Of course, this was not our first trip of the year. Judy and Norm went
to China in April. They started out with a day biking in Beijing, where
Norm had gone to visit some old friends and give two lectures. Then,
they went on to Korla, near the western border of China, on one arm
of the Silk Road, packed between the Taklamakan and Gobi Deserts.
Their escort around Korla was the charming
and humorous Mr. Shi, and his lovely wife Ping-Ping. We are trying to
stay in touch. Leaving Korla by car, they experienced a
sandstorm-cum-blizzard with winds strong enough to blow windows and
windshields out of some of the vehicles on the road. They continued on
to Chengdu, then Lhasa and Xigatse in Tibet.
Seeing the Potala in Lhasa fulfilled a longheld dream of Normís.
The trip ended in Shanghai which is a work in construction, dramatically changed from Normís last visit, with a museum and opera house that are world class, new elevated highways, a tunnel under the Pu River to the east side--Pu Dong--and dramatic skyscrapers there.
Both in China and Brazil, the most lasting memories are of the people we met. Both are populations of extraordinary warmth and vitality. We treasure the friends that we made and the charm of ordinary interactions in the streets, in the markets, everywhere that we went.
In June, Norm and Judy did ride the Rockies, six days of mountain riding with 2000 of their closest friends(!), but mainly, with their dear friends, Sy and Ellie Katz. Judy and Ellie rode about half the miles and shopped through the rest. They found Norm about one mile from the top of Monarch Pass resting. Norm wanted to know if they had left anything to buy in Gunnison. Since it had taken them so long, Norm was able to perservere to the top of the pass, a major accomplishment.
In July, Judy, Kevin and Clare did their annual trip to the beach at Ocean City, maybe the last time for a while. Cousins, Tom and Margie came out from Indiana and brother George came up from DC. Friend Kari Bartos came along so there was someone new to whom they could show all the good treats. The highlight of the trip was the car full of young stud muffins who yelled "nice ass" as they drove past Judy riding along on her bike. A la Bette Midler, Judy yelled, "Iím beautiful! Iím beautiful!"
On September 1, Norm began his retirement, transitioning to Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Geophysics--the latter led to lots of teasing about "What took you so long to see the light?"
The trip to Brazil was the first of a grand plan to travel part of each year to someplace where there are good people with whom to work and good students to teach: next year, Karlsruhe, Germany, as a Senior von Humboldt Fellow. That is a twelve month award that can be spread over five years--maybe three or four months in the next academic year, more in later years; hopefully, Brazil, again, in the following year.
There were many more happy and exciting events that filled the year--enough to fill too many pages. There is a richness of experiences and people in our lives to fill our cup to full measure! We wish you at least as good a next millenium as the past one!
Best wishes from the Bleistein/Armstrong household.
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