Earth Day Kite Flying: 10 suggestions

Every year when the temperature warms and the wind picks up, we buy a cheap kite to fly for a day or two before we get too busy to head to an open field. As an Earth Day Celebration, what could be more environmentally friendly than kite flying? Except, of course, for the gas to get to a place with wind and enough space.

Open fields are among the best places to fly a kite if you live in an urban area. Think the middle of a high school track for one option. Look out for power lines, though. Kites and power lines are not a good combo. If you live near a coast or a large lake, head to the beach. Other places to consider are fields in city parks.

One thing I like about kite flying, once you have a kite, it’s free. It’s also participatory. What a great way to join in with humanity in environmentally friendly fun. Here are suggestions–some based on personal experience, what people have told me, or in this article, “The Ten Best Places Around the World to Go Fly a Kite”:

1. Central Park in New York City. There is an Earth Day Celebration on April 20, this Sunday, at Rumsey Playfield. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder are on the line up of entertainment. The park is also on the Holden Caufield tour of New York City.

2. Fano Island, Denmark. With Denmark being the happiest country in the world, flying a kite can only make some one happier than happiest. The family I lived with, when I was a student in undergraduate school, took me here as part of a weekend trip. It was gorgeous.

3. Great Wall of China, China. With China as the country credited for the invention of kites, the Great Wall is an interesting option for kite flying. Here’s an account of one family who found this to be the case. When I went to the Great Wall, it had just snowed. Then it was a place for building snowmen and sliding down the steps on ones bottom.

4. Jaipur, India. Even though the kite festival happened in January, this is a wonderful city to spend some time. A place to launch a kite is from the top of a roof. It’s not uncommon for hotels to have a roof-top terrace restaurant. I never tried it, but I bet roof-top kite flying would be a conversation starter. India is one of those places where everything and nothing is out of the ordinary.

5. Long Beach, Washington. I posted a video taken at the Washington International Kite Flying Festival. It’s not until August, but kite-flying is good anytime.

6. Mission Bay Park and Mission Beach, San Diego, California. When I was walking the boardwalk at Mission Beach last month, the kite fliers were braving chilly weather to send their massive kites sailing. By now, I bet the temperature is perfect.

7. Nan-Liao, Taiwan. This harbor town, a bus ride from Hsinchu, where I used to live, is a popular weekend spot for kite flying. We did fly kites here and ate squid-on-a-stick that we bought at the nearby market. Andrew Zimmern gushed about this popular street food on the last Bizarre Foods episode on China.

8. Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. One of my cousins and his son bought a kite to fly here. When they stopped some place for lunch, they tied the kite to a bike rack so it would stay airborne. They left it behind so someone else could have it. While they shopped they could see it dipping and weaving.

9. Venice Beach, Venice, California. Also a great place to see kite-flying or fly one yourself in the midst of the cacophony of humanity. Check out the drum circle Neil wrote about when you are there.

And a place I haven’t been, but it was recommended in a comment on the 10 great kite-flying places article.

10. El Morro National Park in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. There is a kite flying festival here in March, although, the commenter said it has great kite flying conditions most of the year. As a bonus, this is also a World Heritage Site.

Cultural sensitivity and conference travel

My dentist told me all about her trip to Dubai for a dental conference when she was replacing a crown. Although my questioning capabilities were hampered by a few dentist gadgets, I wanted to get her impressions. It’s a habit. Whenever anyone tells me of a trip, I want the details.

Heading to a conference in Dubai was not like heading to a conference to many places. Before she arrived in Dubai, there was some cultural sensitivity training about how to dress as a female and how to talk with men. Since she couldn’t quite remember the details, and she wasn’t there for a long enough time to catch on to the nuances of the culture, she didn’t look up at the men at all. She figured that was the easiest tactic. Despite that, she enjoyed the experience and was happy she went.

Her details about discomfort with cultural differences reminded me of when my husband accompanied a delegation of employees of a battery company in Hsinchu, Taiwan to CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany. He sort of went along to help them with their English. They weren’t quite so interested in seeing Germany on their moments off since they wanted to eat instant noodles and pocket their per diem, so my husband went off to see some sights in Hanover his own.

The only time he really had to help the people he was sent to help out navigate the culture had to do with toilet paper use. In Taiwan you don’t put toilet paper in the toilet, you put it in a trash can. The plumbing can’t handle the paper, I was told. The guest house owner where they were staying pulled my husband aside, made a face, and asked him why people weren’t flushing the toilet paper but putting it in the “bin.” “Oh, I’ll take care of it,” my husband said. My husband told the leader to tell everyone else to not put their toilet paper in the trash anymore. Goodwill was redeemed with each flush afterward.

The Toilet Restaurant

I once heard that you shouldn’t eat in the bathroom. I don’t know if that’s true, but here’s a twist. How about eating out of a bowl that looks like a toilet while you sit on seat that looks like a toilet? If that’s not enough toilet for you, dishes are also shaped like urinals and bathtubs. My friend Tom Barlow over at Blogging Stocks gave me the heads up on this one.

Leave it to someone in Taiwan to think of this and open a chain of them. The restaurants named Marton–Chinese for toilet–are popular with families with kids and young people. I can see the attraction. Novelty is key. Apparently, the food is also worth going back for. And if you like the idea of toilet dinnerware, you can pick up a ceramic toilet bowl on the way out. Unfortunately, the chain opened after I moved so I’ve never had the pleasure. I have some friends who still live in Taiwan who have probably eaten there. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hsinchu, the city I lived in, doesn’t have a Marton in a couple locations.

Here’s another post with wonderful photographs I found at 2dayBlog.