We as Americans among ourselves may at times forget - or we are MANIPULATED into forgetting by demagogues such as the soon to be ex-president - that we have more in common than we may realize.
We got back yesterday after three nights in Ireland...
With our two better halves busy yesterday, another husband (and a friend) and I went off to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford (I suppose, as guys might do when left to their own devices), which is just south of Cambridge...
My birthday present.
We decided to do it on the spur of the moment. On Tuesday, we booked a hotel and reserved a ferry there and back. On Thursday, we headed from Dover to Calais to have a night away not far from Calais, in Boulogne-sur-Mer.
Flying within the US, that classic novel got me, uh, "in trouble" - twice.
Olhão, on Portugal's Algarve coast, is more than worth a visit if one ever gets a chance. We have stayed here these last few days...
"Are you going to be writing while we're here?" our friends' daughter asked me at one point as we walked in the town.
"I hope so," I replied.
Gather 'round, kids, and let me share with you a taste 20th century living. We booked our coming trip entirely using the internet: flights, accommodation, taxi. Before the internet existed, to book an airline ticket it was commonplace in those olde days to visit a business - a physical building - that was called a "travel agency."
Thirty years ago today, Pan Am 103, a Boeing 747 that departed Heathrow for JFK, was blown up at just after 7pm while at 31,000 feet over Scotland.
Through media and social media non-Americans tend to see way too much of the US of the extremes: yapping politicians, Kardashians, people waving guns around, poverty, racial discord, hurricanes, wildfires, religious "fundamentalists" who seem to dislike everybody who isn't their sort of Christian, and a slew of negatives on a near-endless list; or they see glitter that dazzles them: gorgeous national parks, Florida beaches, Las Vegas, snowy mountain retreats, cool New York City, Hollywood, shopping, and much more.
If I think back here to where I was at age 20 (then, I was living in Fairbanks, Alaska), and then at 30 (I was in Paris), and then at 40 (I was married by then and here in London), and, uh, well, you get the idea...
“Over there,” a tour guide announces, “is the famous painting of the signing of the 1776 Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Next to it, you see a magnificent painting of the British surrender at Saratoga, New York. There’s George Washington, who defeated the British..."
Post-9/11, I’d not really wanted ever to go back. I avoided the area in the years since 2001. But - with our visiting British friends here - finally I felt it was time.