The Shore Attitude – Beyond Summer

Beach%20Pic%201The bright sun streaming through your window wakes you up – it’s going to be another hot day on the Jersey Shore. You and your family put on bathing suits, t-shirts and sandals, and walk a couple blocks to that breakfast place for pancakes. Later, you load up the cart for the three block walk to the beach while your eldest rides off on a cruiser bike to meet her friends on the boardwalk. On the walk, you wave hello to your neighbors for the week and stop to chat, while your youngest tugs at your shirt to keep going – the waves are waiting.

Summer vacation is great time to experience the joys of living “car-lite” by walking and biking where you need to go, but why can’t we bring some of that lifestyle and attitude with us when it’s time to return to work and school? Here are some ideas.
Group your walkable errands.

Got places to go near your home or office? Instead of stopping there in your car on your way to/from someplace else, plan ahead and save those errands for an evening or weekend walk. You’ll get things done, and some exercise, too!

Meet the neighbors

While you’re out, take a moment to say hello. Pet the dogs, sniff the flowers, and take a moment to enjoy your neighborhood.

Encourage your children

Show your children how to get around their neighborhood on foot and by bike, then encourage them to make that choice. Don’t just drive them because you can, or because “it’s hottttt,” “it’s colllld,” “it’s raining,” or “I have a backpack.” Make sure they’ve learned and practiced crossing the street and bicycling safely.

Ride slow.

Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you have to be racing your bike. Where would you ride at a leisurely pace? To the coffee shop? The pool? A friend’s barbecue?

Any clothing is bike clothing.

If you can ride to the beach in a bathing suit and flip-flops, you can ride at home in, well, anything that works for the weather. Wear a helmet, and use lights at night (a front white light and a red rear light).

 

Cruising Up the Nile in 1987 – Changes in Latitude

Photo Credit: VikingRiverCruises.com

Photo Credit: VikingRiverCruises.com

Most of Cairo was asleep as my cab pulled away from the hotel.  Soon the streets and sidewalks would bustle with people, cars, buses, bikes, and mopeds.  For now, in the dusty morning light, it was my cab and a donkey cart.  The cart had no driver.  Yet, the donkey trotted with confidence and purpose, crossing the street carefully as two men slept in the back.  I don’t know where the donkey was going but I was on my way home following a whirlwind tour of Egypt.

That I was in Egypt at all mystified me. I had read Death on the Nile and Elizabeth Peters’ excellent mysteries. I knew about the Pyramids, King Tut, Ramses, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra.  That was about it.

When my sister Clara, a travel agent, invited me to cruise up the Nile between Luxor and Aswan, I couldn’t refuse.  We met in Cairo and flew together to Luxor, where the Osiris, our floating hotel, awaited.

Shopping in downtown Luxor, a tour of the Temple, and a spectacular light and sound show at the Temple of Karnak, left us exhausted.  As we slept, Osiris crossed the river to the West Bank of the Nile. To avoid the daytime heat, buses left at 6AM for the necropolis at the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. We wore sturdy shoes and carried flashlights, bottled water, and sun tan lotion.

Photo Credit: ancientegyptonline.co.uk

Photo Credit: ancientegyptonline.co.uk

The tombs had been cut deep into rocky hills. The walking was strenuous.  Inside the tombs, colorful, well preserved murals and hieroglyphics depicting the life and death of the entombed covered the walls and ceilings of uneven passageways.

With terraces and colonnades, Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple at Deir al-Bahri rests below towering cliffs.  Here, a member of our group revealed she had been Hatshepsut in a previous life.  Sadly, the tomb drawings were destroyed by the Queen’s successor.  He wished to eradicate any trace of this woman who ruled as a man.

Though hot and humid on land, on the river, it was cool and relaxing when afternoon tea was served.  Occasionally, we heard the call to prayer from towering minarets.  We sailed north to Dendera and the tomb of Hathor, goddess of heaven, joy, and love.  From there, we bused to Abydos, the final resting place of the god Osiris.

Heading south, we stopped in Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo which is protected by two gods.  Harwar, a hawk headed god and Sobek, a crocodile share a twin temple with one side dedicated to each.  In Aswan, we traded Osiris for a graceful felucca to sail to the botanical gardens on Kitchener’s Island and to the Aga Khan’s mausoleum.

Returning to Cairo, Clara and I visited the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Visitors don’t walk into the pyramids. Rather, they crawl along an ascending or descending passage though galleries and chambers. It is not for those who are claustrophobic. At the bottom of the Pyramids, sits the Sphinx.  Part lion, part man, the Sphinx faces east to watch the rising of the sun, the return of life each day.

 

SummerBlogPhoto

 

Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their 
memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal 
recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America, 
and around the world.  Changes in Latitude………..

Up, Up and Away – Changes in Latitude

It snowed overnight, but there was hope the white trim on the Red Rock Mountains would melt by the time the birds awoke with their early morning chirping.  In Sedona, Arizona, on an open field, a hot air balloon was waiting.

As my wife an I arrived to the remote location, we could see the crew inflate our chariot – the majestic balloon that would carry us on this sunrise odyssey over the valley of Central Arizona.   It took a bit of effort (as did our newly acquainted companions) to climb into the bucket.  But soon, with the pilot making adjustments to balance the weight of the passengers, we silently and softly rose above the desert floor.

Though the balloon was huge, there was little room in the basket.  Divided into four compartments with four passengers each, the basket was very crowded which we learned was necessary for safety since there are no restraints to hold travelers inside.Hot air balloon

As we glided 100-300 feet above the valley, we were speechless.  The pilot explained as we moved across the sky, he was in complete control of all of the vertical movements, but had no control over its horizontal direction.  The air currents are in charge of that. With the rising sun behind us, the Red Rocks in front of us and the valley below, it was breathtaking.  Although the breezes pushed us in a southerly direction, we didn’t feel the wind because we travelled at the same rate of speed.  It was a calm morning and we felt that all movement was in slow motion.

Forty-five minutes later, it was time to begin the descent and landing approach.  Using a simple cell phone, the pilot alerted the crew to where he though the wind would allow us to land .  But as we gradually worked our way to ground level, it was apparent that the pilot’s educated guess was one mile or so off course.  Another phone call and adjustments were made and we began our final approach. But we still had one final obstacle.

A deep canyon stood between the landing site and our craft.  As the balloon descended into the canyon, the updrafts lifted it to flat land.  Slowly and surely, the balloon sank into the canyon and soon our frazzled nerves dissipated as we ascended  to a perfect landing.

As we exited the balloon on that crisp November morning, a champagne breakfast awaited us as we processed the marvel we just experienced.

-BN

 

SummerBlogPhoto

 

 

Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their
memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal
recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America,
and around the world.  Changes in Latitude………..