Monday, January 10, 1972
Dear Sister, Ree, Pat and Buz,
Before we left on our trip to Jamaica and Haiti we received a postcard from Kip Denega, one of Sister’s Philadelphia lawyers, sent from Hong Kong last August. We were happy to receive two letters from Sister on our trip and one here at home when we got in yesterday evening.
On Monday and Tuesday before our trip we attended the convention here in Philadelphia of the American Association for Parapsychological Association conventions in New York City, downtown Philadelphia being something like the larger metropolis. I covered the all-day session of the P.A. on Tuesday and wrote my report to be published in Parapsychology Review during several sessions in Jamaica. The people at the convention who agitated against Humphrey were not scientists – they wouldn’t act so immaturely – but militant dove, hippy types. On the way home we went to jewelers’ row and bought Kay’s Christmas present, a charm bracelet with maps of four iron curtain countries we visited where gold charms were not available. She hid it while we were away and is disturbed now because she can’t remember the place. You say you can’t remember what she gave me for Christmas – it was a money belt and some shaving lotion. I gained six pounds on the trip even though I ate a lot of fruits: fresh pineapple, mangos and papayas. We are both very tan and look even better and are even more relaxed than on our Christmas visit to Sister and Pat.
The scenery was beautiful with bougainvillea, oleander, hibiscus, poinsettia and many unknown flowering plants, with sunny blue skies, and with azure and turquoise water.
In Jamaica we swam at the beach and in Haiti off of two boats. One of the latter took us to a coral reef where we lain on a chain of inner-tubes pulled by native swimmers while we looked down at the brilliantly colored fish and corals through face masks while breathing through snorkel tubes. The other was a 30-foot sail boat on which we were the only passengers, the crew being the captain, two native bots and the owner’s daughter, and we were out for about five hours sailing, swimming and looking through a glass-bottomed box with Kay lying on a rubber raft. In Jamaica we took a river trip on a bamboo raft and also climbed up a water-fall which pours into the sea. Naked, native child were swimming some of them pubescent.
Most nights we dined and danced out-of-doors under the stars and moon besides the water, doing the calypso and meringue. Whites and blacks were mixed together with their mixed children. A large percent of the tourists were French Canadians which seems appropriate in Haiti where French is the native language, but it was ironic that they have taken over the formerly English colony of Jamaica.
Throughout the night we would hear dogs barking and roosters crowing, sounds from the native villages. Saw quite a few lizards and some mongooses were brought in to kill the rats in the sugar cane fields.
Entertainment at the hotels at night included a cock fight and a crab race. In the latter, bets were made on which of a dozen hermit crabs in brightly painted shells would be first to crawl from the center of a 30-foot circle where they were released to its perimeter.
We attended a voodoo ceremony in Haiti. Where the participants dance around, invoking spirits until one or more of them were possessed by a god and displays its characteristics in a spastic manner. We made several purchases in the native markets where it is customary to haggle with the sellers trying to get them down to half of their initial asking price. We bought a carved wooden mask, some carved wooden statues, a carved wooden wall plaque, a ‘bamboolin’ musical instrument, a Haitian painting, and a small Wedgewood piece from an English shop in Jamaica. We had to pay excess baggage charges on the way home. In Jamaica, Kay bought two two-piece bathing suits at $8 each and a dress and a gold charm.
Many of the tourists in Haiti are there to get a divorce. For less than a thousand dollars complete, they can fly there and return home the same day with the divorce completed.
We enjoyed seeing the pictures of Monty, Jo-Jo and the station wagon.
We’ll pick Coco up this afternoon on our way back from school. The fish are all alright having been fed by an automatic feeder.
Love to all,
Brother and Uncle
Much to do upon my return in the house and now we’re on our way to school. Phoned about Coco- she is okay they say. We’ll pick her up this afternoon as she be washed and dried.
I have a feeling I didn’t properly thank you all for our Christmas gifts. I’ve already used some of the note paper. I so thoroughly hid the lovely necklace that I couldn’t sleep wondering where it was stuck- I found it early this A.M. along with my chain bracelet from Joe and earring from Sister Doris. I’ll bring the jar down next time I come. Perhaps we can exchange the top. Otherwise, no big tragedy.
To the Dunbairs, I say thank you very much. The apron and napkins are handsome and you know how I like personal handwork. And the fruit cake will be portioned out in the future so we can enjoy it for a longer period of time. We’ve been away from Christmas goodies for two weeks now so fruit cake will be even more enjoyable. And now to school.
K and Aunt K
P.S. Monty is really growing.
Sunday, January 16, 1972
Dear Sister, Ree, Pat, and Buz,
I don’t think I mentioned how in Jamaica and Haiti the people carry things on their heads which, if the article is a basket of fruit, is a very colorful custom. We recognized Doug Sanders in Jamaica- he is the golf star who wears such colorful outfits- and had a conversation with him. He told Kay he is building a house there.
In Haiti almost everyone is trying to sell you something including their services and you have to employ a boy-guide, at about 15 cents an hour, to keep the others away. They have a multitude of little buses there about the size of station wagons which you enter from the rear end and then go around and pay the driver 5 cents when you dismount, each bus being painted with its own individual colors and slogans. When we returned from our sailing trip and were still dressed in our bathing suits, the owner of the boat dropped us off in the center of the town as we wanted to shop before taking a taxi to our hotel which was high on a hill with a breath-taking view. A boy-guide immediately appeared and we did our shopping with him in the lead at various stores and markets by means of walking and taking little buses. At the main market which is indoors and very crowded with sellers importuning you at every step and with him in the lead, Kay following and my bringing up the rear, one of the best dressed women in the market grabbed my privates. I saw her hand coming and partly warded it off. I don’t know what her motive was.
I have a wart on the knuckle of my little finger- don’t believe I ever had a wart before and presume it will go away. What happened to the warts Ree used to have on her elbows?
A few days ago I packed away all of my very narrow ties which was at least 2/3 of them. When they come back in style years from now, I will get them out again. Due to the cold wave, which was very late in coming this year, I got out my London-made suits (they are very heavy) and the heavy bathrobe Sister made me, and will wear them until early spring.
I received a request the other day for my autograph which came in the form of a letter. I think it was the first time I was ever asked for it. I was afraid my second evening course which begins at 8:50 might be cancelled which is what happens if there are fewer than ten students, but fortunately I had the necessary number. It is my least favorite course, coming late at night and immediately following the same course which I give at 7:25.
Friday afternoon, Kay went to a highly rated gynecologist downtown to find out what gives cramps or charley-horses in her legs. He charged her $48.00.
Friday night we went to the Marriott Hotel for a cocktail, buffet dinner and the show “Man of La Mancha.” We had seen it before in New York and enjoyed it so much. You must see it, if it is ever available for you.
Saturday I bought 6 zebra danios and two Chinese algae eaters and have them quarantined in my lower aquarium to see if they develop. Took our Haitian painting by to have it mounted on Masonite as the canvas was somewhat stretched in shipping it here on the airplane with our luggage. I think it is my favorite one of our paintings.
The Moyers called yesterday to invite us to bridge last night with a couple of other couples, but we declined as we had been out the night before and once a weekend is enough.
Love to all,
Brother & Uncle
Do you even remember what you had for dinner last night? Thanks to Cath's detailed journals, we know she accidentally had sloth soup for dinner 53 years ago while visiting the Amazon. Read through these interesting chronicles for memorable anecdotes from Cath's travels.