(16th July - 30th October, 2009)



:: September 3rd - October 3rd:- USA ::

Sept. 3 - Oct 3.

Sept 3. . INTIMATIONS OF MORTALITY. Since leaving South Africa, I have received news of the deaths of three of my oldest friends. Robin Simpson was at Durban High School with me in the late 1930s, when he was my competitor in swimming the 200 yards breast-stroke: Robin always won. Robin was at Cambridge University with me, having also been awarded an Elsie Ballot Scholarship, and I had seen him a few times at his last home at St. Francis Bay, South Africa. Randal Sadleir had been my District Commissioner in the Colonial Service in Tanganyika, at Handeni, where John Ainley was Agricultural Officer. I had seen Randal and John (both of whom had written books about their colonial experiences) frequently over the years, and their deaths leave a gap, as well as leaving me with a lonely feeling.

An easy British Airways flight to IAD (International Airport Dulles), then a "Super Shuttle" ($29) to the home of John and Carol Nellis in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington DC. I had met John and Carol in Nairobi in 1970, when John and I were both engaged on the "Special Rural Development Programme". John recently retired from the World Bank, and Carol retired from working as a counsellor to the Secret Service. Their two sons, Simon and Jonathan, were in Prague and Buenos Aires, respectively. Arriving at their home at 5 p.m., I was in time for a short walk around their leafy suburb, then drinks and supper in their conservatory, watching the birds on the feeder, and being welcomed by the two cats. Not having seen each other since 2006, we had much talk about...

Sept 4. John drove me, at 6 a.m., to IAD, to catch my flight to Syracuse, where a smiling Peter Castro (one of my UCSB students,and now a close friend) was waiting for me. Peter, who teaches in the Anthropology Department at Syracuse University, was free for the duration of my visit. Another warm welcome from Denise, Peter's wife, at the Castro home in the suburb of Liverpool. Their daughter, Camille, born in 1985, in Santa Barbara, when her parents were house-sitting our Riviera home, was away at law school, and her brother David was also at college.

beaver lake 2

We had time for three distinct activities, first driving five miles to Beaver Lake State Park, (which I had several times visited) for a good walk through the woods, along trails that alternate boardwalk and a leafy mulch, mostly shaded by the huge pine, maple and hemlock trees. We then drove to downtown Syracuse for an excellent light lunch at L'Adour Restaurant Francaise, followed by Denise giving us a short guided tour of some of the impressive Art Deco buildings, mostly banks.

Winslow Homer, West India Divers 1899

Our final destination was Syracuse University Art Gallery, to see a Winslow Homer exhibition, mostly etchings, which were of greater historical (Civil War scenes) than aesthetic interest; However, there were a few good water colours. Then back home, giving me time for my afternoon nap before relaxing in the cool of the late afternoon on the terrace. It had been hot downtown, temperatures up to 80F (these days I have some difficulty thinking in terms of Fahrenheit), I looked out with pleasure on Denise's colourful garden, a large lawn fringed by phlox, black-eyed Susan, petunia, many peony and tree peony, Oswego tea, a sort of hibiscus, and with tall (60'?) maple, silver maple and birch trees along the back fence. Peter puts out safflower seed for the birds, because the squirrels do not like this, (nor do the aggressive grackels) so unusually, he could welcome both squirrels and birds to the garden. A perfect setting for our steak barbecue.

I was intrigued to begin reading a remarkable book, "Adversity is my Angel", the autobiography of Peter's father's brother, Raul Castro, who was born in Mexico, moved when he was two years old to Arizona, and, after many struggles, became - lawyer, Superior court judge, Governor of Arizona (the first Mexican-American Governor) and, finally, Ambassador to Argentina. Raul Castro is still alive, aged 93.

1000 islands

Peter and Denise had - like all my hosts - given much thought to how they would spend the short time of my stay; I was both moved by their concern, and appreciative of their decisions. Early on this Saturday, we drove (two hours), to Alexandria Bay on the St. Lawrence Seaway, to board "Uncle Sam's Two Nations tour" taking three hours to cruise leisurely among the 1000 Islands. Bernard and I had made a similar cruise in 1962, when we visited my mother's brother, Uncle Stafford, who lived in Gananoque, on the Canadian side.

Our young student guide, on the cruise boat (not crowded, despite this being Labour Day week-end, as we were on the first boat) was informative and jolly. At the end of the cruise, we alighted at Boldt Castle, a fantastic Disney-ish structure, built in the early C20th. Denise had prepared a simple, tasty picnic lunch, which we enjoyed sitting in the splendid gardens of the Castle.

boldt castle

We made a detour, on the return journey, to Southwick Beach State Park, on the shores of Lake Ontario, for a barefoot walk along the beach, paddling in the lake, walking past dunes, and in pine forests. The beach was initially quite crowded, with a happy holiday atmosphere. Driving back, we saw three wild turkeys (my first sighting) by the roadside.

After dinner, Peter and I talked long into the night, on many topics, including his various professional engagements, Peter has become a specialist on natural resource conflict management, a topic of ever-increasing significance in Africa - and, indeed, globally.

@ boldt castle

Sunday, Sept 6. Denise and I went to the 8 a.m. Mass at St. John's Catholic church, a good start to my day, with an apposite and intelligent sermon - such as is by no means always the case. After breakfast, Peter and I went to Beaver Lake again, this time for a brisk three mile (50 minutes) walk all the way around the lake. We saw little wild life - a red cardinal, a heron, chipmunks and squirrels galore, we heard the Pileated woodpecker. On other walks, we have often seen deer, and Peter, who walks there regularly, has seen raccoon, coyote, fox, muskrat, wild turkey, osprey and red-tailed hawk.

denises garden

Sept 6/7. Denise arranged a jolly dinner party, three faculty couples, plus Mengistu, a bright, outgoing Ethopian who has just completed his Ph.D., with Peter as supervisor.

