I completed my application to become a student at the University of South Florida in the winter. I still have to send them some test scores & transcripts but Phase 1 is out of the way.
Mostly I’ve spent these last couple weeks getting back into the swing of island life. Recently I’ve realized that crazy weather is one of my favorite things about this place. Arizona got dull because it was the same every day; blue skies and sunshine get old after a while. Here, you can wake up in sunshine and walk to work in fog, a wild storm will come out of nowhere followed by an incredible rainbow, it might snow in the morning and then be blazing hot by afternoon. This time of year is especially rocky. Every once in a while it decides to be spring for a day, but mostly it’s still winter. The early trees are just barely budding, and it occasionally bursts out raining with almost no warning. 30 miles south of here it’s summer. But I love it, and for some reason the tourists keep coming through the wind and fog to spend their money on sweatpants and winter coats once they get here so I guess it’s all good.
Prints of this photo can now be purchased here.
Warriors Don’t Cry, by Melba Patillo Beals.
Melba Patillo was fifteen when she was chosen as one of nine African-American students to be the first to integrate Little Rock Central High School. I read it a few years ago and picked it up again after I visited Central. Her first-person account of that year is stunning. For me, growing up 40 years later in the north, the extreme reaction she describes white citizens having to the very idea of school integration is almost unfathomable. Racism is alive and well in Michigan, but to think that a whole city could care SO MUCH about someone’s skin color that they would hold riots and call out the National Guard to keep a few teenagers out of school is just bizarre. Anyway it’s a good book and you should read it.
Added to the Travel Map:
Jiayuguan Fortress, Jiayuguan, China – Guards the western end of the Great Wall.
Reykjadalur, Hveragerði, Iceland – beautiful river valley with steaming geothermal pools.
Rutland State Park, Rutland, Massachusetts – contains the ruins of an abandoned prison.
Appuldurcombe House, Isle of Wight, England – abandoned manor house said to be the most haunted site on the island.
Deutsche Demokratische Republik Museum, Berlin, Germany – dedicated to the communist East German police state.
The Totalitarian Art Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands – covers the art & design styles of communist states.
Montemor-o-Novo Castle, Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal – abandoned ruin.
Wistman’s Wood National Nature Reserve, Devon, England – a beautiful wild forest.
Museum of KGB Cells, Tartu, Estonia – original holding rooms in the basement of what was once a KGB headquarters.
Bay of Nouadhibou, Nouadhibou, Mauritania – people just abandon ships here for some reason, so there’s wrecks laying around all over the place.
If you haven’t noticed by now, today’s list should make really obvious my bizarre fascination with all things Communist. Not that I AM a Communist (although I don’t think it would matter if I was), I just get caught up in things that are so completely different from anything I’m familiar with. North Korea is my ultimate goal of state-controlled weirdness, although I doubt I’ll ever be brave enough to actually go there. In lieu of a country where they take your phone on arrival and don’t let you go anywhere without a chaperone, I keep finding European museums centered on the Soviet Union and East Germany, or Cold War sites right here at home.