goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Changes in our Lifetime: Air Conditioning

If you are of an age, anywhere above 40, you most likely remember living through the summer without air conditioning. Growing up in New Jersey we had some warm spells but the reason we finally got a window unit when I was in high school was to help filter the air to help with my allergies.  It was the ONLY time my sisters wished they had allergies like me……

Each summer from the age of 3 until 16, I traveled with my parents on camping trips around the United States. We slept in a huge heavy canvas tent for years which eventually got replaced with two smaller lighter tents. In 1965 we got our first camper van that snugly slept all 5 of us plus our two boxers. Sometimes we enjoyed setting up wherever we wanted to stop, like crossing the Nevada dessert. Dad pulled off the highway (no interstate expressways in those days) and followed a dirt road a ways, making sure we stayed between the highway and the first rain culvert.  The idea of a camper van opened up new areas to us.our van on daytona beach fl

But we never went to the Deep South because, in the summer, the heat and humidity made things pretty uncomfortable. We visited some areas on trips during school vacations in December and the spring, but no full exploration without air conditioning.

I moved to Nashville in 1975 and my exploration of the Deep South really started.  My first car did not have air conditioning and I would jump in the condo complex pool after my late afternoon drive home. In the summer Memphis often was 90/90…90 degrees and 90% humidity. My hair in those days best resembled Bozo the Clown because of the damp. It was years before I finally got a style that was good for my curly hair and stopped fighting nature for that straight hair look that I never could achieve.

Until air conditioning spread throughout the South is was a laid back place. I lived there in the mid to late 70s and returned to Nashville in 1994. The difference was amazing. During those two decades, air conditioning had given the once sleepy culture a vitality it had not had – ever. There is a reason the South had a reputation for being slow….it was. You HAVE to move slower in the kind of weather that lasts for months and months.heatindex

Once air conditioning became widespread there was a new migration of people in the US. Many people moved south to areas that welcomed them and cities grew. Nashville had a population of 500,000 when I lived there in the late 70s and over a million 20 years later. And that population was much more diverse with people from all over the globe, not just the nation.  This influx of diversity resulted in some new cultural norms in the South,

For example, when I worked for the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1975-1978, a pretty conservative work place, I stood out as a “foreigner” because of my Yankee accent.  (In those days they called me a “Yamn Dankee” and smiled, thinking they were not being rude, bless their hearts.)  I used to fly home to visit my parents and bring back bagels. One day one of my co-workers asked me why I was eating my sandwich on a donut.  I introduced them to bagels and soon I was “importing” 5 dozen each time I flew back from New Jersey to Nashville. In 1994, when we returned to Nashville, it became very apparent things had changed…at least on the surface.  I saw  bagel shops all around town. More surprisingly, I saw many many many multi-racial couples. However,  people were no longer as “polite” as they had been before. They expressed very clearly the things that had changed that they hated. Very few thought the change was good, but they sure did like their air conditioning.

There have been a lot of changes in the past 27 years. At the time, 35% of American homes did not have air conditioning. By 2005 only 15% did not. By 2009, 97% of homes in the South had an air conditioner.

There have been a lot of changes in the past 27 years.
At the time, 35% of American homes did not have air conditioning. By 2005 only 15% did not. By 2009, 97% of homes in the South had an air conditioner.

 

As this climate change happens and various areas of the country experienced a hotter than typical summer through it all most of us have our air conditioning.  Can you imagine life without it?  Would you live where you do without air conditioning to keep you comfortable in the hot summer weather?  We are pretty spoiled.

 

 

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Serendipity

Not once did I consider it an April Fools joke but we have no idea how the photo showed up on Graham’s Facebook feed last night.  Kentucky State University has a mobile fruit and vegetable processing truck that visits farms in season to help them preserve their harvest.KSU mobile fruit and vegetable kitchen

Finding no info to take me specifically to the person in charge, I emailed the head of the agricultural school at KSU, dropping The Wild Ramp market experience to give me local “street” cred (more like farm cred).  And now we are setting up an appointment for me to go look-see!

Why the excitement? Two factors. In case you missed it, I am setting up a business here in Oregon to help small farmers preserve their surplus fruits and vegetables. AND we will be in Kentucky for Graham to do some forensic business in May, less than an hour from where the KSU research farm is located in Frankfurt!!Can-Do Company Logo Final

WOW! Life is good!  Now, who can I get to help me write a grant application?

