Hannibal, MO

Huck Finn’s caves, beside the Mississippi, run for a few miles from a single well hidden entrance. The rock is limestone, layered horizontally when MO was under water.  When the seas retreated the rock broke a little, in a very linear grid pattern of vertical cracks. We’re told that water and CO2 in the air make a weak Carbonic Acid solution that dissolves limestone and so opened up the cracks over time, creating what we now see as caves.

I never found that CO2 and water story very convincing until the excellent park guide shone her flashlight up on the ceiling where we could see the oily marks from the swarms of bats that gathered there in 2 particular spots.  The photo below (looking straight up) shows the nearer of the 2 spots with a crack which lets in some rain water from above.  The CO2 in the bat breath has created enough Carbonic Acid to disolve the rock at the crack and start to visibly open it up. (no bats today – they don’t like the light)

A large amount of corrosion, long ago, has made a “Boot” of stone which precariously hangs overhead and we all walk under holding our breath.

Cave “Parlor” where the rock is smooth and mahogony colored from contact.

Outside where storms blow we saw:This repair sign was one of at least 4 in the tiny town of Hannibal. I guess it says something about the weather. We left just ahead of huge storms (no tornadoes thank goodness) and drove for 10 hours back to 341 happy to be far from Joplin, MO where the search goes on through the wreckage of last weekends disasterous tornado that hit the small city full on.  Once, when stopped at a toll booth, we were caught by the edge of a storm with 1/2 inch size hail stones. They sound horrible bouncing off the car roof.  It felt that if you were driving into them they could easily crack windshields.

Shanghai, Oahu

Looking north from my hotel window last week there was a beautiful and ancient gilt wooden temple, with a thriving market and park on the ground floor.

In front of it, runs a busy east-west elevated expressway, with the iconic Pudong TV tower on its tripod legs is just visible in the distance.

Suddenly I saw the eastbound traffic stopped by one man stading in the middle of the 3 lane highway.  All I could think of was Tienenman Man who famously stood in front of the tanks with his shopping bags – and stopped them, years ago.

I looked away as I tried to get a better photo out the small opening of my window. Looking back – he was gone. Had I seen history repeat itself? No alas, zooming in on the picture above I could see the white cap and blue shirt of one extremely brave policeman who ‘manually’ stopped the traffic; probably to allow some vips to enter undisturbed by the adjacent on-ramp.

Return home via Oahu

The traffic of surfboards (about 70) and stand-up paddle boards (about 100) in Waikiki, on the free day magically created by crossing the dateline coming home eastward, was nearly as frantic, especially when the outrigger canoes with 2 giant Haiwaians and 6 tourists aboard catch a wave and hurtle through the mass of surfers. (no photos – sorry). Meanwhile, around the corner at Diamond Head it was 8 feet and curling. You can just see one of many surfers at the edge of a right breaking wave.