Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday Reading

How To Try A New Country — If you don’t like the results of the election and vow to leave the country, Julie Lasky at the New York Times recommends you do some homework.

cape-breton-11-06-16Rob Calabrese, a Canadian radio disc jockey, launched a website earlier this year inviting Americans to take refuge on a Nova Scotia island. The site, Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins, has received two million visits and so many inquiries about emigrating that it now offers a link to the Canadian government’s application. (President Obama even mentioned it during a state dinner with Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister.) The site was, of course, a response to a familiar refrain, the threat to move abroad if politics doesn’t go your way. During this presidential campaign, people took to Twitter to vow to move to Canada, and the use of the search phrase “move to Canada” surged on Google.

The Association of Americans Resident Overseas estimates that eight million nonmilitary Americans currently live abroad, in more than 160 countries. While there are no reliable statistics about motives, few of the expatriates are believed to have left out of disgust with their politicians. Much more likely, they made a job-related move. Or retired to a warmer climate and friendlier economy. Or simply took a vacation and never came home.

Nan McElroy, for instance, had been working as a film and video editor in Atlanta when she visited Italy for the first time at the age of 40. She fell in love with the country, and ultimately moved to Venice 11 years ago. Now 60, she works as a sommelier and oarswoman, teaching people to row boats standing up in the Venetian style. “Even when it’s simple, it’s really complicated,” she said about emigrating. “You have to really want to do it.”

I asked Ms. McElroy and others familiar with expat life about the things Americans traveling abroad should do if they’re visiting a place with an eye to settling down. Here are several suggestions.

Book your accommodations through Airbnb and be sure to take out the garbage.

If you really want to get a feeling for a city, my experts agreed, do not stay in a hotel. Hotels cater to what they think are your tastes and go out of their way to make you comfortable. Instead, find an actual home that allows you to experience genuine life. Stumble around during a power failure. Take a shower without hot water. Sort the trash; did the neighbors give you the stink eye? Recycling regulations vary from country to country but can be astoundingly complex. Japan has eight categories of trash, including combustibles, noncombustibles, plastics and plastic bottles. If you don’t put the right detritus in the right bag, your garbage may be publicly branded with what one expatriate blogger in Nagoya described as “the red sticker of shame.”

Stop by a local grocery store. Did you find peanut butter and Pop-Tarts?

Of course not, but even if it’s hard to imagine life without typical American foodstuffs, don’t despair. George Eves, the British-raised, Amsterdam-based founder of Expat Info Desk, a website that produces guides for expatriates, said that a growing number of non-American businesses cater to American tastes. Mr. Eves singled out My American Market, a French website that sells Dr Pepper, jelly beans and Aunt Jemima syrup among its 900 products. Despite such bounty, there will be difficult-to-sate-cravings that a brief vacation may not reveal, so think hard about what you may miss. A Quora survey answered by 26 American expats pinpointed Mexican food as the No. 1 yearning. For those serious about Cape Breton, Mr. Calabrese warned that the nearest Ikea is a 20-hour drive. (Though another is opening in Halifax, only five hours away.)

Rent a car and tool around.

It’s the best way to get a sense of the local topography and find out where everyone goes on weekends. Keep in mind that gas prices are all over the map. The highest price is in Hong Kong ($7.19 per gallon), the lowest in Venezuela (4 cents per gallon). A study by the traffic app Waze, based on data from 50 million drivers, rated the Netherlands the best country overall for driving, El Salvador the worst.

Take off your jacket and imagine the sun beating down on you in midsummer — 20 years from now.

What may seem like a pleasant climate in spring may be a sopping inferno in summer or cryogenic tank in winter. “If you’ve never lived by the Equator, you may find you hate being in air-conditioning all the time,” said Mr. Eves, who has lived in India, Poland, South Africa, Russia and Ukraine, among other places. There’s also global warming to consider. Prognosticators say the countries that will endure it best have both fortunate geographic locations and strategies for mitigating the impact. A University of Notre Dame index put Germany and Iceland at the top of the list, Chad at the bottom.

Tour the local institutions: real estate offices, international schools, houses of worship — but not the hospital, if you can help it.

