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The other Burma Road

Kismet, Fire Island, NY

The road that connects the last parking field from the Robert Moses State Park to Kismet, the first hamlet in Fire Island, was always being known as Burma Road. It’s a sand and stones road that you walk under the heat that you feel that it melts you under the scorching summer sun. I never knew if the road had an exact name but we always used the nickname of Burma Road, a reference to the famous road built by the Allies during the WW2 to help the nationalist Chinese forces in their fight of the Mao’s communists.

Burma Road, Fire Island

It happens that I have been on parts of the real Burma Road, both in Burma and in China but while there, in my mind I always thought about my own Burma Road, the Fire Island road to Kismet that most of the time I biked through sand and small pebbles, sometimes easier after rain but many times pretty difficult, the bike stalling in soft deeper sand. I either never noticed the road sign or it was just added recently but I was thrilled when I saw in the last weeks two locations where the road is labeled as Burma Road.

The deer waited on the side for us to stop and dashed to cross Burma Road

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Posted by on August 30, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Lazy days of summer

Ocean Beach docks, Fire Island, NY

Ocean Beach in Fire Island looks a little bit like a town. It has a green square in the middle, with several nice shops, lots of restaurants and of course the ice cream places. On the dock the restaurants have the tables right by the water and the music spills out to the terrace. The boats are unloading freight directly on the docks and whoever expects a package it better shows up to pick it up. Sometimes the owner forgets and the package can stay there for days, hopefully with no rain in sight to get soaked. Nobody would bother to pick it up and people just wonder who would be the oblivious guy who forgot to pick up his Amazon delivery while ferries cross the sound moving people to and from from Long Island.

Flori’s Fantasy, a house decorated in Asian carving, Ocean Beach Park, Fire Island

If you take a lazy walk off the more animated center of Ocean Beach you cross Seaview and in another 10 minutes you are in Ocean Beach Park where the road looks different and the crowds are somehow constantly rushing to the ferry this apparently giving them a purpose. The road ends at the Point of Woods’s fence, a private community where you have to make a detour and go on the beach if you want to walk further into the island.

Admiring the surfs…

In Fire Island there is no interdiction for dancing. No antiquated “dance-law” like in New York City inherited from an already forgotten time. You just pop in a bar and everybody dances the summer days away sipping the Coronas or the cocktails. You don’t even have to buy a drink and swiftly you can leave and move on to another restaurant where the DJ is pumping a music that can be heard from the boats that sail tranquilly in the ocean. Ocean Beach is populated mainly by students in the summer days and the music played is more the club/DJ type than the classic¬†rock ‘n roll we just listened Saturday night in Saltaire. The last days of summer is the time when you want to be here, the last days of warm weather, the last days of vacation after which the island would close for another nippy winter.

…and dancing on the last summer waves, Ocean Beach Park, Fire Island

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Saltaire 100

Saltaire Ferry Terminal, Fire Island

Saltaire is one of the villages in Fire Island. Located next to Kismet, the village is crossed by smooth elevated boardwalks that you can bike or walk at leisure surrounded by tall reed. After Sandy it’s main store was completely destroyed and a year ago a new store came up on the same location, an important asset for the summer residents of the village.

Saltaire boardwalk celebrations, Fire Island

In front of the main store is the Village Hall, a unique place in Fire Island hosting a small library that today had an exhibit of photos from the inception time when the village had just several houses.. Nearby is the Fire House, a very important institution on an island where everything is built out of wood, and near the Fire House is the baseball court full of a life tonight, for a way different activity than the one it was built for.

Sunset in Fire Island

The flurry of activity that happen tonight in the village is because the village celebrated its centennial. The main boardwalk going to the town center was closed for traffic that in Fire Island terms means that no bikes can go on that street on an island where cars are completely banned during daily summer hours and almost everybody walks barefoot.

The 100 year anniversary was held on the Saltaire’s baseball court…

The baseball field filled up with adults and kids, the beer and wine were free flowing covered by the village from two side tables and in the middle a band was playing the classical Rock’n Roll from Carpenters to Beatles to the enjoyment of the entire audience. The atmosphere proved to be so euphoric that we forced ourselves to peel off from this place close to 9 pm biking 3 miles in pitch dark, with occasional iPhone light, the Burma Road to Robert Moses State Park where we had the car parked.

…where everybody danced on classical Rock’n Roll

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Hell

Many Americans living in small towns perceive New York as a terrible place. They pity anybody who has to come daily into the city. For others, more conservative, New York is a hotbed of anarchism, liberalism and even radical left wing movements, no matter that in fact it epitomizes exactly the opposite, the sheer unfettered capitalist spirit. But for the ones deeply religious it represents a sort of hell where the non-believers may lose their souls roasting underground. And they may be right because this picture may show the actual chimneys of the hell’s underground ovens. And if Mike Pence would ever visit the city he should be attentive not to fall through; he may land underground at a romantic dinner table with a gorgeous woman who is not his wife.

