Friday, July 31, 2009

Nanortalik, Greenland

Today we are in the small town of Nanortalik at almost the most southern
tip of Greenland and it is not a tad cool as it was yesterday. Today it
is damn cold! Here it is the last day of July, in Miami the high today
was to be 90 degrees and here in Nanortalik it was 38 degrees when we
got up this morning! Right now (about 3:30 PM) it is in the low 50s so
it is not that bad but still uncomfortable.

The sun comes up very early in the morning (around 4:00 AM) and sets
late at night (around 9:30 PM or so). As a result we were awake as we
proceeded up the coast and could see icebergs out the window of our
cabin. These continued even as we got to the harbor. The first photo
was taken at about 7:30 AM before we ate breakfast and you will note
that no one was in the pool! In fact, since we left Boston we have only
see four or five in the main pool which is covered. As the captain
noted yesterday, if you went on a cruise for beaches and the sun, you
went on the wrong cruise!

We did go ashore and walked around the town which is another former
whaling station. The population is about 1,700 and most houses are
grouped right around the harbor. Most of the buildings are painted
bright colors - red, green or blue - probably to brighten up their
lives. I would hate to be here in the winter.

Tomorrow the schedule calls for "scenic cruising" which I assume that we
will be close to shore. This as opposed to the following day that calls
for "at sea" which means we will see nothing but water and probably
fog. Then it's on to the first of four ports in Iceland. That's it for
now.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

At Sea - On the Way to Greenland

Today is a leisurely day aboard the ms Maasdam but it is a tad cool.
When we woke this morning it was in the low 40s and right now (5:15 PM)
is is in the 50s. We expect that tomorrow will be the same when we are
in Gr eenland.

We have yet to see any large icebergs but did see one or two "small" one
last evening before dinner. We were in the Crow's Nest having our
pre-dinner Martinis and saw a number of whales. They were quite away
from the ship but the spray from their blow hole was there.

We just came back for Bingo which was another loser as far as we were
concerned. Oh well, tomorrow will be another day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Red Bay, Labrador

Today we are in Red Bay, Labrador, a former whaling station. The
whaling station has gone away, there are a number of small fishing
fleets are found in the area. We have yet to see any whales on the trip
but we saw our first iceberg this morning as you can see in the photo.
We thought that we saw a whale but noting that after an hour and a half
the disturbance in the water was in the same exact spot. Someone with
binoculars saw that it was a large submerged rock. Close but I am sure
that we will see whales as we proceed. We did see whales when we were
on our African cruise in 2007 as leaving the harbor in Cape Town, South
Africa.

I have found that the small town of Red Bay has a lot of two things:
black flies and cemeteries. The black flies are as thick as . . .
flies, I guess. A couple of folks from the ship was prepared for the
flies as they went ashore wearing thin net veils. The rest of ours were
not as lucky so we just swatted and cursed. As for cemeteries, although
this is a very small settlement, there are three cemeteries. One is
very old (19th century) and no longer used but the other two are still
used. As with most small settlements, two or three names are abundant
on the tombstones. Here the top two names seem to be Pike and Moore. I
talked to a young man (anyone younger than myself) at the heritage
center (another name for a genealogical center) he said that a large
numbers of Irish came to this part of Canada.

It is now about 5:15 PM and we will be leaving the port shortly. The
Captain announced that we should expect to see more icebergs as we leave
this area as we sailed to Greenland. Hope to get some photos. Tomorrow
is a day at sea and we won't be arriving in Nanortalik, Greenland.
That's it for now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bonne Bay, Newfoundland

Today we are in the small port town of Woody Point on Bonne Bay,
Newfoundland. Apparently Newfoundland is not big enough to have its own
motor vehicle license tags but must share them with Ladrador. As with
yesterday's port in Quebec, the port facilities are such that cruise
ships must anchor in the bay and then transport passengers to shore via
tenders.

Nancy and I went ashore about 10:00 AM (ship's time, local time was
10:30 AM) and strolled down the main street and found ourselves at the
burying ground. I love cemeteries and when coming across any I like to
roam through it reading the tombstones. It seems that the cemetery is
no longer used for new burials as most of the readable tombstones dated
in the 19th century. Like the cemetery in Ferndale, CA (one of my
favorites) it is a on the side of a hill, not anywhere as large as
Ferndale but very nice.

