October 27, 2008
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Hello again and welcome to our new website, ChandlerBates.Net. If you're reading this it's because either you know that we've moved from "chandlerbates.COM" or that you found us by accident. In a moment we'll get to why we moved.
Our last posting was in January, 2008. That is quite a while ago. Then we were in Australia, just having celebrated the New Year in Adelaide. We spent the next ten weeks making a giant loop from Adelaide to Sydney, first going right up the center of Australia to Ayers Rock, Alice Springs, and Darwin and then coming half-way down again before turning left (east) for Townsville and and the Australia east coast. By then our time was all too limited and we sped south through and along the various coasts to catch a plane in Sydney.
Although we had four months left on our 9-month Australian visa we had two reasons to get on the move: a wedding in England and a commitment (made with pleasure) to be in Paris by mid-April. We spent mid-through-late March touching base with the extended Darlington family and going to the wedding. Gerry again played cameraman and consequently missed out on most of the snacks; Jan enjoyed the talking and didn't worry about Gerry, except later when she needed someone to dance with.
In mid-April we were off to Paris for our fourth long stay: this one followed on stays in 1999, 2005, and 2007. In 2005 we got to see and were fascinated by the referendum over the European constitution; In 2007 we saw the exciting end of the presidential election which Nicolas Sarkozy won; In 2008 there was no big campaign but the time was as filled as ever and passed perhaps even more quickly.
While in Paris we looked around, as we must, for where to go next. Via our old favorite, we found a place in Europe that we'd never been, at a price we could afford, because we agreed to babysit Leo, aka Leo the Cat. Babysiting required that Gerry depart Paris for Basel two weeks before Jan joined him in early July. While in Basel we got to know and really like the city and be very impressed by its split-personality: very relaxed, with many people riding bikes and being friendly, and sometimes very uptight over rules — they are Swiss, afterall.
From Basel we made day trips into the surrounding countryside and to Mulhouse, Belfort, and Colmar, just across the border in the French province of Alsace. Altogether besides having fun days out we also got a pretty good review of late middle ages "German" architecture. After Basel we went off for a week with friends in Henau, which is 60 km east of Zurich. They live the good life there, living in a quiet and beautiful part of the country side. They shared that life with us, as well as their biycles and for several days we bicycled around the countryside.
After Basel we made a very big leap, psychologically: we moved on to a place we'd stay for nine months — until May 31, 2009 — rather than our usual two or three. Yes, that sort of means we've settled down! — though not completely, because we have plans to go on to many new places. (When we leave it will be three weeks short of our tenth anniversary of travel.)
But here — here is Berlin — we have the chance to have a few more clothes and books than usual and time to study Russian (Jan) and German (Gerry; Jan's pretty good but still studies all the time). Shortly after getting here we bought two used bikes and have since then amused the younger crowd with Gerry's (see above photo) old-geezer looks. We've been pretty laid-back about getting out to see the sights because we saw all of the important ones in our first stay back in 2005. But we did treat ourselves to an annual pass to the city's museums including special exhibits. That means we will never be short of something to do.
Now, before we quit: why the move of our web pages from .COM to .NET? Because we sort of had-to. In March, while in Australia we went to look at our .COM website and found it wasn't there! After the shock was over we learned that Keith Baron, of Baron Hosting, which had hosted us from our inception in 2003, had shut down his business. He'd transfered it to another company and they'd informed us, but that email had ended up in our spam bin.
When we learned that we were homeless, we didn't have good internet access (few do who are homeless) and we did nothing. Before we got around to it, some claim-jumper had registered "chandlerbates.com". Now why would anybody do that? Our guess is that we had enough visitors (we never collected statistics so it is a guess) that the claim jumper makes more in advertising revenue than the $10 it takes to register for a year. While in England, Paris, and Basel, although we had good internet, we never tried to recreate our site. Now the time has come. So welcome again.