I am not going to tell you this is the best list but it is a list!
The 25 best places to travel abroad
The following places are listed in alphabetical order. Instead of ranking destinations this year, Money placed our picks into five discrete categories. For each destination, we included a cost estimate, which factors in airfare as well as local prices for room and board. (See our full Best Places to Travel 2023 methodology for more on how we chose the places and calculated the cost.)
I continue to revise and update this email about corned beef. This was written a many years ago, but still applies today. These days, we have our St. Patricks’ Day meal at home. I actually enjoy preparing it. It is one of the few meals I know how to prepare. In years past, we had parties! I think they have become extinct.
St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to have one of my favorite dishes, corned beef and cabbage. So, aside from buying and preparing this dish, I wondered about the origin and history of corned beef. The term “corned” comes from the large rock-salt kernels, or “corns of salt” covering beef in a crock. This process preserves the meat. The term has been in the dictionary since 888 AD.
Leave it to the Irish to be the largest exporters of corned beef, at least until 1825. It turns out that corned beef and cabbage is not very Irish. But corned beef certainly is. The area of Cork, Ireland was a big producer of corned beef in the 1600s, until 1825. It was sent in cans and was their chief export, sent around the world. According to historians, the British army survived on canned corned beef during the Napoleonic Wars.
Corned beef and cabbage is essentially an American tradition on St. Patrick’s Day, started by Irish-Americans in the 1800s. But traditional Irish feel that beef was reserved for royalty, since cows were prized more for their milk. It was more common to celebrate a holiday meal with ham or bacon with their cabbage and potatoes. When the Irish immigrants came over to America, they had to replace the hard to find bacon with beef. They found that Jewish corned beef was similar in texture, so they began using it in their celebrations.
Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural dinner was corned beef and cabbage. It was served with mock turtle soup and blueberry pie. Somehow, I doubt President Obama would replicate this dinner, despite his fondness for the Lincolns. But cabbage soup recipes abound for weight loss. And who can argue with the fiber? Only the folks at Benefiber or Metamucil.
Corned beef, called salt beef in the U.K. are types of salt cured beef products. The three main types are 1) wet cured in spiced brine (brisket or round steak), 2) dry cured with granular salt (various cuts of beef), and 3) canned, minced salted meat, oily and crumbly (made from various cuts of beef).
In the United States, corned beef is usually purchased ready to eat from delicatessens. It is the key ingredient in a Reuben sandwich. And the best is served at the Carnegie Deli in Vegas and New York City. Corned beef hash is commonly served with eggs for breakfast. Smoked corned beef becomes pastrami with the addition of spice mix. Most of us just buy the corned beef in a ready to cook preparation in the meat section or butcher counter.
St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. centers around corned beef and cabbage. It is not an Irish national dish as we are led to believe. The closest Irish dish is Bacon and Cabbage. But we do thank the Irish immigrants for substituting corned beef for the pork products. New Englanders commonly add the root vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and turnips.
When cooking the corned beef, I prefer to cook the potatoes, carrots, and cabbage in a separate pot. Otherwise, the oily liquid from the corned beef changes the flavor and texture of the other ingredients. Then to top it off, skip the fancy mustard, and just go with old fashioned French’s yellow mustard. Many people also prefer rye bread for sandwiches the next day. The brisket must be cut cross grain or will be impossible to chew.
Personally, this is a meal I enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day, or for any other day when the weather is cool. It is high in salt, but oh so tasty. And all the food groups are represented. A taste trio worthy of anyone, Irish or not. Remember the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza finds the cured, salted meats to be an aphrodisiac? Give me Carnegie Deli or give me something healthy to eat instead!
Enjoy yourself!!! Have a Guinness, and forget about the war.
Update: Pastrami is the quintessential Jewish deli meat found at New York institutions like Katz’s, which famously piles a whole pound of rosy, hand-sliced pastrami onto its sandwiches. But in the Bay Area, the options have been slim for high-quality pastrami outside of long-running Berkeley staple Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen and, more recently, Wise Sons. The scene started truly changing about two years ago, coinciding with the start of the pandemic.