3 anthros

One of the guests, Jim Newman, a retired geographer whom I have known for many years, is a wine fundi, bringing three bottles of excellent South African wine for the party.

Jim is finishing a biogaphy of Richard Burton, concentrating on his African Years. He has already written a biography of Stanley.

dwb and peter

Sept 7. P & D drove me through pretty country side and charming small towns, to Binghamton, for lunch with Michael and Sylvia Horowitz. Michael, who was my co-director at IDA (Institute for Development Anthropology) for 25 years, was not well, (some sort of dementia) but we were glad to have made the visit. Then we drove to Ithaca, to see Garry and Connie Thomas, my hosts for the next two days.

I realise that my visits fit into a distinct pattern, involving much talk - first about families, then any professional activities, local and national and international events, books, movies, whatever. Talks are interspersed with walks, and some sight-seeing, with a pause for sundowners and good dinners, so I shan't be repeating all the details, except to say that I am enjoying seeing old friends enormously, and I have received such warm welcomes. Wonderful!

Walked with G & C through variegated woodland - oak, ash, birch, beech, maple, black locust, tulip, poplar, sumac, hemlock.....and later for a late walk around Cornell University, a few blocks from their home.

Sept 8. An early morning walk through more woods, along a river, then to the Farmers Market, which epitomises Ithaca - laid back, outstanding local (often organic) produce, and above all, friendly, bright, interested people. Bumper stickers read:-


- and I am sure that many other favourable terms would apply.

Ithaca is very much a college town (Cornell University, Ithaca College), with a high proportion of foreign (especially South-East Asian) students. There is a pervading liberal, tolerant atmosphere, also great bookshops.

A drive along Cayuga Lake, with frequent stops for short walks, and views. We had hoped to have lunch at an up-market lakeside restaurant, but we found it closed, settled for what Garry called "real Americana", a cafe at the small quintessential American small town of Interlaken, where we had good sandwiches and coffee. On the way back we stopped to view the Taughannock Falls from above; while there, a young couple asked Garry to take photographs of them against the Falls. "Take one more, please", said the young man, quickly kneeling and producing a ring from its little box, asking, sweetly, "Will you marry me?" The young woman was clearly taken by surprise, but she quickly agreed. A touching episode.

That evening G & C invited their friends Andrew and Nancy Ramage for dinner. Andrew (from Britain) who taught at Cornell University, is an archaeologist /historian, has been studying Sardiz (Turkey) for years. Nancy an art historian, was at Ithaca College, and wrote a fascinating book (co-authored with her mother), The Cone Sisters of Baltimore. This describes the lives of Dr. Claribel and Ella Cone, two wealthy Jewish sisters who, in late C19 and early C20, spent some years in Paris, were friendly with Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, and, importantly, bought a great selection of Impressionists - Picasso, Matisse, and many others, most of whom they knew socially. Their collection was bequeathed to the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Sept 9. G & C drove me (1 & 1/4 hours) to Syracuse airport for my flight to Washington DC (Dulles) and another Super Shuttle to the Nellis home in Bethesda, Maryland, in time for a light lunch in the conservatory. That afternoon we took the Metro to see the National Portrait Gallery, and the National American Museum where we saw much of interest (Andy Warhol's painting of Marilyn Monroe) and beauty (e.g. an Edward Hopper), and some western American paintings. John and Carol produced a really good Indian takeaway dinner, again enjoyed, in the twilight, in the conservatory.

Sept 10. Checking my emails, I had a wonderful surprise: Kathy O'Brien, whom I had met at a party of the Jacks, at Arniston, a couple of years ago, told me that she had bought a copy of Brokie's Way, and had mentioned this to her Johannesburg neighbour, Stan Smollan, who wished to contact me. I go back to our POW camp in North Africa, near Tripoli, in winter 1942, when Stan managed to buy a great-coat which he gave to me, a generous act that I remember with aching gratitude and affection. I last saw Stan in Johannesburg about 1946, had lost touch with him and I was thrilled, I look forward to speaking to him soon. Stan is now nearly 90, plays bowls three times a week. Only very few of my wartime buddies are still with us.

J & C have gone out, leaving me a laptop to catch up on my emails and travel diary, what thoughtful hosts. I will soon be going to the Cosmos Club (Massachusetts Avenue, near Dupont Circle) to meet Wilton and Virginia Dillon, whom I first met in New York City c 1961-then they were neighbours at the University of Ghana, 1961/62, when Bernard was with me. We have met frequently over the years. Wilton, who was the senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution for many years, is the most urbane, witty and amiable fellow.

Leaving the Metro at Dupont Circle, I became disoriented ,as frequently happens to me, despite my having been to this area many times in the past; Bernard would sigh and say, "Oh, no, not again, Brokie". I asked a street vendor for directions to Massachusetts Avenue, and we had this conversation:

I guess you are not from here.
-No, I am from South Africa.
Oh, that is where Charlize Theron comes from?

That was a new descriptor for my country.

Being early, I went to Le Pain Quotidien, a "peasant/chic" restaurant, where my bowl of Cappuchino was excellent, if expensive. The menu told me that "our coffees are 100% Peruvian single estate Villa Rica", and invited me to "ask for our organic and bio-dynamic beer and wine list," exhorting me to "enjoy the good life...and save the planet". I had a slight feeling of déjà vu, because on my 2006 RTW trip, Wilton had invited me to the Cosmos Club and I borrowed a jacket and tie (which do not accompany me on my travels) from John Nellis, who is fortunately more or less my size. This time I had to repeat the borrowing.