SOHO, New York City

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Eclipse

No filter

New York was not in the path of the eclipse but the weather was great and it was a spectacular astronomical show. For me at least it was probably the best eclipse I’ve ever have seen.

Eclipse filter

We shot the eclipse in Great Neck, Long Island, in Stepping Stone Park full of people sitting in chairs on the lawn for the great nature show. We were able to shoot photos as well and very good video. In New York the sun coverage was supposed to be at its peak at around 71%.

No filter

Eclipse filter

Eclipse filter

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River, NY

Bear Mountain is a large state park full of hikes located in upstate New York. Two main roads are crossing it; Seven Lake Drives and the Perkins Drive that brings you all the way to a top with a great overlook over Hudson River. No matter that I hiked many times in the park somehow I never reach this point, a spectacular overlook over the Hudson and Bear Mountain Bridge. On the opposite side of the bridge the rock on top is called Anthony’s Nose that can be reached by a beautiful and not so difficult trail about which we posted a while ago.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Statues

In the morning I woke up in a terrible dream. Actually it looked like a nightmare. I rubbed my eyes, tap my cheeks to make sure that I am not sleeping and I realized that I was not dreaming. I was fully awake.

I watched like all of you the stupefying events that happen during the weekend in Charlottesville, VA. We all could see how the sewer of the society, the actual “deplorables” that Hillary mentioned came out in hordes to the streets ready for action. I saw later the interviews on VICE with some of them and the repugnant feeling became overwhelming. I never fooled myself to believe that this vermin is extinct. They were always there, somewhere, but a strong position of the civil society pushed their presence to its periphery where they can stay and drink unhappy in bars. For years we liked to believe in the US, or at least in New York, that we live in a society where acceptance is the norm and not the exception. Where we can live together and cherish the diversity that surrounds us, a diversity created by God as our more religious friends would say. We always tended to believe that racism and the xenophobic policies are happening in other societies. And in the end the events in Charlottesville burst our bubble and seeing all of these human refuse coming back to light, these creatures of darkness, was appalling. But not surprising.

We watched the expected results of the open arms immigrant policy of Angela Merkel in Germany that created a huge backlash and woke up the far right and together with it the spike of the AfD popularity with their ethno-politics. In the US we witnessed how a know-nothing narcissistic moron who talks like a drunken in a bar can bring to life these dark forces who are finally finding an ally inside the White House. I wrote a number of posts after the election and I fought with friends who for various reasons that I am tired to argue about voted for the tough-talk-no-brain. I stopped writing and discussing about it when it became very clear that my worst possible predictions materialized in fact. Nothing that happens now is less than I expected.

In the same time, as a reaction or not to the political developments in Washington I read a lot about several events that happen on the East Coast campuses of the Ivy League schools where students have risen against the establishment and decided that some statues or symbols had to be removed because they might not fit with their new dream of politically correctness. The names of the people who funded various halls of the Ivy League schools and their statues were deemed to be removed because they were slave owners. Even the name of Yale University came under discussion. The debates became acrimonious at least, peppered with aggressiveness and attitudes that belong to the fish market and not in an academic campus. So it came to my great shock to learn now about the drive to remove the confederate statues as symbols of …what?

I lived in Romania during the Communists who decided when they seized power under the tutelage of Stalin’s tanks, in their grudge to the old society they wanted to destroy, to remove all the old symbols of the Romanian society. The statues of the creators of the country, kings, princes, politicians, intellectuals, philosophers, writers and composers were replaced over night by the statues of unknown workers with a four grade education, many of them Stalin’s pawns, whose only contribution was that they were jailed together sometime by the ones defined at that moment as oppressors. I walked among these statues during my childhood and I never knew who they really were because nobody from my surrounding had any ideas or interest to learn about them. Time passed and little by little the new manufactured “heroes” died and with them some of the new statues disappeared leaving behind an empty pedestal and when Romania shed the yoke of Communism all statues that were still standing were removed over night and the old statues and symbols started to come back. History reconnected its course after the unfortunate hiatus. Removing statues does not eliminate neither the discrimination nor the bias. To remove a statue is just a cowardly act forced by the ones who refuse to fight the real situation and prefer to fight the invisible windmills of Don Quixote. Because it’s easier to break a stone or topple a bronze than convince a mind that what he does is wrong. There are so many causes to fight for in our society riddled by a profound inequality, with a corrupt political system bankrolled by lobbyists and corporations, with a lack of sustainable medical coverage for the working middle class, with rabid violence of the police that shoots to kill people like in a video game. And all these guys are looking for instead is just to topple a statue. Isn’t it quite a cheap shot?¬† The history is there and nobody can change it and even if we like it or not we have to live with it as is, with or without statues. But the statues represent a reference to a past that we don’t want to bring back, forgotten otherwise.

And what was exactly my nightmare? I realized reading the morning news that for a reason or another I actually agreed with The Donald on this issue. But even if we finally agreed on something we still have to fight to remove him, and not a statue, from the White House. The chaos he’s creating is way too dangerous for the world we live in.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Blog, USA