Much can be learned about medical services in other countries through websites like ExpatHealth.org and Just Landed. No need to court disease or injury on the road. Asked whether giving birth in a foreign country was the best way to test the healthcare system while securing citizenship for a child, my experts demurred. “That doesn’t always work these days,” Mr. Eves said. “I was born in Switzerland, and I didn’t get Swiss citizenship.”

Comparison shop.

If your company is giving you two days to make up your mind about resettling in a new land, head instantly for the nearest expat bar — you can find it through the local English-language newspaper or digital equivalent — and interrogate the people sitting there. If you have more time to decide, feel free to move on. Betsy Burlingame and Joshua Wood, who run Expat Exchange, an online resource site based in New Jersey, said that many users make the prospect of retiring on the beach a theme of their travels. “Some of those people start planning ahead of time and take vacations for years,” Ms. Burlingame said. They report being in Ecuador, then Costa Rica, then the Philippines. “They find their place that way.”

The 10 Best Affordable Caribbean Destinations — US News & World Report ranks places to get away on the cheap.

To help you find the right island for the right price, U.S. News ranked the best affordable Caribbean vacations based on top recommendations from industry experts and everyday travelers. Many of these hot spots can be experienced on a budget thanks to perks like free beach access and frequent deals on airfare and hotels. Vote for your ideal bargain Caribbean getaway below, and consult these rankings to guide you to your next sandy retreat. Use the money you saved to treat yourself to some umbrella drinks.

8 Beach

Guide to British TV Period Dramas — Devon Ivie at New York magazine covers them in chronological order.

There’s something inherently pleasing about tuning into a good British period drama. The accents, the costumes, the landscapes, and even the colloquialisms are an aesthetic treat for the eyes and ears. As another such drama lands on streaming today — Netflix’s most expensive production to-date, The Crown — we’ve rounded up all the British-produced period dramas currently on the air, and sorted them in chronological order for your convenience. More a fan of the Victorian-era monarchy than 1960s detective capers? Fear not, we have all of your interests covered below.

THE VIKING AGE

The Last Kingdom

Short pitch: Set in the late 9th century, the series primarily revolves around the fictional Uhtred of Bebbanburg, who must choose between his birth country, Wessex, and the people who raised him after he was orphaned, the Danish, when a war between the two kingdoms rages on.
The costume scale: The Saxons and Danes have distinctive visual identities, but the costumes themselves aren’t inherently special. (Lots of armor and assorted battle gear.)
Where can I watch it? Netflix

THE STUART PERIOD

Versailles

Short pitch: There’s a whole lot of sex and nudity on this steamy drama, which chronicles the life of Louis XIV in the mid-17th century when the Sun King decides to move his court from Paris to Versailles.
The costume scale: The French courts know a thing or two about grandeur, to say the least.
Where can I watch it? No legal streaming services yet, but it’s currently airing in the U.S. on Ovation.

THE GEORGIAN ERA

Poldark

Short pitch: A debonair and stubborn captain returns to his home in Cornwall following the end of the American Revolutionary War, where he attempts to rebuild his life and faces many difficulties in the process.
The costume scale: Frocks and tricorn hats and breeches galore, but it’s generic for the setting.
Where can I watch it? PBS, Amazon

THE VICTORIAN ERA

Victoria

Short pitch: Beginning when Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837 at the age of 18, the first season of the show recounts everything from her early years: the romances, the politics, and the birth of her first child.
The costume scale: All of the most opulent wardrobes you can possibly imagine for the mid-19th-century monarchy. (The royal jewels are pretty grand, too.)
Where can I watch it? Coming to PBS early next year, or available on the ITV Hub if outside the U.S.

Ripper Street

Short pitch: A competent group of detective inspectors and captains patrol the particularly violent area of London’s East End in the late 19th century and do their best to solve any and all crimes that occur … which is usually a lot.
The costume scale: Lots of great looks for both the men (three-piece suits, bowler hats!) and the women (bell-like silhouettes, corsets!), which provide a nice juxtaposition to the gritty cityscape.
Where can I watch it? Netflix

INTERWAR BRITAIN

Peaky Blinders

Short pitch: A cunning gangster family — also known as the real-life Peaky Blinders gang — is the epicenter of a post–World War I Birmingham. Their fearless leader has a penchant for violence, cunning mind tricks, and avoiding the police.
The costume scale: You won’t find a lot of colorful dressers in gloomy central England — there are a lot of muted, dark hues that are often paired with herringbone tweed.
Where can I watch it? Netflix

