Tag Archives: travel

Island Adventures

Waikiki Beach through the trees. We were on a trolley so most of my scenic photos are worthless.

We didn’t have a lot of big plans. Mostly we wanted to enjoy relaxing in the island breeze.

One day we went to the Honolulu Art Museum which is beautiful.

Mom touched the art. Twice!! At one point I turned around and she was opening the drawer on an ancient bedazzled bureau. I told her not to touch the art or we would get kicked out of there. She said she wanted to see if it was made well.

Little peek of Hanauma Bay State Park

In the afternoon I went swimming at a place called Magic Island Beach in Ala Moana Park. I did not bring my phone because it was hot and sunny and I didn’t want to leave it when I jumped in the water otherwise I would have taken a photo of the megayacht.

Swimming was amazing. I can’t even remember the last time I swam in the ocean. Maybe it was in 2011 when I went to San Diego — I remember sitting on the beach but I don’t remember getting in the water. But if not then, honestly, I might have been the last time I was in Hawaii which was 1986.

(It was an epic trip that couldn’t happen these days. I went with my high school friends, most of them still minors. HAHA! I rented a car at 18. I could buy alcohol at 18. We were perfectly behaved angels.)

I sure hope another 40 years don’t go by before I swim in the ocean again because I will be extremely old.

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Island Dreams

I found an app so I could check on some of the port traffic out in the distance. There were a couple of cruise lines. The fishing boats went out in the wee early hours. Sometimes a sail boat would show up as “pleasure craft.”

There was a megayacht at the yacht club in the marina out of view from our condo. There were juicy rumors about who might own it in an online forum. Also spotted: tugs, barges, tankers, and military ships.

Also spotted but not on the app: surfers, outriggers, sailboards, kayaks, catamarans and probably others I am forgetting. On land: bikes, scooters, people running, people with suitcases and people with dogs.

After the first night we gave up trying to adapt to the time. We just went to bed at 7:30 or 8 and then woke up at 5am.

As soon as I woke up I went to sit on the balcony in my summer pajamas to watch the ocean wake up. It was glorious!

In the early hours, before light, there would be all these cars coming in. Between our condo car instructions and this post, I figured out that people were moving their cars over here for free parking during the day. All the slots would be full by 7am. There was a cheap pay lot across the street from this spot. The car instructions encouraged parking there and every evening I would watch cars circle and circle and circle. We did not get a car and I’m glad because we would have either had to deal with this or pay $$ to park in a lot.

Here is my NaNo progress meter. I need less than 10k to make my goal which is in the realm of possibility but we’ll see how the holiday weekend goes.

15684 / 25000 words. 63% done!

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Los Angeles, Part 1

The point of this picture is the giant dragon above Bob.

We went to Los Angeles for a wedding.

It’s the first time I’ve been back in 20 years. I was kinda dreading it but it ended up AMAZING!

Our hotel had a free trolley to Universal. We thought we’d mosey onto the 8am trolley and it was completely full.

The park was sold out at 8:15am. People were out in force to celebrate Halloween. Lots of costumes and family themed outfits.

We didn’t plan to go to the park. We just had our morning beverage and baked treat and watched the people. Bob started a conversation with a guy in the coffee line and turned out he had dropped his wife off for work. She worked in costuming for the cast in the park.

Here is our entire Harry Potter experience from City Walk.

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Tacoma – Last Post

We went to Tacoma in September. I posted about it in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This is the last Tacoma post.

It’s been so long, I don’t remember what else I wanted to say about the trip.

This is a view at the Museum of Glass.

I asked about the sculpture in the fountain: what’s it made of?


Really? What about weather or vandalism?

Sometimes there are issues but it is actual glass in the fountain.

This is the Chihuly Bridge of Glass outside the Museum of Glass and there are glass sculptures in the display.

There are a few sections with vandalism but whatever they made the case out of, it’s really strong. No one had successfully broken into it.

