Sensational Sicily….first glimpse: http://youtu.be/eaKTIHNEMo0
Uploads from j3dnight: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=UUbVWZFzmE_RftYB9y36rowQ
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Oahu, Kauai, & Maui
Just what the doctor ordered, Hawaii. But he didn’t order it I did it with miles and after much stress at work which started affecting my health I arrived limping. Not really limping as in leg injury but in mind and spirit. Can you fix me Hawaii? The answer….yes we can and Hawaii does. When you start feeling a bit too warm she gives you a breeze, too dry a rain shower than sun. When you need a sign you get a rainbow.
I arrive late at around 7 pm and upon arrival I was immediately lei’d. Aha you are thinking dirty huh? I hear my name being called and two men are standing there smiling big. My flowers are placed around my neck and I am beaming. My God I am in Hawaii. My friend Shari arranged this as a welcome present. Thank you sweet Shari! I find my way to the shuttle with the help of the men who lei’d me (ha ha) and arrive to the hotel called Polynesian Plaza. Kelly my friend is already there because she arrived around 2 pm. We had different flights. I flew out of Dulles her BWI. I would have preferred BWI but I was flying on miles and airport choice wasn’t an option for $10. Yep $10!!! She’s dead to the world, had walked a bit and got fast food Chinese. I unpack a bit since I always want my room to feel like home. This room is a little noisy facing the street but we have a balcony. I’ll have an interesting view from that balcony in a few hours. I change into what will become my “Waikiki dress” and go walking to find a fish taco. I’m making my way to the sea but don’t realize it. I walk thru a hotel with shops and find a restaurant. It’s after 9:30 so I have to order from the late night menu. Karaoke is started so I’m seated waiting for my order. A cute six year old gets up and sings a song by Pink. The whole placed thundered applause for this little one when she was finished. Order is up and I head back with my sliders. Best sliders I ever had while staring. I also got a beer at a gift shop and have that with my first aloha meal. Out on the balcony, for a cigarette I am looking at the torches lit near the fancy shops. I notice a person in white and I think a white towel sitting directly across the street on the wall of the shops. It runs thru the shrub and to a van and talks to someone than runs back and sits. If my mind isn’t deceiving me it looks like he or she is wearing underpants? Strange I think to myself while sleep calls me to the bed. I wake early and so does Kelly like while it is dark. We decide to get to the beach and see the sun come up since we will probably never be up that early the rest of trip so off we go! Funny we thought we were the only ones who had that idea but alas we were not alone. No matter it was exciting and I see my first glimpse of Diamond Head. We had taken our flowers down with us as well. My camera, crappy at night did some okay shots and Waikiki just glows far better than any photo could illustrate. At this point, the song “You ain’t seen nothing yet” should be playing by the sea because that is truly how it is in Hawaii.
Off to breakfast around the corner. Eggs ‘N Things. Oh yummy and a waitress full of spunk. After placing our order, she tells us what we should be ordering and splitting. We take her advise and thank heavens we did but she was dead on and it was delicious. I had an omelet, pancakes with coconut syrup and more. As we are having a breakfast a shower begins. Uh-oh are we going to have a rainy day? Nope because it’s a short shower, followed by blue sky than if you are still feeling slightly nervous well you get a rainbow and we did! I now know I’m going to love this place because rainbows don’t lie.
It’s all about the beach today and Kelly is having trouble with her chair. She’s plunked down on kind of a sand hill. After multiple attempts to get situated Waikiki hands us a water raft. Yes an abandoned pink raft became part of the ensemble to the beach each day. Kelly floated on it and I wanted to but was too scared. See I can’t swim and have had visions of a rogue wave I’ve named “Hawaii Five O” sweeping me out to sea or trapping me in the curl of it. “Come on” she says, nope I answer “H five O is out there,” I ‘m content sitting on the edge of the water. We are whiter than ghosts but happily so are lots of others. Since we dont’ want to peel the skin off our bodies that night we spray the sun block faithfully. I get a little braver and go into the water declaring I’m not going past here. Kelly says she’ll save me and I told her no you won’t, lol ! Those who travel with me or have read my stories know when there is the least bit of trouble Kelly runs like the wind. Save me indeed!!!
