April 29, 2008

San Francisco Chinatown Haunts

clipped from www.yelp.com
Li Po Cocktail Lounge
If you like exploring when you visit a city, maybe even stepping into alley ways or mews without knowing what to expect, then you will love making your way through San Francisco's Chinatown.

One of my favorite spots is Li Po. It is a great bar that screams Nick and Nora or the hideout for a suspect in a Charlie Chan flick.

April 27, 2008

Automobile Club Firenze

clipped from homepage.mac.com
1907 to 2007 was a big celebration for the club and a wonderful opportunity for us to see the classic cars in Florence, Italy.

Don't you love those bonus moments when traveling. When you are just enjoying that you are able to take the annual vacation abroad. And surprise, you come upon a wedding or a special anniversary that has been occurring for hundreds of years.

Photo: S.F. Castellanos

April 26, 2008

Little Yellow Hat Wearing Elephant Cleans Men's Toilet in Japanese Airport

clipped from news.3yen.com
robo-zo robot
Elephantine e’PISSoir robot debuts in Kobe Japan
..a urinal cleaning robot, the “DCBA” in Kobe Airport terminal..

..Mr. Susumu Kanai was in charge of the design of the DCBA. He said that, ” I imaged a powerful reversal of the urinal drain would be like an elephant and used this as the theme. Following that reversal theme, the robot’s brand name “DCBA” DCBA in Japanese [pronounced “DaSuBiEh“] is the reversal of the letters “ABCD.”
Mr. Kanai explained, “To express performing things in sequence in Japanese is commonly referred to as doing something “ABC” — I thought it would be a good idea for the logo to be the mirror reversal of ABCD….
Oh.my.God. I am taken back to my life in this country within a millisecond of reading this. I can confirm that all of this is true. By true I mean his explanation and that folks there would think that an elephant in your airport bathroom would be seen as appropriate. Granted if this was the US we might consider a pink elephant since the bank of restrooms would likely be near the airport bars (after security), and those serving "doubles for a $1.00 more"...and by those I mean SFO.

April 25, 2008

Island Living

clipped from www.flickr.com

There is something about island life. Whenever I have been on an island, typically in Hawaii, my life slows. Seriously the day seems to literally slow down so that each hour I am awake feels longer than on the mainland. I do the same sort of daily activity but the day seems to last longer. And I am on vacation too. Which usually means the days seems to fly by because I am on a two week clock before going back to work for the man. Strange.

April 23, 2008

Travel in Style: Marc Jacobs Patent Suitcase

A lovely idea if you want to look stylish and find your luggage lickety split on that conveyor belt at ATA (oops they're bankrupt). I meant Aloha Airlines and their hibiscus smelling luggage delivery system (oops they're bankrupt too!).

Maybe there is something to flying the more conventional airline such as Virgin or Virgin America?

April 22, 2008

Caribbean Island Waterfront Excitement

clipped from www.flickr.com

ahhh, Caribbean vacations.

Top 4 Reasons to Go to St. Barths

# 4 - Windsurfing and other water sports make going to the beach more than just a sun-tanning experience.

April 19, 2008

Japanese Bull-Dog Sauce Battle Ends

clipped from img.adoosimg.com
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I lived in Japan for a few years. And what became one of my favorite foods is tonkatsu. It is delicious fried pork cutlet, in a batter that compares to the best fried chicken. Whether you had the fattier loin pork cutlet or the lean filet version, tonkatsu is best served with Bull-Dog brand sauce. Yum and yum. Some places in the US sell chicken versions, but you will be happier if you find the real deal.

If you go to Tokyo, stop by my favorite spot in Meguro called Tonki. You'll get heaps of cabbage to go with your mouth watering tonkatsu too! Oishiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

April 18, 2008

St Barth's

clipped from www.flickr.com

Saint Barths, a lovely destination and a very interesting history! Check this out:

1496 : Christopher Colombus discovers the island and names it after his brother Bartholomew.

1648 : first arrivals of European colonists.

1651 : the island is sold to Knights of Malta.

1690-1764 : War between France and England for control of the region.

1785 : the island is handed over to Sweden in exchange for the right to maintain commercial warehouses.

1801-1802 : occupation by the British.