Finally, this is what the basement would look like if my husband didn’t have me around.

This is the Freighthouse Station by the Amtrak station and it is the land that time forgot. A funny old place with lots of fun restaurants and little shops with various snacks and doodads.

These computers were piled up in the back with no security! Can you imagine?

Here is a weekly update on my NaNo. It looks like I’m in great shape but the next two weeks are going to be mostly a wash setting me up for a major Thanksgiving weekend write-marathon.

11432 / 25000 words. 46% done!

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Tacoma, Part 1

I feel like it’s optimistic that I will get back here and finish up the Tacoma trip — but I will try. I want to keep this short because I only have another couple hours to get out in the yard and I know I won’t want to get on the computer after I’m done.

This is the train station in Vancouver. While you wait you get to watch the metal recycler work. On our day a guy was playing the banjo as accompaniment. I was sorry we left before they ripped apart the school buses.

Bob and I did a quick trip to Tacoma for our anniversary.

Telling people you are going to Tacoma is like telling people you are going to Belgium.

They say, why?

People, Tacoma and Belgium are both awesome. (Here’s a post from Belgium, 2014)

There are lots of museums, fun restaurants, and a lovely waterfront. It’s easy to get around and nothing is crowded.

I was afraid Bob would wake up dying for a coffee and we would end up at some sad toasted bagel counter drinking hot drinks out of little paper cups.

I did the homework and found Hob Nob — a neighborhood favorite — and for good reason. It was a nice walk, adjacent to Wright Park, a place we planned to visit anyway.

It rained but just enough to be refreshing.


Hopefully more to come.

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Final Kansas City Wrap Up

Let’s wrap this up before summer is over.

We took a bus to Independence to visit the Harry Truman Presidential Library which was phenomenal. I think I’ve confessed before that my U.S. history is weak mostly because I took history in summer school so I could do a special program my senior year where I only went to school half day and I had a job in the afternoon. Summer school history is remedial history. Safe to say I had no trouble passing. I think I was the only student who didn’t go smoke behind the autoshop at the break.

This means my knowledge of presidents is vague and when Bob signed me up for this adventure I didn’t understand what an incredible time period that Truman served in. WWII ending, post WWII and Korean War. This isn’t going to be a history lesson but the library covered Truman from a political and historical perspective as well as his biography. A lot to think about to look back at that time now.

Remember I mentioned we walked around Thomas Hart Benton’s house while we were waiting to get seated at BBQ? He painted the mural at the library. Sorry that’s not the greatest photo.

Bob made sure to point out the replica of the liberty bell at the library. I said: I saw the real liberty bell last year and I wasn’t impressed.

We also went to the Harry Truman historical courtroom. To be honest, we went in there to use the bathroom but then we went into the visitor center and they asked if we were there for the tour and we said yes. The regular tour guide wasn’t there so this other guy took us through and he was great. He had gotten married there and he had some good stories. There was a little art museum in there and I would love to tell you more because the featured artist had an interesting story but Internet Search Tool is failing me and I don’t have all day to write this.

Now that I’m trying to get links, I guess we went to two courthouses? We went to this one, which is called the historical courthouse.

This is what you get when you don’t take notes on vacation, kids.

If you are a history nerd and find yourself in a position to visit Independence, I recommend.

I also recommend taking the bus if you want an authentic experience. Bob and I don’t mind public transportation and this journey kept it real. For the trip home we were waiting to board the bus and the driver helped a clearly intoxicated man in a wheelchair deboard. The man insisted he hadn’t been anywhere near alcohol and the bus driver exits the bus carrying a half empty 40 that he sets down on the sidewalk. I guess I should say half full 40 because a kid that was waiting to board the bus picked it up and put it in his backpack.

The last place we visited before we went to the airport was the American Jazz Museum (of course, if you know Bob) and it was also super interesting. They have so much historical footage of early jazz acts plus lots of information on performers and jazz clubs.