After a good beach day, we decide to walk to find dinner. We find Duke’s Waikiki. It’s a lively place on the beach and I order my first fish tacos. Fish tacos to die for really. They were heaven. We had a big table and a couple from Canada joined us since there wasn’t an available table so we offered ours. What a lively couple and we really enjoyed the company and conversation which led to our upcoming Germany trip. They have been several times and just completed one that included spas. We were laughing our heads off when she explained the method. Well here in North America, I believe we are kind of modest and I know Europeans are a bit more out there with the nudity so I ask do you have to lay there naked as a Jay bird? No she says you do get a sheet on but….there was a point when the lady finished with one side, flicked that sheet off her with a crack and told her “turn over” than comes the matter of an apparatus that looks like an oxygen mask with tubes and she is thinking she is getting some good air for the face and the lady proceeds to apply them on her how to say “rose buds” and exclaims to her this will make them perky!!! We were roaring and now very mentally prepared for our German spa if we partake of one on our visit! Perky-licious indeed. :)
After the great dinner and company, we head to the Shorebird bar where I had the take out during karaoke. Karaoke is on again this night. Seated at the bar we meet a man who’s in the service named Garrett. He’s living in Hawaii now and won’t tell us nothing about his job. Of course that makes you want to know everything all the more. Okay Mr. NSA I say to him and he laughs telling me I’m going to read all your emails and text messages. He’s good company except for his last comment which we felt insulted me and Kelly in one swift blow while sending Kelly off to Spinster land forever. More on that in a bit. While out smoking on the beach I see a big big black man with all kind of diamonds and gold and I swear he looks like Barry White. I love Barry White and have been to his concert. What luck, this fellow is singing Barry White tonight. I ask please sing Can’t get enough of your love, Babe! He says he will and is going to dedicate it to me “Jeannette from Baltimore” !!! Woo hoo I run back to the bar and tell Kelly & Garrett Barry’s going to sing a song dedicated to me. Gosh it took awhile before it was his turn but finally is number was called and he starts singing JUST LIKE BARRY!!! Full of joy and a couple of Mai Tia’s I jumped on that dance floor and danced to his song and I must say we got a nice loud applause when we finished plus I got my dedication! Rock on Barry!
Garrett also known as Mr. NSA who tells you nothing but wants to know everything about us till he gets into your emails the next day knows I am a happy single woman and don’t ever want to change it, that Kelly is a happy single woman who is open to changing it if Mr. Right comes along. While Kelly is in the bathroom he says, you’re getting married long before she ever will remember I said it. My face drops and I told him no way I’ll be the happy single girl at her wedding so HA ! Tomorrow’s plan is to visit the North Shore by bus and we have a sunset cruise for Kelly’s birthday. Garrett offers to take us and gives us his number. Don’t take the bus he says. Well we didn’t listen. Kelly whose new name for the trip is going to be “the spinster” and I happily board the bus thinking this will be nice to do before the sunset cruise.
Those of you who are familiar with Henry the VIII and the Tudor’s series can’t forget how Henry did not like Anne of Cleve’s and remarked she has “evil smells.” Me and Kelly often ponder, did she have a bad smell, bad perfume or was Henry just saying that? We will never know but we did adopt Cleves as a code word for something stinks. I get on this bus walking toward the back get hit with the evil smells and nearly run right back off the bus. It’s moving and I’m trapped. This fellow looking quite dirty has obviously peed his pants at some point. A fellow behind him has a wash cloth right over his nose. I sure wish I had a wash cloth myself. Eyes watering I’m looking at Kelly mouthing Cleves Cleves!!! Luckily for her, her nose was not working that day. He gets off finally shew I can breathe again!
The bus is bumpy. We get an assortment of characters. Some that stick out in my mind is a lady and a wheel chair. What i saw was a woman, the chair and shopping bags. The bus driver got the chair on, locked it in place, she sat down, arranged her packages. We kind of thought that was odd. Walking, packages but who’s to say. Maybe she could not stand for long or something? Not our business, we’re just observers. Another loud laughing person gets on who I do not know if it is a man or a woman with no teeth. Quite a character and quite loud with a lady next to her. Oh shoot this reminds me I did not finish about the person on the white towel across from our hotel. That morning before the sunrise I go out to smoke and that person is still there in a kind of tank top and mens underpants. I swear he or she saw me come out since we are directly across from each other. He/she jumps up runs toward the street shrubbery, turns the back to me, stoops down and shows me the moon. Runs back and sits on the towel. I saw a man walk by she proceeded to put her hand up on her head like a movie star pose and I believe he said no thank you. So this must be a woman I think? Poor thing, I felt bad for her. Okay so back to the bus.
