We’re up here in the Great Northwest, for a period of indeterminate length, on business. The business thing is Mary’s reason for being here, I’m just along to sample the bounty of the Seattle area, which is rich and diverse. Plus, they have beer.
I don’t think anyone would ever describe Seattle as a mecca for Mexican food. According to a scienterrific survey I did of long time residents, consisting exclusively of my in-laws, I can state with positive assurance that finding good Mexican food up here is difficult. But that’s as it should be. With the abundance of wonderful seafood, fruit, fungi, and dairy products available to Seattlites, it’s only fair that they should give up something in return, and it appears they picked Mexican food. There is one sort of local fast food Mexican chain, Taco Time, but the best that could be said of it is that ………
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The first two nights we spent at the IceHotel, we slept in a regular, warmly heated, queen bed equipped Scandinavian hotel room. The whole sleeping in a room made of ice is only for one night, and indeed they don’t … Continue reading
After a few days in Stockholm it was time for our real adventure, a flight up above the Arctic Circle and three days basking in the frigid gloominess that is Lapland.
To start our Laplandish quest we were scheduled to be picked up at the airport and taken to the hotel by dog sled. That seems pretty cool, because it’s just not that often you get the chance to travel by dog sled. Now, Kiruna, where the IceHotel is located, is pretty small, more a village than anything. So we expected, that in the nature of these types of things, we would get on a dog sled, they’d run it in a circle for ten minutes and we’d be deposited at the front door of the hotel. All done. This is not what happened. It turns out that the hotel is not close to the airport – not close at all. The dog sled ride took something like 45 minutes of hardcore tundra mushing and after the first ten minutes we could have been easily convinced to get out and walk. Continue reading
The secret to a good marriage, besides diamonds*, is the ability for the participants to trade favors, goods or services, or as the Romans put it, doing that quid pro quo thang. One can exchange, for instance, scrubbing down the toilet (recognized by the World Institute of Man Studies, as an act that exceeds the courage required to throw one’s self on a grenade to save one’s buddies) for a substantial number of brownie points. Brownie points are an internationally recognized currency that can be exchanged for example, an afternoon of college football on TV. And thus the gears of marriage are greased, and the world as we know it continues to revolve, or rotate, or both at once.
I have no words for the awesomeness of this….
Mad props to anyone who figured out the title came from Scrooged, one of my all time favorite holiday movies. Right up there with A Christmas Story, or as we like to refer to it, The Kid, You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out Movie.
Before heading off to the somewhat dubious delights of Lapland (at least in Mary’s estimation), we hung a hard right to the Deep South to share the yuletide festivities with the Waring, and thus less reputable, side of the family. It was their turn, whether they liked it or not.
We have returned full circle, back to Los Angeles and America and apple pie, as well as excellent fish tacos. Hmmm, fish tacos….
Before bestriding the globe, hurtling through the stratosphere back to the City of Angels, we stopped off for a few days of relaxation in Singapore. Our intention was to spend those days hopping from one hawker stand to another, but Mary’s sprained ankle put a bit of a crimp in those plans. She sprained her ankle while debarking less than gracefully from a boat in Siem Reap. Mary did say I could go on without her, sampling the manifold delicacies of Singapore, but I knew this to be a test. If I agreed with her, and went off on own, I would be an unworthy husband, and she would hate me forever, even if I brought her some leftover chili crab. Or maybe because I brought her leftover chili crab. If, on the other hand, I remained by her side for her every waking hour I could earn brownie points. Plus, someone had to be around to replenish the ice pack and fluff pillows, and good help is expensive in Singapore. Continue reading
So we finally arrived at the one place I actually had planned on going in SE Asia, Angkor Wat. I wrote and erased a whole bunch of words about Angkor Wat, and none of them did the place justice. So I’ll largely let the pictures do the talking.
Around Angkor Wat (which is the name of the most impressive imperial palace and temple complex in the area), in the area of Siem Reap, which is the modern city from which exploration of the surrounding area is conducted, are seemingly innumerable temples. Many were lost in the mists of time, then rediscovered over the last one hundred and fifty years. Enough boring history. Short story – lots of temples, scattered hither and yon, some partially restored, some left pretty much as they were found. And without further ado, this is what we found, ourselves, well with the help of our trusty guides. Oh and here’s a shout-out to our tuk-tuk drivers, they didn’t kill us even once! Continue reading
We thought we’d do Hanoi as more of a test, just to get a taste, see which way the wind was blowing, get our feet wet, that sort of thing. If in the process, I’m able to cobble together as many idioms as I did above, then it’s all good. They flesh these posts out, quite a lot, at times.
Along our way travelling around northern Vietnam, we also carved out a little time to sample some of the local beverages.
As I write this, Mary is in the next room rattling a full cocktail shaker, a little specialness that will be awarded as soon as I complete this post. So to recap, we went to Laos, saw some Buddhist temples, ate a bunch of spicy food, and went for a ride in a boat. The end.
Ahh, apparently, a post has to contain sufficient detail to compile several paragraphs, though I have been reliably informed that the paragraphs don’t have to be long ones. It would be most convenient if someone were to publish the rules, so one knows where one stands.