Saturday, December 27, 2014

SOUTH DAKOTA: REPTILE GARDENS, MOUNT RUSHMORE, AND CRAZY HORSE MONUMENT

We took a short trip to South Dakota in October because--well--just because. South Dakota was one of the unchecked states on my husband's Fifty States List. Honestly, I wasn't all that excited to go to South Dakota. The whole state has only 850,000 people, 3,000,000 fewer people than Los Angeles.

Besides, unlike my husband, I had been to South Dakota before. My family had driven through in 1975 and visited the three sites covered by this post. This time, Bob and I flew to Rapid City and rented a car. Our first stop was just 15 minutes from the airport.

1. REPTILE GARDENS
Unfortunately, we arrived in South Dakota a couple of days after the earliest snowfall in the state's history. Sadly, the "Gardens" part of Reptile Gardens had been drastically affected. There was substantial frost damage:
But other parts of the garden still looked pretty good:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, PART III: SPORTS--CHURCHILL DOWNS AND THE ALI CENTER

Louisville is a sports-loving city, well, two sports in particular: horse racing and boxing. One represents all the wealth and excesses the city can offer, and the other is a showcase of the working class struggle. One thing the two sports have in common? Grit.

I. CHURCHILL DOWNS, site of the annual Kentucky Derby, is twenty-minute bus ride from downtown.

Churchill Downs was built in 1875 by Meriwether Lewis Clark, the grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. (Hmmm...wonder where his parents got his name?) on land given to him by his uncles. Born into the upper class, M. L. Clark (known to family and friends by the rather embarrassing nickname of "Lutie") was also the founder of the Louisville Jockey Club and had a life-long interest in horse racing and breeding.
Aristides, the winner of the first Kentucky Derby in 1875

Thursday, December 11, 2014

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, PART II: ART--INDOORS AND OUT

Louisville has a distinct sense of humor, evidenced by the city's street art. Standard bike racks just wouldn't fit in this city famous for its bourbon, horse racing, fried chicken, and nightlife.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, PART I: SPLENDOR ON THE OHIO RIVER

For the last three years, I have spent eight days in Louisville, Kentucky, scoring AP English Composition exams. It's a wonderful opportunity to hone my grading skills, to assess what material needs to be better taught, to meet other English teachers, and to (last but not least) see new places on someone else's dime.
I've fallen in love with Louisville, a city with a population of about 600,000 that retains a small-town Southern America feel and even prides itself on being "the northernmost Southern city in the United States."  It stretches along the southern bank of the Ohio River, and several picturesque bridges spanning the water connect Louisville to Indiana on the far bank.


The Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating steamboat in the United States
(she turned 100 this year)  at dock next to our hotel. We heard her gay
calliope music several times a day as she picked up and deposited her passengers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

BOOKS TO READ FOR A TRIP TO AFRICA

Dr. Seuss, in his inimitably profound way, wrote, "The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."  

He is SO right!

Our trip to Africa was the first time I made a conscious effort to really tie in my reading to our traveling. I had always read a few books about our various destinations, but I had certainly never read EIGHTEEN books for a single trip. My reading doubled my travel experience--at least. I will never travel the same way again!

I include all these books under my "Literary Tourism" tab at the top of the site, but for the sake of easier Google searching, I include them here as a post. Each title is linked to the post in which it is referenced or discussed.  I have at least five more books on my "To Read" list, but a new trip is in the works. I may just have to take another trip to Africa to get back to my list!


KENYA:

Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley

No Picnic on Mount Kenya by Felice Benuzzi

Born Free by Joy Adamson

Love, Life, and Elephants by Dame Daphne Sheldrick

Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow

Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

West with the Night by Beryl Markham

I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson


TANZANIA:

Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway

Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton


Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn

Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone by Martin Dugard


GHANA:

Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War by Stanley Meisler

Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

Lose Your Mother by Saidiya Hartman

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas
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