The Durrells (also referred to as The Durrells in Corfu)

Short pitch: Due to some pesky financial problems, a mother, Louisa Durrell, and her four children move from the south of England to the idyllic island of Corfu in the 1930s. It takes them a bit of time to adjust to the new locale.
The costume scale: Light and airy ensembles that are perfect for spur-of-the-moment seaside strolls.
Where can I watch it? PBS

HALF POSTWAR BRITAIN, HALF GEORGIAN ERA

Outlander

Short pitch: This incredibly sexy, bonkers time-travel drama follows a former World War II nurse who gets transported back to mid-18th-century Scotland while on a trip with her husband in Inverness. Plenty of brutal historical happenings and timey-wimey romantic entanglements ensue.
The costume scale: Three words: Swan. Nipple. Dress. (The costumes are incredible.)
Where can I watch it? STARZ on Demand, Amazon

POSTWAR BRITAIN

Father Brown

Short pitch: An astute Roman Catholic priest in a small Cotswold village helps assist the local police force with solving an array of crimes.
The costume scale: Conservative clergy chic for the 1950s. Unremarkable, really.
Where can I watch it? PBS

The Crown

Short pitch: Netflix has huge plans for this very expensive period drama, with the first season beginning with Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding to Prince Philip and the tumultuous early years of her reign.
The costume scale: Nothing less than stunning and ornate, literally fit for a queen. You will ooh and you will ah.
Where can I watch it? Netflix, beginning November 4

Grantchester

Short pitch: An Anglican priest in the 1950s turns out to have quite the natural sleuthing chops in his cozy Cambridgeshire village, which earns him the trust and mentorship of a local detective inspector. They’re good at solving cases together!
The costume scale: Once again, clergy chic, but far more progressive than Father Brown, especially for the women.
Where can I watch it? Amazon, PBS

Call the Midwife

Short pitch: A group of hardworking nurse midwives in the late 1950s juggle their difficult medical duties — in a particularly poor part of London, no less — while living in an Anglican nursing convent.
The costume scale: Often drab to accompany the very drab East End, but those blue medical dresses and red cardigans are iconic.
Where can I watch it? Netflix, PBS

Inspector George Gently (also referred to as George Gently)

Short pitch: This 1960s-set drama in northern England follows an old-fashioned, methodological inspector who pursues justice with the help of his faithful sidekick sergeant.
The costume scale: Pretty normal dressing for a professional, police workplace setting.
Where can I watch it? Hulu, Netflix

Endeavour

Short pitch: A diligent police constable and his equally able-bodied team solve various crimes in 1960s Oxford.
The costume scale: A plethora of well-tailored, nondescript suits.
Where can I watch it? PBS

Love, Nina

Short pitch: A 20-something girl moves to the buzzing metropolis of London to take a job as a live-in nanny for a single mother with two rambunctious boys.
The costume scale: Exactly what you imagine people in the mid-’80s to have worn. Things are starting to get a bit grungy!
Where can I watch it? No legal streaming services yet, but the episodes can be purchased on Amazon.

Doonesbury — The board game.

Friday, October 14, 2016

On The Road Again

The switch has been flipped; the dry season is here in South Florida, and soon the snowbirds from up north will start flocking south to the sun and fun of the subtropics.  In fact, you’ll start seeing them and their cars on the road any day now…

014-1Actually, that’s me in the Pontiac down in the Keys last year on a day trip with some friends from the local British car club.  And that will be me this weekend on my annual journey to Lakeland, Florida, for the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival.

That means that this weekend I’ll be posting pictures and stories about the show and the cars.  I think we all need a break from the madness, at least for a little while.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Short Takes

Next: Taliban appoints new leader.

Eleven states make a federal case out of peeing in private.

The T.S.A. says long lines at airports are here for a while.

The housing market recorded their best gains in 24 years in April.

The Tigers lost 8-5 to the Phillies.

Tropical Update: Invest 91L gets an early start on the season.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

An Extra Night

Thanks to the weather that’s been hitting the country, my flight from Cincinnati to Miami was cancelled.  After nearly two hours waiting to get to rebooked (including watching a couple of muscle queens have a total Simplemente Maria telenovela meltdown), I got on a flight out tomorrow morning to Philadelphia and then on to Fort Lauderdale by tomorrow afternoon.  I count myself lucky: the first flight to Miami was Wednesday, and the first non-stop was on Thursday.