The Cosmos Club, situated on "Embassy Row", the grandest section of Massachusetts Avenue, is a very splendid, august London-style club, with portraits of members lining the walls. These comprise: Pulitzer Prize winners; Nobel Prize winners; members who have appeared on postage stamps, and many other categories of honours. Wilton is a great host, and I much enjoyed seeing him and Virginia again. We were joined by Michael McDowell, a bubbly, bright Irishman, who had been a student of Conor Cruise O'Brien (whom I had known when Conor was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana,1962/63). In my limited experience of clubs, the food can be dire, but here the lobster salad was superb, as was the Round Hill Cab Sauv from St.Helena California. I was touched that Wilton and Virginia, both of whom are a little frail, had made the effort to drive in from Alexandria to meet me in such elegant surroundings, ideal for our leisurely and wide-ranging conversation.

Sept 11. We had planned a bicycle ride to Georgetown, but rain altered our plans, we drove there instead, parking near the Swedish Embassy on the Potomac, walking to Leopold's Kafe (sic) for "melange and schneke" - coffee and a snail-shaped pastry. We went on ( my request) to the National Gallery where I again admired my old favourites - particularly the Impressionists, also C19 and C20 American artists, Winslow Homer (see painting West India Divers, 1899 above - Sept 4), Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, Whistler, Sargent, and painters of Western landscapes like Nierstadt and Church - I also appreciated the skills of George Carlin, who has his own room with his accurate 1860s paintings of American Indians.

Sitting out out on the terrace, admiring the begonia and assuring the black cat Katey,and the Siamese cat, Leuka, that they are indeed wonderful creatures - not that they really need such reassurance.

A lively dinner party that evening, with Steve and Margaret, who was a social worker, like Carol; Sarah, working on environment and pollution, and George, who, like Steve, works on nuclear issues. A fine Australian Shiraz complimented Carol's good dinner, and conversation - and stories told, animated and diverse.

Sept 12. John showed me his Checklist of East African Birds (copies of which we all possessed when we were in Kenya) which indicated birds that he had seen when visiting Bernard and me in Mbeere, on two separate visits, December 1970 and April 1971. Mbeere was good birding country, and on the 1971 visit we and John and John Gerhart went birding after a rain shower, when the air was full of flying ants, attracting scores of birds. In less than an hour, we saw 45 different species, 20 of which , John remembered, were new to him. While sitting on the terrace, we admired a goldfinch on the feeder.

We had planned to do a bicycle ride to Georgetown, but abandoned that idea when the rain persisted; instead, we walked along an old railway track, now reserved for walkers and cyclists. We called in at the Saturday morning Farm Women's market, then John and Carol drove me to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, for my flight to Miami and on to Fort Myers. (I wondered how many person-hours have already been expended on me on this trip, friends driving me, taking days off work, entertaining me...then I decided it was better not to dwell on this aspect, but simply accept all the overwhelming kindness I have been shown).

At Fort Myers, at 7 p.m., I was met by Nigel (a.k.a Fige), to distinguish him from Rob's sister's first husband, Nigel Morris,(husband of my niece Robin), and his friend Brian Haber, an oral surgeon, who had read and liked Brokie's Way; Brian was prepared with 101 questions and comments for me, all very gratifying. Since starting this trip, I have had several requests for copies of my book, which Donald (my Fish Hoek computer advisor and friend) kindly despatched. A 30-minute drive brought us to Nigel and Rob's home, eight miles outside Punta Gorda, for a rapturous welcome from Rob, making me again appreciate how lucky I am to have such an affectionate family. In this area, the home lots are 1 & 1/4 acres, and they have three lots, fenced (to prevent Fige's hunting dogs from running away, and nicely wooded - despite their having lost many trees in Hurricane Charlie (a Category Four hurricane), in 2004 when Punta Gorda was the epicentre. In stark contrast to South Africa, doors were seldom locked, and boats, bicycles, lawnmowers etc., were left outside or in open garages.


Also at home were their son, Rhett (33) and his fiancee Jo-Ellen (22); their daughter Kym (28), and her husband Greg (39) and three year old , very articulate, son Bryland; Brian's wife, Annie. They all have busy lives, so we had a Thai take-out for supper, and very good it was.

Sunday Sept 13. Kym made us a scrumptious breakfast - thin crepes, on which we placed hazelnut spread, Mascarpone cheese and yoghurt, strawberries and bananas, these last two items being finely diced. It was hot, nearly 90F, and humid, so I had no long walks, spending a lazy day catching up with family matters and enjoying ice-cold beers. Brian and Annie, and Kym's family all left to drive the three or four hours to their homes on the Gulf. After a steak barbecue, an early night was appreciated.

Sept 14. Rhett called early, when walking was comfortable, so that we could do some birding; we saw the red-tailed woodpecker, but not the red-bellied woodpecker, which Rhett usually sees in this area. Fige and Rob were both working, but Rhett had taken off, and drove me to the Cecil Web Wild Life Management Area, where tightly regulated hunting (quail, snipe, doves) is allowed, only with bow and arrows. We saw a few birds - red-tailed hawk, little blue heron, great American egret, but the significant part of the drive was getting to know each other better, so much easier in one-on-one conversations. Jo-ey joined us for lunch at Elena's, where my taco was tasty but huge, no wonder there are so many obese folk.

