Category Archives: Travel: The Ins & The Outs

Oleanders & Lobster Rolls – NYC Part II

washington squareDay 1: bright sun, cloudless sky, 75 degrees, no humidity
My cab driver told me that apartments in Midtown – 1 bedroom – start at about $2,500 per month. He lives in Brooklyn. The week before my visit, the UN was in session or doing some of their serious Business and traffic was terrible for all the cab drivers. He sat in one block for 20 minutes without moving while ambassadors and presidents moved through in their special envoys. He would like to take a day off, maybe to enjoy the weather, but can’t afford to. He pays the same amount to the cab company every month, whether he’s working or not. They don’t care if the car is sitting out in Brooklyn or moving through the streets of Manhattan picking up fares – they charge the same. He seemed very wistful, thinking of having a day off. I said, “Do you ever get tired of sitting in traffic?” and he laughed. “Sometimes,” he said.

Lunch at a thai place around the corner from the Distrikt (my cab driver pointed out to me that they spelled the name wrong). Tofu, veggies and rice and some sauce that was so good I wanted to lick the plate.

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Jeggings and Jitneys: NYC Part I

tiny hello kittyBack from NYC, a whirlwind tour of Manhattan by subway and foot. There would have been a ferry involved as well if the wait to get on it had not been an hour and a half.

Now back in the Midwest, I bring stories to my Midwestern brethren. Stories about jeggings (and leggings) and buses called jitneys. And lots of things lying on curbs and clothes, glorious clothes, and people who are not at all well in the head.

But first, jeggings.

I never took this trend seriously. Jeggings? Leggings made to look like jeans only tight, tight like leggings with no real zipper or buttons but perhaps the imitation of them, plus seams, drawn onto the fabric? Yes.

If I were, say, Great Britain during the time when GB controlled India, jeggings would be Ghandi. Someone, something, that I didn’t take very seriously at first and then… and then… oh, shit. Something like that.

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My New Company: Lonely Prisoner Maps

hiking bootsApril 19, 2009: “Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, hoping to interview defectors from North Korea, began with a series of meetings in Seoul before flying to the Chinese city of Yanji, on the North Korean border. They were warned not to leave Chinese soil but ventured across the frozen Tumen river anyway. Exact details of their capture vary, with some accounts indicating that they were arrested by North Korean troops after refusing to stop filming, and others suggesting that they were pursued across the ice and back on to Chinese soil before being taken into custody.” – Times Online

April 11, 2010: “Today marks the 250th day of the detainment of Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd, all recent graduates of UC Berkeley, by the Iranian government. According to the Cal Berkeley student group Friends of the Hikers, the three former students were hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan when they ‘accidentally crossed an unmarked border’ into Iran, and have been in custody of the Iranian government since 31 July 2009.” –

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The Villages: Disney World For The Retired?

House The Villages smallFifty-five miles north of Orlando is a “mature adult” alternative to Disney World called The Villages. It’s a retirement community that bills itself as Florida’s “friendliest retirement hometown.” My parents bought a home there in 2007 and spent their first winter there in 2008.

Whenever I try to describe The Villages to people (the travel by golf cart, the homes that all look pretty much alike, the pods of villages with Spanish-sounding names) they have one of two reactions. One is, “Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun,” and the other is, “That sounds weird.”

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Taking On The Italians

La Spezia 2

I recently returned from a trip to Italy. Tuscany, to be exact. I am not a well-traveled person but when I do travel, I like to be somewhat immersed. Meaning, no tour buses, please, and a place to stay that allows for interactions in cities and towns. Although, tour buses do have their advantages… Everything must go so smoothly as you glide from one pre-determined location to another.

After a week back at home, I’ve decided to put together a collection of my thoughts and travel tips. Keep in mind that these are the result of one trip to Italy and no, I don’t speak Italian. So, authority? No way. But hopefully still interesting, especially if you’ve never been to Italy and are considering making a trip.

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Would You Like a Bun With Your Sausage?

I don’t go out to clubs. I am not a clubber. The thought of donning something sexy and going out to dance at 11:00 on, say, a Thursday night rarely, if ever, enters my mind. What does enter my mind? When is The Office going to be on? Should I eat all these M&Ms? I should go write something but this InStyle Magazine is just too compelling to put down.

But this weekend all caution was thrown into the wind that blows over Brainerd, Minnesota. Or was it Nisswa? No matter. It was a girls’ cabin weekend in celebration of a friend’s wedding, what in modern parlance has come to be known as a Bachelorette Party.

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Square Lake Film Festival: Lovable Squares + Some Losers

The Seventh Annual Square Lake Film Festival happened last Saturday outside Stillwater. It’s a one day deal – live music and short film programs alternating all afternoon and into the night. It happens on a farm; don’t ask me how to get there. It was Highway 36 to some road to some other road, etc. etc.

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