I was driving through the faded-brick center of Morgantown, W.Va., when I spotted something incongruous: Hebrew lettering. On closer inspection, it turned out to be the West Virginia University Hillel building — hardly a surprising sight in a college town.
I strolled along South Street to the dissonance of two competing hip-hop beats, one blaring from each side of the block. On a warm fall day, the rhythm seemed an agreeable accompaniment to a leisurely stroll through Queen Village, Philadelphia’s oldest residential neighborhood.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am the queen of packing light.
For years, I’d show up for a summer visit of a month of more with only an L.L. Bean backpack, then enjoy the incredulous looks on my hosts’ faces when they realized there was no checked suitcase. “Just this,” I’d crow, “and I probably could have packed it lighter.”
Ah, Bariloche. Even in the ’60s, when much of Latin America was terra incognita for North Americans — a realm of dodgy dictators and exotic, uncharted landscapes — Argentina’s premier mountain resort was a cosmopolitan hub. My mother has fond memories of that era, and how civilized it all was, with cocktails in the chalet and suave waiters who spoke fluent English.