Monday, November 26, 2012


I was supposed to fly east (actually west -- I connected through LAX -- to get to the East) on Halloween.

The weather had other plans.

Hurricane Sandy

The storm didn't seem so bad from inside: gusts of wind, a bit of rain.  When things died down, we walked outside with a flashlight to find a very different picture.  Between downed trees and downed powerlines, nearly every street in our area was impassable.  Some remained that way for days.  Local schools were cancelled for a week.

We were lucky -- the "superstorm" knocked out phones, internet, and cable to my parents' house, but our power only flickered.  We lost a few big trees and, with them, some sections of fencing, but nothing hit the house.  Our neighbors were without power for over a week; we passed homes that were bisected by trees and rendered uninhabitable.  Areas along the shore were devastated by unprecedented flooding from the storm surge.

One day late, as the airports reopened and the recovery efforts got underway, I flew off to China.  Our Asian adventure starts with 7 weeks of travel on an itinerary that will be defined as we go along (not my usual mode of travel...), leading up to a move to Shanghai in January.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Six Months Ago...

(actually six months and two days, but who's counting?)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Edinburgh, Scotland

Just before leaving the UK, we snuck in a quick trip to Edinburgh.

Within an hour of arrival, B. had tried haggis (from Wikipedia: a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck -- heart, liver, and lungs -- minced onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours.  Not a particularly enticing description.  From several years of Burns Night dinners, I can say with authority that the food itself is generally better received than the description.  I can only personally vouch for the vegetarian version though.) and we were off to whisky tasting.  Clearly we had our priorities in order.

Haggis, black pudding, and bacon mash with fried egg at The Dogs

The world's largest whisky collection

Other highlights included castles (two of them, at either end of the Royal Mile), the Game Cafe, and hiking (Arthur's Seat and Pentland Hills Regional Park).  It was cold, wet, windy, and thoroughly enjoyable.

The wet view from our B&B

Arthur's Seat, Holyrood Park

Edinburgh, as seen from Arthur's Seat

At Edinburgh Castle

LOTS of board games (only a fraction are shown here) + good, cheap food = lots of happy gamers 

An incredibly wet hike

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Sun Sets on the British Empire

I spent four years in Cambridge, at a university founded nearly three centuries before Columbus sailed to America.  A place of tea and scones, Shakespeare plays, formal dinners in Harry Potter-esque halls, ceilidhs, punting, Pimms, and good friends.

It'll be a hard act to follow.

Cambridge -- St John's College

Byron's Lodge, my favourite place for tea and scones in Grantchester.  
Unfortunately it's not open anymore.

Punting on the Cam

A Backlog of Posts

It's been a while.  Here's a post to herald what should be a flurry of posts, internet connection permitting.