Wednesday August 16. Enjoying my free gifts.

Written by Jack van Ommen on August 16th, 2017

When I am asked: “What is your favorite spot you visited on your travels?” I answer that my very first stop, the Marquesas, tops the list and that Romania is next. The Marquesas steep volocanic formations covered with magnificent lush tropical splendor, in an unspoiled isolation are an obvious contender. But Romania needs an explanation. You need to look up the details and photographs in “SoloMan”.  In a nutshell: I spent parts of all four seasons in Calafat and Zimnicea, about 50 miles apart on the most southern part of Romania on the Danube. It is also an unspoiled isolated part of the world. You will not find it advertised anywhere as a tourist destination. Only a handful of European bicycle tourist pass through here on their way to the Black Sea. It was for me the first opportunity to watch the changing nature, the fall harvesting, winter plowed fields, Gypsy farmers collecting firewood, spring blossoms, summer fruit. Growing up in the city I never experienced this progressive scenario. This long stay on the Danube was caused by the time it took to try and revive my old Renault engine and then to install the replacement.

I am getting another taste of it here in Cape Charles but hope that it will not end up in another of Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni. Time stood still in Cape Charles. Until the Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel was built it was the rail ferry terminal for the Atlantic sea board. But it has changed since I stopped here on my 2008 Chesapeake Bay cruise. It has a world class golf course, tourism is on the increase, and the Cape Charles Yacht Center has become a popular destination for the sail and power boat cruisers. They recently brought one of the 75 ton super large travel lifts across the continent from the Port of Skagit county, Washington. “Fleetwood” is sitting on a large grass field. I managed to get the port bunk cleaned up enough to sleep on board. It is on a dead end road and the only noises I hear are the crickets and cicadas during the night. Behind a strip of tall Pine trees I hear the braying of a donkey as soon as I stick my head out of the companion way.  You might consider a donkey as an upgrade from your guard dog. My favorite stainless steel folding bike went to the dumpster, this stainless steel does stain. The Marina has a nice beach runner bike for their visitors and I have been able to get around much better than walking across the rail road tracks to town. Yesterday morning, on the road side, I came upon these glorious glorified morning glories and it turns out they are related, Wild Potato Vine. Their roots are very similar to a sweet potato and are edible. For these kind of pictures I wished that I still had my Nikon D50, instead of my cheap smart phone. When there are still savings left after the rebuild I shall look for a replacement.IMG_20170815_074943

There are cotton fields all around the area which are now in bloom, pretty white and red flowers. I have seen cotton fields just before and after harvesting but never green plants with colorful flowers. The other crops here are peanuts, soy beans and potatoes. Lots of Ospreys and I can still fool them with my two finger imitation of their shrill calls. 

I love the Northwest but the southeast has more bird and flower variety. When I was waiting for the insurance decision I’d take my first caffè latte to the porch at my daughter’s house at the crack of dawn, say my prayers and watch the squirrels. The neighbor across the street must have a rabbit lair. IMG_20170808_181851One morning I saw one of this year’s crop stand on his hind legs and rub his front paws just like he saw the squirrels do. One of them made it into our backyard. The mocking birds sing, the incredible bright colored cardinals fly across. One evening at dusk I saw a fire fly, which I have not seen since I was a child. The ground and vegetation smells are much more pronounced than in the lower humidity of the Northwest. 

It seems that the fewer “things” I own, the more I enjoy and appreciate the apparent small free pleasures of God’s creation.


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