The other photo here is a group of "Newfies" dressed up in costume. I
asked one of the girls what it was about and she told me that the locals
dress in costume at Christmas and go door to door similar to Halloween.
If the homeowners are not able to guess who the costumed person was they
have to provide a drink. Hard to tell how many houses one came make it
to but at least they would be warmed!

Tomorrow we will be in Red Bay, Labrador and that will be the last of
our Canadian ports before we really head for the 'cold country.'

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cap-aux-Meules, Quebec

Today we are in the little port town of Cap-aux-Meules in the Magdalen
Islands. Although closer to the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince
Edward Island, the Magdalen Islands are administered by the province of
Quebec. There is not much to Cap-aux-Meules. In fact, there is but one
main street but it does have three signal lights.

When the ship sailed into the harbor and dropped anchol this morning the
sun was shining but that did not last for very long. About 9 AM a fog
rolled in and as a result the tender operation taking passengers to the
town was late in starting. At first only two tenders were able to
operate at once and then three. No more than three could run at the
same time as there were operating with the guidance of the ship's
radar. When Nancy and I went over, you could see no more than about
twenty feet in front of you.

We took a leisurely stroll through the town and stopped for a beer in
one of the "main street" places. After returning to the ship we had
lunch and then played trivia for ship's prizes. We played yesterday
also and have determined that we are numbskulls! Who knows, maybe we
will improve. That's it for now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

At Sea - On the way to Quebec

The ms Maasdam left Boston at about 5:00 PM yesterday.  As we were leaving Boston Harbor we noted the pirate ship pictured above on the port side.  Apparently these pirates were not associated with those off the coast of Samolia as most appeared to be drinking and carousing! 

Last evening activity included  the essential cruise ship ones - martinis, dinner and the casino.  Today we get down to the serious cruise business - BINGO!  And, of course, more martinis and more eating as we sail up the east coast on to our first port of call - Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec.  Unfortunately the captain informs that the weather for tomorrow is probably rain.  Today it is cool (in the 60s) and very foggy.  The ship's horn has been sounded every so often all last night and most of the day. 

One thing that the Holland American ships have is excellent libraries.  I picked up a book titled The First Wall Street: Chestnut Street & the Borth of American Finance by Robert E. Wright.  One of the amazing items I have come across in the book is the fourth endnote: "A  superb introduction to the colonial economy is John J. McCusker and Russell R. Menard, The Economy of British America: 1607-1789 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985).  I have seen McCusker cited in other books and know that he is an expert in colonial money.  In addition, he is also the John McCusker of West High Terrace in Rochester and a member of the Class of 1953, St. Monica's School.  At least one of the local boys made good!

The rest of the day will be more reading, trivia, bingo, martinis and eating.  All in all another day in paradise!  Will try to keep everyone posted.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In Boston

It is 10:00 AM in the Courtyard Marriott in Boston just hanging
around waiting to go to the cruise ship pier. It is very nice here in
the high sixties and to go to the 80s later today. We just returned
from breakfast down the street at the Raddison. Now we will finish
reading the newspaper, watch the news and wait for noon or so to head
for the ship. After I sign up for internet access on the ship I will
send this off.
--

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cruises - Almost There

Tomorrow we will be on our way to Boston to start our transatlantic cruise to Rotterdam, NL and then on to Amsterdam for a Rhine River Cruise to Basel, Switzerland. Will be posting here as we progress and we will be back home at the end of August. Here is our itinerary:

July 24 - Continental Airlines - PBI to EWR to BOS
Courtyard Marriott Boston Downtown/Tremont - 1-617-426-1400
July 25 - Cruise - ms Maasdam (Holland America Line)
July 26 - At Sea
July 27 - Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec
July 28 - Bonne Bay, Newfoundland
July 29 - Red Bay, Labrador
July 30 - At Sea
July 31 - Nanortalik, Greenland
August 1 and 2 - At Sea
August 3 - Isafjord, Iceland
August 4 - Akureyri, Iceland
August 5 - Husavik, Iceland
August 6 - Seydisfjordur Iceland
August 7 - At Sea
August 8 - Invergordon, Scotland
August 9 - S Queensferry (Edinburgh), UK
August 10 - At Sea
August 11 - Rotterdam, Netherlands (Cruise end)
Golden Tulip Hotel - Rotterdam
August 12 thru 14 - Rotterdam
August 15 - Train - Rotterdam to Amsterdam
Mercure Amsterdam Hotel
August 16 - Rhine River Cruise - Viking Helvetia
August 17 - Amsterdam
August 18 - Cologne, Germany
August 19 - Koblenz/Rudesheim, Germany
August 20 - Heidelberg/Speyer, Germany
August 21 - Strasbourg, Germany
August 22 - Breisach, Germany
August 23 - Basel, Switzerland (River cruise end)
Dorint an der Messe Hotel, Basel
August 24 to 26 - Basel, Switzerland
August 26 - EasyJet - Basel to Gatwick (London)
Coach - Gatwick to Heathrow
Park Inn Heathrow Hotel
August 27 - AA - Heathrow to Miami