So I’m at the airport Doubletree Inn and a wake-call for 5:00 a.m.  See you when I get back.

Betwixt and Between

I’m packing up and checking out of the hotel here in suburban Cincinnati.  I’ll spend today with my parents and then head for the airport and home this afternoon.

This is the week between the big holidays and not a lot gets done other than cleaning up and summing up.  If you are working — and a lot of people do have to work this week — it feels like you’re going through the motions unless you’re in a profession such as police or emergency care when there’s no such thing as down time.  But even if you have time off, you will find things to do to fill up the days.  Some of you may actually look forward to getting through the holidays and getting back into the routine of work.

When I got here the weather was in the 60’s, but now it’s back to normal Ohio-in-December: 30’s and steel grey skies and raw.  I remember why I moved to Florida.

9 Beachgoers

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Warm Holiday Greetings

I’m ensconced in a Holiday Inn Express about ten minutes from my parents’ place near Cincinnati.  The flight was uneventful, getting the rental car (a Jeep Compass, their excuse for a station wagon) was easy, and the weather is such that I had to turn on the A/C on the drive to the hotel to check in.  It’s about 60 F and sunny.

Ohio Key TreeAnyway, here I am and will be until Monday night.  I should have brought my flip-flops and sunscreen.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Catching Up

It was a long weekend and I’m still poking through the new blurs for the last couple of days when I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to what was going on.  So I’m off to a slow start.

The good news is that we got back to Miami from Lakeland yesterday without a hitch.  That’s a whole lot better than two years ago when we had to leave the Pontiac in Sebring for ten days.  This time it was smooth ride all the way there and back again, and based on how many gallons of gas I put in the tank (10.33) after driving a little over 233 miles, the Pontiac got about 22.5 mpg.  Not bad for car of its age.

Anyway, back to work.

Friday, October 16, 2015

On The Road

I’m on the road to Lakeland, Florida, for the annual Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival.  This is the first big show of the season and a precursor to the Amelia Island Concours next March.

This is my third year with the Pontiac, and we’re ready to hit the road.  Posting will be light and variable throughout the weekend, but I will put up pictures from the show on Saturday.  If you’re in the Lakeland area, stop by and say hi.

"Okay, let's go.  That light's not going to get any greener."

“Okay, let’s go already. That light’s not going to get any greener.”

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Test Drive

The car show season is gearing up here in Florida.  Next weekend I’m going to the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival in Lakeland, and in order to get ready for it, I took the Pontiac in to J’s Automotive last Monday for its annual check-up.  All systems are functioning within normal parameters, so today I’m giving it a test run, along with some friends of the British Car Club of Miami.  We’re going down to Islamorada in the Keys for lunch.

Here’s some shots from last year’s trip:

010

The view in the rearview mirror.

011

On the road between land and sea.

Our destination.

Our destination.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Heading Home

It’s been great to be back in Stratford, but all good things, etc.

The weather has been great — sunny and mild most of the time — the shows have been good, and seeing old friends and making new ones has been fun, too.

I took a few more pictures on the way to dinner at Rundles, the best restaurant in North America.

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006

007

It’s not goodbye, Stratford; it’s just intermission.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Thursday, August 6, 2015

In Flight

There’s a first time for everything: using the internet while in flight. Not as fast as DSL, but then, it’s like when you see a pig fly, you don’t criticize the gracefulness; you’re just amazed he’s doing it at all.

In Flight 08-06-15We had a little adventure with an expired passport at check-in this morning, but a quick phone call, curbside delivery, and we (obviously) made it to the plane in plenty of time.  This is one reason I get to the airport early; just in case of things like that.  So far so good.

(I’m not mentioning any names, but my passport is up to date.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Short Takes

Turkey called an emergency NATO meeting over ISIS in Syria.

President Obama told African leaders who overstayed their welcome to get the hint.

Jonathan Pollard, who spied for Israel, will be paroled in November.

Tom Brady’s four-game suspension because he deflated his balls is upheld by the NFL commissioner.

Talk about an upgrade: Delta offers a private jet.

The Tigers lost 10-2 to the Rays.