A Tribute to Whitney Houston, Part 1

February 14, 2012

Whitney Houston holds a very special place in our hearts.

It was Super Bowl 1991. To our utter dismay the Gulf War had started. We were excited to have been invited by Dave Ohlhausen, then V.P. of Rain-X, to attend a huge Super Bowl Party at the Hilton Convention Center in Las Vegas where we were sitting at the table with Dave’s friend, David Hasselhoff and his wife. When Whitney Houston started singing the National Anthem (Star-Spangled Banner), everyone jumped to their feet. We were all awestruck at the exquisite and emotional rendition of the song knowing that the troupes were watching overseas. Tears were running down on many of our cheeks. It was a moment, we’ll never forget!


July 4, 1996: We celebrate the US Independence Day on beautiful Lake Baikal, Russia.

Later, Gary purchased a tape (yes, no CDs yet) and we carried Whitney’s National Anthem  with us on our 1996 Trans-Siberian Expedition. On July 4, (the US Independence Day) we sat on a lonely beach at beautiful Lake Baikal’s East Shore. It was a glorious afternoon, the water was calm and crystal clear. Russians believe that if you swim in Lake Baikal, you’ll live 25 years longer! We couldn’t pass up this opportunity and took a quick dip in the icy water. Gary later stuck Whitney’s tape into the cassette player and turned up the volume full blast. We toasted with a shot of vodka, eat the quintessential American buttered popcorn and were extremely grateful for the freedom we sometimes take for granted and for Russia and its wonderful people to be moving forward into a brighter future.

Soon, an old lady came investigating the music with a gift of fresh Omul in hand. We shared our popcorn which she ate in amazement. It was not the only time Russians were surprised that you could pop corn and it tasted so delicious!

This old lady brought us a gift, a freshly caught Omul which is a whitefish species of the salmon family endemic to Lake Baikal.

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