First, prolific restaurateurs Mark and Terri Stark opened Grossman’s Noshery & Bar, bringing a New York-inspired Jewish deli with local ingredients and global influences to Santa Rosa. Then came Mark ‘n Mike’s, a deli pop-up within San Francisco’s high-end restaurant One Market. Around the same time, Oakland pop-up Pyro’s Pastrami debuted to instant acclaim. Owners Cash Caris and Anahita Cann are now getting ready to open a restaurant, Delirama, in Berkeley with pastrami on pizza and sandwiches.
The momentum has only picked up: San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood got a restaurant entirely devoted to pastrami last summer with Hot Johnnie’s, which puts a West Coast spin on it. North Beach’s Little Red Window dropped its empanada menu for a Jewish deli format last month. And now, Napa is getting ready to welcome Loveski Deli from Christopher and Martina Kostow of the three Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood.
Other chefs see more obvious reasons for pastrami’s recent rise. Caris called it simply “the best deli meat,” while Matt Weinberger, general manager at Grossman’s, said it fits into larger pandemic-fueled trends toward comfort food. Pastrami also falls in line with California’s love of food preservation, said Loveski’s Christopher Kostow, and reflects how chefs are generally looking to the past for inspiration.
“It’s Jewish barbecue at the end of the day,” said Kostow, who is buying pastrami from a secret source for Loveski. “It’s delicious. It’s smoked. It’s spiced. It’s fatty. It’s the best of all possible worlds.”
Making pastrami is a labor-intensive, time-consuming process, and no chef in the Bay Area makes it the same way. Chefs trim the brisket, drop it in a salty brine, rub it with spices, smoke it, steam it until tender and then slice it to order. But there’s variation at every step that makes each restaurant’s pastrami special.
Caris describes his pastrami as traditional in the sense that he doesn’t inject the meat with brine to speed up the process — a shortcut common in industrial versions. But he takes liberties, namely keeping more fat on the grass-fed brisket than usual.
“We want it to be kind of like a prosciutto. The fat in our pastrami is super buttery,” he said, noting that he’s heard from some upscale restaurants that want to carry Pyro’s product. “It’s something you can throw on a charcuterie board.”
Pyro’s also takes an exceptionally long time to make pastrami — on average about 30 days, depending on the size of the brisket. Caris spends time every week agitating the brisket to examine the osmosis in action for an average brine time of 26 days. That’s because each brisket comes from a different animal with different densities, he said. There is such a thing as too long in the brine, though, resulting in pastrami that tastes aggressively cured and salty.
Corned beef and cabbage is one of the few dishes I know how to make!
(Thanks to the SF Chron for this pastrami insight)St. Patrick’s Day has always been special in our family. Why? It was my Dad’s birthday!
St. Patrick’s Day by the numbers
There are 450 churches in the United States named after St. Patrick. Perhaps the most famous is in New York City.
It takes 40 pounds of dye to turn the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day.
According to the U.S. Census, 650,000 babies are named Patrick in a year.
A little more than 20 percent of the residents of Massachusetts say they are Irish; 20.6 of those in New Hampshire claim Irish ancestry.
According to Wallet Hub, the value of a leprechaun’s pot of gold is $1.22 million. That’s 1,000 gold coins weighing 1 ounce each.
A crystal bowl of shamrocks is given by the president of Ireland to the president of the United States each St. Patrick’s Day.
There are 16 places in the United States named Dublin.
34.7 million U.S. residents claim to be of Irish descent.
83 percent of those surveyed say they intend to wear green on St. Patrick’s day. Yes. I will!
Enough said. I need to buy the fixings for our corned beef dinner: lean corned beef, red potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and some rice, of course. Don’t forget the yellow mustard or horseradish! And of course, my Dad was born on St. Patricks Day, 1920. I guess we are part Irish, perhaps from the southern part of Ireland.
Sustainable travel will be on the rise in 2023, making train travel more popular.
In a recent survey, Virtuoso, a global travel company focused on experience and luxury, found that 74% of their customers are willing to spend more money to travel sustainably, and 70% think traveling sustainably gives them a better experience, Forbes reported.
Some ways to travel more sustainably include seeking out hidden gems, packing light, staying in locally owned accommodations, and opting for train travel over flights, Insider previously reported.
