Summer~Baseball~Victory

What could be more fun on a beautiful summer evening than an exciting Cubs game at Wrigley Field?  The temperatures were in the low 80’s and high 70’s with a light breeze as the sun slowly set over the Chicago skyline.  People were getting off at Addison Avenue, walking from neighbor hoods and parked cars.  Vendors were selling their wears in the streets and sidewalks and bars like Murphy’s were packed with early arrivers to the game.

Sunset over Chicago
Sunset over Chicago
Murphy's
Murphy’s
Coming to the Ball Park
Coming to the Ball Park
Sunset over Wrigley Field
Sunset over Wrigley Field

 

 

 

 

The Mariners started out with a home run and a run batted in for each of the first three innings. At the top of the 4th, the Cubs were down 6 to 0, a tough hole to begin the first third of the game.  Ironically the Mariners walked two cubs in the 4th and Rizzo struck out with three men on base.  At the Bottom of the 9th the Mariners were leading 6 to 3 when the Cubs came to bat.  No way could they pull this off, right!  Wrong.  The Cubs went on to win the game at the bottom of the 12th with a score of 7 to 6.

Cubs on First
Cubs on First
Rizzo Strikes Out with 3 Men on Base
Rizzo Strikes Out with 3 Men on Base
Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a fun event for family, grandparents and their grandchildren, young and old couples, and friends getting together for a good time.  It happens all over the US every spring, summer and fall.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

My daughter and son-in-law gave us tickets for opening day of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and it was great.  There is so much to do, see, and experience.  Anyone traveling near Houston in early March should try to add this adventure to their travel itinerary.  There is something for all ages and at all times during the day and evening.

We started the afternoon at 4:00 pm walking the carnival. Here you relive your youth by winning a prize for your significant other, take some rides, be amused and of course, gorge yourself on just about anything you can think of to eat.

Funnel Cakes
Funnel Cakes
Turkey Legs
Turkey Legs

We watch small children ride sheep, “Mutton Bustin’.”  It was exciting to watch and a little scary for some of them.

Mutton Bustin'
Mutton Bustin’
Opening the Chute
Opening the Chute
Holding on for Dear Life
Holding on for Dear Life
Mutton Bustin' Survivors
Mutton Bustin’ Survivors

Walking into the concert, we had a nice view of the carnival.  My wife wearing cowboy (girl) boots which is normal footwear along with jeans and hat for the event.

Everyone is a Cowgirl/boy at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Everyone is a Cowgirl/boy at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving on a jet plane

Another great place to visit in Australia.

Bagni di Lucca and Beyond

It is time to leave Brisbane and make my way to Bagni di Lucca.

Brisbane airport

I have left Brisbane’s blue skies and am currently in foggy Hong Kong waiting for my flight to Helsinki. I am hoping for some snow, before heading off to London and Oxford for a few days.

Here is what I am leaving behind for a while. I think Brisbane is a beautiful city.

Brisbane city

# Brisbane city

Brisbane city#

It has been a hot, steamy summer so far, which doesn’t really suit me. I prefer cooler weather. The heat does have some compensations…

It is great for the beach.

#Burleigh Beach

There are gorgeous flowers everywhere.

# summer flowers

summer flowers

Many of the poincianas have finished flowering and enormous seed pods have formed.

Poincians

Poinciana

Poinciana

Our balcony is teeming with wildlife. Noisy birds wake us up early in the morning, frogs are croaking after the rain and we have had an occasional visit from a possum who feels quite at…

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Stay Out: Washington DC

STAY OUT!  DO NOT ENTER!  This is the feeling I got  when I  popped into Washington DC for a day while I was in Virginia for two weeks. I hadn’t been there in a while. In the mid 1970’s I had occasion to do research in the Library of Congress and the National Archives while living in a boarding house near the Supreme Court building. I was also present at the Watergate hearings. For a while I lived in Alexandria, VA in the early 1980’s and worked in DC. The city has so much to offer the world, art, architecture, history, philosophy, music, and good restaurants.

IMG_1114

IMG_1116I was really taken aback at my last visit. It felt like an armed camp. The only thing missing were soldiers walking around with automated weapons. Every parking or delivery entrance I passed along the Mall had two types of security barriers. I entered the multi-million dollar waiting room in the capital (built so Harry Reid and the other representatives of the “people” wouldn’t smell the perspiration from the visitors) then was herded into cattle like pathways for and after my security check. The tour was over after we saw three rooms. That was an abomination. Without some prior reading or knowledge of the Capital, visitors would have no idea what they missed. After the tour, I asked the guide why we didn’t see the old senate, the former Supreme Court chambers, the House and Senate chambers. The response, “This is the busy season, we don’t have time.” The only way you can see the House and Senate chambers is with a pass from your representatives/senators, even if they are not in session.

My quick visit to the Library of Congress was no less disappointing. After getting through security I stopped to put on my belt back on. The only thing one could see beyond the book store was the lobby and a Plexiglas enclosed balcony around the rotunda overlooking the reading room. I saw the Gutenberg Bible shoved off to one corner of the lobby in front of what would have been the door leading to the reading room. I remember working in there, going with the librarian to the stacks and walking down some beautiful halls and rooms with great art and architecture.

IMG_1115

We took a bus around the mall and I noticed that the road around the Lincoln Monument was closed and partially made into a walkway. The parking lot to the Jefferson Memorial was also closed.

I understand the need for security, but I am left wondering how much impact domestic and foreign terrorism have permanently had on our lives and how much security is used as a shield to keep the people from the US capital. I wonder what the impact is on our representatives and civil servants who are more barricaded than ever behind security that also build barriers to its citizens and visitors.  It would seem that this behavior would insulate those from inside the beltway from those they represent and work for outside the beltway.

