.B. : Cases?

Swede : Cases for sausages.

R.B. : Tins do you mean?

Swede : No, cases for sausages themselves made from sheep’s intestines.  Some people think it is not a nice business.  I do not always talk about it.

R.B. : I thought those cases were made of rice paper or some such material.

Swede : Not at all.  Every sausage has a gut case.

R.B. : What happens, ha, ha, with a sausage six inches across?

Swede (seriously) : We use not only sheep’s guts, but also ox guts.  The big intestine of the ox will hold the biggest sausage manufactured.

R.B. : But have Swedish cattle no intestines?  Why come to Persia for them?

Swede : Persian cases are of a high grade.  The first grade comes from the Kalmuckian steppe in Russia.  The second from Australia and New Zealand.  The next from Persia.  It is an important business for Persia.  Cases are one of the largest exports under the Swedish-Persian trading agreement.

R.B. : What made you choose cases as a profession?

Swede : It is my father’s business.

Hence the estates, I suppose.

Even as a vegetarian I found this whole exchange at the dinner table very funny.  As I was reading  I thought of all the changes that have taking place in this area of the world.

Byron changed travel writing by using different elements, humor and very irreverent comments in his work.  His book has influenced travel writers ever since.  Bruce Chatwin described it as  “a sacred text, beyond criticism” and carried it with him through central Asia.   A wonderful collection of photos from Byron’s journey to Oxiana can be found here.

Other reviews:

Twentieth Century Vox

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Filed under Challenges, Travel, World Citizen 2009

Sunday Salon – The Road Trip

Puget  Island

Puget Island, WA

Hello all!  After twelve days of travel on the Oregon Coast and a bit of car trouble in Southern Oregon I am back.  Being without computer access was not as difficult as I thought it would be, but I did miss visiting all my favorite book blogs. There was so much to see and do on our journey and many interesting people to talk to.  I discovered new places I want to visit including Puget Island, WA which is on the Columbia River near Cathlamet.  The island is 7.5 square miles, has a population of about 800 people and is agriculturally based.  Local farms provide flowers, produce and eggs to the Farmer Market and several take their goods to the market in Astoria, about 35 miles down river.  We saw the island from a point of land on the Oregon side and I am enthralled by the place.

We were on the Oregon coast for five days, visiting favorite places and exploring new ones.  Saw tide pool animals, seals, many sea birds and one gray whale.  Spent time walking, reading, visiting bookstores and eating wonderful food.  Again, The Sylvia Beach Hotel in Nye Beach met and exceeded all our expectations.  We stayed in the Tolkien Room!

Cape Lookout, Oregon

Cape Lookout, Oregon

Near Oceanside, Oregon

Near Oceanside, Oregon

Oregon Dunes

Oregon Dunes

Spent some “unexpected” time in Grant’s Pass, Oregon, waiting for a car part.  We visited Crater Lake National Park and the Rogue and Umpqua Rivers.  I love rivers and waterfalls,  and spent  time picnicking beside them and taking pictures.  We also visited a wildlife rehabilitation and education center called Wildlife Images.  I have been to several animal rehabilitation centers and this one is the best I’ve seen.  They do wonderful work and I would suggest anyone traveling through the area would enjoy a visit.  The area around Grant’s Pass is filled with history and I would happily spend more time there.  I particularly want to visit Oregon Caves.  All in all, it was a wonderful, restful trip, even with the car fiasco.

Rogue River, Oregon

Rogue River, Oregon

Clearwater Falls, Umpqua River, Oregon

Clearwater Falls, Umpqua River, Oregon

I read several mysteries while on my trip and a wonderful novel, Lavinia, by Ursula K. Le Guin,  that I plan on reviewing later in the week. Now I need to visit all my favorite bloggers and see what you’ve been up to!

What is Sunday Salon?  For more information visit this link.

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Filed under Photographs, Travel

Vacation!

IMG_2293This morning my sweetie and I are taking off on a  little road trip to the Oregon coast and Crater Lake.  I am pretty sure we won’t have access to computers along the way so bye for now, be well, and I be back in 10 days or so.

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Filed under Travel