“It’s about asking, ‘How can you make little decisions that add up over time and have a positive impact on the world?'” Kelley Louise, the executive director and founder of Impact Travel Alliance, a nonprofit centered on informing travelers to help improve the world, told Insider.
In addition to being motivated by sustainability, travelers are also interested in the aesthetics of train travel. According to Pinterest Predicts, an annual report of what will be trending in the coming year based on data analysis from its users, train travel is expected to be booming in 2023 since it can be more aesthetic, comfortable, and eco-conscious than air travel.
From September 2020 to September 2022, Pinterest pins for “train trip aesthetic” increased by 205%, “train travel aesthetic” increased by 40%, and “interrailing Europe aesthetic” increased by 105%, according to the data.
Note: It can be done. I have traversed the US four times, and Russia (on the Trans Siberian Railway) once. My all-time travel hero, Katy, travels almost exclusively by train and boat. And I might add, she is on the road 365 days a year!!
But the quandary comes when choosing accommodations. The hotel is there, with a huge footprint. But so is the Airbnb, with a smaller footprint. How does one decide which one is best? This is much more difficult than the plant vs train decision!
Mathematicians’ favorite holiday is coming up! Pi Day 2023, which falls on Tuesday, March 14,is an annual holiday devoted to celebrating the one and only true magic number: π. Sure, pi is 3.14, a mathematical constant, never-ending, the circumference-to-diameter ratio of a circle — you know the drill. But it is also the perfect excuse to indulge in pies of all sorts, thanks to the restaurants and bakeries who celebrate the fun holiday by offering deals, discounts and freebies.
Whether you’re a fan of pizza pies or traditional dessert pies (or both, of course!), it’s likely you’ll be to find a deal that will satisfy your craving and save you some cash. This year, we’re seeing fun deals from our favorite pizza joints like Papa John’s, Blaze Pizza and Uno Pizzeria & Grill, including pizzas for only $3.14. The same goes for pies and desserts—last year, Whole Foods Bakery offered $3.14 off a fresh-baked apple pie or cherry pie.
My favorite pie is Serious Pie in Seattle. Second is Sheri’s apple pie. Third are the famous cheese pies of Greece.
From 2011, the Spring after the Giants won their first World Championship in San Francisco.
Having been to Arizona style Spring Training many times, I can tell you that having the World Champion San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale is a big deal. I distinctly remember the year after the A’s won the World Series in 1989. The following Spring was filled with fans, baseball writers, and young players trying to crack a solid roster. The Giants are in much the same situation. The only rookie with a decent chance to make the team is First Baseman, Brandon Belt. The Giants hope he is the Buster Posey of 2011. And Belt is a perfect name for a ballplayer, much like Buster.
Baseball and Spring go together like ham and eggs. Like Maris and Mantle. Like Mays and McCovey, Ruth and Gehrig, Beavis and Butthead. For Northern Californians, we got out of the cold and rain of the last parts of winter. For snowbirds from Chicago, New York, and Detroit, the Valley of the Sun was like heaven on earth. They often rented a condo or apartment for the entire winter. We were lucky to have a week or ten days down there.
The first requirement of Spring Training is to stay in a hotel in Scottsdale. Forget about Phoenix, Tempe, or the other cities surrounding Phoenix. Scottsdale is the place to be, both for watching games, as well as playing golf, and dining at places where the players and celebrities hang out. In many cases, we stayed at the same hotel as some of the teams and players. And even though going to Scottsdale was for my kids, I must admit that I enjoyed it as much or more than they did.
During the early years when my son was under ten, we did not golf in the morning. But once he started playing, we would golf every morning before heading to the ballpark. This put a serious dent into his pre game ball hawking. We used a fishing net to gather baseballs sliding along the fence down the left and right field bleachers. In addition, since we always sat in the front row, all stray baseballs hit into the stands came rolling down to the bottom or first row. My son just jumped down below the bleachers and gathered up the balls. It was almost embarrassing that he would collect up to twenty balls a game! I finally convinced him to give them to the younger children.
