With South America in our rearview mirror, the friendly, beautiful islands of French Polynesia were eagerly anticipated. Contrasts between the two could hardly be greater. The laid back, easy living lifestyle on Fakarava Island was a very welcome change.
The best view of Niagara Falls is of the American side viewed from Canada. The American Falls above are illuminated in the evenings and colored spotlights turn the falls all colors of the rainbow.
It is a sad situation, but it seems that in the US we do memorials very well. From the Oklahoma bombing to the Vietnam Memorial our memorials seem to be very fitting tributes to the heroes who lost their lives. The 9-11 Memorial in New York is no exception.
Continuing our practice of alternating between large cities and small towns on our European tour, from Glasgow we next headed for the small town of Oban, Scotland. While some scotch drinkers will recognize this a a brand name, most have likely never heard of this fishing village/tourist town on the west coast of Scotland. The scotch distillery is right in the middle of town. Along with my goal of tasting the local cuisine of where we visit, I went for my first scotch tasting here. I am no expert and that may be a good thing, both physically and financially.
The thought of Venice likely conjures up romantic notions of riding in a gondola while being serenaded to familiar Italian songs such as Volare. The truth of the matter is a bit less romantic, but I would likely come across as a real scrooge by talking it down. So yes, we did hear many, many a gondolier sing a variety of wonderful songs. Our balcony overlooked a canal and we watched boat captains skillfully maneuver their beautiful wood power boats, gondolas, delivery boats and the occasional ambulance through the congestion. All the boat drivers pitch in and pass signals to other boat drivers regarding traffic around blind corners. We frequently heard the loud call of “Ooui!” which apparently means, “I’m coming around the corner so you had better get out of my way.”
Las Cruces, New Mexico has had drenching monsoons like much of the rest of the state, resulting in carpets of beautiful yellow wild flowers. However, I was unable to find good back ground, light and clouds to go along with these, so this is the best of what I got. Thanks to Peg for putting up her newly homeless cousin for two nights.