In light of the recent terrorists attacks in Europe and Africa security in and around Washington, DC has tightened.  It is an obvious target for people wanting to damage our cultural icons, destroy our history, our people and our way of life.  But this is not the first time in our history that we have lived under attack.  I hope to see the day when some of these barriers can come down.

Travel Indoors

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year you are most likely experiencing cold, rainy, icy and snowy weather. It won’t be long now before some of us get “cabin fever,” that irresistible urge to break out of the house to somewhere, anywhere, just to get out of the house.  Here’s a tip, check out your local museum.  If you are near a large city you are likely near one of the country’s best places to visit, indoors, away from the wind and cold.  These are great places to renew your interests, learn more about something you perhaps haven’t taken the time to consider.

Last month we were visiting my son and his family and we decided to visit one of the Smithsonian’s museums in Washington.  It was a short drive for us.  I had a lot of fun looking at vintage aircraft up to and including the Space Shuttle, “Discover.”  But here is another tip, don’t go with young children unless you have a stroller.  We expected to rent one, but they didn’t rent them out so our time was reluctantly short.  I included a few pictures below and some kinks to museums that may be near you.

Happy traveling indoors for all of us who are locked into winter time in the Northern Hemisphere.

IMG_1176 IMG_1167IMG_1181 IMG_1168

 

 

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 21

Day 21: January 28, 2014

Today is the last leg of my trip home and something like back to the future.  I leave South Korea at 11:40 am on Tuesday and arrive at Chicago, Illinois at 9:00 am on Tuesday.  The flight was about 13 hours.  I had the same good service I had on other Korean Air flights.  I left at -9F from Chicago and returned to -9F.  In between my ranged from a high of 95F in Cairns, to a cool 70F in Queensland, to 40F in Inchon.  These were all daytime temperatures.

I returned home and began the process of unpacking and preparing for work which began the next day.

Trip Statistics

Activity 

 Number

Travel Days
                   21
Flight (Jet) Hours
60
Flight (Prop) Hours
1
Helicopter Hours
.5
Distance Traveled by Jet
26,318
Airports (non duplicated count)
6
Jet Boat Hours
1
Bus Hours
16
Cab Hours
1
Countries
3
Cities/Towns
12
Walking Hours
30

Cities/Towns visited

—Inchon, South Korea
—Brisbane, Australia
—Cairns, Australia
—Port Douglas, Australia
Mossman, Australia
Kuranda, Australia
—Sydney, Australia
—Christchurch, New Zealand
—Hokitika, New Zealand
—Arthur Pass, New Zealand
—Makarora, New Zealand
—Wanaka, New Zealand
—Arrowtown, New Zealand
—Queenstown, New Zealand—

Reefs

Green Island
Norman Reef
Michaelmas Cay

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 19

Day 19: January 26, 2014

This is the first day of my three-day trek back to Illinois.  Today I flew from Queenstown, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia.  The flight was several hours and about 1,200 miles.  When I got to Sydney about 3:30 pm, I checked into my hotel at the airport then took a subway downtown.  The car I road in looked new.  Parts of the subway system looked new and other parts looked like vintage 1940’s, but always clean. Today was Australia Day.  I first stopped at Cockle Bay (Darling Harbor) where there would be fireworks after sundown.  I walked around the crowd, had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and listed to some music before leaving for Sydney Cove (Sydney Harbor) to see the famous Sydney Opera House and bridge crossing the bay.  It was fun and I wish I had more time to stay to enjoy all of the festivities. I took the subway back to my hotel for an early night.

Picture of crowds in Sydney, Australia on Australia Day
Australia Day
Picture of Cockle Bay Wharf on Australia Day
Cockle Bay Wharf
Picture of subway car
Sydney Subwar Car
Picture of concert on Australia Day
Australia Day Concert

 

Picture of Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

 

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 20

Day 20: January 27, 2014

Today I left Sydney on Korean Air for Inchon, South Korea, the second leg of my trip.  The flight was about 10 hours.  We were treated very well, two meals, snacks, real silver ware and wine with our dinner.  There was plenty of electronic entertainment and opportunities to charge notebooks, e-readers, etc.

The airport at Inchon is like a combination of Rodeo Drive, Michigan Avenue and Fifth Avenue.  They had a small string ensemble playing, and fun things to learn and do at the Korean cultural store.  The only thing I didn’t see was a movie theater.

I spent the night in a hotel in Inchon.  It was a more traditional South Korean establishment with slippers inside a vestibule leading to another door into the bedroom.  Shopping around the hotel was not like the airport.  I would have liked to explore Inchon and Soul but didn’t have the time. But what I saw was intriguing.

Picture of piano at Inchon airport
Music at Inchon Airport
Picture of stores at Inchon airport
Inchon Airport
Picture of slipers in hotel room
Sky Hotel Room
Picture of street in Inchon
Shopping in Inchon

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 18

Day 18: January 25, 2014

This morning I was greeted to a large market around the lake in Queenstown.  Artisans brought their handicraft and the prices were much more reasonable for many of the same items I saw in stores throughout New Zealand.  They also had unique items.  It was quite fun looking at the wares and talking with the vendors.  Later there was music in a grassy area where people were taking in the sun.  A few other brave souls ventured into the lake swimming.

There was a hamburger place that was constantly busy called Ferberger.  The burgers were good.  They also had a bakery where the wares looked delicious.  I had a beef and cheese pie.  Meat pies are popular in New Zealand.

Today was my last full day in Queenstown.  Tomorrow I begin my three day trek back home.

Picture of bakery
Fergbaker
Picture of burger place
Fergburger
Picture of fancy soap
Soap