Monday, February 27, 2017

ULUWATU TEMPLE, Bali, Indonesia: Watch Out for Monkeys! Guest Post by Tom Scheaffer

Monkey with egg, Uluwatu, Indonesia
My brother, Tom Scheaffer, recently returned from a three week trip to Indonesia. Here is his report and some of his photos from his visit to a famous Hindu temple, Uluwatu (Pura Luhur), in Bali.
Uluwatu Temple, Bali, Indonesia
Recently I visited Bali, Indonesia. One of my favorite places is the Uluwatu Temple, a Hindu temple built at the edge of a 70 meter cliff projecting in the sea. The main religion is Bali is Hinduism. and there are temples throughout the island. All visitors must wear a sarong to enter the Uluwatu temple.

Temple guardian statue at Uluwatu
Uluwatu is known for the monkeys that inhabit the temple area, and also it is a famous surf spot with large waves. 
Tom, overlooking the beach below Uluwatu
As I was walking along the pathway above the ocean I warned my friend to be careful with his hat as the monkeys are notorious for snatching visitors' belongings.
Monkey at Uluwatu
At that moment I felt my prescription glasses being snatched off my face. It happened so fast I didn't even see the monkey until I saw it scamper off into the forest with my glasses! Luckily a park worker was nearby and followed the monkey and gave it an egg and it dropped the glasses. I was so relieved!
Statue within the Uluwatu complex
[Note from The Intrepid Tourist: Tom's encounter with the monkey reminds me of the children's book story of Curious George and the man with the yellow hat!]

Monday, February 20, 2017


Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia
Last week, on a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, I went to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, a visit particularly meaningful as this is February, which is Black History Month, and especially in light of current events in the U.S. and around the world.

Mural in the lobby at the entrance to the museum
Located at the end of Centennial Mall on the edge of downtown Atlanta, the museum has three floors of exhibits–The American Civil Rights Movement (second floor), Human Rights (third floor), and special exhibits on the ground floor.
The entrance to the museum from the plaza is on the second floor and from there I proceeded to the American Civil Rights exhibits through a gauntlet of photos from the years of segregation.
Entrance to exhibits chronicling the American Civil Rights Movement
The left side depicts all white schools, churches, parties, social events and sports under a neon sign “White” and on the opposite wall, under a neon “Colored” sign, is a collage of parallel events from the “colored” world.
Aerial photo of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963, and Leaders' Itinerary
At the other end of the entrance hall are a series of rooms packed with photos, quotations, videos, interactive exhibits chronicling Jim Crow laws, the battle for school desegregation, voting rights, freedom riders, the march on Washington for jobs and freedom, and much more. 
One can sit on a stool, like those at the lunch counters where sit-ins took place, and put on earphones that allow you to experience vicariously the epithets and abuse heaped on the sit-in participants. The Civil Rights exhibit ends with the assassination of Martin Luther King.
The stairway to the third floor of the museum, a replica of the Lorraine Motel where he was killed, leads to exhibits focusing on human rights worldwide.
In contrast with the dark rooms of the second floor, the upper floor of the museum are filled with light from the tall glass windows. Large panels and interactive exhibits invite the participation of viewers.
Justice We Shall Pursue (2010-2013), Quilt donated by the Peach State Stitchers
A beautiful quilt titled "Justice We Shall Pursue" depicting a tree of life surrounded by quotes and colorful patches representing 42 countries of the world hangs in one of the galleries on the third floor. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." This quote, in the center of the quilt, attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, reflects the hope that people will keep working to make the world a better place.

On the lower level of the museum is a gallery for special exhibits, currently showing a selection of the Martin Luther King papers in the Morehouse College collection. These include papers and his transcript from his student years, notes and syllabi from courses he taught, favorite books, and more. (Photographs were not permitted.)

Monday, February 13, 2017

TOKYO TRAFFIC: From the Memoir of Aunt Carolyn

Sightseeing in Tokyo
My husband's Aunt, Carolyn T. Arnold, traveled to Japan in the 1960's and 70's as the leader of a tour group. Here is her description of the challenges of traffic in Tokyo. Although she took many photos during her years of traveling, some, including many of Japan, were on film that deteriorated.The above photo is one of ours from our trip to Tokyo in 1995.

Traffic in Tokyo is a nightmare. If you think State Street in Chicago during rush hour is crazy, try a taxi ride in Tokyo. The Japanese drive on the left side of the street. The new thoroughfares are wide and straight in the heart of the city and are marked in lanes like ours. Most taxis are compact size; a large taxi costs more. It appears that drivers either have not learned to stay in their lanes or maybe because the cars are small, the drivers think two cars can drive in one lane. One day one of my group who was sitting on the left shrieked as a “kamikaze” driver whizzed past us allowing only a few millimeters for passing.