1847 : abolition of slavery on St-Barts.

1878 : the island reverts to France on March 16.

April 17, 2008

Travel in Style Like Marilyn Monroe

There is no excuse to be a schlub when you travel. Whether by train, subway or above ground or by plane. A simple tote with a trench (see photo), flats, a scarf (see earlier post), white button down blouse, black tailored slacks, nice lipstick, a turtleneck, a cardigan and an a-line skirt.


April 15, 2008

Hang gliding in San Francisco rules!

clipped from www.flyfunston.org

Newest to Oldest

A glorious day in the neighborhood.

April 14, 2008

St Barth's

clipped from www.flickr.com
What a beautiful island that I need to visit. Here are snaps from my favorite correspondent...

April 13, 2008

Travel Tips: Easy Breezy Cover Girl

clipped from usa.hermes.com
Scarves make one of the best travel accessories. You can pack it flat. It brightens your outfit and face, which is important after a long plane ride or train trip. Many ladies and gents around the world tuck one into their collar before going for an evening stroll or out to dinner.

And if you watched The Darjeeling Limited, you will be inspired even more. Go for the brass ring and invest in an Hermes (at a boutique or at a Duty Free Shop) or stop into your resale store. You won't be disappointed.

Email me and I will send you tricks for tying knots!

April 12, 2008

Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Japanese enjoy the annual spring tradition of picnicking under the cherry blossoms in full bloom at Tokyo’s Ueno Park.

Sitting on a blue tarp under the trees is THE way to enjoy this season. Of course drinking too much is how it is celebrated as well.  When I lived there the park close to my home was Arisugawakoen and had many lovely trees filled with blossoms. Some doubled on a stems.

One of my favorite memories is a year we took our bikes and went to Aoyama Cemetery. There were more old growth trees there and it was so neat to walk among the grave stones. The odd part though and uniquely Japan, was the blue tarps and partying going on. They also sell lots of "carnival" food at these spots. It is because people are there for h-o-u-r-s and get hungry. They sell grilled meats, takoyaki (a personal favorite) and lots of noodles.

When the winds pick up at the end of the season - bringing the rains before the humidity starts to kill you for the summer - it looks like pick snow on the ground.

April 11, 2008

North Wales Vacation and Road Trip

I took a road trip alone many years ago. It was one of the best solo trips that took 10 days. Yes, I rented a car and revisited college haunts of old London and England. However what I also did was explore the northern part of England and found myself crossing the border into North Wales! It was a surprise but so worth it.

I drove alone through the mountain roads of Snowdonia. The terrain changed so that even I, a Yank, noticed that the road side fences morphed from bramble & trigs to stone. Hard stone that without a shoulder, was quite unforgiving. Having learned to drive from my law enforcement father I was bold and sometimes cocky with my driving. However I only nicked my mirror once but otherwise drove my little stick shift Metro, to my first pit stop, Betws-y-Coed.

Amazing Race here I come!

April 10, 2008

Electronics of all kinds in Tokyo

clipped from en.wikipedia.org
Akihabara in 2007
Akihabara (秋葉原, Akihabara?) ("Field of Autumn Leaves"), also known as Akihabara Electric Town is a town in Tokyo, Japan. It is located less than five minutes by rail from Tokyo Station.

And if you are ever there, it is one of the best places to shop for all things electric! I loved cruising the streets and looking at the cell phones, hot pots, rice cookers, DVD players, cameras etc. All the latest and greatest. Check it out! You can even find cool versions that will work in your home country and the manual is in your native language!

April 9, 2008

Tate Britain and David Hockney Gift

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk
Renowned UK artist David Hockney has donated the biggest painting of his career to Tate Britain in London.

The work, Bigger Trees Near Warter, is 4.6m by 12m (40ft by 15ft) and is made up of a grid of 50 small canvases.

The portrait, of a typical Yorkshire landscape, was first exhibited last year at the Royal Academy. It will be displayed at Tate Britain in 2009.

...I just LOVE the Tate in London. Last year I stopped into the Tate Modern for the first time. That was amazing as well, especially because we approached it by walking from St Paul's across the Millennium Bridge.

You should check out the four Tate's the next time you are in London! It is worth the trip across the pond and the exchange rate! Pip pip!

