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
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.
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,
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
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,
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.
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.
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
Jim is finishing a biogaphy
of Richard Burton, concentrating on his African Years. He has
already written a biography of Stanley.
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
"ITHACA IS GREEN"
" ITHACA IS GAY"
" ITHACA IS GORGES"
- 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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. .
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 &
proceed to next section - NZ and