U is for Utah

Author’s note: We are down to the last six posts of the alphabet. You may have noticed that they’re going to slide a few days into May, so not technically finishing in A to Z April. Still, let’s finish this alphabetic journey about dinosaurs … we are on the home stretch!

Geology Utah, dinosaurs discovered across the variety of ages.

Normally, I would not be touting tourist information for any particular place, and certainly not gathering or sharing information from a chamber of commerce-y site. But this is about dinosaurs and that site is Utah. Utah is a dinosaur place. So is Wyoming and so is Colorado. And China, Argentina, Mongolia. Those are your international dinosaur hot spots.

(Gosh, I sure would like to go Ulaanbataar and see their dinosaur fossils and Chinggis Khan artifacts. How am I ever going to convince my spouse that would be the next great vacation, when we haven’t even been to Paris or Germany or Prague or Madrid… hmmm… anyway.)

There’s just no getting around it. Utah was prime real estate for capturing fossils from almost all significant ages. It also has the second-most different types of dinosaurs discovered, only behind China.

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The Grind

Nahaul mother teaching daughter to use the metate

It may seem a stretch to go from Mesoamerican cooking techniques to Ebenezeer Scrooge and gender disparity, but bear with me. Since I am touring the west coast of Mexico, reading a book called Payback, and pondering the meaning of Christmas stories, this is top of mind. This will be a different kind of vacation post.

Hand grinder from Noguelas museum, kajmeister photo.


We were touring a museum in Nogueras, a small pueblo magico, aka a Mexican historical site, near Manzanillo. There was a thousand-year-old kitchen display showing the many types of foods prepared. Of course, many of the foods that Europe (and the North Americans) built their cuisines around originated from Mesoamerica, which you learn if you take a cooking class in Arizona or summat. Corn, squash, chiles, tomatoes, and I forget which exactly is the six but also coffee and chocolate are all native here, and not in Europe. What the Eurasians call “corn” really means a grain with a seed in it. So the Bible refers to corn, but they meant wheat or barley or farina. Corn i.e. maize (you all know that one) originated here and was exported east with the Great Extraction.

Santiago showing us the coffee “cherries” become seeds.
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At Sea

I wouldn’t be caught dead in a casino. I don’t buy cubic zirconium or Peter Max art. I don’t drink, sleep around, eat nonstop quantities of ice cream and pizza, or sunbathe. So why in the h-e-double hockey sticks would I go on a cruise?

Let me tell you…

By the way, this one is #12.

Pokemon can be fun on the ocean, if you have Internet.

The Water Is Wide

The first cruise I went on, in 1974, was not as happy-making. My brother and I were schleeped along as teenagers with my newly divorced mother to St. Thomas and Curacao. She bought herself and I matching caftans, and I suppose that idiotic grin I’m wearing is because I’m with my tall, tall cousin. (Who is now an astronomer, how cool is that?) I won’t post the picture of mom and I when I didn’t want to have my picture taken, which is a reminder of how obnoxious I could be as a teenager. I got really sunburned, seasick, was mildly accosted by a crew member (nothing serious, just the kind of thing all girls have to put up with), and mostly remember going to the movie theater and seeing “A Touch of Class” four times. Love that movie. Cry like a baby, every time.

kajmeister in 1974 fancy cruise wear, with tall, tall cousin
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