Earthquakes / London Taxis / Would You Like Wine With Your Roadkill? / September 11th

Guest entry by Mancunian

When I moved to New Jersey just over a year ago, I did not think that we would have all these weather extremes. We have just had Hurricane Irene come through, and about a week ago there was an earthquake, which are practically unheard of here. I found the whole earthquake experience terrifying, even though it only lasted for a few seconds and I would have thought that nobody would want to go to an are affected by an earthquake, but apparently China has been encouraging tourists to visit the Sichuan province, which experienced a quake a few years ago. A company in New Zealand also offered helicopter tours of the earthquake affected Christchurch area, although as some of the proceeds went to the victims, that seems more acceptable.

California is also known for its earthquakes, of course, and if you want to explore them without actually experiencing one, this book might be useful:

This is not a surprise to me, but London cab drivers have been voted the best in the world, in a survey of 5,000 travelers from 23 countries. Of course, knowledge of the city is one of the most important things for a taxi driver and all London ‘cabbies’ are required to take a geography test of the city and its streets hotels, hospitals, public buildings, etc, a test known as the ‘knowledge’. If you go to London and notice lots of people riding around on bicycles or motorbikes with a map in front of them, they are probably learning the knowledge, something that can take years and become a sort of obsession with many people. London taxis are also spacious and comfortable and the interior height dates back to when they were required to allow a gentleman to be able to sit without removing his top hat. The worst taxi driver I had was in Lisbon, Portugal many years ago who ridiculously overcharged us for a trip to the airport, although I feel I should have had a better idea of the currency before paying him.

Have you ever eaten something that you could not quite identify, (hopefully not something your wife made) or something unusual? (I think the worst thing I ever tried to eat was a plate of mixed meats in France several years ago, which seemed to consist of blood, gristle, fat and not much actual meat) If you enjoy eating ‘exotic’ dishes, you may enjoy the famous Roadkill Festival of West Virginia and this year’s event takes place on the 24th of this month. In addition to being able to sample such dishes as biscuits with squirrel gravy, you can enjoy entertainment and live music, as well as watch the crowning of Miss West Virginia Roadkill.

Of course, the 10th anniversary of September 11th is coming up and I expect everyone can remember what they were doing that day, just as I can. I was actually at work, making airline reservations and talking to dissatisfied passengers, although as soon as things started to happen, we had no callers and I expect everyone was watching TV. Of course, we were not allowed to leave our workstation, although once people started to grasp the magnitude of what was going on, that rule seemed to be irrelevant and difficult to enforce.

I cannot believe its almost Labor Day, which seems to be the traditional end of summer here in the US; if you celebrate, happy Labor Day!

Filed Under: Grief tourism

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  1. Sharon says:

    While living in Palos Verdes, California, we experienced fairly frequent minor earthquakes, certainly something different from here in Texas. We just have incredible drought this year.

    I’ve had a couple scary experiences with taxi drivers. While house hunting in California, the taxi driver acted very strangely. First, he offered to wait for me at each place and not run the meter. Being new to California, I said OK. Then, he started driving the wrong way back to my hotel. When I pointed this out to him, he said he wanted to show me the view. By then, I was getting very nervous. He stopped at the edge of the cliffs overlooking the ocean, got out of the cab, and told me to come and look. I wasn’t dumb enough to do so, but insisted he return to the hotel. He finally got back in with a strange look on his face,never said a word, but steadily tapped his fingers on the door all the way back. I kept my hand in my purse pretending I had a gun. When I returned to the hotel, the doorman told me I should always let him call me a cab. I sometimes think I’ll see the guy’s face on America’s Most Wanted one day.

    Taxi drivers in NYC are or were some of the best in the world. I had a scary experience with one, however, the last time in the city. Some guy cut our taxi off, and my driver jumped out to confront him with a gun in his hand. Needless to say, I was pretty frightened, threw a $20 bill on the front seat and jumped out. Walked the rest of the way to 42nd & 8th for a Brdwy matinee.

    Some former relatives of mine served squirrel once, but didn’t try it..if I don’t like the way it looks, can’t eat it! The other strange thing was armadillo…ugh. When the hostess brought out this thing on a platter, I asked what were all those little bones…not any kind of roast I’ve ever seen. When she said what it was, there was no way I would even try it. I’m just funny that way!

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