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THE SOUND OF THE PAST COMING ALIVE: The Whittaker's Musical Museum on Waiheke

THE SOUND OF THE PAST COMING ALIVE: The Whittaker's Musical Museum on Waiheke

The journey takes less than an hour from downtown Auckland, but at its end you have stepped back in time. Here the sounds of the 19th century fill the air: the rich swell of notes from a theatre organ made in New York in 1877, the wheeze of an accordion from the 1820s, the rinky-tink of an 1837 fold-away ship's piano ...  At Lloyd...

Mt Shasta, California: Feeling the space

Mt Shasta, California: Feeling the space

Just a guess, but the hygienically pretty town of Mount Shasta on the side of the snow-capped peak of the same name in northern California has more post-hippie residue -- herbal healers, clairvoyants and metaphysical mentors -- than anywhere else on the planet. And they are the normal ones. In Mount Shasta, population around 4000, there...

Mendocino, California: Life in the mellow lane

Mendocino, California: Life in the mellow lane

The Sir Douglas Quintet out of Texas didn't have too many hits in the 60s but they cracked one successful and catchy single as the decade drew to a close. The band sprung the biggest hit of their career with a paean to the small town of Mendocino 250 kilometres north of San Francisco. San Antonio-born band leader Doug Sahm had relocated to San...

Sacramento: The Ghosts of Sacramento

Sacramento: The Ghosts of Sacramento

In the few hours after dawn there is nothing here but ghosts. As sharp California light spreads across the empty streets of Old Sacramento the homeless who sleep under the nearby flyovers emerge, shaking their milkshake containers as they look for handouts. But there is no one around yet to bum coins off, just other ghosts pushing supermarket...

Grimes, California: Tales of the riverbank

Grimes, California: Tales of the riverbank

The fact was, when you walked from the cool, fresh air of the Sacramento River into the restaurant at the RV park you could barely breath for the smell of cooking oil. It coated the tongue and hurt the eyes, and penetrated your clothes instantly. You immediately felt like you had spent a day working over a vat of simmering oil. Emily...

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