Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Hello Victoria, So Long Summer Photo Essay

I said goodbye to summer by traveling to Victoria, British Columbia by boat with my sister and a friend.

There’s a nip in the air, brown-tipped leaves, a carpet of acorns in the park next to my house. One last summer outing had to be had.

But that’s ok. Fall is around the bend and we all love fall. The fashion. The leaves. The lattes.

Fall is my favorite travel season because I prefer empty museums to museums filled with sweaty tourists in cargo shorts. That’s just me.

If you want to look like an amazing photographer, take a million pictures of flowers. Big, bright and beautiful, flowers sit still and are happy to pose. Novice photographers should start with tranquil gardens before street photography, where everything moves, the light is low and there’s a wastrel wearing KEDS who wants to spit beer into your lens.

Pro tip: The BlueFox Cafe in Victoria will have one of those obnoxiously long lines, but it’s worth the wait. They make breakfast poutine. Enough said.

Victoria travel, in pictures


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48 Hours in Las Vegas, A Photo Narrative

In the past two weeks I flew from Vegas back to Seattle and from Seattle to my sweet home Chicago to be Matron of Honour in my best friend’s wedding. It was two weeks of summer dresses and giant sunglasses. Two trips, two weeks of fun. Finally feels like summer.

Lots of posts to come, including my flight from hell: how I discovered a plane full of teenage girls is far worse than a plane full of babies.

But for now, enjoy this photo mosaic.

What happened in Vegas

Vegas

Vegas

Neon sign at Vegas Neon MuseumIMG_1508 IMG_1511 IMG_1464 IMG_1478 IMG_1501

It’s already a neon blur.  The red desert sun hung in the sky like a giant ornament. 

Nevada-vegas-travel-desert-sun

Desert sun

I learned about Vegas’ sordid past through neon signage at the Neon Museum. I am now a Vegas neon sign expert. That was a trick. The signs aren’t neon anymore, they’re actually LED. I can’t wait to correct a stranger.

Actually [thought-gathering pause] they’re not neon anymore. They’re LED. And the sign designers own them, not the casinos. And Moulin Rouge was the first casino that allowed black performers. Just to let you know.

Vegas-travel-jackpot

I won $200 in slots/craps. If you want to squeeze the most fun out of Vegas, start with the free craps lesson (the Monte Carlo has one) and learn how to bet beyond the pass line. It’s a super fun, thrilling game and has a special vocabulary: the shooter, hard eights, aces, crapping out, playing the field. It’s rife with nickname material, but the game moves fast and so does the money. I start with $20 and see how fast I can double it.

I went to Michael Jackson’s One. I highly recommend it. I had forgotten how much I liked MJ. When he was a kid, he was perfection and the world twisted that perfection into something horrible. It’s a fantastic tribute, well worth the money. My only criticism is I want more Jackson5 or 80’s Jackson, less of that slower new stuff he did in his getting-naked-with-Priscilla phase.

Unseen Vegas

Vegas-travel

There’s a tarnish just beneath the bright lights and if you’re observant, you’ll witness some sad things. A woman strutted through our hotel lobby in nine-inch heels and a pair of daisy dukes completely unzipped like it was a fashion statement.

I walked past a homeless lady on the bridge who held a cat.  It wore retro sunglasses and looked near death. I closed my eyes and half-prayed it was fake. It couldn’t have been.

Later, I encountered another woman who sat with her child and had a sign that said, “my other job is better than this.” I contemplated kidnapping or giving the girl a wad of cash. But I just shook my head and kept walking. No one gave them a second glance. We were all onto the next glittering casino.

PRO TIP: There’s a pizza place on the third floor of the Cosmos that’s so secret it doesn’t have a name. I call it The Clandestine Crust, though it really just goes by Secret Pizza. Delicious, fast, perfect after-midnight bite.


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Wild & Free: Adventures in Eagle-Watching

Wild and free is the way I want my life…nature’s way for me without pain and strife ~ Curtis Mayfield

quebec winter carnival, expat blog, washington state winter

I am convinced all black specks are eagles. See it?

Like most sane people, I have complaints about winter. It’s cold. It’s dark. I want to do nothing, but consume morsels of dark chocolate and glasses of wine while in a nest of blankets.

But when the alarm rings at 5:50 am, I get ready to face the day. A decent jacket, good attitude, and eight cups of coffee help.

maple leaf, Canada expat blog, travel writing

So do moments like this.

My fondness for winter started in Quebec. I had to make the best of the worst weather. I danced under an ice palace at Winter Carnival, tumbled down small hills on cross-country skis, and rolled popsicle sticks in maple syrup taffy. I miss real winter, miss the rumblings of snow plows at night and the crunch of ice under my boots.

I didn’t think I would ever miss these things. Maybe what I really miss are mid-day field trips and singing French songs on a bus with the rest of the second-language students.

Nothing lasts forever, but I can’t help but to feel a touch of Cube Fever after being so wild and free.

Here’s how I am dealing with the first winter as a re-patriot:

Winter in Washington State

Washington travel images, fir trees, Seattle travel

I half expected this tree to touch my hair to compare notes.

After a Wii Mario jamboree that lasted until 1:00 in the morning, I woke up early to photograph eagles in Skagit, two hours north from my house in Seattle. I had errands to do that day – taxes and such, but The Sister convinced me it was a good idea. Continue reading