Sept 15. Rhett, Rob and Fige had all taken off from work, so we set off early to be on the bay, in Rhett's boat (he is a professional fisherman) by daybreak. It was raining, but Rhett checked the weather on his cell-phone and predicted that the shower would be over in half an hour - as it was. Another great day, we saw 25 different species of birds, including pelican, osprey and frigate birds, which Bernard and I had seen in the Falkland Islands in 1978. We also saw dolphins, which Rhett persuaded to "surf" in our wake - and, a first for me, manatees. These gentle creatures are so tame that I was able to scratch the back of one young male.


Fishing started with Rhett and Fige discarding the catfish; Rhett told us how an old local "redneck" had warned him to avoid the catfish spikes, "you will enter a world of Hurt". Graphic expression. Although I am no fisherman Rhett coaxed me into fishing, first we caught ballyhoo, small fish for bait, then, to my surprise I caught a few snapper. We took the fish to "The Lazy Flamingo", a dockside restaurant, which cooked them to our liking, serving them with salad - and a pitcher of amber bock beer. We had a view of the busy marina, where I was fascinated by the operation of huge forklifts, which lifted boats out of the water and stored them in a three-storey boat-house.

Sept 16. Fige and Rhett, both expert birders, drove us (1.5 hours) to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge (one of 500 such National Refuges) on Sanibel Island - which I had visited in the early 1980s. They saw 30 different species - well, I missed some of the lbj's, ( "little brown jobs", such as warblers) but I did see: roseate spoonbill, tricolor heron, yellow-crowned night-heron, osprey, willett, the rare reddish egret. anhinga, belted kingfisher, pileated woodpecker and two bald eagles - a good day, it involved several hour of walking 4 & 1/2 miles, on a hot day. We also saw raccoons, and the black, white and red mangroves. We were ready for a light lunch - a very diverse salad and Red Stripe (Jamaican) beer in a frosted glass.


That evening I took Fige and Rob, Rhett and Jo-ey, to a pre-birthday dinner for Rob, whose birthday (63) was the next day. We went to the huge Laishley Crab House, overlooking the marina and the Pearl River, with Port Charlotte in the distance. At first there was much rain with our having spectacular views with dramatic thunder and lightning. (The nearby community of Cape Coral is allegedly "the lightning capital of the US", the reason said to be that the developers chopped down all the trees). I had oysters for a starter, then a "Creamy Snow Crab Florentine", with Fige and I sharing a bottle of New Harbour (Marlborough) Sauvignon Blanc (the others enjoyed beer, or cocktails)

Sept 17. Up early for Rob to drive me to Fort Myers airport, for my flight, first to Dallas, Texas, where I had a three hour layover, during which I was able to use the American Airlines "Admirals Club", to write up my diary, and a few post-cards.

On the flight I finished one of three paper backs that John Nellis had given me - Jonathan Harr : The Lost Painting : the Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece (2005). An absorbing tale, well told.

Miriam met me at El Paso, Texas to drive me (one hour) on blue roads, over the mountains, to Mesilla, New Mexico, which is a sort of twin town to the bigger Las Cruces, the location of NMSU (New Mexico State University), where Miriam and Tom (both former UCSB students) teach. When Las Cruces was incorporated into the United States, in 1848, 60 Hispanic residents chose to set up homes in the new settlement of Mesilla, (five miles away) which was then in Mexico. In 1853, however, Mesilla was back in the U.S.A., after a Land Purchase. Mesilla remains distinctly Hispanic, with pleasing southwestern US architecture. T & M's home is in the hills, overlooking the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, which borders the Rio Grande; in the distance are the dramatic Organ Mountains. Their home, a mile or two from Mesilla, and 8 miles from NMSU, is built in the prevailing adobe style, with magnificent sweeping views. It was warm, but not humid, when I arrived. I liked seeing, from my bedroom window, the desert vegetation of mesquite, ocotilla, cacti and other familiar trees and shrubs.


After a short nap (I had been up quite early) Miriam and I went to the NMSU Museum, for the opening of two exhibitions - Dian Fossey and the gorillas, and Navajo rugs, both, especially the latter, most interesting. I had the chance to meet several of Miriam's colleagues and students, and I enjoyed being introduced as "my professor". When I had mentioned to T & M that I was planning another RTW trip, Miriam promised that she would find the best Chile Rellenos in the south west, remembering that this is one of my favourite dishes. So we went at 7 p.m.to Andele restaurant, where we met Tom who had just finished teaching a class ("Cultures of Africa"). The Chile Rellenos were indeed quite as excellent as I recalled, them, accompanied by Dos Equis (Mexican) beer.


Sept 18. Out at 7.30 a.m. for a walk in the State Park, followed by a drive through the farming areas, with cotton, alfalfa and pecans predominating. My Cape Town friend, Graham Dickason, a keen historian, had asked me to send him a photograph of the grave of Benjamin Viljoen, a senior general in the Anglo/Boer War, who had refused to live under the British in South Africa, and had come to the US, via St.Helena and England; he had been welcomed by President Theodore Roosevelt, and had settled in Las Cruces. He was an advisor to the Mexican Army in the war in the early C20, and died in 1917, being buried in the Masonic Cemetery. Tom, who had already located and photographed the grave (Tom is an outstanding photographer) drove me to see the grave; he also showed me a sad sight, a row of graves of babies, some as recent as 2009, indicating a higher than average rate of infant mortality. Many of the graves were lovingly decorated with both flowers and with toys.