The big stars back then for the Giants were Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell. And for the Athletics, it was the Bash Brothers, Canseco and McGwire, along with Dave Stewart. Some of the other big names we enjoyed seeing and talking to were: Ken Griffey, Jr., Willie Mays, Harry Caray, Bob Feller, Bill Rigney, Reggie Jackson, Ernie Banks, Nolan Ryan, and Orlando Cepeda. And it was not uncommon to see some of these guys at dinner at places like Don and Charlie’s, The Pink Pony, and sFuzzi. In fact, the Pink Pony co-owner, Gwen Briley, gave my son a miniature baseball bat with a Pink Pony emblem. Of course, he missed Willie McCovey and Willie Mays having big steaks in the corner booth.
The highlight one spring for my son was the baseball bat belonging to Mark McGwire, before steroids of course. After Big Mack took batting practice, he came walking down the first base line, and handed out his two batting gloves to some kids. Then he came up to my son, who was about 9 or 10 at the time, and handed him his baseball bat! It was just the neatest thing, and my son was floating on clouds for the rest of the trip. It was sad when we found out about Big Mac’s steroid use.
Our golf outings were equally memorable. We played some of the best courses in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Tempe. One particular favorite was the Karsten ASU Golf Course in Tempe, part of the University. I had to pay $80 for my round, and he only had to pay $1.00!!! After that, we just kept going back every time we visited Arizona. In fact, we met Mr. Karsten Solheim, the benefactor of the golf course, and owner of PING at the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach in 1992. He invited us to go on a factory tour, which we did the following year. The man was a genius, originally an engineer with General Electric in San Mateo, CA.
We got paired up with two pretty good golfers one day at Troon North. The guys were quite impressed, as my son seemed to be a step or two ahead of them all round. When we got to 18, he ended up in a fairway bunker. Imagine their surprise when he used his driver to swing out of the trap, and onto the green over 220 yards away! He was about 10 years old at the time. That was still one of the best shots I have ever seen in golf. The funniest time was having a javelina chase my son from the cactus and scrub onto the golf cart. It is best to play local rules and not try to hunt down your golf ball in the scrub and cactus.
They run very fast, and are about as ugly as 2pm.
Of course, autographs are a big part of Spring Training. Most of the players will sign autographs before the game. The uninitiated rookies will sign autographs anytime of day or night. Of course, many times we had no idea who they were, since they sported high numbers like 77 or 88. But I am sure it was as big a thrill for the kids as getting Will Clark’s autograph. Then, if we saw them at dinner, sitting next to us, my son would get the wave, smile, or nod from the ball players. Another thrill to remember.
I think for the players as well, Spring Training is more relaxed, once they have made the team, and they are injury free. For rookies, and veterans coming off of injury, it is pressure to perform. I remember when Ken Griffey, Jr. was a rookie. He ran faster than all of his teammates. He had a huge smile on his face as he went through his workouts. He actually held my daughter in his arms and gave her a hug and smile. After the players get to be grizzled veterans, they somehow lose this innocent exuberance. Could it be the millions of dollars they get paid for playing a boy’s game? Are they tired of being hounded by the press about every thing they do on and off the field?
Fast forward to March 11, I am here at cute little Scottsdale Stadium, home of the Giants. As of 2023, fifteen major league teams hold their Spring Training in the greater Phoenix area. Back when we started, we had only the Giants, Cubs, Mariners, Indians (in Tucson), Angels (in Palm Springs), A’s, and maybe one other.
A few other events are going on this weekend: Carrie Underwood, NASCAR, the World Baseball Classic, to name a few.
Having been to Arizona so many times, I tend to repeat the same activities on most visits. Generally, these activities might include: Spring Training, Sedona, Old Town Scottsdale, hiking or cycling in the Valley of the Sun, visiting friends, visiting a few of the museums, and dining at some of my favorite places.
But here is something rather unique for Arizona:
When many think of Arizona, they think of oppressive heat, miles of sandy desert, and coyotes chasing road runners, so it might come as a surprise to know that Arizona has an ideal climate for growing grapes. It’s actually not all desert — there is a great variety of climates and a vast difference in elevations. Arizona also sits at 40 degrees latitude — the ideal growing conditions range from the 30 to 50-degree mark. Even the hot and flat parts see a great diurnal shift in day-to-nighttime temperatures. There are three main growing regions: hip Verde Valley which is just north of Phoenix, and the Sonoita/Elgin and Willcox regions are outside Tucson. The styles and grapes run the gamut, but the main grapes grown are chenin blanc, malvasia bianca, viognier, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, and mourvedre. (courtesy of Tasting Table)
Have I ever tasted an Arizona wine? Not yet, but I will on this trip.
