Category Archives: Travel

My How The World Has Changed – Self-Isolation Day 9

Yesterday I thought about some of the places we’ve been in the world and did a little research on how they are being impacted by the pandemic. 

My husband Dave is picking out a pastry for his breakfast in Madrid.  Bakeries are one of the few kinds of businesses that have stayed open in Spain where the death toll from the coronavirus jumped by 514 yesterday.

In Dehli, India I am visiting a shelter for street children.  Yesterday Dehli was placed on a complete lockdown by the government. What will happen to the three million people who live on that city’s streets? 

Dave snapped this photo just after we toured the Colosseum in Rome. The Colosseum and many other tourist attractions in Rome are closed to the public now as Italy fights the coronavirus. It is predicated Italy will lose about 30 billion euros in tourist revenue because of the pandemic. Dave taking part in an elephant show in Thailand. I read in yesterday’s New York Times that many elephants used for tourism in Thailand have just been abandoned by their owners because the coronavirus has left their businesses without clients. Owners can no longer afford to feed or care for their elephants.  I am under a kiwi tree in a kiwi orchard in New Zealand.  It is harvest time for kiwi right now and orchard owners have been getting out the word that they would be happy to hire people from New Zealand’s hospitality and tourism industries who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Normally 25% of their harvest workers are backpackers from around the world who need part-time work. The backpackers have all gone back to their home countries so there is a shortage of labourers. Dave and I stand near the harbour in Stykkishólmur, Iceland.  Yesterday Iceland had 648 confirmed coronavirus cases the highest number per capita in the world. An article I read yesterday says the extensive testing and population screening in Iceland has revealed there are 40 mutations of the coronavirus in Iceland alone. Mutations make the virus more contagious but less dangerous to those who get it. We toured Croatia on bicycles.  But on Saturday people were warned not to go on bike rides in Croatia after the country reported 78 new coronavirus cases in one day. Buses, trams, railways, cable cars and ferries all ceased operation. People were even discouraged from taking walks.  A message from the government said only immediate family members could attend funerals and all children’s playgrounds would be closed.

On a misty morning, Dave and I stand in the rain forest in Costa Rica. A spokesperson  for  The Alliance of Peoples and Forests in Costa Rica says the destruction of the rain forest can encourage the emergence of diseases like the coronavirus.  Loss of habitat has brought wild animals into closer contact with humans allowing diseases like COVID-19 to jump the animal-human barrier and spread through human-to-human contact. 

Dave stands in front of a wall at the United Nations in New York with the verse from Isaiah 2:4 that speaks of a time when the world will not learn war anymore. On Monday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres urged all warring factions in the world to lay down their weapons so everyone can join the bigger more important battle against COVID-19.

I pose beside the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. This is where Jesus is said to have healed a lame man. This morning The Jerusalem Post reported over 2170 cases of the virus in Israel. I know there won’t be an instant miraculous cure for the coronavirus like the one Jesus provided to the lame man. But I do think if we act on Jesus’ teachings about what it means to be a neighbour, if we obey his injunction to care for the least of those among us, and if we follow his guideline to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” we will get through this crisis and our world will be better because of it. 

Other posts…………

Our Heads in the Clouds

The Pool of Bethesda- Personal Connections

Meeting the Street Children of Dehli


Filed under Health, Self Isolation Diary, Travel

Road Trip

train on the prairieWe are on our long drive down to Arizona. We left early Friday morning and during the sunrise I noticed the silhouette of a train snaking its way across the southern Manitoba prairie.  I wondered if the train would reach its destination or be stopped by protesters expressing their dissent and concern with the government’s decision to build a pipeline in northern British Columbia.

real christians obey jesus' teachingsDriving through North Dakota we saw a huge billboard with a message in giant letters.  Real Christians Obey Jesus’ Teachings.  It made me wonder which teachings of Jesus the Americans who paid for the sign were talking about. Were they referring to………

Sell everything you own and give it to the poor.

Love your neighbour as yourself.

Let the children come to me.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Obey Jesus’ Teachings– prophetic words I thought in a country where tax breaks for the rich are the order of the day, a wall is being built to keep out the neighbours to the south, refugee children are separated from their parents and locked up, and a huge percentage of the country’s budget goes to the military.

driving in south dakotaIn South Dakota there was a lot of blowing snow on long stretches of our route and even some drifts on the road.  Thankful I am married to a professional driver who was at the wheel and navigated us capably through the danger.

dave and marylouValentine’s Day was our first day on the road so as we drove we listened to two love stories on the podcast Heavy Weight.  One was about a suitcase full of love letters between a girl in Venezuela and a young man in the United States. The geographical and cultural divide between the two of them resulted in them marrying other people. Another story was about a couple who remained supportive friends throughout their lives but fate determined they never could marry.  Both stories were sad and had me in tears. I realized how fortunate I am that my own love story didn’t end that way.  