That evening Bill and Cynthia Garrett, both recently retired senior officials in the National Parks Service, joined us for dinner. T & M have the ideal sundowner location, a table on the open terrace overlooking the plains and the distant Organ mountains, a fine place for our gin-and-tonics. For dinner we had grilled salmon and a big salad, with a crisp Columbia Crest Pinot Grigio from Washington State. Conversation was brisk, I enjoyed pontificating on the joys and rewards of retirement (now twenty years) to the newly retired couple. In addition, I was gratified, trying not to show it, when Miriam and Tom quoted what Bernard or I had said in class, or at home 30 years ago.

organ mounts

Sept 19. Tom and I up early for a 7.15 a.m. State Park Birding walk, accompanied by a ranger, with seven other enthusiasts joining. We saw: Gambel's Quail, American Coot, Black-chinned and Rufous Humming birds, Northern Flicker, Wilson Warbler, Ladder-backed woodpecker, Green-tailed Towhee, House Finch - and for me the most exciting sighting - the Greater roadrunner - which I had last seen in Santa Barbara, c 1975, when a road runner walked boldly up our drive on Loma Media, terrifying our cat. Tom pointed out the invasive Salt Cedar, somewhat similar in size, appearance and destructive power to our invasive Port Jackson, and equally a nuisance and a problem to eradicate.

Miriam joined us at the Old Mesilla Pastry cafe ("The Shed") where we had, after Mimosas (sparkling wine and OJ) a large and delicious breakfast: Huevos rancheros, consisting of two fried eggs, chile, beans and tortilla. On to the Saturday market, a crowded and happy place, mostly crafts, with local produce, many chiles (a speciality), the neighbouring town of Hatch is "the chile capital of the world"). A brief look at COAS, quite the biggest used bookstore that I have ever seen, and home.

Sept 19. Borrowed Tom's Subaru to drive to Mesilla (10 minutes) for 5.30 p.m Mass at the historic (1850s) Basilica of St Albino, where I felt at home. Drove back in heavy rain to another dinner (Thai) party with three guests - Vicky, who had been Miriam's student, now teaching at U.Arizona; Becky, working with ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) on border civil rights; Cynthia, a NMSU sociologist who had studied "transformation in women's netball in South Africa".

Sunday, Sept 20. A lazy morning, Miriam showing me the American Anthropological Association programme for the annual meeting in November, which I used to attend regularly. Among the session titles, we found this gem, making me glad that I had long ago left the academy. "The role of (de)colonial theory and (de)colonial methodology to track palimpestically the formation of urban identites in globalised America". (I am not making this up). However, we were interested to note a "Presidential session" on Surviving and thriving in Indonesia, ...in honor of Ann Dunham (President Obama's mother)

walk in mountains
A walk in Soledad Canyon in the Organ Mountains was followed by a light (small chile relleno for me) at their favourite restaurant, and relaxing at home. Earlier, Miriam had done laundry for me; all my hosts have helped with this domestic task, allowed me to use their computers, encouraged me to take my afternoon nap, and generally been very helpful, I am indeed "a lucky old thing".

Sept 21. Another early (6 a.m.) start, with Tom and Miriam driving me (1 & 1/4 hours) to El Paso Airport, for my flight to San Francisco (change at Phoenix, Arizona). I thought I detected the difference leaving New Mexico ("The Land of Enchantment", according to the state licence plates) for Texas, which has been making noises about seceding: the reaction of all my friends has been "Good riddance". Driving at dawn, we had a glorious sunrise over the Organ Mountains; I was glad that we had walked among them the previous day, giving me a better idea of their structure and the beauty of the great scattered volcanic rocks.

Marion Morrison met me at the airport. I had met Marion in Ghana, 1961, when I literally picked her (and her friend Penny Roach) up, when they were hitch-hiking on the road, when they were Peace Corps volunteers in the very first contingent of PCVs, teaching at secondary schools. We have kept in touch over the years, but the last time we met was in July 1987, when Marion drove from San Francisco to Santa Barbara for a party which Bernard and I gave to celebrate our 33 years together; "33 @ 33", Bernard called, it, because we then lived at 33 Loma Media. After a good lunch (swordfish steak) at the Lakeside cafe, in Marion's old neighbourhood, Marion drove me around some familiar locations - familiar from my years, 1963 - 1966, at UC Berkeley, when I knew the Bay area well. I saw Golden Gate Park, Twin Peaks (although the fog obscured much of the usually widescale view), the Presidio, and finally, the Marina, to "The Heritage", a comfortable retirement home where Marion now lives, and where I am to stay for a few days.

Sept 22. Up early for a good walk along the Marina, but visibility across San Francisco Bay was limited because of the fog, The paths were thronged with runners, cyclists and walkers.

Marion drove me to the new (to me) Asia Arts Museum, some stunning exhibits, I liked especially the Japanese ceramics, also some contemporary paintings by Japanese-Americans, in the classical manner. Then I went by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to Berkeley, to "Thomas Livingston Antiques", to meet Tom, who had also been in the first Peace Corps group, to Ghana. We have kept up with Tom, seeing him in New York when he was at Columbia University; at Berkeley when he taught at UC Berkeley, and when he and Karel Wessels, his partner (both professional and personal), came to see us in Santa Barbara several times, usually at Thanksgiving. Helping in Tom and Karel's shop was Dennis, a fine young (24) man, who had cycled with a group from the East coast to the West, raising funds for "Houses for Habitat". Ironically, after completing this marathon journey, Dennis' cycle was stolen in Berkeley. Dennis had also spent four months in Northern Ghana, on a housing project. I was interested to hear that while in Ghana he had been befriended by a group of South Africans who were farming - mangoes. I was pleased to learn that the South Africans were flourishing, and getting on well with the local people.

