Wake Turbulence-Late Leaving LAX

I first learned about wake turbulence in 1986 while watching the movie Top Gun. You remember that flick, don’t you? It was wake turbulence (they called it jet wash) that resulted in the death of Goose. Maverick was doing some of his “pilot shit”, got too close to another aircraft in a simulated dog fight, went into a flat spin from which he could not recover, and ejected. Maverick was OK. Goose, on the other hand, smacked his head on the canopy as he ejected, and was dead when he hit the water.

Top Gun

The dangers of wake turbulence were not resolved during the hearing that ruled that Maverick was not at fault in the death of Goose. Besides, Goose went on to star in a TV series and has had a number of parts on the big screen. Today, pilots are very careful to avoid the wake produced by another aircraft, but sometimes they do get too close.

Top Gun Goose

Our flight from LAX to Las Vegas was late. In fact, we never boarded the scheduled aircraft. The incoming flight to LAX (our outgoing aircraft to Las Vegas) originated in Oakland in route to LAX. The 737 flown by Southwest got to close to an A380, notorious for its very large size and the substantial wake produced. I should note that the A380 is no longer manufactured. The rapid drop in altitude of the 737 that resulted from wake turbulence caused the drinks that had been served to jump out of their cups only to go back in the cups, for the most part. A flight attendant, who was not in her seat with a seatbelt on, was tossed around and broke her leg. Wear those belts, and tightly! She was shaken, and in pain. The LAX rescue squad was there on the spot to get her off the plane and under care as soon as the flight had pulled up to the jet way.

A380

The 737 aircraft was taken off line so that it could be checked out in case there was lasting damage. The crew and continuing passengers were transferred to a new aircraft, and that’s when we boarded. The through passengers gave us the full story of what happened. Some were frightened. A teenage lacrosse team thought it was great fun. The pilot was miffed; at least that’s how he sounded when he spoke to us about what had transpired.

Advertisements

Arizona, California, and Athenaeum

We were in Arizona and California in mid-February for our annual western swing to meet alumni and other friends as part of two University of Nebraska Foundation donor celebrations—in Scottsdale and Palm Springs. These are enjoyable events, especially as we meet with individuals and couples at scheduled breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The weather was much cooler and wetter than usual. We observed a lot of snow in the mountains that are just a short distance from Palm Springs, the most I’ve ever seen there at that time of year. In the Phoenix area, the cold temperatures tamped down the crowds at spring training workouts. We were there too early in the month to see any Cactus League games.

Palm Springs Mountains

The drive from Ontario, California (we flew there from Phoenix) to Palm Springs is more interesting every year. The uncharacteristic rain brought a lot of color to a normally bland and brown landscape. The green and yellow grasses and shrubs seemed to be everywhere, and the spring flowers were off to a great start. The wind farms west of Palm Springs continue to spread through the Coachella Valley. The most recent additions are the largest turbines in the valley, and top out at 160 feet. At the same time, more older models have been de-commissioned, and their non-rotating carcasses can be seen in the hills and floor of the valley. There has been a significant uptick in solar-generated energy production as were. Arrays of solar panels are now found on more residential and commercial buildings than ever before. Larger arrays are cropping up in the valley, often adjacent to the wind farms.

Wind Mill.Solar Panel Palm Springs

This years’ ‘special element’ to the trip involved lunch in Pasadena with a donor and his wife. We had not met them before. They are a wonderful couple, and have been married for 65 years! They live near the Caltech campus and invited us to join them at the Athenaeum, a private club located at the southern edge of the campus. The word Athenaeum comes from the ancient Greek name Athena, the goddess of wisdom. The Athenaeum in Athens was a temple where poets, philosophers, and orators gathered to read and discuss their work. The conversations at the Athenaeum and Caltech, I suspect, focus mostly on science, but I’m sure that philosophy and politics find their way into the exchanges.

The Caltech Athenaeum was made possible by a 1929 gift of $500,000 in form of stocks. Well, you might ask, did these stocks have any value after the crash? Answer: the organizers and donors were lucky, the stocks were sold prior to October so that they netted the entire $500,000. The club opened in 1930. The first formal dinner at the club was held on February 4, 1931. Three Nobel Prize winners attended the dinner; Albert Einstein, Robert A. Millikan, and A.A. Michelson. For a moment imagine what it would have been like to have attended that dinner and engaged in conversation. Poor Michelson died later that year.

