Pink Bear and Red Volkswagen presage soapy beard

Like the cruise returning to port in Seward, our Alaska trip was heading toward a close — a close that unfortunately did not appear to leave time..

“ … for dinner,” I complained.

“Maybe we can pick up some fish and chips before we board the bus back to Anchorage,” Nazy replied hopefully. (But inaccurately.)

building in Seward

Instead, we got french fries, an apple, a bag of nuts, a Coke Zero and a glass of cabernet (cleverly disguised in a cardboard coke cup with cap and straw). The takeout store was brightly painted.

The bus to Anchorage was much faster than the train… until we got stopped for 20 minutes for ‘road construction’.

“I haven’t seen so much road construction since we moved from Zurich,” Nazy noted.

“In Zurich they’ve been doing it continuously since Charlemagne developed the plans in 803. they haven’t been at it as long here.” I replied.

We made it to Anchorage about 10PM and, fortunately, were able to walk to the hotel in time to order room service.

We returned to a somewhat changed environment. The dastardly Delta variant had finally been recognized: the Laissez-faire attitude had given way (somewhat, to some places, sometimes) to a more cautious approach.
COVID Back sign

In Anchorage, we also visited the Alaska Museum — where we finally got some close-up photographs of bears …

“ … in the wild,” I said as I brandished the camera.

“This is not ‘The Wild’, Dan.” Nazy replied. “It’s the middle of a city.”

“Yeah, but you have to admit that the colors are pretty wild,” I replied. “They’re like the ‘
bear’ we saw at the Alaska Animal Conservation Center on the Turnagain Arm.”

TWL nazy and bears

The flight home (Delta First Class, a Christmas gift from Melika and Tom), involved a plane change in Seattle before an evening LAX arrival. We had …

“… a two and a half hour wait for the airbus to Santa Barbara,” I mumbled as we taxied to our gate.

“Can we just rent a car?” Nazy gasped.

Note: Car rental have been difficult recently. In the past, I was able to rent a one-way car from LAX to Santa Barbara for less than $40. Now, the last time I had checked — just before we left — the cheapest offer was $193. But …

Red car bad photo

“… maybe,” I thought as I searched ‘' on my iPnone. “I can score a deal without booking ahead of time.

I found a car for $63 at Budget. After signing everything, I discovered that it was a turbocharged, red, convertible beetle. We left LAX as soon as we figured out how to cram n cubic meters of luggage into a car with (n-2) cubic meters of space. Then, we arrived home before the airbus was scheduled to leave LAX.

Back in ‘the lower 48’ we were stunned to see how quickly the Taliban had taken over Texas. We have, of course, grown used to the monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party — talking individual choice (as long as it is their choice), pushing local control while issuing statewide mandates that countermand local control, crying crocodile tears about snow flakes and cancel culture while refusing to examine January 6 while cancelling Liz Cheney was nauseating. Claiming to be patriotic while flying the Confederate flag was bad, but this latest — bounty-hunter intrusion on women, touted as …

“….’pro-life’?” I asked rhetorically. “Pro-life from a state that refuses to let schools require masks? Pro-life from a state that has open and permit-less gun carry? Pro-life from the people who endorsed separating children from their parents at the border?”

“They say they’re doing ‘God’s Work’.” Nazy interjected.

“Moving to Texas because it is Pro-Life is like hiring Genghis Khan to teach etiquette to your children.”

“These people are a minority.”

“Of course. That’s why they want to rig the election laws to prevent people who disagree with them from voting.”
Tiger with soap beard

But I digress. Back home in Santa Barbara, we immediately visited the local grandchildren. Arrow was especially excited because…

“… your birthday is this month, Dan. So now you can finally get the biggest piece of cake.”

Not to be outdone, Azelle actually let
me, rather than Nazy, put her to sleep. It had been a long time, but I remembered the basics. I changed her into her PJs, and began to read the book that she selected … a book with 500 pictures captioned in Spanish and English

“You can’t read that book so good,” a few pictures,” Azelle commented judgmentally.

“Hmm,” I replied as I put the book down and …

“You forgot to turn off the light, Dan.” Azelle pointed out helpfully.

I turned off the light and Azelle was asleep within 90 seconds. Proud of myself, strolled out to let Nazy know about my success.

“… did you change her ..”

“ … into pajamas? Of course.” I interrupted.

“Diaper.” Nazy concluded.


“She wears a diaper at night.”

Meanwhile, Tiger was in the bathtub washing up after a long day of running in the sand.

For last week's letter, please click here

A montage of animals photos (first from Alaska and then from Yellowstone and South Africa follows).

From Alaska (clockwise from upper left… Humpback whale, bald eagle, sea otter, caribou, seal and moose.

TWL mini animalspng

Bison and Leopard

TWL big animals

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