April 8, 2008

Oakland and San Francisco Mexican Food Fast

clipped from www.yelp.com
my favorite
I believe one of the best things to happen to lunch in the city is the "taco truck". In the Bay Area you can find these clean motorized lunch carts on wheels in key spots. Ready for the construction worker on his lunch break or the junior financial analyst on his fifteen minute lunch "hour".

My favorite truck resides outside the Best Buy downtown. Yum!

April 7, 2008

Victoria & Albert Museum wins Visitor Attraction of the Year

clipped from www.vam.ac.uk
China Design Now 15 March - 13 July 2008. Ji Ji, Hi Panda, toy figure, 2006.
What a great place to stop and visit if you are ever in London town! I am so happy they won this award because the V & A is one of my personal fave destinations. I discovered it long ago and try to stop there whenever I am in town. And in Knightsbridge. Because another great place to pop into is the Stock Pot. A yummy eatery behind Harrods. Superb! Brilliant shopping. And one of the few cheap places to grab a bite!

Check out some of their exhibitions and their online shop!

April 6, 2008

Box Lunches for Kids in Japan

clipped from img2.travelblog.org
Food in Japan is famously prepared as much for the eyes as for the palate. This is true even for Japanese preschoolers, most of whom take an elaborate, adorable mom-made meal, called obento, to school every day. The tradition becomes part of the social education of both parent and child and creates a connection between home and school for a youngster’s earliest forays away from family....

PBS has a great story about the meaning of food. What is so interesting too is that the bento boxes seem so basic and almost as if they are filled with leftovers. The portions are small compared to American lunches. While I was in Japan, I definitely only turned to bentos when I could not find anything else. Typically this was when I was on a train or in a subway station, in a hurry. I had no idea about this "mom-made meal" and its connection to children. I wish I had, it would have made me appreciate the boxes a little more.

April 5, 2008

The real heart of San Francisco

clipped from travel.nytimes.com
WHILE Paris has its boulevards and Miami its beaches, San Francisco’s lure is its labyrinth of back alleys, those mysterious midblock detours that seem to offer, in equal doses, the promise of discovery and the slightly scary possibility of getting lost — really lost.

San Francisco has its one way streets, its hills, its crazy cab drivers, its double parkers and its self-righteous crosswalkers. And I love it! You should be so lucky to get lost in this amazing city. Compared to many cities, this is one where most of its citizens, if they speak English, will help a visitor out if you need directions. So don't be scared...

April 4, 2008

Julia Child in France

clipped from www.amazon.com
My Life in France
An update to my earlier post. If you want a boost to getting yourself out there and traveling this summer, or even now in Spring then get this book. I just loved it. Inspiring on a personal level but then so romantic and back to amazing when you put it into the context of the times. Julia is now a real hero of mine!!!

My Life in France
by Julia Child (Author), Alex Prud'Homme (Author)

April 3, 2008

Julia Child's Kitchen in Napa

clipped from www.copia.org
Julia's Kitchen
Julia’s Kitchen at COPIA offers a perfect blend of impeccable service and outstanding cuisine in a beautiful and relaxed setting. Executive Chef Jeff Mosher creates flavorful California-French dishes infused with the fresh taste of the season—inspired by Julia Child and fresh ingredients from COPIA's own organic Edible Gardens.

All I can say is go! The food is wonderful and the area is lovely all year round. You can even book your reservation online at Open Table. If you are wavering and need more inspiration then check out this amazing book Julia wrote with her nephew before she passed away. It will inspire you to travel and to support public television. And be amazed that Julia was such rebel. Bon appétit!

April 2, 2008

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong Luxury Hotel

clipped from www.shangri-la.com
Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Whenever we make the trek to Hong Kong, this is the place to stay. It has views of the Peak and Victoria Harbor. You can easily walk or jump in a cab to all the great shopping and eating districts. Pashmina anyone? While living in Japan, this was my favorite shopping destination! I also loved the food and gregarious people.

I also love waking up to South China Post hanging on my doorknob. Makes you feel almost colonial. And you certainly get the vibe of when the British ruled the area. Very lovely touches all around..definitely a hotel, and a hotel chain worth visiting.
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