Monday, May 10, 2004

Nicer Greetings from the East Coast

Sorry for my outburst last night. I was tired. This post will serve to make partial restitution for it by telling about some of the interesting things to do in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Philadelphia Museum of Arts has wonderful collections, including the best collection of Pennsylvania Dutch taufscheins and frakturs. These were baptismal and marriage certificates painted by local schoolteachers and ministers as well as itinerant painters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Pennsylvania. They burst with color and weird birds, flowers and monsters. The Pennsylvania Dutch were of course really of German origin (Dutch comes from 'Deutsch').

You can also see Rodin's The Kiss there. If you have seen it only in photographs, its small size will astonish you. The combination of power and diminutiveness is a good reminder not to trip over stereotypes in general.

It's just a few hours drive from Philadelphia to the seashore. Cape May diamonds are very affordable and have no link to wars, terrorism or the use of slave labor. They are quite lovely, or you can just pick up the pebbles as they come from the ocean. Cape May also has a fantastic bird sanctuary. It serves as a half-way resort for migrating birds, and in one day it's possible to see more different birds than some of us see in a lifetime.

And then there is the sea. The mother of us all. If you are lucky you can see the dolphins dancing their mystical messages in the far horizon. I wish I could understand what they are saying.