Another, perhaps long-time aspiration is to visit the Relocation camp in Gila River where my parents were incarcerated after Pearl Harbor. I cannot imagine living in tar paper barracks, in the Arizona heat, with dirt and dust whirling constantly. My visit to Gila River will complete my research on my parents’ Relocation story. Though far from complete, this is a major piece of the puzzle, so to speak. See my separate email regarding this visit.
Phoenix has always been a special place to me. Why? My parents were married here, on a weekend pass from Relocation Camp in Gila. My Mom said she recalled wearing a blue dress, her favorite color, and mine too!
A spring visit to Arizona was part of our regular family activities when raising my children. Spring training was the big attraction, then we added golf when my son was about 10. Golf in the morning, baseball in the afternoon. Later, swimming was added to the routine when Sarah came along. And I really do miss those days!
I have not visited Saguaro National Park in several years. But if you have not, I strongly suggest a visit. Did you know the saguaro cactus is protected here? Did you know they can reach a height of forty feet, weigh up to six tons, and reach adulthood at 125 years? They produce flowers when they reach the age of 35. They can grow up to 25 arms (hear that Mr. Octopus?).
I enjoy the desert but only in the winter. It makes a great sunny break from the foggy, gloomy weather here in the Valley. And I enjoy the smaller ballparks here, particularly Scottsdale Stadium, home of my Giants.
Old Town Scottsdale, despite its touristy vibe, is still a good one- or two-hour visit. Over the years, we have purchased shoes, jewelry, candy, and T shirts. I miss the old Pink Pony, an old-style steakhouse where the Giants would hang out. Gone also is Don and Charlie’s, a real Spring Training institution. We enjoyed their BBQ ribs while my son would hop from table to table to get autographs of baseball stars, past and present.
Another favorite Scottsdale activity for families is Rawhide. The kids just love the western vibe, cowboys, and shootouts. And the food is pretty good as well. And the Scottsdale Musical Instrument Museum is also a very interesting visit.
Scottsdale must be the world’s center for plastic surgery. Enough said!
New baseball rules for this year:
Overall, the new changes will add a pitch timer, restrict defensive positioning and include larger bases to re-incentivize a faster and more exciting game. My opinion? They are doing this for the Millennials, since their time is so valuable. Much like golf, where they made the golf hole into the size of a large apple pie!!!
But in March, Scottsdale is all golf, baseball, and cycling!! And good food.
I have been trying to visit the Gila River Indian Community for about the last ten years. My parents were incarcerated at the Gila River Relocation Center, located on an Indian reservation belonging to the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC). With Covid, all visits were suspended. I was pleased to hear on October 11, 2022, that I can apply for entry, and visit the grounds with a member of the GRIC. My visit is planned for March 10, 2023, assuming my application for entry is approved. I consider this a very big moment in my life.
I have attached some of the paperwork involved in my application. BTW, it was approved on Feb. 7!!! I am so pleased!
The Gila River War Relocation Center was located about 50 miles south of Phoenix, and 9 miles west of Sacaton in Pinal County, AZ. The site is located on Gila River Indian Tribal land. The site is sacred to the tribe and access to the land is restricted.
Here are some facts about the Relocation Center:
Closed: 9/28/1945 and 11/10/1945
Located on 13,000 acres on BLM and Pima Indian Reservation
Camouflage net factory operated from Fall 1942 to 5/43
Summer Temp: high 125, Winter temp low -35.
The fence surrounding the camp was removed about 6 months after the camp opened.
Eleanor Roosevelt visited on 4/23/43.
Actor Pat (Noriyuki) Morita lived a Gila before moving on to Tule Lake
Population: 13,348 (4th largest city in AZ at the time)
7,000 acres were being farmed with 2000 head of cattle, 25,000 chickens, 2500 hogs, 110 dairy cows.
Baseball was a big deal. The Zenimuras from Fresno built a baseball field. The Sansei baseball that we played was a remnant of the importance of baseball in the camps.