I’ll take notes next time so I have better stories to tell.

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Kansas City Sports

The rest of my vacation coverage is going to be spotty since other than the giant plates of meat I ate, it’s already a blur.

This photo reminds me that during our time in MO I saw more empty parking spaces than I’ve ever seen in my life. Everywhere you looked there was some massive parking lot, often with zero cars in it. Or just a few. Or a fence around it because dang it, just because there are parking places doesn’t mean you can put your car there.

If only there were a way to export parking places.

My note about the title is that I would say 4 out of every 5 people you see are wearing some sort of Kansas City team attire. Those Missouri folks love their sports teams.

Our hotel was downtown and new with amazing service. The room was terrific except it was like a meat locker. Even Bob was cold. I turned the fan down. I turned the thermostat up. I was afraid to turn it off because that seemed like something that could backfire.

I hated to do it but I asked about it at the desk. They were super nice and they said they adjusted something but we eventually broke down and turned it off. Also the A/C unit had a bright blue light on it. I am relaxed about light sources when I sleep and even I was astonished that no one had put tape over it or carved it out of the unit. Since I already complained about the A/C and the staff was so attentive, I didn’t want to ask about the blue light.

Also, my tea was never hot enough. I didn’t have a decent cup of tea the entire trip. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or if it’s because it’s 1000 degrees there and they don’t like their hot drink truly hot.

Isn’t that great how I these are the details of the trip I remember?

Our first night we were ready to go check out the BBQ but couldn’t find anything within walking distance of the hotel. The desk clerk was kind enough to recommend a restaurant that was in walking distance but it was a chain and we have one in Portland and it’s one of those places that thinks it can disguise the fact that they have mediocre food by having a giant menu.

I wasn’t about to waste a vacation meal on that place so we broke down and tried a ride sharing app. The desk clerk understood our change of plans and was happy to help us figure out which bbq to try.

I forgot to mention earlier but we took the train from St. Louis to KC. It was a pleasant way to travel but it was a tad disappointing in terms of scenery. Most of the time the train is in its own little trench so we saw lots of green trees and only a few nice views. But mostly I read my book. I read 4 books on vacation.

Getting back to dinner, we’d been traveling all day so we were hangry by the time our ride dropped us off at Q39. It was 4:30 and the line was going out the door. We had to wait in line to put our names on the list. We never would have done it except we had no car so we put our names in and then went for a walk and found Thomas Hart Benson’s house (artist) which was closed but we could walk around it and the neighborhood was pretty.

The food ended up being amazing. Super amazing. We both ordered platters where you try different things and tried everything. It turns out I can eat a lot when I’m motivated.

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Meet Me At The Fair

St. Louis, MO, Vacation Wrap Up Part 2

I tried to make this pretty but I am afraid while the mighty Mississippi River has many things going for it, beauty is not one of them. But we enjoyed the boat tour and learned about boat and recreational traffic on the river. I think my earlier post might have given the impression that I was afraid I would have to go whale watching in Missouri.

That was not my concern.

We stopped in the Old Cathedral while we were around the Arch park. They are very particular about their silence.

It is the oldest building in St. Louis. Construction began in 1831 and the church was dedicated in 1834. Right now there is a huge renovation project going on down at the park where the Arch is so there are land movers and fences and big piles of dirt. It’s supposed to be done next year and should be really cool.

We also went to the Dred Scott Court House, the history museum and the art museum in Forest Park which was the site of the World’s Fair in 1904.

Missouri has a lot of interesting history because of its location. When the US was in full burn pioneer mode, the settlers would gear up in Missouri before setting out.

Forest Park is beautiful and we enjoyed the museums. Unfortunately, we were caught in a thunder shower while we were walking around. Bob said: Quick, let’s wait under this tree. And a tree can be decent coverage for a certain kind of rain but not the sky opening up and gushing. There was some sort of venue but I don’t think it was public and we started running for that and then spotted a restroom. So we ducked into a stinky park restroom for 20 minutes until the rain stopped.

