seeing it twice

I was walking along the beach a few nights ago and noticed the Christmas lights up over the aquarium at the end of the pier here by the beach. I felt suddenly lucky to have seen those decorations during more than one holiday season in my life. It made me think about all of the places, things, and people that I thought maybe I would be lucky to see once in my life but instead have had the opportunity to see more than once.

Like the Golden Gate Bridge…When you grow up in the Midwest east of the Mississippi, there is a subliminal message to go West one day. US history is all about people moving West. The first time I remember visiting San Francisco I felt lucky to see the bridge once. Then I moved to San Francisco. Now I have driven over the bridge, ridden my bicycle over the bridge, run and walked over the bridge, and even sailed under it.

It is perhaps like any other iconic structure of a famous city. Notre Dame for instance. I was pretty proud of myself for making it to Paris once on my own and surviving the city alone for three days. Notre Dame is an amazing structure, but when my sister rented an apartment for a week in the city nearby, we walked past the cathedral at least twice a day.

The same goes for just about everything in Roma-the Spanish Steps, Il Colosseo, or Il Foro. It never gets old to me to pass by these structures, run through them, like the Circus Maximus, and pretend I am in ancient Roma. Or simply perhaps a visit to Giolitti for a fondente gelato paired with pompelmo sorbetto served on a chocolate covered waffle cone.

Maybe just anything in Italia…Pompeii, Agrigento, Segesta. And the jewel above the sea, Taormina. What it is, to have a view from the amfiteatro to the setting sun over the sea.

It is a long list of islands and beaches. Pink Beach in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. A spectacular pink place at sunset made up of finely ground red coral. You have a short hike to get there but there is no one else there once you arrive. Buggis Beach. Another beach in Komodo about as isolated as you can get from the world. Maybe not, but that is as far away as I have gotten.

It is probably an even longer list of sea creatures. Pygmy seahorses…or frankly any kind of seahorse. Anemones which I find an endlessly entertaining habitat within the underwater habitat. Even sharks…I never imagined before what it was I could see underwater and now that I have been there many more times than once boggles my mind. I have to remember that none of the creatures is ordinary, maybe common, but not ordinary.

Underwater dive sites. Cannibal Rock and yellow wall o’ Texas. No dive site is as ethereal as Sangeang. Cape Kri, and well Laha I and II…even Molokini Crater. I have seen Komodo dragons multiple times now even really close, although it is not my favorite thing to do, but what it means is that I am in Komodo National Marine Park. And of course the Seven Seas liveaboard and all of the people on that boat.

It even goes for airports. Obviously I love that I have seen Ambon, Labuan Bajo, and Sorong airports more than once in my life. Fiumicino and ok even BGO and AMS. But Singapore is a good one too-both to see the arrivals and departures sign if you are traveling around the region. Furthermore the good friends who live there, and the fact that I have seen them more than once there since they began living there. LAX and SFO. SFO because I lived in San Francisco, and it never seemed like the vacation was over when the vacation was over. And who is unhappy about being in the Honolulu or Maui airports more than once in their life?

Some places are not so beautiful but you sure are glad that you are back. Sorong in West Papua is everything urban development really isn’t in a spot at the end of the world. But if you are there, it means you will be treated to some of the most spectacular underwater life on the planet as well as isolated views of some of the most beautiful islands in the world.

Anyone you like to spend time with…and sunsets.

And because I am a scientist, I have to end with-some scientific discoveries. This is always a good thing, as it means your results are reproducible…

©2015 Janice Marie Nigro/


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