On our second day of driving, we were in Nebraska and had to slow down twice because wildlife was on the road, once a huge flock of wild turkeys and another time a herd of deer. Dave pointed out a trio of flying eagles and I spotted a number of what I think were rotund woodchucks.In Denver Colorado we enjoyed a great evening with two couples who were good friends of ours during the six years we taught in Hong Kong. 

This morning we hit the road again for the next phase of our journey. 

Other posts……..

On the Road

Off Road Adventure




Filed under Travel

January Past and Present

Today I will give two tours at the Winnipeg Art Gallery one to teachers and one to university students and then in the evening, I will attend an amazing show at The Forks where my son’s band Royal Canoe will give a concert on instruments made out of ice!  It’s going to be a great day.

One of the interesting things about keeping a daily blog is the ability it gives me to travel back in time and see where I was and what I was doing on this date in the past. Here’s what I was up to in past Januarys.

In 2012 I was exploring a Lava Tree park on the Big Island of Hawaii.

In 2013 I was having a great time with my friend Esther in Gold Canyon Arizona.

 In 2014 I was working at a tutoring centre in Runaway Bay Jamaica. In 2015 I was hitting the links in Arizona with my friends Rudy and Sue.

In 2016 I was biking on a beach in Tamarindo Costa Rica.

In 2017 I was doing lots of hiking with my brother in Arizona.

In 2018 I was touring Lisbon in Portugal. In 2019 I was swimming in a cenote in Mexico.

I wonder what I will be doing as January comes to a close in 2021?

Other posts……….

Silly Mountain

Swimming in a Cenote

Biking on the Beach


Filed under Travel

My Globe Trotting Parents

When I was at my Dad’s yesterday he mentioned that his big map of the world was definitely something he wanted to move over to his new assisted living apartment.  He wondered if there would be room for it.  I assured him we would find a place. We gave the map to my parents in 2000 as a Christmas gift and they bought dozens of these little coloured pins and marked all the places in the world they had visited.  And there were plenty!  Mom and Dad travelled extensively.  Their trips usually had some service or learning component.  

After I was already married and attending university my parents travelled to Holland with the rest of my siblings and an aunt and uncle and their daughter.  

Dad and Mom spent considerable time in mainland China where Dad was a visiting lecturer at medical universities.

Dad and Mom took my two brothers to Haiti where Dad did a short term assignment as a doctor for Mennonite Central Committee.  

Dad did similar medical stints in Cambodia and Paraguay. 

Mom and Dad travelled to the Middle East and to Africa.  

Dad went on a trip with his father to the Soviet Union. 

Mom went on a trip with her sister to Belize. 

Mom and Dad came to visit us when we lived in Hong Kong. 

They went to Hawaii and Mexico for medical conventions. 

Mom and Dad came to visit us when we lived and worked on the Hopi First Nation in Arizona. 

We went on a trip with them to Disneyworld in Florida. 

Mom and Dad took our whole family on a ski trip to Banff. 

And then, of course, there were all the Christmas and summer trips when we were kids to visit our grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins in Saskatchewan. 

And family summer vacations to Expo 67 in Montreal, to Flin Flon Manitoba, to California, to the Grand Canyon and to the Black Hills. 

Sometimes people wonder why my siblings and I all like to travel so much.  Mmmmmm  I wonder who might have been our role models? 

Other posts………….

At the Farm

A Fern

Mom’s Hymnal


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Filed under Travel

Are They Star Maps?

When I show these works of art by Jitish Kallat to kids at the Winnipeg Art Gallery they always think they must be star maps. The children are quite surprised when I tell them they are really raindrop maps or designs. The artist Jitish Kallat calls them Rain Studies. He makes them during the monsoon season in Mumbai, India.