Further, I found this in the National Archives:
I was able to find this information about Relocation Camp data in the National Archives:
Frank Kataoka (my father)
Relocation Project 3, Gila River, AZ
Address: Firebaugh, Fowler, Parlier, San Joaquin, Clovis, Kingsburg
Occupation: Farm Operator
Languages: Japanese, English
Potential Occupation: Semi-skilled mechanic, Repairman, Motor Vehicle
File # 311286
The Center was built on 16,500 acres belonging to the Gila River Indian Reservation, as were many others, also built on Indian reservations. Two camps were built, Canal and Butte, about 3.5 miles apart. Construction began on May 1, 1942, over strong objections by the reservation’s American Indian government. The official opening took place a mere two months later, on July 20. Canal camp was closed on September 28, 1945, and Butte was closed on November 16, 1945.
Most of the Gila River internees were from Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. Another 2000 were added from Jerome (Arkansas Relocation Center, when that camp was closed in 1944. Jerome is where most of my Dad’s family were sent, basically, those Japanese on the west side of Highway 99. Gila became Arizona’s fourth largest city with 13,348 at the peak.
The harsh weather caused some deaths, including the mother of Iva Toguri, the woman later known as Tokyo Rose. She was later convicted of treason, though the testimony was perjured. I am convinced this is where my Mother contracted tuberculosis.
Despite this, Gila River was considered one of the least oppressive, and most relaxed camps among the ten. It had a single guard tower, and the fences were not made of barbed wire. The people who ran the camp allowed the internees access to Phoenix, for activities related to sports and the arts. That explains exactly how my parents were able to get a weekend pass, to elope to Phoenix for the weekend to get married.
It is hard to believe that Butte camp had a baseball field with dugouts that seated 6000 people. It was designed by Kenichi Zenimura, a professional baseball player from Fresno. Internees also built a theater for plays and movies, as well as playgrounds for the children and planted trees for gardens and parks. Baseball was something that kept the boys engaged in sports, competition, and physical activity. As a teenager, I was able to participate in Sansei sports, kept alive through a tradition that began before the Camps.
Gila River had a small medical facility in Butte camp. Butte had 821 buildings, including 627 residential barracks. Canal camp had 404 buildings with 232 residential barracks, and 24 separate schoolhouses. The barracks were made of wood, and white beaverboard. A special double roof with red fireproof shingles were designed to block out the desert heat. Each building had swamp coolers to keep the summer temperatures bearable, though water shortages kept the coolers off for periods.
Each barrack housed four single families in separate “apartments”, though the walls did not reach the ceiling of the barracks. The dust was a constant problem, making housekeeping rather impossible, according to my Mom. Residential sections were divided into blocks of fourteen barracks. Each barracks were 20 feet by 100 feet and divided into four single family “apartments” or partitions.
One resident of each block served as block manager, in a self-governing manner. The internees ran the mess hall and other services. The community-owned store was a cooperative, run by the residents. The Butte camp hospital, though run by a WRA administration doctor, was staffed by Japanese Americans doctors, nurses, and aides. The fire and police departments were also run by internees.
The larger camp, Butte, had six churches, a shoe repair shop, sewing shop, dry cleaning, laundry, barber shop, canteen, store, and kitchen. There was a post office, garages, mimeograph buildings, warehouses, police office, court, water filtration plant, refrigerated warehouse, laundry, gas station and various other staff buildings, most of which were built by the evacuees.
The heat was oppressive, with average summer temperatures of 104 degrees F., with temperatures of 125 possible. Despite the heat, this camp was considered the model or showcase. Eleanor Roosevelt made a surprise visit to the camp in 1943, to look into charges that Japanese Americans were given special treatment. Among her comments, I found this of interest: “We have no common race in this country, but we have an ideal to which all of us are loyal: we cannot progress if we look down upon any group of people amongst us because of race or religion. Every citizen in this country has a right to our basic freedoms, to justice and to equality of opportunity. We retain the right to lead our individual lives as we please, but we can only do so if we grant to others the freedoms that we wish for ourselves.”
Eventually, the camp exceeded its capacity of 10,000, with over 13,000 internees, Some families were forced to live in the mess halls or recreation centers, using blankets as makeshift walls. Water shortages plagued the camp, along with rattlesnake and scorpion bites. My Mom never complained about this!