Saturday, July 11, 2009

President Obama in Ghana

An hour or so ago I saw videos of President Obama on CNN. Some of the scenes were familiar from our cruise to the west coast of Africa in the Fall of 2006. Here are some of the photos taken there including shots of the Elmina Castle and the Cape Coast Castle.

Rochester Royals 1950-51

My son purchased a Rochester Royals program from someone on ebay and it was interesting to go through it. During the 1950-51 NBA season I was 11 years old and can recall a Royals game or two before they left Rochester to go to Cincinnati. Games then were played in the old Edgerton Park Sports Arena near today's Jefferson High School.

What was interesting in the program were the ads for the local car dealers, appliance dealers, etc. Most included a phone number such as MAin 1234. No such things as area codes in those days. Do you remember your phone number from 1950? I don't recall our number when we lived on Trafalgar St. but I do remember our phone number when we lived on Flint Street - Genesee 5577M. Note the 'M' on the end - had a party line. After I graduated from Aquinas, I went to work for Western Electric installing a new dial exchange on Genesee Street and the exchange name such as 'Genesee' were replace with three digits. Not as exotic.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Rochester's South Park (a/k/a Genesee Valley Park)

Living and growing up in Rochester's 19th Ward in the city's southwest area, the nearest large park was Genesee Valley Park. To visit the swimming pools in the summer or the skating rink in the winter, I would head south on Genesee Street to Brooks Avenue, turn left on Brooks and walk (or ride my bike) almost to Plymouth Avenue. I say 'almost' to Plymouth Avenue because anyone could walk up Plymouth to Elmwood Avenue on the sidewalk but if you could walk (or ride) the 'trail' in the 'woods' along the railroad tracks that paralleled Plymouth Avenue . . . you can almost guess which way a 10 or 11 year old would go.

When I was young I recall my mother always referred to Genesee Valley Park as 'South Park.' As I grew older, I never heard anyone refer to it as 'South Park' but apparently the name of the park was originally South Park. Because the name was changed in about 1892 the old name stuck for quite a while because my mother referred to as South Park in the 1940s and 1950s!

If there was a South Park, was there also a North Park? You bet your life there was, pardner!

In the 1880s, the City of Rochester engaged the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York's Central Park (and Rochester's Mount Hope Cemetery) to design three parks and these were Highland Park, South Park and North Park. Highland Park is still Highland Park; South Park is now Genesee Valley Park; and North Park is now Seneca Park.

An interesting historical article on Frederick Law Olmsted and the Rochester parks is online as a part of the Rochester Public Library's Rochester History series.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

KPAA Softball

It was summer, school was out and that meant softball. Not just any softball but KPAA Softpall, sponsored by the Kodak Park Athletic Association. I don't believe that this program still exists in Rochester but I suspect that most men my age (just turned 70) in Rochester participated in the program. Here is my team, the Cameos, probably about 1952.

I lived in the southwest area (19th Ward)of Rochester while Kodak Park was in the northern area of the city. In addition, most of the playing fields that KPAA used were also in the northern part of the city such as Jefferson High School, etc. That meant that it was a bus ride to the game sites. A bus ride and a subway ride! Here is the subway station at Exchange Street.

Taking the subway was not the most direct and quickest way to get to some of the fields but it sure was the most fun. Wewould get a bus on Genesee Street and take it downtown to West Main and Broad Street to get the subway. Down in the subway if there was a subway going south (and we were going north) you could put a penny on the track for the subway to flatten out. Voila! A souvenier for the day!

We would take the subway north to Emerson Street and then take the bus again up Dewey Avenue to some elementary school field off Dewey. Not the nost convenient route. We could have taken the bus to the Four Corners (Main and State) and transferred to the Dewey Avenus bus but there was no way to flatten a penny by going that way.

Quite a way to spend the summer!