 


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Tidbits Seen From the Bus

Stray Dogsstray dogs

We noticed a lot of stray dogs that appeared to be calm and very quiet. Could be they were malnourished, but compared to stray dogs in the United States, the temperament was remarkably different. We wondered if living in a society where animals are treated with kindness (in other words, no one yelling or throwing rocks at strays there) there is no reason for the dogs to act aggressively.

BARBER SHOP

barber shop

I rode the bus with my camera open, finger on the shutter ready to press, aperture set to sports mode trying to freeze the frame in something close to a sharp focus. This shot of a barber shop as we passed on the highway from Jaipur to Delhi gave us a glimpse of real life.

LAND OWNERSHIP

DSCF6544aMany small parcels of land are lined with stone walls to identify private ownership. Many were fallow, appearing to be not have been used for farming or forage for quite some time.

CONSTRUCTION TIMBERS

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We use 2x4s; they use saplings with the bark removed, to provide support for construction projects.

ROADSIDE TEA SHOP

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I can imagine that many of these do not do huge business, but it is the kind of place where everyone knows your name.

DECORATED TRUCKS

DSCF6542Many trucks had a posy of flowers  affixed to the rear view mirror on the driver’s side.  This is only one small part of the decoration of most trucks, which are appreciated greatly as helping the family earn a living.

SWIMMING HOLE

DSCF6548The last day we were in India, driving from Jaipur to Delhi for 6 hours, was the hottest. I noticed first one and then another places were young boys were splashing water from the community cistern. I finally got one picture where a bucket splash was not enough!

BRICK WORKS

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Tall smokestacks belching black smoke indicate that the bricks are drying in the kiln.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Privacy? What’s That?

When I was young my family camped in a huge World War II surplus canvas tent for 6. My dad and mom were on one side and my sisters and I on the other. We traveled the country this way from 1957 to 1965 when we transitioned to the comfort of a Ford Econoline camper van conversion. our van on daytona beach fl

My dad would intone “close your eyes” and being dutiful daughters, we would comply. He would dress and exit the tent or camper, giving the rest of us privacy to then get up and going.  Years later, in a way too frank discussion with my mom, I also learned that adult activities went on a few feet away from my slumbering body.

That is the closest I can relate to what I realized is pretty normal in India. There is no privacy as we know it. In fact, it is beyond that. There is no CONCEPT of privacy as we know it.

The family we visited in the poor section of Agra sleep four or five to a small room. They share two small hole-in-the-floor toilets with water hose connections for bathing.  I suspect those children have a lot better concept of “adult activities” than I did at their age.

And this guy was not unique by any means. I’m just sort of glad I never noticed anyone defecating in public.DSCF6490a


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Driving Miss Daisy

India is a large country and although we visited cities in pretty close proximity, they were about 150-200 miles apart. With our Interstate highway system and posted speeds of 65, that would take 2 to 3, maybe 4 hours. Our experience in India was a bit different.triangle

A new highway between Delhi and Agra took us about 4 hours. It was a new  four-lane divided highway with tolls, and truck traffic was not allowed. There was very light traffic and yet the bus was restricted to drive about 40mph. There was a high concern about the tires overheating and bursting, and we stopped for a half hour to let them cool about halfway along the route.  There were several toll plazas and a rest area located just beyond each. We enjoyed the use of some “clean toilets”, as Arvind assured us, and the snack bar offered some light food. Lisa and I bought some packaged ice cream. I was told my  flavor was pistachio; it wasn’t.rest stop food

That was the best road we traveled. The other main highways were also toll roads but had heavy traffic of all kinds going through the center of towns and sometimes the roadway was not paved. But they all were toll roads. DSCF6283It was not unusual for the bus driver to have to move along at 25mph to navigate not only the trucks and jeeps loaded with people hanging on,DSCF6286 but also occasional hand pushed carts, a camel or an elephant.  People seem to use the roadway as a walking path as well.