Tom, Karel and I went (by BART) to their apartment in Oakland, overlooking Lake Merritt, for a rest and then the inescapable sundowner. Along all my trip, I have had difficulty persuading my hosts to allow me to pay for anything, but I had insisted that I would take Tom, Karel and Marion to "Chez Panisse", Alice Water's well known (for fresh produce, prepared with great care) restaurant. Tom drove us in his 20 year old BMV convertible to Chez Panisse , where we dined at The Cafe, less formal (and less expensive) than the Restaurant. It was a splendid dinner, accompanied by the most acceptable "Green and Red Zinfandel" (the house wine). It was a memorable evening, even if rather extravagant. Marion, who had come to dinner separately, drove me home in her Toyota Scion, a most practical vehicle, crossing the Bay Bridge, and passing familiar names - the Embarcadero, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, Pier 39.

Sept 23. On my morning walk, the fog had lifted so that I could see Alcatraz Island, Sausilito across the Bay and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, all caught in "a noose of light".

I had been having a problem with one hearing aid, so Marion located a Siemens agent near Union Square, giving me directions for getting there by bus. The 30 bus took me through Chinatown, now much more extensive than it had been in the 1960s. The street names - Polk, Castro, Sutter, Hyde, Post, Market - revived many memories for me. My hearing aid problem solved, I joined other tourists for a coffee in Union Square, recollecting the many occasions when Bernard and I had strolled across this square.

Later. To the San Francisco Opera House, where I had last been in the early 1960s, when Ouma and I used to attend operas regularly. "Il Seraglio" was a good production, but Marion and I agreed that it was not totally gripping - or am I jaded with all my travels? Anyway, it was a pleasurable evening.

Second thoughts on Chez Panisse. The food and wine were excellent, but I can find as good at home; the tables were too close together; the service was impeccable, but I prefer the rather more relaxed, less solemn, approach that prevails in the Cape; there is no outlook - I think of the magnificent views over the vineyards and mountains at "Buitenverwachting", or the glorious outlook over the ocean (possibly including whales) from "Black Marlin"; the loos (one each for men and for women), are inadequate. (Marion explained that because it was an old building, CP was allowed to open, but if any changes were made, extensive renovations (more loos, an elevator) would have to be made in order to comply with legislation regarding disabled people). Despite my criticisms, the four of us had a very jolly evening, but I conclude that CP is a tad over-rated.

Sept 24. Up early to get a taxi to Embarcadero, for BART+ "airtrain" to the airport for my flight to Seattle, where I had a crowded diary, with four people to see in just over 24 hours(!) I was met by Mat (my UCSB colleague of many years) and Gill Mines; I had last seen them in 2008 in Utrecht, when Mat was directing the UC Education Abroad Program for The Netherlands. They took me to a large busy restaurant, "Chonook on Salmon Bay" for one of my best lunches - "Sesame seared fresh albacore tuna with tombo salad, mango....", accompanied by dark beer -"Deutsches Black Butte Porter". We had a window table, overlooking the marina; my only reservation was that it was very noisy, we all (not only I) had difficulty hearing each other. Back to the Mines' comfortable house and neat garden, where I had a restorative forty winks. So relaxing to doze off in a guest-room surrounded by books, as has happened often on my trip.

(2) Mat drove me to the home of Marsha Iverson, who had taken classes at UCSB with Bernard and with me in 1970, and who had contacted me earlier this year. I was thrilled to hear her praises of Bernard, whose Africa class was apparently a turning point in her college days, making her decide not to drop out. Marsha had organised my complicated schedule.

(3) After a good long talk, I was collected by Marsha's friend Barry Herem, who had read "Brokie's Way" - obviously very carefully, judging by his questions and comments. Barry is an artist, a sculptor and painter, who adapts, very skilfully, North-West native American images. He drove me - 30 minutes - to his home north of Seattle, right on the ocean, a lovely setting; we were joined by Marsha for a simple supper (fresh shrimps and garlic bread), then a good night's sleep at Marsha's home, where I was inspected by the three curious cats. An early walk around the suburban neighbourhood set me up for the day.

(4) Marsha drove me to meet Bud and Janet Winans at the Portage Bay Cafe, a popular (and, alas, again very noisy) place which served deluxe breakfasts - I had a wild salmon omelette. I met Bud in the early 1960s, and again in Kenya, in the early 1970s, when Bernard and I several times stayed at the Nairobi home of Bud and his first wife, Patty, where we appreciated the luxuries (after our fieldwork in the bush) of hot baths, ice in drinks, and the warm welcome. Bud, another anthropologist, worked in the Usambara Montains in Tanganyika in the 1950s.

After breakfast we had long talks, covering, as usual a great variety of personal and general topics; first we sat outside (more cats playing around us), admiring their profuse garden, especially a dramatic shrub, "Princess" or "Glory bush" with striking purple flowers. When we moved inside the house, I was delighted to see four of Thelma's lithographs, of Swahili women, a Lamu door, and a mountain - Mt, Longonot. Bud also had paintings by Adams (who lived in the Seychelles) and Robin Atkinson, two well known East African artists. The final stage of my busy stay was when Marsha collected me for a quick look at the Volunteer Park Conservancy (a superb array of cacti, bromeliads, sansevieria, orchids...) then on to the airport, with stunning views on my flight (I had a window seat clear of the wings, as Bernard always used to request) and back to San Francsico, where Marion met me and drove me to Greens; an unusual, and deservedly popular, place, my first gourmet vegetarian restaurant. It would be easy to become vegetarian if Greens' meals were readily available. Greens is fully licensed, I had excellent Californian wines with my dinner.

