Around the World … with Film.

How is it, I ask myself, that I have dozens of files, each one filled with hundreds of photographs, and I can never find the better shots I can clearly remember taking? With determination I start out going through my files–carefully, one at a time –but I become distracted by a photo and start writing about the specific incident or scene that prompted my snapping that particular frame.

Ah, well . . . here are a few photos that turned out all right and which you will hopefully find interesting. Some need a bit of explanation . . . like this first one.

Some 20-plus years ago, my wife and daughter were browsing through a bookstore in a shopping center on Oahu’s windward side when they were approached by a young man from Italy. He was holding a copy of Herman Melville’s masterpiece, Moby Dick, and asked the girls if reading that book would help him to improve his English. At any rate, they disabused him of that idea, but invited him to dinner that night. We have stayed in touch ever since.

During the meal, I asked him if I only had enough time to visit one city or town in Italy, which one should it be? He thought for a minute, then said . . .

. . . Sienna! He was right, too. Then I asked for a second choice and he didn’t hesitate. “Venice!” he said, “but try to avoid the days when the cruise ships are there.”

I did and again he was right. Personally, when we were in Venice, I enjoyed seeing the side “streets.” But what about Rome, I asked? “Too many tourists,” he said. “All the really good restaurants are full of people who can’t tell wonderful Italian food from food that is barely acceptable.”

If there is one required component to a train full of tourists, it’s clean windows. Here a worker in the Sydney train station makes sure every window in every rail car on the Indian Pacific is crystal clear . . . at least until we encounter our first dust storm.

This is one of the classic “Park Cars” that brings up the rear on trains using rail cars taken from VIA Rail’s stainless steel fleet. This photo was taken as train 693 was stopped at Sioux Lookout en route to the town of Churchill which is located on the shores of Hudson Bay.

You must see China’s Great Wall to believe it! What amazed me were the steps built into the top of the wall so defending troops could lirterally run to spots along the wall that were being attacked. Those steps were each about 18-inches high. Try running up a flight of stairs like that!

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Fifty stories from life and 350,000 miles of train travel.

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