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Travel: Beppu-shi, Japan
I lived in Beppu City for two years, one of the hot springs (onsen) capitals of Japan. Decades later I still miss being able to go for a soak in an onsen after a long day of running errands and shopping or having a soak with work colleagues after an official office party or function. Skinship!

When I lived in Beppu, the Sugunoi Hotel was the big "amusement park" -style resort hotel which most guide books highlighted. Even Dave Barry stayed there when writing his book, "Dave Barry Does Japan".

However, there are also many smaller, quieter, more old-fashioned onsen where you can enjoy a bit of solitude and nature. Still, going to the onsen is often a group activity and a family activity, too. Not all countries are as prurient about nudity as the USA, even though Americans have done their best since they've arrived to try to shame the Japanese about it.

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Sugunoi Hotel
http://www.suginoi-hotel.com/english/facilities/spa.html

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Travel Philadelphia: The Liberty Bell
"America and the Classical Ideal. Both the past and the present had lessons to teach the New World philosophers. They hoped to avoid the mistakes of history, learn from its experience, and apply this knowledge to their new reality. Belief in the classical ideal, while not universal, still heavily influenced most spheres of 18th-century life."

"Through their poems, histories, and plays, the early Roman Republic and ancient Athenian Greece offered examples of noble men who devoted their lives to the public welfare. These heroes exhibited the admirable qualities of frugality, industry, loyalty, and "disinterestedness" a desire for fame but not a lust for power."

"More than a millennium after corruption and war destroyed ancient Rome, European intellectuals built upon the fundamental truths they attributed to the ancients in new works on science, art, government, and religion. These "enlightened" philosophers wrote about natural law, the rights of man, and the power of reason to govern human action."

"Committed to the classical ideal of res publica or "public good" some English politicians (called Whigs) worried that special interests threatened the future of their Commonwealth by corrupting the King and Parliament, just as these same forces had destroyed ancient Rome."
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Travel Ukraine: Founding of Kiev
"The monument dedicated to founders of Kiev was built in a scenic park on the banks of Dnieper in 1982. It consists of the copper-forged boat with a more-than-natural figures of three brothers Kyi, Schek, Horiv and their sister Lybid. There is the symbolical light-lit pool under the boat."

The legend: http://www.infoukes.com/history/origin_of_kyiv/
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Travel New York City: The Met
Mesoamerican Masks
Tlatilco, circa 12th-9th century BC.

At the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/317783
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/317784
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/317889
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Travel California: Mono Lake

http://www.monolake.org
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Travel Yosemite: Taft Point
On the same road as Glacier Point but somewhat less crowded. The fascinating part of this hike is "The Fissures". Deep gashes in the rock that will have you falling through open air until you hit the Yosemite Valley floor some several thousands of feet below. Definitely a place to pay attention to where you're walking and not be staring at your smartphone. Don't let kids run around either. There is no real warning of an edge...like a cliff. The fissures are just there.

I took the photo on the left with people for scale. If you look closely at the photo on the right, you'll see the same outcropping. That gives you some idea of the immensity of Yosemite.

http://www.yosemitehikes.com/glacier-point-road/taft-point/taft-point.htm
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2016-09-23
2 Photos - View album

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Travel Austin: Guns, Gold, Guitars
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Travel: Austin, TX
We go for an early morning bike ride on the roads around Decker Lake (aka Lake Walter E. Long) in east Austin. The high temperatures are still in the 90s but you can tell it's fall in Austin by the quality of the light.
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Travel National Parks: Big Bend
During our morning hike we saw nothing but fog. You'd think we were up in the Lake District or something. The Chisos Mountains Basin catches any clouds drifting by, creating a verdant hidden valley, often shrouded in clouds.

We emerged at the ridge and could see nothing. We hung around for awhile to rest and eat our snack. People came for the view and left without seeing one. We were about to turn back, too, when the clouds began to break up. Then...!
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http://visitbigbend.com/chisos-mountains/
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