Sept 26. Marion drove me along Highway 1 (coastal), encountering at first heavy fog, which soon lifted sufficiently for me to get great views of the dramatic cliffs ,beaches and forests, which I had last seen years ago, travelling with Bernard. We passed long forgotten names - Half Moon Bay, San Gregorio Mountains - arriving at midday at the home of Manuel and Ann Carlos, whom I had known for many years (since 1967) at UCSB. After joining us for a salad lunch, Marion drove on to meet Professor (Psychology) Brewster Smith (in nearby Santa Cruz) who conducted a long term (27 Years) study of the "Ghana 1" Peace Corps group. I asked Marion to find out if he has published any findings - on how the Peace Corps experience affected the subsequent lives of the volunteers. Marion looked after me so well, in my days in the Bay area.

Manuel and Ann live in a sort of compound, with their daughter Andrea, her husband Bruce and Andrea and Bruce's three children - Nathaniel, 15, Nicholas, 12, and Anabel, 7 - staying in "the big house". We were joined by Manuel and Ann's son Roberto,with his daughter Sophia (1 & 1/2).

'Berto was on daddy duty, his wife Nadia being on duty, nursing. It is a happy family atmosphere, I enjoyed the laughter and lively chatter of the children and the company of the dogs. Berto told me about his "paleolithic" diet, comprising meat, vegetable, fruit - although Berto did make an exception for some dairy products. He takes the diet seriously, measuring his strength regularly, and is convinced that he is fitter and stronger since starting this diet. Manuel and Ann drove me to Watsonville, (10 minutes) for dinner at Jalisco, an excellent Mexican restaurant, where I had chicken mole, another of my favourite Mexican dishes. I was glad of an early night.

Sunday, Sept 27. In the early morning, I walked "around the block", a 40 minute walk through oaks on the hillside, then apple orchards in the plains and a short uphill stroll back to the "compound". We are preparing for a grand fiesta this afternoon; I accompanied Manuel to Watsonville to "Mi Pueblo" a huge Mexican supermarket; as MC said, we could be in Mexico, looking around at the overwhelmingly Mexican clientele, and the Mexican products. MC bought a variety of freshly made tortillas, salsa, cheeses, cerviche, guacamole and other essentials. I bought a jar of mole, and spiced chile, so that I can cook an authentic chicken mole dinner when I return home.

Manuel and Ann are much involved in a project in Mexico, to protect the turtles, which come to the beach to lay their eggs - which are prized by the locals, who believe that the eggs have aphrodisiac properties. Ann is President of MAIA (Migration and Adaptation in the Americas) a NGO which provides help in education and health for the families of farmworkers in the Pajaro Valley. MAIA has provided scholarships to elite universities to promising young people, with very good results. The Fiesta was great success, about 35 people, including M & A's elder daughter, Lisa, and her husband Brett and their children, who came from Redwood City (1 & 1/4 hours drive) for the gathering. Lisa and 'Drea said that they liked coming to our Santa Barbara home, over 30 years ago, because Bernard and I did not mind what they did nor where they played; they even used our bed as a trampoline.

A Mexican trio, played, at my request "Guadalajara", which I had first heard in Garabaldi Plaza, Mexcio City, c 1969, when I was there with Manuel and his compadre, Alfonso, and Alfonso's 15 year old daughter, Lupita, who loved being out late and listening to the Mariachi band. On my previous RTW trip, in 2006, I had enjoyed talking to Rosario, a teacher from Bolivia, and I was delighted to see her again. My UCSB colleagues Don Brown and Tom Harding had driven up from Santa Barbara (nearly five hours) for the Fiesta, and in order to take me to Santa Barbara.

Sept 28.
After a grand breakfast (with Manuel and Ann) at "Seascape", a resort on the coast in Monterey bay, we drove to Santa Barbara, ending up at the home of Barbara Voorhies, another UCSB colleague, for supper. It was a good drive on Route 101, which I had travelled on many times.

Sept 29. Barbara kindly lent me a car so that I could drive to UCSB, where I became lost, so much had changed since my time there. However, I did meet Manesendu Kundu, whose Ph.D I had supervised. Bernard and I had arranged for Mane to teach our Environmental Studies course in 1989, when we left UCSB, and Mane has been coming every year to teach courses at ES and Anthropology, at least for the summer quarter, often for the Fall Quarter as well. He told me that he has taught 69 UCSB courses so far. Mane was due to leave for India the next day, so we were both happy to have the opportunity of a short meeting.

I had been having problems in communicating with my US bank (CHASE), so - at Mat Mines' suggestion - I opened an account with Montecito Bank, which proved to be surprisingly simple. .

I did lunch with Claire and Seymour Bachmuth, whose flat I had occupied in London, in August, and had good talks.

The evening Barbara and I took Pat Griffith to an early dinner in Carpinteria. Pat was administrator when I directed a research institute at UCSB (1975-1982) and we have remained good friends. Pat, who is my age and rather frail, is still lively and bright, always excellent company; I recalled the many festive occasions - Thanksgiving and Christmas - we had shared at Pat's pleasant Carpinteria home.

Sept 30. For the early walk, Barbara and I walked up the hillside road, beyond her home, seeing the devastation caused by the two recent fires, with many of her neighbours' homes burnt out. BV had had to evacuate (to Pat Griffith) with her three dogs, two cats and a mouse.