Finally we arrive at Giovanni’s Shrimp truck which I had been eagerly waiting for during the ride. There is quite a line and the smells are heavenly! We got the shrimp scampi, rice and macaroni salad and it’s quite delicious. A beer with it would have been the icing on the cake. We mosey around and see the other roadside shops with it and it was nice, really nice. After a spell, we go back to the bus stop and wait for the bus. It takes a long long time. I plug in our location and find we’ve got two hours or more on the ride back. We are not going to make the sunset cruise which is Kelly’s birthday present. Oh crap mind as well see the rest of the North Shore than right? We go to Turtle Bay resort and lay out in the sun for a while and I roam around taking pictures. I didn’t go in the water but went searching for turtles but I didn’t see any. I should have went in but the fear of the rogue wave H five O was looming in my head. We decide to leave and head back. While just leaving the resort area we see the bus which is quite a distance from us, I yell run Kelly and we take off like a bat out of hell waving our arms wildly in the air. By the time we got to the bus stop we are panting and sweating. The bus driver comes out of the bus and says relax girls, I’m taking a small break. We collapse on the bench.
We board with finally a steady breath and have a seat. More characters and with each and every one of them I whisper to Kelly “Happy Birthday” since this is going to be her present not the sunset cruise. We get laughing so hard we cannot stop and have tears running down our faces.
My take on the bus, go early if you must, know it’s a very long ride but if you don’t want to rent a car you can do it, the views are fantastic and well some of the weirdos well that is kind of entertainment in itself, no worry there are lots of normal people on there too! Maybe it was an odd day when we boarded?
Scenes from the day:
Oh and the last happy birthday Kelly got that day was when we arrived at the mall where we transfer buses. Kelly is eating fast food in the fast food court and I can’t resist one last “Happy Birthday”, you ***** she says! Fast food wasn’t in the plan.
Next day is beach day and we decide to move up the beach at Fort DeRussy to the flat area so Kelly won’t fight with her chair. It’s nice here and you can get snacks from the beach bar plus they have a clean bathroom. A fellow comes along and sits near us. Come to find out he is an airline pilot for Fiji airlines. He asks us to watch his stuff while he tries to snorkel. Some crew members the week before had their cellphone and tablet stolen from the beach. I told him about me not ever snorkeling before but I’m going to try my hand at it at Hanauma Bay Nature preserve since my only practice has been one time in my friends pool. He told me lots of coral is dead in Fiji, can’t see one blessed fish, not one! He likes the idea of the preserve and asks me for the information on it so I write it down for him. He was a nice pleasant fellow. This day I get an interesting suntan. I had been standing in the water for a bit past my knee. With an old tan mark I somehow came up with prison stripes. Not kidding, three different lines on my thigh one being very red. Nice, real nice!
Waikiki is busy but it’s still so darn pretty for a city. Scenes from the day:
Tonight for dinner we decide on Lulu’s grill and it was a great choice. I had two different fish and both were fantastic. A ritual starts, have a great meal fall into bed exhausted, like 930 or 1030 pm!!! The old girls ain’t what they used to be plus Kelly being a spinster and all. We need our rest, lol.
Snorkeling is work.
We have our Hanauma Bay day and I think it’s pretty here. First I wasn’t prepared to fight the good fight with the mask, the noodle (I call it) the fins filling with sand, trying to walk, trying to get up after falling, the life vest riding up my chest blocking my view and a strong current. Good God this is work! Mask on, mask off, hair being pulled, fog, no fog, wipe spit on it, clean fin, walk backwards, get more sand, meanwhile not seeing one darn fish. I finally get a rhythm. I float my way sort of near coral with a fear what if I feel I have to stand suddenly. How am I to avoid stepping on coral? I decide I won’t float over coral, I’ll float near coral, like right at the edge of it. Low and behold it worked!!! I saw such pretty fish, all colors, large, small I was in my glory. I snorkeled right up on an elderly gentleman’s Speedo. Yep, did that by current accident! Later sitting there with Kelly on the beach I see him coming off the beach. I told Kelly see that elderly man with the speedo? I snorkeled that speedo. LOL
Dinner PF Chang’s, bedtime after thinking about my snorkeling. Fish are damn pretty. Kelly found a glass submarine for me I can snorkel in and just sit and see the fish. Hmmm I might like that!