With large numbers of people, social, sports, and religious activities began to thrive. Organizations like the Scouts formed, along with sports teams, and many churches, including Buddhist, Catholic, and other Christian congregations. People from outside the camp could get a pass the visit their friends inside.
Because of wartime food rationing, the camps grew their own food. The fertile soil, and warm temperatures were ideal to grow beets, carrots, celery, and other vegetables. This included a white radish, daikon, used by Japanese for pickles and flavoring, sent to the other camps. The internees also raised livestock, along with war crops like cotton, flax, and castor beans. Eventually, twenty percent of the food consumed at the camps was provided by Gila River.
Today, public access to Gila River is limited since it resides on Gila River Indian Tribe land, considered scared by them. Most of the main structures are gone. Some artifacts remain, such as roads, concrete slab foundations, manholes, cisterns, rocks, and small ponds. But in 2006, President Bush authorized $38 million (HR 1492) to restore Gila River along with nine other Relocation centers. Many Sansei college students over the years, have volunteered to help reconstruct these facilities over the years as part of their college courses, or own their own.
So, there were some famous people interned here, rather they went on to become famous. They include actor Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, Kenichi Zenimura, Kazuo Otani (Medal of Honor), Miiko Taka (actress), George Nakamura (Bronze Star), George Hoshida (artist), Tomoko Miho (Aiga Medal), and Paul Terasaki (transplant specialist).
My parents were able to leave Gila River early, to work back east in Chicago. Fortunately for me, they eventually made their way back to California. But they were able to elope to Phoenix on a weekend pass to get married. Upon their return, they were given a “honeymoon” room where they could have some privacy. After that, back to normal barracks life.
Internees were allowed the leave camp early to work in the war effort. My Dad worked at an auto repair shop, and my Mom and the rest of the family worked for Curtiss candy company in Chicago. When the war ended, they came back to their ranch in Kingsburg. The ranch is still in the family, now operated by my cousin and her husband, but leased out to a trusted friend. Interestingly, everyone who farmed on our street has either moved or passed on. We are the last ones standing!
I am so thankful they came back to California. I was born a year later, in October 1946. They provided a great home and family life for four of us, a brother and two sisters. They rarely spoke about this period of their lives. My grandparents never spoke about it. Only in later years have I been able to piece together some information from my Aunts and Uncles, as well as family friends.
Time for warmer and dryer climate, at least for a few days.
Having been to Scottsdale, and the state of Arizona so many times, it has become more difficult coming up with a new angle for an email about our trip. So, here is some extraneous information that you may or may not care about:
1. The average temperature in March is 76. Most days are clear and sunny. Perfect for baseball or golf. It rapidly jumps up to 85 in April.
2. There is a cactus league (Spring Training) game held every day in March, somewhere in the Valley of the Sun.
3. It is just a few hours drive from either Sedona or Scottsdale to see the magnificent, Grand Canyon.
4. The Sonoran Desert, one of the lushest in the world, is blooming with cactus and wildflowers.
5. It is prime season for food and drink related festivals.
6. The cooler but sunny spring days are perfect for exploring the Sonoran desert, whether on two wheels or your own feet. Or grab a kayak or paddle board. Head up one of the area’s many canyons.
7. Have dinner under the stars. I usually head over to Los Sombreros in Scottsdale and their comfortable patio. Their chile relleno, lamb shank, and roast chicken are the best choices.
8. The golf courses are in perfect condition. This was a normal, daily activity when I visited with my kids in the 80s. I love the TPC Scottsdale course, home of the wild and raucous Waste Management Open.
9. No April showers, less than an inch all spring. Just wear a cap and sunscreen!
10. This trip will be a bit different. I will tell you more about it in a separate email.
Aside from Los Sombreros, I also love the Chicago beef at Portillo’s in Scottsdale. For breakfast, I enjoy Matt’s Big Breakfast, and First Watch, Scottsdale. I will probably have lunch at the ballpark on Saturday and Sunday at Scottsdale Stadium. And I may go to the Carrie Underwood concert on Saturday night, and the World Baseball Classic on Sunday, if I can get a ticket.
