Letters: Spotting killer whales in Southern California

Black and white and SoCal all over

I’m always thrilled to read that there are orcas in Southern California [“Killer Whale Watching,” by Mary Forgione, Nov. 15]. I once saw an orca swim into the Mission Bay channel in San Diego. I worried about a fisherman in a small boat in the channel, so I raced to the lifeguard station to tell them what I’d seen. They humored me and said it was a dolphin.

I returned to the channel and the orca soon passed by, heading back out to sea. In light of all the SeaWorld furor, I like to think it was stopping by to visit family.

Virginia Hyde


San Diego

This is Bangkok?

Did the author of “Zen and the Art of Traffic” [by Rosemary McClure, Nov. 8] actually visit Bangkok? The failure to mention motorbike taxis — much more common than tuk-tuks — and the failure to mention that the airport link is a multi-billion-dollar, seldom-used boondoggle are road signs that something is wrong. When coupled with a bizarre selection of restaurants and hotels, an article has been created that falls well below L.A. Times standards.

Michael Moore



Skip elephant ride

Perhaps it was best that the author of “Path to Enlightenment” [by Arnie Cooper, Nov. 8] didn’t go on the elephant ride.

In 1990, a friend and I did a three-day trek out of Chiang Rai, Thailand, that included riding elephants the second day. We were atop a female elephant with a calf. Within the first 20 minutes, she got startled by something and took off at high speed through the dense jungle.


As the handler desperately tried to get the elephant to stop by beating her head with a machete, my friend and I debated whether it was safer to jump or stay aboard. One low branch and we could have been killed.

But there was dense and thorny brush below and the elephant’s calf was running behind, so we decided to stay put. She eventually stopped, but not before we all were bloodied; the elephant from the machete and us from the branches and thorny vines.

With four more hours to go before we reached our next destination, it was the most nerve-racking trip of my life. Upon returning to Chiang Rai, we learned of another tourist who had been hospitalized after a similar experience.

Cathy Housman



Matsonia memories

Regarding “Still a Draw” [by Catharine Hamm, Oct. 18]: As an 8-year-old, I arrived at the Aloha Tower in Honolulu on Dec. 24, 1940, sailing on the Matson Lines’ Matsonia with my mother and 5-year-old brother. My father, who had preceded us to Hawaii, was on the pilot boat with a pile of leis with which to greet us.

We experienced the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, as we lived very close to both Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field.


In March 1944, because of a family emergency, we were transported to San Francisco in a gunmetal gray ship outfitted with firepower. Soon after boarding, we realized it was “our Matsonia,” converted to a troop carrier, taking a few civilians and many casualties from the South Pacific.

Joyce Cassidy Toth

Mission Viejo