Pedestrians in Japan, crossing a street where signals are few, may land on the doorstep of the Imperial Palace before they are aware of what hit them. There is a correct way for a person to cross the street. Often one will find a tin receptacle about the size of a three-pound coffee can nailed to a light post at a street crossing. A person wishing to cross the street takes a yellow flag from the container, steps off the curb, and waves the flag wildly as he crosses the street. All traffic comes to a grinding, scre-e-ching halt. The pedestrian then crosses and deposits the flag in the container on the other side of the street. It takes guts to step onto the street in front of oncoming trucks and cars. Peter, our youngest member, dared me to be the first one to lead the way. However, he decided he wanted to be first, so we followed safely behind him.

Each day we had the same driver for sightseeing tours. To mark our bus from many other tourist buses, we used the name of our tour “Brownell World Tour” and posted it on the windsheild. On one tour the sign painter apparently did not read English very well. He confused my name with the tour name so each day there was a different spelling on the windshield, much to the amusement of the group. One day it was “Caryn Round Tour.” We all laughed about our renamed tour. The next day the sign read “Around Caryn Tour.” It became an exciting serial to see what it would be next. On the last day, the sign was spelled correctly, and we all applauded.

Perhaps the original intrepid tourist was Carolyn Arnold, my husband’s aunt.  A single school teacher in Des Moines, she began traveling abroad when she was in her forties, beginning with a bicycling trip through Ireland in 1950.  She went on from there to spend a year as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in Wales, to more trips to Europe and beyond, and eventually became a tour leader, taking all her nieces and nephews (including Art) on her travels.  When she retired from teaching, she wrote of her experiences in a memoir called Up and Down and Around the World with Carrie.  Today, as I read of her travels, I marvel at her spirit of adventure at a time when women did not have the independence they do today.

Monday, February 6, 2017

MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM: Sea Otters, Jellyfish, Octopuses and More, Monterey, CA

Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterrey, CA
In late December I went with my family to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. At this world-famous museum, perched at the edge of Monterey Bay in a building that was once part of the real Cannery Row in the days of John Steinbeck, and now at the heart of a thriving tourist area, one can watch sea otters doing acrobatics in their giant tank, see a diver in a kelp bed, witness sharks being fed, gaze at jellyfish floating like undersea spaceships, and much much more.
Kelp Forest
We arrived early in the day, at 10:00 when the Aquarium opened, having bought our tickets ahead of time. Even so, the museum was crowded due to the holiday break and we had to be patient to get our turn at each window. Shortly after we arrived, the sea otters were being fed, but there were so many people around their tank, that we decided to return later. When we did, we got a close-up look as the otters glided past the underwater window and we were glad we waited.
Jellyfish with bioluminesence
We headed toward the popular jellyfish exhibit, stopping on the way to watch the school of sardines whirl around and around in their circular tank. I never lose my sense of wonder at the variety of shapes and colors of jellyfish and watching the delicate pulsations that propel them through the water–some of them resemble tiny lanterns and others are more like underwater hot-air balloons.
I was particularly interested in seeing the cephalopod exhibit, new since my last visit to the Aquarium a number of years ago. Cephalopods are the group that include octopuses, squid and the chambered nautilus. At the entrance to the exhibit is a fascinating display of how these animals have been perceived in art and literature since ancient times. I had learned about the amazing ability of octopuses when I wrote my book Octopuses: Escape Artists of the Sea. In the recent movie, Finding Dory, I noticed that the octopus character, although humanized, displays many of the talents of the real animal.
On the cover of my book, Living Fossils: Clues to the Past, is a depiction of a chambered nautilus, an animal that closely resembles its ancient relatives. The chambered nautilus is only found in deep waters of the South Pacific, and although I was familiar with is beautiful shell, this was the first time I had seen it alive.
Chambered Nautiluses
One of my favorite exhibits at the Aquarium is the kelp forest, depicting the environment the otters inhabit in the bay outside the museum.  My granddaughter’s favorite is the tunnel where a giant wave washes over the see-through walls making one feel immersed in the ocean without actually getting wet. We then stopped to explore the touch-tank with its crabs and tide pool life, watch the penguins, and check out a new exhibit featuring life in Baja California. It was a beautiful day and we finished on the outdoor patio after lunch in the museum cafe, enjoying the sunshine and sea air.
Under the giant wave
One can go back to the Monterey Bay Aquarium again and again, preferably on a day when it is not so busy. But there is always something new and the exhibits are a reminder that the ocean and the life in it are an essential part of our world and need to be understood and conserved for future generations.
For our visit,we drove down for the day from the San Francisco Bay area, a one way trip of about two hours.
For directions and information about tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, go to their website. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a nonprofit institution, devoted to research, conservation and educating the public.