Lanys Kaye-Eddie collected me at BV's home. Lanys, originally from South Africa, lives in Bakersfield, where she breeds Palomino horses. It was Lanys who invited me to a splendid Horse Auction in Brazil, soon after Bernard died: "Come, you need a change", Lanys told me. We had an A+ lunch at Harbour House, on the pier in Santa Barbara, which used one of our favourite restaurants. A sign of the recession - there were more waiting staff than diners, and formerly we always made reservations in advance. .

Lanys drove me to my next destination, Thousand Oaks, to the home of Mark and Ileana Towne and Kevin their 16 year old son - who had visited me last November. Lanys then drove back to Bakersfield, I was so touched by her doing this long drive for me. Mark and Ileana have a long narrow plot, on which Mark, a former student of Bernard and me, has built a fine terrace, ideal for our sundowners, with the moon nearly full. .

Oct 1. After my regular early walk - round the block, 30 minutes - Mark drove me to CalTech (California Institute of Technology) to meet Ted Scudder, whom I have known since early 1960s: we met initially through a shared interest in involuntary resettlement as a result of building dams - which has affected millions of people worldwide, and on which Ted is the leading expert, with over fifty years of experience - he is now Professor Emeritus. While walking with Ted to his car (a marvellous 1974 VW "Thing", made in Mexico), I saw a middle aged portly man approaching, and said to Ted, "he looks like Martin Rubin", then I realised that it was Martin Rubin, the estranged son of our dear friend Leslie Rubin. Martin heard me, and hurried on. I felt no need to speak to him, but it was strange, because Ted said that he often passed Martin in the mornings but had never seen him in the middle of the day. Martin had briefly been an assistant professor at Caltech, in the 1970s, but failed to get tenure.

Ted and I used to meet, frequently, when I lived in Santa Barbara, for long walks and talks, and for the next few days we resumed this habit, starting in the Huntington Botanic Gardens, where we admired the Chinese and Japanese gardens. That evening, Ted, Molly and I enjoyed our Gin and Tonics on the terrace, overlooking Eaton Canyon - they have what amounts to a private nature reserve. Later, we sat in the darkened living room, looking out at a floodlit platform where Ted had placed bowls of dog food, which soon attracted skunk, raccoon and opossum. .

Oct 2. An early morning walk up the Canyon, where Ted pointed out where the August fire had caused havoc, and where he had cleared the brush below their home. When I asked if he had had help for this heavy task (Ted is nearly 80) he said "No, there are too many rattle snakes and too much poison oak", meaning that he would not subject others to these hazards. At the end of the walk I swam ten lengths in their big pool, thinking that I should arrange to swim regularly (in a pool, not in the chilly ocean) when I get home.

Ted and I spent the day first in the Huntington Gardens, seeing what must surely be one of the best cactus gardens in the world - with many spp. from South Africa - then to Descanso Gardens, both offering so much of interest in plants and in birds - Cooper's hawk, Great blue heron, Newick wren, White-crowned sparrow (early), black Phoebe, ground Towhee, jays and mocking birds.... As usual, we discussed numerous topics, including progress on his most recent book, which he is going through the copy editing: Global Threats, Global Futures: Living with Declining Living Standards. (I read the chapters in draft form, and will be glad to see the published version.)

That evening's game viewing produced record sightings : first a family of four skunks paraded, very showy with their tails fanned out; then a mother and baby raccoon came to the bowls, followed by one opossum and, to crown it all, one shy fox. This was one of the highlights of my entire trip, not having seen an opossum before, nor a fox in the US, nor skunks so clearly. .

Oct 3. Mark collected me again (a round trip of 2 & 1/2 hours) - I could not have managed my complicated journey without the kindness of my friends and family, who so often went out of their way to accommodate me. I do hope that many will visit me in South Africa, so that I may reciprocate.


We had another outstanding day: Mark, Ileana, Kevin, his girl-friend Chelsea and I went to the Getty Centre, spending a few hours seeing the magnificent collection, and appreciating Robert Meier's brilliant and visitor-friendly design . Orientals were disproportionately represented among the visitors "end of interesting fact" as Bernard used to say. We had dinner at the Getty Restaurant (dinner only on Saturday evenings,and we had a full moon, as well). This restaurant was, in all respects, at least the equal, if not the superior, of the much better known Chez Panisse; also, it was more relaxed, more Californian. Especially notable was the St. Supery (Napa Valley) Sauvignon Blanc, with a most distinct and delicate fruity flavour. I admired Kevin, who was on crutches after breaking his foot in a soccer game, for bravely walking around, spurning a wheel-chair; Kevin also impressed by being culinarily adventurous, tasting my oysters - and when in South Africa he had tried, and liked, escargots.

Sunday Oct 4. A lazy day, then at midday Mark drove me to Ventura (40 minutes) to meet Clive and Marion Leeman, who had driven over from Ojai. We first met Clive in the late 1960s, when he was a Ph.D student in English literature at UCSB, and I was a member of his committee - he wrote a dissertation on Peter Abrahams, the coloured anti-Apartheid writer. Over coffee at Peet's Cafe, we had a good talk, with C & M much dismayed over their son, Philip, who is in a distressing custody battle for his five year old daughter. Clive had introduced us to his twin brother, Kevin, whom I had met twice in London on this trip. .

Oct 5. My last day in the U.S. Having experienced intermittent tooth-ache, Ileana and Mark arranged for me to see a dentist, who was very thorough and also gave me a clear explanation of what might be the matter. He gave me a prescription for penicillin in case the pain increased. I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively low cost, $ 85 for dentist, $18 for penicillin.

Next despatch will be from New Zealand, Mark will drive me to Los Angeles International Airport for my 23.45 Qantas flight to Auckland (12 & 1/2 hours).

proceed to next section - NZ and Australia antipodes


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