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No, this is not some hokey photographic hyperbole – this is what sunset looks like from the Bali Hai Restaurant in Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii, where we were not dining.  But the view was recommended, so we had the obligatory drink-with-umbrella and took it all in.  The picture is completely unedited, just as it came from the trusty Canon A 630; in fact, the sunset was more beautiful than this photo suggests.  As an aside, why is it that rum in any form (Mai Tai, anyone?) tastes so much better when you’re looking at a palm tree?

Culture shock on re-entering the US?  Not so bad in Hawaii where the pace of life is not so different from that of Italy, and the need for things-and-stuff seems relatively low (though the price of food was amazingly high, except for the locally produced beef).  The week or two spent in Connecticut and Tennessee were jarring indeed – everything is so big, so fast and so costly.  The biggest surprise was the general level of discontent/fear on the Mainland.  The dire economic conditions have everyone trembling;  the war is a worry; terrorism (condition = orange) a basso continuo of fear.  There is hope aplenty when people speak of the up-coming election, but undercut by a sense that so much damage has been done in the last decade that nothing will really do much good.

It was strange indeed to be back.  But, as always, there is no place like homeland, and to hear one’s native language spoken and to understand all the cultural references and subtle nuances is a joy indeed.

There is also no place like home, and it’s great to be back in Italy, trying to shrug off travel fatigue and looking at the mountain of laundry.  The Captain took care of everything brilliantly while I kicked up my heels.  All is right with the world… for the moment.