Wednesday, May 25, 2022
We ran across this 1964 Comet convertible on King Street a few weeks ago on a wonderful sunny Sunday afternoon. I was shocked by how long and narrow it is. The hood the the trunk are five feet long, almost as long as the car is wide. It is in amazing condition, cars of that era were not built to last. The underside of the metal panels were not painted or treated to stop rust and corrosion, the cars often rotted from the inside out. This one has either been carefully stored, or she has had work done. Maybe a lot of both. It is easy to pour far more money into a car like this, than it will ever be worth. But how fun. Most likely it someone's grandmother's only driven for a few weeks each summer and carefully garaged the rest of the year. My grandmother's never owned anything like this. My mother's parents retired early and lived with very little money. My father's parents bought a new car every 2 or 3 years from the end of World War II until they stopped driving. But the cars were always as simple of a full size Ford or Mercury as they could buy. After my grandfather died, my grandmother splurged on a couple of flashy cars. The first one was some special edition Mercury that she only kept a couple of years. It was a two door and the big long doors become difficult. It was traded for a huge Buick 4 door that she kept until she stopped driving, about 10 years and only about 40,000 miles. It was long and wide (and great fun to drive.)
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
I mentioned recently, that memory is a fickle thing. We met friends in Athens about 15 years ago. Kent and Carole had been there on a sabbatical assignment for most of a year. They were our tour guides for several days in Athens, and out into the Greek countryside. We had lunch with Kent last month in New York. He said if he could get away he would go back to Greece for a vacation. I said what a wonderful time we had there. He asked "what did you see?" I reminded him that he had been our tour guide, that he had driven fearlessly through the villages where cars passed centimeters apart. He seemed to remember. He has been to Greece dozens of times, he has helped countless people explore the history that Greece holds. It was understandable, but sadly worrying that he didn't remember us meeting up with him there.
Monday, May 23, 2022
Sunday, May 22, 2022
- How long until we are all driving electric cars?
- Have you owned a diesel car?
- What is lowest price you remember ever paying for fuel (petrol, gas, diesel)?
- Have you ever run out of fuel?
- When do you think we will have self driving cars?
- How long until we are all driving electric cars? 20 years
- Have you owned a diesel car? A long time ago, once.
- What is lowest price you remember ever paying for fuel (petrol, gas, diesel)? I remember the first time I paid over $1 a gallon.
- Have you ever run out of fuel? Coasted into a filling station once.
- When do you think we will have self-driving cars? 10 years
Saturday, May 21, 2022
We try to stick to a two-night minimum hotel stay when we travel, staying in one place at least two nights if at all possible. One night, is just sleep, two nights and you can start to get a feel, to become familiar with unfamiliar surroundings.
Traveling to places where I don't speak the local language helps me to explore. Being surrounded by words that have no meaning, yet becoming comfortable in the surroundings. Iceland makes light of a unique language, spoken by maybe 400,000 or 500,000 people worldwide. I was pleased at the wide array of books in Icelandic. English is taught as a second language and is common. We did get far enough off the beaten path to meet people who spoke little English. A wonderful thing to experience. Still the familiar we'd like lunch, or a bottle of water are universal and communicated without or with a limited language.
If I use that experience, I can for a moment understand what it feels like to be an immigrant or foreign visitor in my home country. A home country that is largely monolingual. Not an easy place to visit.
The chef/server/bartender in the amazing food court across from the hotel (more on this one day) said people keep saying you should go to New York, or Washington DC, where should he go? So how to answer the question of where or how to visit the USA? New York, DC, Chicago, LA, SF, are major and massive cities and worth experiencing, just as Reykjavik is the largest city in Iceland, and worth the time to become familiar with. But they are not the United States, just as Iceland changes in an hour or less outside of the city, the USA changes dramatically when you leave the cities. Seeing Ohio, tells you nothing about New York City, seeing New York City shows you nothing about Colorado. Spend time and become familiar with the surroundings.
Friday, May 20, 2022
Sometimes the most spectacular is the simplest. A diamond solitaire, a single rose, a simple chair and its shadow. Often we fiddle and fuss and try to gild the lily, rather than leaving well enough alone.
Thursday, May 19, 2022
So what is new?
An email from the appliance guy, the new refrigerator is in the warehouse, still waiting on the ovens and dishwasher. The new refrigerator won't fit where the old one is at - we are moving things around in the kitchen as part of the remodel. They will hold it for us for a while.
The exchange rate for Iceland is hard to get my brain around, about 137 ISK to 1 US dollar. Prices seemed high, and many were. Getting home and checking the charges after the exchange rate things were not as bad as I thought, dinner out for the two of us averaged about $120, maybe 20-25% more than here in the DC area. It is mostly a cashless country. American Express is not accepted every place. Have a pin and chip card - most petrol stations are unmanned. I have two, the one from a major European bank was declined at the pump, the one issued by Chase for one of the major discount chains in the USA worked on the first try. That retailer had a major security breach about 10 years ago, and is one of the few in the USA that insisted that all of their store cards would be pin and chip (Visa or Mastercard.)
There are a hundreds of tours available, we really like moving at our own pace. I rented a car for three days, and we set off, on and off the beaten path. We drove the Golden Circle one day, another day we set off north west, turning down back roads, through the farms, finding our own way. We didn't see everything, not even everything that was on my list, but we loved what we saw, and we did it at our pace, stopping when we wanted, moving on when we were ready.
When renting a car in a foreign country, I always add all of the insurance that is available. It doubles the cost of the rental, but as the guy the with the rental company in Reykjavik described it, if the car comes back on a tow-truck as a smoldering wreck, you are covered along with anything you hit. (Reminds me of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.") He said 30% of the rental cars are returned with cracked windshields in the spring. Without the optional glass breakage coverage, that will double the cost of your rental. Once again I returned the rental car in perfect condition, and I didn't cause anyone else to panic and have a bad day (a cryptic reference to my last international rental experience.) The drivers are patient, kind, considerate, except for the roundabouts at rush hour.
There are a million things to write about,