In his travel show Himalaya Sunday night, Michael Palin visited an astrologer who, armed with precise information about the actor's birth, informed him that he had been an elephant in his previous life. Palin was respectful of the astrologer's work, discussing it politely and gently explaining his long-held belief in self-determination. When he could have flatly said: "I'm afraid you're wrong, sir. I was a python."
Listening to A Prairie Home Companion Saturday night, live from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, I was reminded of the travel story I ran on the clinic back in the early 90s, with black-and-white photographs by the author, Mark Chester. As a Travel section cover story it was as unusual then as it would be impossible today.
On our way to the Berlin Wall on Sunday, Hania and I stopped at Sparky's in downtown Miami for some barbecue. We got talking to the two couples next to us and learned that both of the men were commercial pilots. One man's wife told me that they used to live in the condo we could see out the window. She said that about 10 minutes before takeoff her husband would call her and tell her to go out on the balcony. Then, as he flew over the building, he would blink the lights of his 737.