There probably aren’t many adventures that are better than Paris, except Paris with your kid. And this week, I’m in Paris with my (grown up) kid. Heaven!
Gabe and I are staying in Le Marais, which we love. Once the Jewish Quarter, it’s become trendy and quirky with a little bit of everything and everybody. There are falafel joints and traditional French cafes, and stores that sell couture next to shoe repair shops and organic produce markets. Quel dommage, we don’t like our Airbnb apartment. Gabe describes it as “a perfectly fine party house for a bunch of college guys.” But oh well, we are out most of the time anyway.
I recently visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. I’ve been there several times before and I’ve always loved it, exploring the wonderful exhibits with Gabe. But this last visit felt unusually soothing and soft. You can see what I mean…
One of the small disappointments in my life is that I’m not the kind of person who gets nicknames, at least not the kind that are said to my face. For a short time, a few people called me “KimTwin,” a reference to an outboard motor. I was 20 and would have preferred a nickname that you would give to Anais Nin, mysterious and bohemian.
Although I am not a nickname kind of person, I’ve been called many things during my travels. Each gave me a little insight about another culture, and provided a small thrill. Here are the ones I remember.
If you’ve seen Disney’s “Coco,” you know at least a little about Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos. Day of the Dead celebrates the loved ones we have lost because remembering them keeps them alive. Here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, it’s a time of traditions that date from the time of the Aztec empire — as well as some modern adaptations.
Most Americans don’t think of Mexico as a place of forests and waterfalls and fields of wildflowers. But it is! Not far from San Miguel de Allende are the foothills of the Sierra Gorda — the Fat Mountains. We went there on Sunday to forage for mushrooms.
I’ve heard it so many times. “At least he’s not Trump.” It’s true that President Biden has better manners and more experience. But his presidency so far has relied on the kind of governance and economic assumptions that are the source of many of our worst problems. In nine months, Biden has made inexplicable foreign policy blunders, watered down or abandoned his commitments to social justice and the planet, and retained many of Trump’s worst policies. For example….
Today, Americans observe the terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of 2,996 Americans on September 11, 2001. We will read news articles. Politicians will give speeches. Everyone has an opinion and a story. In a very American way of doing things, we’ve even created a marketing term for this tragedy. It’s “9/11.”
The drama unfolding in Afghanistan is a humanitarian crisis and it’s not going to get better. There is little doubt that the execution of the withdrawal after 20 years of war and corruption has been a disaster. Politicians talk about getting our “friends” out. But, even if that’s possible, our “friends” apparently don’t include the tens of thousands of people who aligned themselves with the US in unofficial ways. The families of my refugee friends in Europe have relatives in Kabul who have almost no chance of getting help from the US, even those who worked for US contractors or government agencies. Like so many others, they are in grave danger.