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And cows. More about cows later.traffic

Because of the British occupation of India, traffic moves on the left side of the roadway. I have driven in the United Kingdom, and it took a lot of constant concentration to stay to the left, especially in round-abouts and for turns.  I have driven in many of the major cities in the United States. I remember my great satisfaction after driving in Manhattan at age 20 and being able to be as aggressive as required to maneuver. And yet, I would NEVER assume I could drive in India.traffice

There seem to be few rules. There seem to be more cars spread across the roadway than the number of lanes.  Red lights were ignored often by our driver; other times he stopped. Cars on the right often made left turns and similar cross movements occurred from the left side of the roadway. Yet, we saw few accidents. Arvend said automobile insurance is required and at the time of an accident there is a lot yelling and handwaving and then everyone goes their own way without any sharing of information.  It sounded like the system operates as “no fault”.trafficc

DSCF6543Drivers’ licenses are purchased.  There is some discussion now that driving tests will be given but no written test to prove knowledge of the rules of the road is part of the process.  Cars are pretty expensive and gasoline runs about $1.50 a liter. Most people ride motorcycles and it was not unusual to see a family of 4 or even 5 on the back of a bike, the woman riding sideways because of her sari.DSCF6485

One rule that does seem to apply is the request for honking. Some car and truck bumpers even have the “Please Honk” or “Sound Horn” sign painted on the back of the vehicle. This system helps them know when someone is approaching to pass; the assumption is no one looks in the rear view mirror.DSCF6488

At the end of our tour we tipped Arvend, his assistant (who cleaned the bus at least three times each day, moved our baggage and made sure there was plenty of ice cold water for sale for us) and the driver. I gladly gave the driver his tip, telling him despite the traffic conditions, I never felt uncomfortable with the safety of his driving.   


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Stop and Go Go Go

I grew up in the New York metropolitan area so I understand about rush hour. When I moved to Nashville in 1975 I laughed at the local complaints. At that time the population was 500,000 and it took me maybe 30 minutes to drive the 15 miles from my house to where I worked downtown. When I returned to Nashville in 1989 the area had a population over 1 million and it typically took me about an hour to drive home in the afternoon, altho the morning commute was still reasonable.  I must have found a good window in the traffic flow.

When I took Sam and one of his buddies to Boston on a college road trip I added an hour to the travel time in order to make our scheduled tour at Boston University. We were late. The traffic was slow and bumper to bumper for 30 miles west of downtown Boston. No construction. No bad weather. That was normal.traffic 30 miles from Boston

After all these experiences, driving in Huntington was sweet. We experienced “rush minutes” when we were second in line at a traffic light. And so, when we considered where to move for this retirement life, we wanted rush minutes and McMinnville so far appears to be similar.car-traffic-light-stop-lg

However, Graham had a workshop to present at a regional meeting of one of the professional forensic organizations. The conference was being held in Vancouver, Washington, which is a northern suburb of Portland, and according to electronic mapping, only 1.5 hours away.I-5_entering_Washington,_Interstate_Bridge

We drove up early afternoon on Monday and sure enough, it only took 1.5 hours. Sweet. We now can estimate that time to the airport, which is about the same distance just east of Portland.

Today, I needed to pick him up. We had planned that I would leave around 8, hoping to miss most of any morning traffic, but we got a call that the new dishwasher will be installed today after noon and so, needed to be back in plenty of time. So, I left at 6:30.

I considered it an experiment to know how access to the airport might be if we ever need to go during peak traffic time. Well, although there was traffic the whole way. it moved well. I arrived at the Vancouver Hilton at 8:10, only 10 minutes more than the original drive in light traffic.  portland_focus_map

Today may have been an anomaly. I will trust my new local friends to provide warnings and advice. But if this is the way things get here, I think we can handle it!!

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McMinnville is located about 35 miles southwest of Portland via State Route 99.


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The Road Taken…..

It was a good day to explore. I dropped Graham at a professional conference in Vancouver, Washington, a suburb of Portland just north of the Columbia River. Instead of returning the tried and true way down I-5 and then Oregon Route 99 to McMinnville, I perused the map and went astray.

The next river crossing to the west required me to drive about 30 more miles on I-5. Then on U.S. 30 that follows the Columbia to the coast,DSCF5538 but I then headed south on Oregon Route 47. It wiggled and waggled through part of the Coastal Range, complete with “Snow Area” signs. I thought how my back road driving to farms throughout West Virginia and in Ohio and Kentucky helped me become comfortable with curving mountain roads.  DSCF5546The mountains were covered in evergreens and then I came across a clear cut which made me sad until I recognized that all the trees were young. DSCF5540

Out of the hills I started seeing more farmland, and the further south I drove I noticed more and more land was planted in grapes. There is more to explore…so much more to explore.DSCF5549