Sunday, January 29, 2023

An Important Discovery


Today's post is another that was inspired by something I saw on the news lately.  The PBS Newshour did a story about the discovery of lithium at the Salton Sea in Southern California.  (The link will take you to the actual news story for anyone interested.)

When I first moved to Arizona back in the early 70's, I discovered the Salton Sea on a weekend trip to California.  At that time, it was a beautiful salt water lake surrounded by desert terrain and mountain views to the north.  The photos I'm posting today are from 2010 when I visited the lake again and found it looking very sad.  The pretty beaches were gone, the water was low and there was a distinct oder coming from the water.  

I had heard that agricultural drainage had contaminated the water making it unsafe for swimming and boating.  It was sad to see.

All the picnic spots and camping grounds were deserted and sad looking.

The only evidence of activity were at the date farms at the southern end of the lake.  

Today, the water levels are even lower than they were when I visited in 2010.  However, the receding water is what made the discovery of lithium possible.  There were places around the lake where underground activity was bubbling up to the surface which made scientists discover the lithium in the lake bed.  They estimate there is enough lithium in the area to equal the current annual global output.  

With the growing importance of electric vehicles, lithium has become almost as precious as gold.  Something positive has come from the decline of this once beautiful body of water.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

A Journey Around the Word in One Stop


Last week I mentioned the New York Times 52 places to visit in 2023 report and that Tucson Arizona made the list.  Also on the list was London, my favorite foreign city.  The writers had different reasons for including London but I would recommend London on any occasion.  One place in London worth a visit at any time is the grand British Museum.

One can take a trip around the world viewing all the treasures of the British Museum.  I'll start today with the Lewis Chessmen.  In 2016 I did a whole post about these incredible figures that were discovered in Scotland.  

The museum contains a large collection of Egyptian artifacts which of course, appeals to me very much.  They appeal to lots of other people too.  These rooms are always the busiest when I've visited.

In another room I found beautiful objects from Asia like these Dragon Tiles from the Ming Dynasty.  I thought they were quite exquisite.  

Also described as exquisite (in my book) were the wonderful ceramics from the 18th and 19th centuries.  The incredible detail in some of the pieces is worth seeing.

The tankard to the right also caught my eye.  It is describe as having belonged to Queen Christina of Sweden who reined between 1632 and 1654.  The panels around the body of the vessel are carved with female figures representing the seven deadly sins, pride, gluttony, lechery, sloth, wrath, envy and avarice. 

The last room I'll visit in today's post is watched over by Hercules.  This bust has had some restoration work done to it because it was discovered buried in the ash at the food of Mt. Vesuvius.  

These are just a few of the many, many wonderful things to see inside the British Museum.  If you would like to see more, you can check some of my other posts about the museum here and here. Or better yet if you can, visit the museum!

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Making the List


One of my favorite features in the New York Times is the annual list of 52 places to visit in the new year.  Two years before the start of the pandemic, the newspaper decided to actually send a reporter to all 52 places during the year.  The two reporters who won the jobs wrote reports from all the places they visited and I read every single one.  Then the pandemic hit and travel was suspended.  Last week I saw that the 52 places list was back again and I was pleased to see so many wonderful options on the list.  I was even more pleased to see that the city of Tucson Arizona made the list.

The article suggested visiting Barrio Viejo in Tucson, a historic neighborhood that is full of old adobe architecture.  I've visited this part of Tucson almost every time I visit the city.  

The homes and businesses in this area will make you feel like you've left the United States and entered Mexico.

Toby, the red Griffen can be found in this area.  He was created by artist Joe O'Connell to mark the spot where the Carnegie Library stood before it was destroyed by fire.  

I was pleased to see that Tucson made the list along with other favorite places of mine.  I was even more pleased to see the list return once again with the full encouragement to get out and see things.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Traveling Indulgences


On my last trip to Italy, my friend Glenda and I spent three nights in Milan before we met up with four others on Lake Como.  On our first night in the city we were tired from the long flight so we decided to just have dinner at our hotel.  We didn't realize that the hotel's restaurant was a gourmet delight.  Above was just a little chef's treat before we dug into some of the most delicious spaghetti I've ever eaten. 

The next day we were off to see the sights but on our walk from the hotel, we passed a patisserie with the most beautiful treats I've seen in a very long time.  We made a pact to return on our way back to the hotel and indulge in one or two of these beauties.  I'll add that they tasted every bit as good as they looked.

Milan is where I discovered my new favorite cocktail. It's called a Hugo Spritz and it contains elderflower liquor and sparkling wine.  I started ordering it wherever we went.  

At lunch on one day we were seated next to a family with a dog who seemed very used to dining at restaurants with his people.  He didn't beg, bark or cry.  He just observed the food as it arrived and patiently waited for his people to finish their meal.

Of course, one night we had to have pizza.  We were in Italy after all.  I can't say it was the best pizza I've ever tasted but it ticked a box on our list of things to do in Milan. 

Our last indulgence before we left Milan was back at the hotel in the cozy little bar.  We decided to split a bottle of Prosecco and the friendly bar tender provided the bowl of chips and nuts.  It was a perfect ending to three fast paced days in the beautiful city of Milan.  

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Walking the Streets of London


When I visit the city of London, my favorite thing to do is simply walk.  Walking the streets of this city is an adventure in exploration.  You never know what you might find.  

You might discover buildings with exotic names.

Or you might find hidden gardens that you can walk around and enjoy.

You might discover streets with many layers.

Or, streets with fancy gates and fences.

You might discover passageways that lead to even more interesting places.

Or find places where some streets cross over other streets.

There are places where the historic buildings melt away into the modern.

And, there are places where wars of the past are clearly visible.

And there are colorful pubs where people gather for a drink and conversation.

I don't think I'll ever tire of walking the streets of London.  The opportunities for discovery are endless and the things discovered are fascinating.  I'm hoping that 2023 will be the year I can once again walk these streets and discover even more of what the city has to offer.