Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sheboygan Summer Street Scenes

As I said in a prior post, summer here is full of a variety of activities. The two that I'll share scenes of this time are the art fair and the farmers' market,two of my favorite events. The photos will be different than those that I usually include-there'll be people!

The farmers' market is held Wednesdays and Saturdays. The produce includes vegetables, fruits, flowers, home-made preserves, and hand crafted items. One of the first things that you notice as you walk around the stalls is that the majority of the vendors are Asian, unusual for a town with a strong Germanic immigrant background. After the Vietnam War ended, America's Hmong allies had to flee from their agrarian mountain life in Laos, lived in refugee camps in Thailand, and finally ended up in places like Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Their presence in Sheboygan and their need to receive English as a Second Language services is the reason that I moved here. Once the Hmong became established, they bought or rented farmland and some continued their traditional way of life. Hence, their strong presence at the farmers' market. The community is culturally richer because they are here.

The art fair is sponsored by the John Michael Kohler Art Center, and is held mid July. Artists from many parts of the USA set up booths and sell their work (I bought a metal fish made of "found objects" this year"). There is also live music on a very distinct outdoor stage. I included a shot of one of my favorite visiting bands-King Solomon, a reggae group from Milwaukee. An aside-the Art Center sponsors many events during the year and it is one of the places where I have chosen to actively volunteer my time.

Thank you for visiting, I hope that you enjoyed your stay. May your travels be both interesting and enjoyable.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tuscan Side Streets

The need to travel shouldn't be an issue for me. After all this is one of the best times of year to be where I am now in terms of weather, activity opportunities,and just life in general. Besides, I just took a trip a month ago and tried riding the American rails. Still, I am drawn to the places I have visited and the places I have yet to visit.

Perhaps it is just a need to travel beyond the horizon, an urge that that seems to be a part of me. As I look at these particular photos, I remember the magic of wandering new streets and discovering hidden shops, a small square with an outdoor market, an ancient door that leads into a court yard containing an internet cafe. Unusual sights, smells, dress, food and drink tastes to explore...the potential creates a wanderlust that can not (and should not) be contained.

Photos in this blog were taken in the older part of Lucca, Italy, a historic city in the Tuscan region. With so many places left to explore I'm not sure of I'll revisit Lucca, but the few days there were memorable in terms of both the sights and the people who we met. If you ever have the opportunity to spend time there, I highly recommend you do so. Until then, I hope that you have enjoyed the side streets of Lucca. If you can't go there in person in the near future, Google it and take a virtual journey-there are many sites that will lead you there.

Thank you for visiting, please feel free to stop by again. If you care to leave a comment, one is always appreciated. Dare to look beyond your present horizons, the benefits will be worth the risks. Good travels.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Sheboygan Summer Scenes

Summer is a time when I rarely do any long-distance travel. The main reason for this is that summer life on the western shore of Lake Michigan is very good. It is a time of temperate weather, biking and hiking, outdoor music, art fairs, coffee on the pier, ethnic festivals, and a general bliss. I thought I'd share some of the outdoor scenes with you this time. The photos include: boats docked at piers on the Sheboygan River as it flows into the harbor, dune and lakeside scenes from a near-by State park, a tiny marsh bird that took forever to locate, and a present-day bar overlooking the harbor that used to be a synagogue (only in Sheboygan could that conversion happen!).

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not going to say that we have reached utopia here. Sheboygan, Wisconsin can turn cold and rainy or occasionally hot and humid during the summer months. Under those circumstances, I retreat indoors to a book, my computer,plan for future trips, or tackle various projects that I have put off. One of those projects is sitting within three feet of me at the moment-my photo scanner and a year's worth of photos that were the result of the year that we taught in Kenitra Morocco and traveled about. Morocco is a story for another time.

In the meantime, I hope that you are experiencing blissful moments as well. Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment as you pass through, they are always appreciated. If you do travel beyond your present horizon in the near future, I hope that your travels are both interesting and enjoyable.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Coastal Maine (In Between Rain Drops)

Are any of you familiar with the song,"After the Deluge"? Seven straight days of rain brought that song to mind. Still, it was the first time in the many years that I've revisited Maine that it happened. A good time was had in terms of family and travel, in spite of the rains.

The photos you have in front of you were taken in either Boothbay Harbor or Rockland, located in the central coastal region. Boothbay Harbor is our favorite coastal town; Rockland is a recent discovery. The streets were relatively uncrowded as it was rainy off and on and a week before the true start to the summer tourist season. I really prefer to visit the Maine coast before the population of the towns there triple and traffic becomes bumper to bumper (parking becomes a real challenge).

As I sorted out the photos that were taken, I tried to include those that would represent the area. The wharf, lobster fishing, and tourism are all coastal Maine traditions. I also included a group of tourists, who I considered "fair game" for a capture. :-}

Remember back to your youth. Did you ever decide to wear something that you thought was "real cool", only to later realize that your choice was an embarassment? The adolescent boy saw the lobster claw hat in a tourist shop and bought it. I had watched him walk around Boothbay Harbor with his family wearing it and strutting. Then, as his mom lined the family up for a public photo, two young local girls walked by eyeing the situation. The boy's expression read, "Please let me wake up from this bad dream!" He will survive the experience. He may even decide that the impressions strangers have of him don't matter to him. Or, he may decide to wear touristy things at home a la 'Marrakesh Express' "striped djellabas we can wear at home" lyrics of the 1970's.

I hoped that you enjoyed your Maine visit in black and white (the weather made the color choice appropriate). Thank you for visiting; feel free to leave a comment behind, they are always appreciated. As you reach out beyond your present horizon, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.