My summer sandals are probably going to have to be retired after this summer. They didn’t bounce back from the slosh.

Next stop. Kansas City.

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Meet Me In St. Louis

This is vacation wrap up Part 1.

For the first time in forever, I didn’t take any notes on this trip. I brought no writing materials of any kind except for the ability to note take on my phone which is not an activity I enjoy and I do only when I have to.

We’ll see if I can remember anything interesting.

We started our trip in St. Louis. I’ve lived on the west coast my entire life and found it adorable that St. Louis calls itself the gateway to the west.

They were in between heat domes so the weather was tolerable. I have concluded that I don’t dislike the heat as much as I dislike going back and forth between the A/C and the heat. I get chilled so easily so I’m always dragging around long sleeves and I hate to have my legs bare. I’ve had good luck with those special travel clothes that are lightweight and dry fast and do magic tricks. I don’t know what they are called but worth it to track down.

When Bob was telling me about St. Louis he mentioned a boat tour and a trip to the top of the Arch. I don’t like boats or high places but I was trying to be game. Turns out the boat tour was a paddleboat on the Mississippi. Of course I wanted to do that. The kind of boat trip I don’t want to do is whale watching in high seas. I kept an open mind about the Arch but then I saw this in the visitor center.

You get into one of these things and ride to the top. For 5 minutes.

We did not do that.

Later, on the boat, a lady talked about doing it and said up in the Arch it shakes. So doubly glad we skipped it.

The Cardinals baseball field is downtown. They were on an extended away streak while we were there but we wandered around the field. I know know who Stan Musial is. He is a rock star in Cardinals history.

More to come.

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Philadelphia Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my half-assed trip coverage.

We also did the historical museum (obviously) and all the historical tourist things. I will be the first to admit that my U.S. history is pretty weak. For my senior year of high school I wanted to do a program called 4/4 and take 4 classes in the morning and work in the afternoons. In order to do this I had to take a summer school class so I took my U.S. history in the summer. And summer U.S. history class is remedial class. I think I was the only person who didn’t sneak off to smoke by the automotive lab during the break. Everything else I know about early American history (that isn’t directly related to Indians), I learned from reading John Jakes.

Regardless, I could still appreciate the historical stuff. I loved Independence Hall and the graveyard where Benjamin Franklin is buried. I was underwhelmed by the Liberty Bell. There was a giant long line and the lady doing security clearly hated people and her job. Then of course everyone needed a selfie with the bell, which looked exactly like the pictures, and also like a movie prop.

One night there was a huge thunder and lightning storm with heavy rain. My phone gave me a flash flood alert. We were on the 17th floor and full from dinner and with our snacks and adult beverages handy so we pulled our chairs up to the window and watched. You could see the gusts of rain sweeping by. Very dramatic.

What is up with the liquor laws in Pennsylvania? We went to Trader Joe’s and there was no booze. We went to the wine and spirits shop and there was no beer. Then there was a separate market that Bob went to to get beer. The clerk there didn’t clarify but agreed the laws were complicated. There’s another twist that I’ll talk about in Part 3.

Bob finally got his Philly Cheesesteak the last day. I was urged to try this local delight numerous times, but if I’m going to destroy my digestive system eating something like that, I’d like to be closer to my home bathroom. I enjoyed a fruit cup while Bob enjoyed his sandwich. It smelled good.

On Sunday we visited the library and there was something called Hip Hop Fundamentals going on in the auditorium. The only reason we were by the auditorium is because that’s where the bathrooms were. Bob insisted we peek in and we ended up staying for the whole thing. It is a “diverse team of Philadelphia B-Boys dedicated to spreading true Hip Hop as an inspiration and academic tool.” And it was amazing. Tons of people and their kids learning hip hop. The B-Boys were great. I think everyone in the world should know about this group.

As of today the project of mid-August:

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