Each morning I go down to the beach and have the coconut cream coffee and smoke cigarettes and make sure I take my cigarette butts back with me. I take pictures and it’s funny the same spot looks different each day. One of these mornings, I somehow start talking to this man. Friendly morning talk kind of thing. He’s older than me by a few years. He looks at the photos I take and tells me you should walk out on the seawall and take photos from there you get a much better angle. I told him no I can’t swim, I’m scared the H Five O rogue wave will get me off the seawall he laughs and says, look I don’t mind to go out there with you. I’m not trying to hit on you or anything my wife is right there in the room and points to his place but you could get some real nice shots. I’ll be right there with you. I think about it and say okay. I inch out a few paces, stop snap and I guess get about 1/2 down but a wave does lap over the wall a bit so I tell my helper um this is far as I can go. We make our way back. He was a nice man, we chat some more than both go about our day. We do meet later again, kinda.
Today is history day, we are going to Pearl Harbor. We got a late start and got real worried about the bus making it on time and missing our time slot. Luckily that did not happen but rain did off and on but no matter this place is important for me and very moving. I had to lock up my stuff with the desk so I forgot my kleenex and sunglasses which I knew I would need because I’m emotional about such places and I knew this was going to be like when I visited Normandy. Kleenex is necessary and the sunglasses for the big sob when it comes over me. I like privacy with my tears. No such luck. I do the best I can with rapid blinks, stare at something, good golly nothing works and this is just during the film!!! Oh well.
It’s our turn for the boat and the military man says well do you want the good news first or the bad news? Bad news I’m thinking, please don’t tell me you closed the memorial when I’ve come so far? The bad news was the boat before us broke, the good news they were sending another one.
We get there and disembark and I have to tell you I think this memorial is brilliantly done. It’s quiet and very moving. To think of the loss of life, sacrifice and suffering, it puts it in perspective, don’t take your freedom for granted. Not ever. People have suffered to give you that and I try to silently thank as many names on the wall as I possibly can before the attendant says we are going back. There are recent additions from survivors who wanted to be placed on the Arizona upon their passing. It’s a beautiful sad place here but full of honor. We head back to explore the exhibitions.
scenes from the day:
It’s our last night in Ouha and we are walking down the boulevard trying to figure where to eat this evening. We stopped to watch a hula show a square was showing than go down a hall lined with shops and suddenly I see the man who walked me to the sea wall. I tell Kelly that’s the man who helped me and I was going to say hello. I stop briefly but they are having some kind of discussion and I hear (Kelly heard more before me) YOU TALKED TO HER? YOU TALKED TO HER? I hear him say something like she was very natural. Nice and natural. She’s than exclaiming, NATURAL, NATURAL???
I am starting to whisper to Kelly oh my gosh he must of been trying to talk to some woman. Kelly is looking at me with huge eyes and an expression and kind of grabs my elbow and leads me away from them. Did you hear them fighting Kelly? I was going to say hi. Kelly says “oh my GOD they are fighting about YOU!!!!! What? I say, COMPLETELY floored!!! She says I picked up on it before you did and that’s why I tried to pull you before you went up to them and that woman beat your *ss MISS NATURAL. Well she’s got it all wrong I say, he was a nice man, a gentleman, not that way at ALL. Well maybe he was late coming back? Something. She says, you won’t see him tomorrow with coffee on the beach that’s for sure and I didn’t.
Mornings and random photos:
More random shots (hopefully not doubles):
Next we are off to Kaui which is kind of the thing that inspired me to do this trip. I watched a show and Kaui was featured and I was intrigued.
Kaui is beautiful. More beautiful than I even thought possible.
We arrive and get our rental car and I am a nervous nelly driving in new places but I did do okay. We are staying on the North Shore at the Hanalei Bay Resort. I booked it thru Hotels.com but had been warned we may not get a good unit. Rentals from the private owners are better. Luckily we had no problems and really loved the room and location of our place. The view out to the lanai each day is stunning. The rooster who wakes you up well I love him. I love every one of those chickens. I bet I talked to everyone of them as well! We settle in and jump into the car to find some dinner. We head into town and eat at Bouchons with a lovely view. I ordered the fish tacos and Kelly fish and chips. The food was really nice! The taco were spicy. It takes a lot to make my eyes water and they surely did but I loved every bite. After dinner we are in search of a sunset, we decide on tunnels beach. While hanging out there we meet a couple who suggests we hurry and jump in the car, five minutes down the road to Ke’e Beach for the sunset. Excellent suggestion and it was brilliant. I will let the photographs speak for themselves. (oh and we got a double-rainbow) :)
Kaui is how gorgeous is done. It is the Hawaii I always dreamed of and more. It is less populated, it’s quiet and we did not have nearly enough time here but what time we did have was amazing start to finish. I didn’t know what I would love when planning this trip. Which island? This trip was my first and a sampler so I have no complaints.
