• Upcoming trips

    Feb 3 - Feb 13 Caribbean cruise May 1 to May 14 London vacation. (Hotels and details later). Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    December 7. Went to the Met to see the abridged version of “The Magic Flute”. We have seen this production before and still the charm of the great puppet characters keeps the children in awe and their parents happy with their parenting. An amusing interlude.

    December 9. Saw the Manhattan School of Music’s production of “Cendrillon” by Nicolo Isouard at the Florence Gould Hall. The MSM is having both its concert halls renovated and is using outside premises like the Alliance Francaise’s hall. The School and its talented young students put everything they have into this production; Scenery, lighting, costumes and acting was superb. As was the directing and conducting. Refreshing also, was that the cast was of the age to be convincing in their parts.

    December 10. The first of the “Peoples Symphony Concerts” this season (Their 118th year!). “The Variation String Trio” did the honours accompanied by guest pianist: Orion Weiss. Their programme included a new work by Nina Young (b.1984) Very interesting, but not, I think, a world-beater.

    December 31 Went to the Kaye theatre at Hunter College  to see the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of “H.M.S. Pinafore”. Cast and orchestra captured the high spirits of the musical romp and the sets were surprisingly professional. Reminded me of the old Sadlers’ Wells days,

    January 2, 2018. Saw the Met’s “The Merry Widow”. During the first act, the acoustics left a lot to be desired and words were difficult to hear, even in English. But all went well in the second and third acts; the Russian style dancing was rousing and the sets were spectacular. There are usually only six ‘Grisettes’ (Can-can girls) on a regular stage, but the Met’s vast space seemed to be full of them; three, even, descending from the top of the proscenium arch! All with their frilly knickers a-shaking


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Amman to the Dead Sea

Downtown Amman

Downtown Amman

J3Amman is a much more sophisticated city than I imagined. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, the increasingly rapid pace of change caused by the world population explosion primarily affects urban development. Over the last 60 or so years, I have seen communities before the rural flight and afterwards. Many have grown from little more than villages to vast sprawling cities. The rest of Jordan is as I expected, dry, mountainous and nomadic.


Shot from the window of the tourist bus


J2In spite of the pictures above, Amman has plenty of old-world structures left including a Roman amphitheatre right in the middle.

And on a hill overlooking the city, the well looked after remains of a Roman temple and citadel, part of which is a museum housing some quaint ancient artifacts.

. . . . .

. . . . .



J6These odd heads sprouted from one body–whatever was in the ancient artist’s mind, I wonder?

This artist had a sense of humour as well as extraordinary talent

This artist had a sense of humour as well as extraordinary talent

J7The Dead Sea is a prime tourist attraction for Jordan. It is lined with resorts and full of floating bodies, many covered with the rejuvenating salty mud!

Here is a picture of Ethel watching some of them. The wound in her leg prevented her from partaking herself.

. . . . .

. . . . .

Ethel wearing the hat she bought in the Dead Sea resort

Ethel wearing the hat she bought in the Dead Sea resort

J16The art of designing and laying mosaic pictures goes back thousands of years in this part of the world. Here is a relic of an ancient one in the form of a map depicting part of the ‘Silk Road’.  The other is a modern one hanging in a Christian church.16 The two  contemporary artisans are catering to a flourishing tourist trade.J17 Note the enlightened lady’s cell phone on her work bench! If she were wearing the full religious outfit, she woldn’t be able to see the tiny pieces of coloured stone. And she would have to be chaparoned!


3 Responses

  1. Where are the young ladies, Ben?

  2. Thanks for the test Tom. I received an e-mail notice but no “approval” option shortly after the test came up on the blog. You have since activated the ‘approval’ option, I think?

  3. This comment should require approval Ben

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