November 29, 2008

Islands of Aloha

I love Hawaii and have visited almost every island in the chain at least once. About five years ago I spent two weeks on the Big Island and loved the parks there. Having previously been on Kauai which is one of the oldest islands, the Big Island was truly a "baby" in comparison.

The amount of volcanic activity clearly showed how the island is growing all the time. Loving photography the way I do, this photo here is one that I took at Akaka Falls on the Big Island (having just driven from Hilo and a big lunch).

photo credit to

Merry Christmas to me, because I was asked to allow a travel guide to include my photo in their new edition. You can see in the sixth edition of the Schmap Hawaii Guide, my photo here from the Akaka Falls State Park.

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch they have the vision of my photo here...

November 26, 2008

Would you pay to send your luggage ahead?

So I am still on the fence here about this topic that is gaining ground for domestic and international travel, the issue of baggage and US airlines looking for revenue by charging for luggage. Recently the Wall Street Journal even had a story about the cost to fly your luggage.

I'm still undecided about this because I have experienced charges for checked bags in Europe for years now. It wasn't terribly expensive and it only encouraged me to pack light. I also understood that the smaller the plane, the smaller the compartments. Also Americans were known for being larger and therefore carried more stuff because we were consumers.

I have also have lived in Japan where they are pros when it comes to packing and shipping anything domestically. When we skied it was common practice to ship your ski equipment ahead to the hotel. When you bought a big piece of furniture such as a tansu chest (Japanese chest of drawers) or a big recliner massage chair, they automatically offered to deliver and set it up at your home.
Of course it cost, but it was never unreasonable and the freedom it gave you to either just get on your train or get in your car and go to the resort, or go home and know that your furniture would arrive the next day was incredible. I got used it quickly.

The concept being discussed now is familiar but in the US, I am not so confident we are there yet. When you check into a hotel, do you really feel confident that the staff will accept the luggage of someone they have never met, don't know because they are not famous and have had eight years of a president telling them to fear domestic terrorism?
When you check your luggage do you really feel you are getting value for your airfare?

I say if you really want to use a delivery service such as Sports Express to ship your skis or golf clubs, then do it. This increase in fees from the airlines stinks to me and looks like they are dressing up something that is simply another way to make up for the fact that they are running inefficient operations. What do you think?

Photo credit to geisha boy

November 22, 2008

Route 66 has more than kicks!

photo credit:

Have you heard the song by Nat King Cole? He has such a smooth voice. I'm much more familiar with that version than the Chuck Berry styling. And the Rolling Stone cover version, wow!
Well if you ever plan to motor west,
Just take my way , that's the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.

Well it winds from Chicago to LA
More than two-thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.

Well it goes through St. Louie down to Missouri
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty.
You'll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona,
Kingsman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

Won't you get hip to this timely tip
And think you'll take that California trip.
Get your kicks on route sixty-six.

How about the Johnny Cash classic, "I've been everywhere man"? This one I love to listen to and try to sing along with, though I am not terribly good at it - but definitely a good choice for a car ride! Watch the video below and tell me what you think.....

Route 66 is clearly a part of the American story, and now that I've been on a segment of it I am definitely going to try and put a road trip together where I can travel it east...from San Bernardino all the way to Chicago!

November 18, 2008

Ahnu sight for me!

Here I am waiting in the lobby of my Grand Canyon hotel until the Starbucks opened so I could get some coffee. Exploring the American Southwest is amazing, you are brought closer to the history of our great country. I felt the influence of the powerful Indian nations that are a part of the fabric that makes up the United States of America.

November 16, 2008

Wafrica - the African kimono

Exploring different cultures around you while traveling can take shape in many ways. Traditional clothing and textiles of a country I am visiting are always intriguing to me. I found the beautiful fabrics of Japan fascinating, and one of my favorite books I found in a Tokyo bookstore was of kimono and yukata patterns. Here is an unique story I discovered recently in The Japan Times that illustrates what I mean:

The seed of Wafrica was planted earlier this year when Serge Mouangue, a Tokyo-based concept- car designer for Nissan, decided to explore mixing the two cultural landscapes in the form of one of the most iconic symbols of Japan: the kimono.

"They may appear different on the surface but they do share some cultural similarities," the 35-year-old says. "Both societies are very tribal and have a respect for hierarchy and an appreciation of the power of silence.

"And then there are the differences. In Japan there is no improvisation. Here, improvisation can mean trouble, shame, difficulties. But in Africa, it means life, renewal, health and spirit."

November 15, 2008

Ahnu comfortable way to drive

Here I am driving [actually this is me in the back seat] to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a great road trip that carried me over the Hoover Dam [American engineering at its finest! Yes we can!] and through a beautiful desert landscape. I even stopped along Route 66, where my kicks included a buffalo burger.

November 13, 2008

The world is again, all about travel.