Have you ever been somewhere, and wish you had not? It has happened to me a few times. I have also avoided some places at the last minute, like the Ukraine.
The Impulse Traveler listed ten places to never go back. “Never Go Back” was a movie with Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Here is their list, though I agree and do not agree on a few places.
Rio de Janeiro Yes, they have a plethora of favelas, but the other parts of Rio are amazing, fun, interesting, and very different. The food is great, the beaches are astounding, the bikinis are tiny, and the people are friendly. I would go back anytime!
Paris I would heartily agree back in the 70s and 80s, but it has gotten better. Stick to the countryside if you want a real French vacation. I loved both Champagne and Bordeaux, as much for the wine as the people. And it is a great place to cycle (in the country, not the city).
Stockton, CA Often referred to as the “armpit of the west”, I spent four years here in college. It has improved dramatically, but my four years there seemed like ten! I guess it never outgrew its reputation and personality as a port city with all the bad things that go along with that moniker.
Texas Yes, I once spent a month there one weekend. I went to the NCAA Final Four and Springsteen concert in Dallas. But even those great events could not make up for being in Texas. They will never overcome Dealey Plaza, and the Texas Book Depository.
Camden, NJ Having been in Jersey only once, I can only tell you that it appears everything ever said about Jersey is true.
Morocco An interesting place, but very different from anywhere I have ever been. They don’t treat women very well, and they love to pick on tourists. I don’t know what was worse, the camel rides or the snake charmers.
Honduras Native Hondurans seem to love immigrating to the US. And they seem to be unquestionably happy about it!
Dubai Never been, never plan to go, you can have it to yourself.
Hollywood/LA If you pick and choose your spots, LA can be okay, not great. Yes, they have lots of sports, famous restaurants, nice beaches, and way too much traffic and smog. I personally like Little Tokyo (downtown LA), Newport Beach, even Disneyland. But even the carpool lane is a parking lot here.
Egypt My relatives are headed there in May. I have heard nothing but bad things about how they treat tourists. But I would imagine the countryside, the pyramids, and the upper Nile might be interesting.
Where would I never go back?
Russia, Myanmar, Machu Picchu, the Vatican, Flori-duh (as my friend Ric B. says), African safaris, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Which countries do I plan to avoid?Belarus, Moldova, Bosnia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Paraguay, Venezuela, Papua New Guinea, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Greenland, and Antarctica.
Where do I want to go?
Crete, Sicily, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovenia, Finland, Estonia, Tasmania, western Australia, Bolivia (Uyuni Salt Flats), northern Japan (Hokkaido), and perhaps Okinawa.
And with the recent train accidents, I may have to rethink my rail travel. In particular, the train from Athens to Thessaloniki, the exact route of the accident. In fact, I already have a ticket for that trip in May. Now, I plan to fly both ways! I guess Japan is safest place for rail travel.
Pinot Noir is the most commonly mispronounced wine name. Apparently, an average of 2,380 people search for how to correctly say the world-famous French wine each month. (It’s PEE-noh nwar, in case you were wondering).
Expedia shows the ideal day to book a flight is Sunday. For domestic flights, you can get the best airfare by booking at the end of the weekend. Doing so can save you around 5%. For international flights, the savings are nearly 10%.
Barium nitrate is insoluble in 6M Nitric Acid. (I remember that from freshman Chemistry at Berkeley)
Venis is the hottest (462 C) planet in our solar system.
Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt, Peru or Mexico.
The Rio Carnival, the world’s biggest Carnival held annually in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, returns to the streets on Friday after a two-year pandemic hiatus. About 80,000 tourists are expected to join in the festivities. I would love to attend sometime!
That was about the worst Super Bowl anthem I have heard in decades!
The hashtag symbol (#) is technically called an octothorpe.
About 700 grapes (about 2.6 pounds) go into one bottle of wine.
A $1 dollar bill lasts for about 6.6 years according to the Federal Reserve.
Go people watching or simply cross the street on the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. As the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, you’ll see about 3,000 people bobbing and weaving at the same time. Also, home to Hachi!
You actually lose a large percentage of your taste buds while on an airplane. This might explain a lot about those less-than-stellar in-flight meals, or why you find yourself craving the saltiest foods while in the sky.