Front Athenaeum

The Caltech Athenaeum is amazing for two reasons. First, it functions as a restaurant and gathering place for many of the brightest minds in the world. Small and larger groups can be found discussing the most important ideas of the day. Our alum recalled having lunch at the club one day and seeing Stephen Hawking at one of the tables. The second reason is related to the fact that the club functions as a small (very small) hotel. Those rooms are located on the second floor of the structure.

Inside Atheneaum

Perhaps some of you know that Albert Einstein was a visiting scientist at Caltech in 1931, 1932, and 1933, before he emigrated to the U.S. Where did he live? You guessed it, in a room on the second floor of the Athenaeum, but only in 1932 and 1933. Today select individuals can book the Einstein Suite in the Athenaeum. The suite is decorated so that it appears much like it did to Einstein, of course with modern amenities, e.g. HDTV, added. Click on the link to check out the suite.

In 1931, he lived in a bungalow south of the campus. We drove over to the bungalow at 707 South Oakland Avenue, and were surprised that there are no markings or signage to identify the significance of the house.

 

Einstein Bungalow

https://www.athenaeumcaltech.com/Default.aspx?p=DynamicModule&pageid=378384&ssid=295007&vnf=1

Flying back from LAX to Omaha most often involves one stop. This time it was back through our old favorite, Las Vegas. This is one of the very few places on Earth when you can play a Wheel of Fortune slot while eating a Nathan’s hot dog and drinking a beer.

Slot Machine.jpg

Denver, Nederland and Frozen Dead Guy Days

I was back in Denver in early January as part of our annual alumni event. The gathering is scheduled on the same evening as a University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)/ University of Denver (DU) hockey game. We collect up before the game in space rented at Magness arena, DU’s hockey barn, and continue to exchange stories during the game, particularly between periods. We had nearly 100 attendees this year, and many of them were graduates of our business school. It was an enjoyable evening filled with conversations among alums, some who were attending the event for the first time. Unfortunately, UNO lost to DU, again, but the loss did not prevent us from having a good time.

Denver CO

On all of our alumni/outreach visits, we schedule individual appointments with alumni and other friends (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and others), and fill up our schedule as much as possible. Now and then we have some unscheduled times, and in January we found ourselves with an evening without an appointment. So, we drove to Boulder to have dinner, and learned about Frozen Dead Guy Days, in Nederland, just west of Boulder. This years’ celebration is scheduled for March 8 to March 10.

 

Frozen Dead Guy Days has its roots in, you guessed it, a frozen dead guy. Bredo Morstoel was 89 years old when he passed away in Norway in 1989. For reasons not completely understood, his body was shipped by his grandson, Trygue Bauge, to Trans Time, a San Francisco- based cryonics facility where Grandpa Bredo was preserved. At the same time, with the help of his mother, Aud, Trygue worked on building a cryonics chamber in Nederland, Colorado. Why Nederland? Well, Trygue and Aud lived there. And, they had every intention of bringing Grandpa Bredo back as soon as scientific breakthroughs allowed for his reanimation. The body arrived in Nederland, and placed into the home version of a cryonics chamber, with Grandpa Bredo being kept cold by a steady supply of dry ice. No, I am not making this up.  Check this link. https://frozendeadguydays.org/aboutfdgd

FDGD pic 1

Grandpa stayed frozen for four years, while Trygue developed plans to design and construct a new and improved facility, one that would withstand all forms of disasters. Planning came to a halt when Trygue was deported by the INS, because he had overstayed the time period allowed on his visa. Aud then took over, but she got crossways with the Nederland City Council, and eventually was evicted from her home. However, Grandpa Bredo, in his frozen state, was allowed to remain in his shed under the care of some dude named Bo Shaffer. I’ll stop here with the details except to note that Grandpa Bredo now resides in a Tuff Shed (I haven’t seen The Frozen Dead Guy in any Tuff Shed ads, have you?).

FDGD pic 2

The celebration, now known as Frozen Dead Guy Days, was brought forward in 2002 as a way to re-brand Nederland’s spring festival. And, the festivities continue today. Among this years’ events to attend:

  • Grandpa’s Mall Crawl
  • Viewing of the “Grandpa’s in The Tuff Shed” documentary
  • “Call Me Ned” musical performance
  • Parade of Coffin Racers and Hearses
  • Coffin Races
  • Brain Freeze Contest
  • Frozen Dead Poet Slam
  • The Newly Dead Game
  • Screening of Frozen Dead TV Pilot

and

  • Frozen Fix-a-Flat

 

Nederland, CO

The PIE Calls Again

It was time to get back to Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg. The Fall 2018 semester was over, I had shaken a lot of hands at graduation, and we were ready to go back down south to visit my mother and be on the beach.

We again chose to fly Allegiant to the PIE (St. Petersburg/Clearwater airport). The direct flight is convenient and the cost is reasonable, although it flies only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We paid extra for seats in the front row, and I was in seat 1-A. That one has a lot of legroom in part because it is adjacent to the main cabin door. As I watched all of my fellow passengers board, I had some not-so-random thoughts. One thought was shaped by images of 737s past that had somehow “lost” the main cabin door. Should the pressure in the cabin change drastically, the door just a few feet away from me might be blown out and I would be the first one sucked out into the wide open. Think about that. I did.

The A320 had 150 passengers aboard. It seemed fairly new (it had that new aircraft smell) and our seats were right in the epicenter of the action. We watched the flight attendants working hard, together, and saw the kind of camaraderie that makes for a place fun to work. We overheard stories of past and present personal drama as well, probably things they really did not want me to hear. The show that came with seat 1-A was well worth the price. And, I was the first one off the plane at the PIE, the door still intact.

Allegiant Plane

Snagging a rental car at the PIE is a breeze. We were out of the airport quickly, soon heading west on Highway 60 toward the beach. There was little traffic, and we arrived at our destination in 20 minutes. We emptied the car, used the key code to get unto our rental unit, and headed-off on foot toward Frenchy’s Palm Pavilion, right on the beach.

It was after 10pm, and the crowd at Frenchy’s was small, but lively. Given that it was Saturday night, we were surprised that the turnout was so low. We’ve been there on Saturdays when the wait for the restaurant was more than an hour. The band that was playing focused on 60s-90s tunes. Four guys were playing songs that they grew up with, songs they have played hundreds of times. I hope they have day jobs. I’m not sure that they knew of any music from the 21st century, and the crowd did not seem to care. Audience members were drinking, a lot, dancing (kind of dancing), and drinking more, and probably thought that the lead singer sounded just like Tom Petty and Michael Jackson. He didn’t sound like them, and besides Petty and Jackson are dead. Perhaps I needed to drink more. On the positive side, people were just having a good time. We kicked back, had shrimp and grouper, and wandered back to our place.

When we first visited Clearwater Beach in 1989, the sleep options were a mix of hotels, motels, some quite old, and houses that had been subdivided into rental living spaces. Each subsequent visit was marked by a different small apartment-type of experience, as long as we stayed out of the better-known hotels, and condominiums. On this trip, we bunked in one of those subdivided houses, around the corner and up the stairs to a bedroom/living room, kitchen, and bathroom combination—perhaps 600 or 700 square feet in total. It looked and felt like a beachfront rental, a good quality to have. We were adjacent to a sand dune and could see the ocean, not bad given that a few hours earlier we were residing in a sea coast free environment. These kinds of places, which are gradually being razed and replaced by new construction, have character. The next time you head for the beach, find one of these places and stay there, while you still can.

 

Clear Water Beach

We had a fine visit with my mother and her husband Sid. My sister, Terry, was there for a few days as well. My mom gave me a new view of getting old, one worth repeating. She’s always dressed very well, and frankly looks marvelous, especially at age 90. I asked her about her days, time at the pool, dancing, and such and she told me that at her age she was having to spend half the day in what she refers to as maintenance. I’ll remember that one.

We also caught up with a friend of ours, Bob Miles and his friend Alex Sink. Alex had run for governor of Florida a few years earlier, and despite being outspent by Rick Scott by a huge margin, she nearly won. Both Bob and Alex are fun to be around. After dining at a neighborhood cafe, Bob took the three of us to The Straz Center for Performing Arts. Bob has four season tickets to the Jaeb Theater at The Straz, and we saw Amythyst Kiah perform. She’s a real talent. She sings and plays a mixture of folk, jazz, and blues. See her (view youtube as well) if you can.

The Straz

Much too soon, it was time to go home. So, back to the PIE and another ride on an A 320. We saw a number of familiar faces, folks who were on the flight to the PIE just a few days prior. This time, we were sitting in the emergency (exit) row, 14.  Remember this (if you sit in the exit row):

  • You can’t wear high heels if you are seated in the exit row and plan to push out the door (if there is a crash)
  • Don’t open the door if there are flames directly outside
  • Don’t open the door if the door is underwater (Why would I open the door in that situation?)
  • Don’t open the door if we are still flying (mmm…)

I have decided to repurpose myself, thus ending my time as dean. After a professional leave, I will return to the faculty with a half-time workload. My duties have yet to be determined, but I hope to continue to assist the college in fundraising. Of course, I will be available to support my dean successor to the extent that she or he wants my help. I also intend to become a student again, and pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing. I will continue to add to my blog, but as The Traveling Dean, Emeritus.

 

Louis Pol Stepping Away from Deanship

Louis Pol

After nearly 17 years leading the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Business Administration, Louis Pol, the college’s John Becker Dean, has announced he will be stepping away from the position in 2019.

Pol will continue as dean until a successor is identified following a national search.

Pol first came to UNO in 1984 as an associate professor in the Department of Marketing. After three decades of campus growth and change, he said he is excited to see what the coming years hold for his college.

“Bonnie Raitt has a fine song with an important message, ‘Never Make Your Move Too Soon.’ On the opposite end, no one should stay too long,” Pol said. “It’s the right time to end my time as dean. I am incredibly proud of everything our students, faculty, staff, alumni and many community partners have accomplished over the last three decades and I know the best is yet to come.”

Plans for a national search are under development and will be shared as they are finalized. UNO will retain a search firm and stand up a search committee with broad campus and community representation to review applicants, conduct interviews and make a recommendation to the senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., expressed gratitude for Pol’s service to the university, crediting his focus on students and collaborative spirit as key drivers of his college’s success.

“Whether it is growth in academic programs, Mammel Hall and its forthcoming addition, or the thousands of graduates who are now contributing to Omaha and Nebraska’s economies, Lou’s impact will be felt for decades to come,” Dr. Gold said. “It takes the right person to guide the education of our next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. We will take every step we can to ensure this is a deliberative and inclusive search.”

Pol has led the College of Business Administration since he was named interim dean in August 2003. He officially became dean of the college in February 2004. During his time at UNO, he also served as a professor in the Department of Marketing, chair of the department, Peter Kiewit Distinguished Professor and as associate dean. Pol has also held a courtesy appointment in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health since 1997.

Pol plans to spend more time writing and painting and is considering returning to teaching as a part-time faculty member in the Department of Marketing. He is also looking forward to spending more time with his extended family.

Hong Kong, Guangzhou and the Opium Wars

I was on my way back to China in the second week of November. The main purpose of the trip was to visit again with our partners at the Guangzhou College of Commerce (GCC) regarding our joint undergraduate business program. I’ve written about this one before. Students will spend their first two years at GCC and second two years at our business school. Students who complete the program receive diplomas from both universities. The first cohort arrives in Omaha in time for the fall 2019 semester.

gcc

I chose a different travel route this time. Instead of making my way to Guangzhou through Beijing, I decided to fly directly from LAX to Hong Kong, and take the train the rest of the way. The train is fast (well, kinda fast), covering the distance from Hong Kong to Guangzhou in one hour. The Omaha to LAX flight is an easy one, and the flight out of LAX originates from a new part of the airport, one that has an excellent selection of restaurants and shops. I had dinner at LAX with one of our former MBA students. He was flying from Omaha to LAX to Las Vegas. He’s interesting and smart, and continues to stay connected to our college.

lax1

The downside of the LAX to Hong Kong leg is that the time from wheels up to touchdown is 14 hours and 40 minutes (scheduled). Whew. That’s a good deal of restless sleep, way too many movies, and far too much time figuring out my fellow passengers’ snore cycles. We arrived in Hong Kong nearly 40 minutes early, but still had flown for more than 14 hours, plenty of time to also get a bad case of fat feet. I struggled a bit getting my shoes back on.

Cathay Pacific (LAX to Hong Kong) has excellent service, and the food is pretty good as well. We were at the gate in Hong Kong by 6:15 am, a great arrival time with respect to clearing customs and immigration, especially on a Sunday morning. Both processes are efficient in Hong Kong, even if the airport is busy. And, I had avoided the Omaha-Chicago-Beijing-Guangzhou  marathon, where there’s almost always at least one connection problem.

hongkongairport28inside29

I was greeted in Hong Kong by Shuanglin Lin, one of my colleagues, and a good friend, along with one of his former students. Shuanglin is also the director of a public policy center at Peking University in Beijing (that’s a big deal). His student is originally from China but studied at our college. She is now a graduate student at Hong Kong University. Our plans for the day were simple, to be tourists for as long as I could hold up. I had only slept for a few hours on the LAX to Hong Kong leg of the trip and by mid-afternoon my body was going to think that it was the middle of the night. Plus, my feet were still a bit fat. In addition, Shuanglin and I had a busy Monday scheduled at GCC, so the initial thinking was that we should pace ourselves. Not really.

Hong Kong is too cool to think about any kind of pacing (and my feet returned to normal size) and we quickly developed a “see all that we can” strategy for the day. It was my first time in Hong Kong. I wanted to “see the sights”, which included a lot of walking. So, we were decided first to get something to eat and then explore. Keep in mind that breakfast in China does not involve frosted flakes and milk, bacon and eggs, pancakes, waffles, pigs in a blanket, french toast, or any of the stuff we come to expect when we walk into the Village Inn, IHOP (or whatever it’s now called), Denny’s, Jimmy’s Egg, or some other place that offers breakfast. Breakfast in China means vegetables, fish, dumplings, and a whole lot of other items that we associate with lunch or dinner. No need to worry, I didn’t go without.

hongkong

My reference to the Opium Wars in the title of this post was made because those wars shaped nearly 160 years of the history of South China, eventually leaving Hong Kong under British governance. Some Chinese refer to this period as the Century of Humiliation, although as noted above the period lasted for much more than a century. In the 18th and 19th centuries, South China, particularly Canton (Guangzhou) and Hong Kong became strong centers of commerce. The flow of silver to buy silk, porcelain, and tea into the region was substantial, creating what one might call a trade imbalance (seem familiar?) with the British and other traders. So, the British developed a plan to counterbalance the trade flow. Opium grown in India began to be sold in South China at much higher levels than it was in previous years, thus reversing the trade surplus. It also created an opioid crisis. The level of opium addiction in the Chinese population grew, creating a host of social and economic problems for the region.

In 1839, Lin Zexu was appointed viceroy by the Daoguang Emperor with instructions to “fix the problem.” Zexu seized over 1,200 tons of opium along with confining foreign traders to Canton. These acts were more than the British would tolerate, and the Royal Navy intervened. Skirmishes broke out, battles were fought, and the small armada won out in what became to be known as “gunboat diplomacy.” The war ended in 1842 with the Treaty of Nanjing. The treaty ceded Hong Kong Island to the British. But, it was not over. Unresolved trade issues (from the British perspective) led to the second opium war (1856-1860). I am leaving out much detail here, and I suggest that you read more, especially as it relates to the treaty signed that led to the turning back of Hong Kong by the United Kingdom in 1999.

Our subway ride and walk to Hong Kong University was interesting. We came across a graduation ceremony that was held indoors in a place that could not seat all of those who came to observe the affair. We caught up with family members, friends, and others as they waited until the end of the ceremony—see the pictures that follow. The campus is very nice, and is located adjacent to the bustling business district that has become well-known worldwide.

hongkongu1

hongkongu2

hongkongu3

hongkonguniversity3

hongkonguniversity4

We spent as much of the day as possible: hanging out in cool train stations, riding the cog railway to the top of Victoria Park, and enjoying the sights and sounds of one of the most vibrant cities in the world. The train ride to Guangzhou was quick, but not as fast as expected.

hongkongtrain28229

hongkongtrain

trainrailway1

hongkongtraininside

The history of southern China is fascinating, and recent economic and social change makes it even more interesting. The old blends in with the new (sometimes). Among the new is the most interesting business school building that I have ever seen, The Peking University HSBC Business School in Shenzhen. It is a seven story structure with an incredibly expansive atrium. It houses a first rate academic program in an area of China that is undergoing significant economic growth. I have also added a few more pictures that represent well the old and the new. I recommend that readers consider a trip to this part of China. You will not be disappointed.

hongkongatrium1

hongkongatrium2

Hong Kong Atrium 3.JPG

Hong Kong Atrium 4.JPG

oldandnew1

oldandnew2

oldandnew3

oldandnew4

The Other Side of the Gulf of Mexico—Xalapa and Veracruz Mexico

I have visited the east side of the gulf many times. You have read a number of my posts where I have written about Clearwater Beach, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Meyers, and Naples, all great places to hang out. My mother lives in a suburb of St. Petersburg (Seminole). I have an aunt and uncle in Brandon (suburb of Tampa) and another aunt and uncle who live in Naples. In late October, I traveled with three colleagues to the west side of the Gulf of Mexico, but a bit further south than Tampa or Naples.

 

I have been to Mexico many times. In my younger days, I drove from Denton, Texas to the Texas/Mexico border, visiting towns such as Matamoros and Ojinaga, sometimes crossing the Rio Grande River in a rowboat, and learning about life in small town Mexico (beer just tastes better there). Later on, I began to visit spots along The Mexican Riviera (Tulum is my favorite). I have also traveled west from Cancun, driving to the western part of the Yucatan Peninsula to spend some time in Merida (another excellent city to explore).

Mexico-Pink

Flying to Veracruz is relatively easy. The Omaha to Houston to Veracruz flight track is nearly seamless. Xalapa is an easy 80 minute scenic drive from the Veracruz airport. Houston’s George H. W. Bush is marked by an easy, but long, path between gates. Immigration and customs stops are reasonable, a big improvement from that mess that is called O’Hare. The Veracruz airport is small, just a few gates, but exiting takes way too long (customs is slow). They have a red light/green light system for randomly (is it really random?) selecting passengers for bag search. One of those in our group, not me, drew the red light and got to show off their underwear and socks. It’s funny, but only if it isn’t your skivvies being seen by one and all.

Xalapa Airport

Most of our time was spent in Xalapa, more specifically at the Universidad Anahuac (UA). My visit was a follow-up to the UA business school dean’s visit to UNO earlier this year. The two of us are exploring avenues of collaboration: joint research, faculty exchanges, and/or student exchanges. We are already working on the language for a memorandum of understanding (an agreement to work together), and the next visitor is likely to be a faculty member from UA who has a keen interest in our behavioral lab. I am optimistic that exchanges will follow, and that one or more of our Spanish-fluent faculty members will be the next to go.

Anahuac

Mexico Welcome

UA has a very scenic campus located in a most impressive part of the world. Xalapa, a sister city to Omaha, has a population of nearly 550,000. Its elevation, over 4,600 feet, is high enough to avoid the summer heat felt at lower elevations. Yet it rarely gets “cold”.  The lush vegetation, rolling hills, waterfalls, extensive parks, and culture makes it a place to visit again and again. Xalapa was part of the Aztec Empire before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The spanish-influenced architecture, especially on the older municipal buildings and churches stands out, making a walk virtually anywhere in downtown Xalapa a real treat. We were fortunate to be at the central plaza on a Sunday afternoon, watching children being entertained by a clown, listening to live music, and observing as vendors hawked their wares. I could go there every Sunday and never get tired of the streetscape and the smiles on the children’s faces.

Mexico Balloons

Mexico Alley Cars

Mexico Building View

Mexico Cars

Mexico Street Trees

 

U.S. Grant (that one, the dude on the fifty dollar bill) found himself in Xalapa in 1847 as part of the Mexican-American war (his opponent was Santa Anna; yes the Santa Anna from Alamo fame). Grant, then a lieutenant in the U.S. army, wrote that Jalapa (an earlier spelling) was…”decidedly the most beautiful place I ever saw in my whole life.” He described its climate as “the best in the world.”

I am providing a number of pictures from Xalapa, including that of a church damaged by an earthquake (missing bell and clock on the left side). And, yes, that’s a payphone. There are not many of these left in the U.S., but in Mexico they can still be found in large towns and rural areas. We found a red one in Xalapa, much easier to spot than the boring black ones seen in most places.

Mexico Yellow Building

Mexico Yellow Building 2.jpg

Red Phone

Mexico Phone

Crane 3.jpg

Our time in Veracruz was spent at the port. Ports are very cool places. The collection of goods that passes through daily is overwhelming, and the complexity of the movement of containers and automobiles from ship to shore is most interesting to observe and read about. We were lucky on this visit, because we saw the old port in operation (see the crane and containers stacked on the dock) as well as the new port, which is still under construction (see bigger cranes). The new port is being built on “land” reclaimed from the sea. That is, sand has been dredged from the bottom of the harbor and relocated to expand the size of the area that can be used to house port facilities. When opened in June 2019, cargo capacity will have been increased from 28 to 95 million tons a year. Yep, that’s a lot. At the same time, the longest break water in Latin America has been constructed to protect the port – 2.67 miles long, nearly 20 feet wide. It can resist waves of over 26 feet and winds of more than 124 miles per hour. In all, the new port will have 35 births spread out over five terminal buildings.

Crane 2

Crane 1