Editorial Note:

It is an exciting time in the U.S. We just elected a president that has a huge chance to alter the course of our country in a positive way that will be felt for decades. I am excited because this also means that for us travelers and global citizens, we again can begin our journeys exploring the world around us without fear. The U.S. has been low on the list of pleasant countries to be a citizen of for many years now, so having a president that is viewed by the world as a leader and positive game changer is wonderful.

I am looking forward for the first time in a long while to getting outside the U.S. again and engaged in friendly conversations with other world citizens, at airports and cafes alike. There is something so exhilarating when you find yourself in the middle of a trip simultaneously delighting in the newness of your environment and engaging in a lively conversation with a fellow traveler. I've felt this way while sitting with my feet buried in the sand at an outdoor café in Bali and across the world, while sipping a glass of wine in Venice savoring the sight of the sun setting over La Giudecca. If there ever was a time to get your passport dusted off, it has arrived. The world is again, all about travel.

Peace and happy trails.

November 12, 2008

Ahnu way to fly!

Here I am waiting in line at Southwest Airlines as A54, which means I didn't check in online that early. Oops. But I did pack light and only had a small bag to put under my seat. Love that. I also love-love-love my iPhone 3G because I only needed that and a book to keep me occupied for about an hour and a half. I watched two episodes of 30 Rock and read a few pages then landing time! No battery worries and no noisy kids. Yay!

November 10, 2008

Safe Travels Michael Crichton

clipped from
Travels by Michael Crichton
I wish I had looked past his more famous novels, such as Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain and discovered sooner this superb memoir. His essays and the tone of his writing here is just wonderful and I know this book is going to be on my bookshelf forever.

It certainly ranks as one of my favorites (similar to My Life in France) and I'm warning all of my friends now that when it gets loaned out, it better be returned! Click here to order your own...and stop over here at the LA Times to read a sweet post about how this book touched someone.

November 7, 2008

Open Letter: Visiting the Grand Canyon

Hello! I am visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time in the next few days and my excitement is climbing. Yay! And hopefully my feet will be climbing soon a few rocks in the Mojave National Preserve and in Red Rock Canyon.

Having watched dozens of National Geographic special episodes on Sunday nights as a kid, I am scared my actual experience won't meet my expectations. Has that happened to you? I admit that this kind of happened to me and Disneyland. The first time I went there I was eight years old and the second and last time, I was twenty years old. Not a good idea.

I promise to post pictures of my adventure and any good recommendations I find. While I am out and about, and distracted from posting, do send me any questions you have about Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. I will try and do some on the ground research for you. Happy Trails.

November 5, 2008

Mrs Meyers cleans up this fall

One of the huge benefits of getting out and about on the weekends is discovering cool things, by accident. Recently I met the real Mrs. Meyers - she is the bespectacled grandmother-like image behind the good smelling, slightly expensive, line of lotions and household cleaners. (Their lavender lotion has been a favorite for years.)

Recently Mrs. Meyers brought her line of products to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, all displayed perfectly in a vintage camper trailer. Think Mayberry and the Andy Griffith Show. Her camper was so cool looking, you could actually imagine it being pulled behind an old Mercury station wagon during a summer trip to the Grand Canyon. To add to this vision, her camper had a miniature clothesline on the roof with dish towels pinned to it. What a great way to market your brand and share your story! I stood for several minutes and listened (and sampled the lotions) while she shared cleaning tips and her vision of simple and pure ingredients, a la Heloise.

If you want to try this line for yourself, Mollie Stones sells these great products or click here to find the store near you. Mrs. Meyers is sold across the US.

Get out and enjoy these fall festivals because you never know who you might meet or what you might discover!

November 3, 2008

Muralist Mona Caron captures the Noe Valley Spirit in San Francisco

clipped from
The first time I discovered Mona Caron, it was while staring out my window riding on the J Church trolley heading over to Noe Valley [a sweet neighborhood in San Francisco, filled with great local shops along its central 24th Street]. Mona had painted a mural along the wall that ran outside my window of a golden, ribbon-like bike trail. It is quintessentially San Francisco, with a mountain bike rider and the Pacific Ocean.

Recently Mona completed a new mural in Noe Valley, on the outside walls of apartment buildings on either side of a parking lot along 24th Street. This parking lot is owned by the Noe Valley Ministry and hosts a small but well attended year-round farmers market every Saturday. From 8:00 am you can bring children (you’ll always find lots of kid friendly music & sidewalk chalk) and with a cup of Martha’s Brothers Coffee, stroll by dozens of stands filled with fresh bread, apple cider, and local produce [Happy Boy salad greens are a favorite!]. Mona's murals depicting beautiful warm images of this same locally sourced produce adds richness to this converted parking lot that is unique. I highly recommend taking public transportation (i.e. J Church) the first Saturday you have free.

Related Posts with Thumbnails