FAVORITE PLACES

When my brother and I were growing up as sharecroppers in East Texas we used to fantasize about travelling the world to those "faraway places with strange-sounding names." On a hot summer day, China and Siam seemed much more inviting than plowing behind a team of mules. We knew we had uncles in places called Normandy, Guadalcanal, and Salerno - but had no idea where those places were. It was only in 1948 when we moved to a farm with electricity that we began, via the radio, to get a concept of the world and its diversity.  In my case, this view of the world was broadened when we could no longer make a living on the farm and moved to Dallas in 1952.  It was further expanded in 1956 when I went off to Boston for undergrad work at M.I.T.   By the time I joined the Peace Corps in 1962 I was full-fledged internationalist.

Fifty years later and after retirement from the Foreign Service, I continue to marvel at my fortune of being able to see so many of those places which were part of my youthful fantasy. We have lived in Puerto Rico, Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, and Norway plus a couple of stints in Washington. Work-related travel has also taken me to most of Latin America and Western Europe, plus much of Africa, and a bit of the Far East. I still travel as much as I can and whenever I stroll along the Seine, board the Kowloon ferry, or watch a sunset on the banks of the Congo, I still feel much of the awe of that barefoot little boy.

I have rummaged through years of photos and below are a few of the ones which are extra-special; I hope they will tug at the wonder and wanderlust in others as they do for me.


View from our balcony across the end of the Oslo fjord, taken at 2 p.m. in mid-December.


This was the daily view from my office when I was Consul General in Rio de Janeiro.  Overall, Paris is my favorite city with Hong Kong a distant second. But Rio is the most magical, with a mysterious and earthy feel.


Tienamin Square in early 1981 - when China was just beginning to open.


On our last trip to Zermatt we had once-in-a-decade weather. At dawn, while still dark in the town, the sun turned the Matterhorn into blazing gold.


I do not even know the name of this little Italian hill town, but it is one of my favorite photos. It evokes all sorts of warm memories of four years in Italy.


Fast food restaurant on the canals outside Bangkok. In fact, the food she served was excellent!


Longyearbyen, the only town on Spitsbergen. Photo take shortly after midnght on June 24.


Everyone should experience the Netherlands in the spring. The air is bursting with a new growth, vigor, and freshness which compel taking a deep breath and feeling glad to be alive!


Other than funerals and weddings, the most moving moment of the past 20 years was a visit to Omaha Beach on a drizzly late afternoon. The area was completely deserted and the only sound was of the waves lapping onto the sand.


This is the small hotel on the left bank in Paris where I usually stay: the best croissants in Paris and a fabulous crepe stand just around the corner.  I feel deprived if I do not get back at least once a year!


Anyone who has gotten this far must realize I am a hopeless romantic! And there is no more romantic, tranquil atmosphere I can think of than this little street in Assisi in late afternoon.


Obviously no collection of favorite photos would be complete without my daughters.