We begin with breakfast at Kalypso’s. Absolutely terrific and we didn’t order breakfast. The rain started up with a bit of wind so they lowered the shades so we wouldn’t be pelted. We had a visitor at our table. I think it was a tiny lizard? I’m not sure exactly what it was but it was a tiny thing and could jump. The table next to us took an interest in it as well and the girl put her finger out and got him! Later he jumped to the floor and we were scared because he was getting to near the bottom of someone’s shoe. Didn’t think you had to be careful stepping around in Kauai? We roam around to the shops and eventually make our way to Hanalei Bay. The sun came out for 25 minutes. We know that because a very nice lady came by with a dog and said well, I think you have 1/2 hour before it starts again. She was close! We ran to the pier because that had shelter and guess what I saw a turtle! We spent some time here out of the rain but enjoying the scenery. For dinner, it was pizza in the room.
In the morning, I went for a walk to take pictures. It was incredible as I wandered down to the beach and the Regency. Again about Kauai, you don’t need to write much the photos speak for themselves.
The plan for today is the boat for the Napali Coast. We are so hoping the weather cooperates because I’ve pined away wanting to see this coast. We booked with Na Pali Catamaran. In a word, wonderful!
Tags: arts, fans, history, journalism, National gallery of Art, Newseum, Paul McCartney, photography, photos, Washington DC
What was supposed to just one night led to a two-night stay and it started off with a bang, me and my friend Kelly’s first ever chance in life to hear live THE Paul McCartney. It was great to finally see the man. We’ve recently been to Liverpool. How we never got to a concert floored me so it became my mission to make this happen. Well Paul made it happen in Washington DC and I won’t ever try to buy tickets feeling nervous and excited because I messed up so many times trying to get them online it’s a wonder I even got a ticket.
How to describe it?
THE BEST CONCERT I HAVE EVER EVER SEEN!
I have seen Led Zepplin twice. Lots of bands really but this was a one of a kind show and I’m so very thankful to have had this experience. You’re watching a legend. At 71 years old, he is still spitting fire and damn cute!!! Whether he is fluffing his hair or adjusting his pants with the boyish grin I could just scoop him up.
I don’t need to tell you about the music because that speaks for itself. Almost three-hours of bliss….wonderful bliss.
The next day still high off our incredible evening with Paul, we think, “do we want to go home tonight”? No was the answer so we set about exploring DC Saturday & Sunday. We visited the Newseum and I thougth it was fantastic. I did not get to see any of the films. I especially enjoyed the JFK exhibit, the Berlin wall exhibit and the Pulizter Prize Photography. There is much to see and do here and I highly recommend a visit. Your ticket is good for two-days. We also visited the National Gallery of Art & Sculpture garden. I leave Washington DC with the same thought every time. Why don’t I get over here more when it’s only an hour away? It is my loss entirely.
Tags: Bethesda fountain, Central Park, Coney Island, Coney Island hotdogs, New York, NY, Strawberry fields, travel, trips
Each and everytime I visit NY I discover something new to me…..
My first trip to Coney Island. It was time to bring out the child in us with a spin on the wonder wheel and a ride on the Cyclone. Yikes!!!
Nathan’s was a must and I ate every bit! So did a lot of other people. It was packed. We walked to Brighton. I would like to explore more in this area one day.
Old favorites: Strawberry Fields, Bethesda fountain, Alice and cold Corona anywhere.
We stayed at the International Youth Hostel so some of the pics are a display about the building history. It’s been revamped in the cafe and I really like it with much more choices for food and longer hours.
The heavens poured upon departure. While waiting for the Megabus, a handsome man hopped out of a cab and I thought oh that’s photo worthy in an otherwise boring line. I consider him our parting gift. I’ll take it :)
cya next time NY!