Kallat uses watercolor pencils to make dark circles on woven paper.  Then during rain showers he steps outside and holds up the paper to the sky, allowing rain to fall on it for a certain number of breath cycles.  A breath cycle is breathing in and then out.  The raindrops leave an imprint on the dark circle and he sprays it to preserve it and then wipes the paper dry. In these three pieces, you can see how the length of time Kallat remains outside makes a difference in the designs.  Kallat has noted the number of breath cycles he held each circle up to the rain. The first one was for two breath cycles, the second for four and the third for seven.  Kallat uses a BC abbreviation and he pencils in the number of breath cycles by each dark circle.  He also records the time and date of each rain study. During some of the rain studies, it must have been raining quite hard and in others, quite lightly. The images do look very starlike, almost like astronomical charts. Kallat says in a New York Times interview that nature makes the artwork.  He doesn’t.  

Kallat’s Rain Studies are part of the current Vision Exchange exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It closes in just a couple of weeks so if you haven’t seen it already you want to be sure to go before summer ends.  

Other posts about the Vision Exchange exhibit……..

Warli Art

Don’t Forget About Us

Wrestling Farmers

Carpet Conversation

Sports Equipment and Salt

Hyphenated Lives


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Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery

He Might See A Tiger Now

My husband Dave had his heart set on seeing a wild tiger when we visited India in 2008, so we planned a safari in Ranthambore National Park. The temperature was a chilly four degrees as we clambered into our open-air jeep at six in the morning to begin our tiger hunt. I was happy to be wedged in tightly between Dave and a banker from London named Sidney. The two men on either side of me blocked the wind and helped keep me warm.
When we visited in 2008 it wasn’t easy to see a tiger in the wild in India. There were only about 1000 left in the whole country. That’s because even in protected areas poachers continued to kill tigers and sell them to Chinese vendors. Their clients used tiger organs for making traditional medicines.  The tiger population was also dwindling because people were cutting down trees for fuel, destroying the tiger’s forest habitat.  
Despite this, everyone said Ranthambore was the place where we had the best chance of seeing a tiger. We spent three and a half hours looking for one. Our jeep stopped several times so our driver could talk to tiger-trackers who roam Ranthambore looking for the elusive beasts. Despite their best advice, the closest we came to seeing a tiger was to see the paw prints of one in the sand. 
When we were in India over a decade ago a new initiative had just been started to increase the tiger population. I was so happy to read this week that it has been successful. India now has nearly 3000 tigers triple that of the 2008 numbers when we visited. By 2022 they hope to have nearly doubled the current population. Increased forest cover and stricter enforcement of conservation laws have made a huge difference.  

I am not sure if I am ready for another pre-dawn freezing tiger safari, so if you’d like to volunteer to accompany my husband on his next, hopefully, more successful hunt for a tiger in India, I’d be glad to give you my seat in the jeep. 

Other posts………..

India Assaults the Senses

Beggars Everywhere

The Heroes Walk



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Filed under India, Nature

Warli Art- Kids Love It and You Will Too!

Gauri Gill is a photographer whose work is currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in their Vision Exchange exhibit.

In 2013 Gill visited the community of Ganjad in the north-western part of India. She was doing art with the school children there. An artist in Ganjad named Rajesh Vangad told Gauri Gill about traditional Warli painting, an art form that may have started more than 5000 years ago. The paintings were traditionally done only with white pigment made by grinding rice into a powder and mixing it with water. The women of the tribe created the artwork on the walls of their adobe houses. The paintings showed the social life and the daily routines of the Warli tribe. Warli art uses mainly circles, triangles, and squares.

After learning about Warli art from Rajesh Vangad, Gauri Gill decided to photograph him at different places in the village and invite him to draw Warli art on her photos.  Here Rajesh stands in front of the community school. His Warli art covers the photo.

A closer look at the Warli drawings Rajesh Vangad did reveal that he depicted children in the classroom and on the grounds of the school participating in all kinds of activities.  

Children writing the alphabet

Children in the science lab

Children on computers

Children doing math

Children on swings

Children having lunch

The school-age visitors I take on tours of the Winnipeg Art Gallery love looking for all these different scenes in the artwork. I have included only a few of the dozens of small scenes in the piece entitled School from Gill and Vangad’s  The Flight series.  

I always invite the children to use the Warli technique to make drawings of their own depicting themselves doing something they enjoy. Their artwork is simply delightful.

This girl drew herself painting a picture

Here another WAG visitor showed himself playing basketball

This girl loves golf

This one loves ballet

And here is a soccer player

Warli art is for everyone and the children love its simplicity and the ease with which they can create portraits with white chalk on black construction paper. 

There are several other pieces by Rajesh Vangad and Gauri Gill on display in the Vision Exchange Exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Why not come and see them and then try making some Warli art of your own?  

Other posts……….

Don’t Forget About Us

Carpet Conversation

Sports Equipment and Salt


Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery