Category Archives: Travel

Madrid: Second Impressions

Now that I’ve been here a month: FANTASTIC PEDESTRIAN LIFE The clip below shows some of the pedestrian streets branching off from Puerta del Sol. I’ve been too busy boning up on my irregular verbs to study recent Madrid history, but gather that callers-of-shots here are determined to put people and transit before cars in […]

Also posted in Madrid | Leave a comment

Gear for Long-Haul Travel

A little over a year ago, I described myself as a ‘carry on at all costs’ flier. No longer! I arrived in Madrid in early July with a one way ticket and no return plans, had to prep and pack for a far more distant horizon than in journeys past. Pre-trip research suggested I buy […]

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Tracy, California: First Impressions

(Or first impressions this century: I once feared Tracy and the whole San Joaquin Valley as a hitchhiker’s no man’s land in my ride-thumbing college years, have yet to forget an eleven hour wait for a ride in North Fresno.) Tracy is a city of about 87,000 in the agricultural flatlands east of San Francisco. […]

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , | 2 Responses

Marrakech: First Impressions

Marrakech is two places: the walled, labyrinthine, thousand-year old Medina, and the relatively modern city that sprawls around it. The airport, train station and plush hotels are in the outer city. The Medina has all the tourist color: mules tugging carts through open air souqs; alleys twisting between pink adobe riads; passersby in hijabs, djellaba, […]

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Budapest: First Impressions

“Bad trip idea, Tim,” I thought, and grimaced as my dilapidated Soviet-style metro creaked into yet another gruesome station on the M3 line. This was my first trip to Budapest, and my ride-in-from-the-airport impressions boded badly. Clunky bus to the subway, unpromising countryside, metro stations like the one above. Resigned to a lousy visit, I […]

Posted in Travel | Tagged | Leave a comment

Istanbul: First Impressions

(♦)  Istanbul ranks with Athens and Rome as a ‘must see’ for history buffs. King Byzas, Constantinople, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Ottomans: ancient humans were busy here. I hadn’t understood this, frequently pictured myself with a dunce cap while conducting pre-trip research. ‘Course, I’m the same guy who hadn’t known that cricket is popular; […]

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tale of Three Prepaid Local SIM Cards

I fed data to my smartphone in Europe and Africa last month through prepaid local SIM cards bought at three airports: Turkcell in Istanbul, Vodafone in Budapest, Inwi in Marrakech1. I mostly camped happily with what I bought, and am encouraged to share my SIM swappin’ experiences by the blank stares beheld when yakking about […]

Also posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Transit vs Car: a Few Conclusions

“You were mostly a stay-put teacher, Tim, and now (you lucky, worthless bum, Tim) you’ve chased trams and metros in cities around the world. How has this affected your transit views?” De-lighted you ask! * * * * * In Zurich, Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Stockholm and Amsterdam I traveled on transit networks that struck me […]

Also posted in Europe, Los Angeles MTA mass public transit environmentalism Red Line Purple Line Blue Line Green Line, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Athens, Rome, Barcelona

(♦)  Greeks may sometimes bellow, fight and hurl things at one another in bitter protests, but not while hunting for a seat on the morning tram, or telling tourists how to get to the Acropolis, or sipping espressos in Kolonaki cafés. The country’s grave debt woes haven’t yet altered conventions of daily living, at least […]

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment