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Travel to New York City & Korea

   I got a call from a friend of mine asking me to go with a dance company to Korea. The company is "Les Ballets Grandiva". It's a comedy ballet company made up entirely of male dancers. The guys do the male and female parts. It's amazing to watch because it's very hard to believe sometimes that they aren't women. The show is very funny. The founder and director of the company, Victor Trevino, is a former student of my mother's at Ballet Florida, so we've known each other for many years.

The trip began in New York City so that Victor and I could meet and get prepared for our trip overseas.

New York City

A good friend lucked into a hotel room which I could use for all but one of my days in New York. I had to pay an exorbitant fee to keep the room one extra day, but at least I didn't have to pay for the ones before. I got a chance to visit with some good friends and to renew some acquaintances with some old friends I hadn't seen in many years, which was great.

It was springtime in New York and the weather was spectacular. I'm told it was the first weekend of the year with really spring weather. It was a glorious weekend with warm, sunny days and lovely cool nights.

Flowering Tree
Flowering Bush

Central Park was covered with daffodils and trees bursting out with their springtime buds. It was truly a perfect time to be in the city. I was very reluctant to have to leave so soon.


The day of the departure got off to a bit of a frantic start. One of the dancers had forgotten to pick up his point shoes, so on my way out of town, after picking up two other dancers, we ended up making a detour to Capezio's to pick up his shoes and then make a mad dash to JFK airport. We had about 30 large cases of scenery and costumes that also had to make it on the plane, half of which went to Korea and the other half went on to Japan for the second part of their tour. It was all quite an ordeal. But Japan Air Lines is a lovely and very helpful airline and they assisted us to get everything weighed and on the plane. Two of the dancers were late arriving, but they finally made it.

The plane was very comfortable as well, which is a good thing since we were to be on it for 14 hours. There were video screens on the backs of every seat which offered many movie selections, TV, audio and a large variety of games. The food they served was very interesting, but good. It was a mix of american-type foods as well as Japanese. I have to say that the Japanese food was much better than the American. There was a kind of cold salad made up of some Japanese vegetables. There was an interesting mushroom, as well as lotus root and several other things I didn't know, but they were all delicious.

It could not have been a more beautiful day for flying.

New York City

Our flight path took us across Lake Ontario, all of the main provinces of Canada, and across Alaska. In addition to the video channel which shows the maps of where we are at any time, there is also a channel which shows a live camera of what we're flying over. It wasn't too long before we began to see ice in the lakes and rivers,

Somewhere over Ontario, Canada

and not much longer before there was snow and ice everywhere.

Alberta, Canada

The landscape was exquisite. There was hardly a single cloud all across Canada. The Canadian Rockies were amazing.

Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Canada

We also flew right across the middle of Alaska which was exquisite. We flew directly over Fairbanks, but I could only see it on the video monitor and not through my window because we were directly over it. There were some larger rivers across Alaska and the patterns in my camera exactly match the Google maps.

Alaskan river
Google Satellite Image

I was never able to sleep because I was glued to the window. I loved looking at all of the beautiful countryside across Canada. I don't think my seat neighbors were too happy with me because my window shade and the guy's behind me were the only two windows on the plane that weren't closed, but it was so amazing that I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I noticed that the other guy was taking some photographs as well.

Once we got over the Bering Sea the sky became cloudy and there was nothing more to see. I finally got to doze off for a couple of hours. By the time we reached Tokyo it was late afternoon on a very cloudy day so I couldn't take any photos from the airplane. When I got on the plane from Tokyo to Seoul I was very tired and slept the entire trip. I didn't wake up until the wheels touched the ground.

The hotel in Seoul is beautiful. It's amazingly high-tech.

Vabien II Hotel

I can talk via a video phone to the front desk or to anyone at my front door. I have a full kitchen with stove, refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher, washer/dryer. I have a digital television with a DVD and full surround-sound.

Hotel Room
Hotel Room

In fact, South Korea is very high-tech.

Here's an interesting kit. In case of emergencies, there is a rapelling device in my room. There is a whole kit in the window which includes a tool to break the window if necessary, 1/4" aircraft cable, a descender, and a rapelling harness. There is an eyebolt in the window frame to attach the descender to. And some instructions in Korean.

Emergency Equipment
Emergency Instructions
Emergency Eyebolt

I don't know if this is in case of earthquake, or fire, or what. Maybe all of the above. Very interesting. I'd love to set up the equipment and just try it out. It would be great fun, but I don't think the hotel would appreciate it very much.

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Irma Hale
McMurdo Station, Antarctica

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