Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Kangaroo Kisses & Ethical Dilemmas

Seattle-travel-petting-zoo

Arthur. He reminds me of Splinter from TMNT.

I did something wrong. But cute. But wrong. No matter how I try to justify it.

I went to a kangaroo petting zoo. I’m a huge animal lover (meaning, I love animals, not that I love huge animals). I didn’t know it before I got there, but this kangaroo farm breeds and sells kangaroos. A mere $1,200-$3,000 gets you one of these babies (do.not.buy one). They sell about 6 a year to zoos and “other places” and were intentionally vague when I asked them what other places.

Only $9 gets you a whole day of kangaroo handling. I didn’t link to them because I don’t want to give them publicity, bad or good. I went. I didn’t see any signs of outward animal cruelty. But as the saying goes, “If you don’t love something enough to leave it alone, you don’t love it at all.”

Maybe I’m not an animal lover.

A kangaroo in a little baby sack was placed in my arms and the kangaroo keeper, a burly man with a bloody bandage on his forearm said, “his name is Forselly.” I didn’t get it then because I was holding a baby kangaroo and wondering to myself why I like holding animal babies more than human babies.

Then we walked around the property in groups, with sticky-handed children and their parents. One lady had the audacity of asking whether she could take a baby kangaroo out of a SEALED pouch, basically like asking to hold a baby while it’s in a woman’s stomach.

The first kangaroo I fed was Arthur, he had a muzzle of gray whiskers and squinty eyes. They all had squinty eyes.

He moved slowly and methodically, crouched like he had a walker. I fed him a piece of bread then touched his head, almost tempted to scratch behind his ears.

What the hell am I doing? It dawned on me that maybe this is wrong. Animals don’t belong to us, they belong to the world and this place didn’t seem to be doing much for conservation or education. I guess meeting Arthur and “Forselly” makes me feel closer to kangaroos, but really, it makes me more certain that animals aren’t amusement parks.

Lemur sun themselves

So cute. But are they “happy?”

Do kangaroos like being handled? Can they really eat bread?

Other than kangaroos, the farm has lemurs (not for petting, not for kissing), wallabies, peacocks, mini donkeys, pheasants, ostriches, emus and Alpacas. Fun fact: lemurs sit like old men. The animals seemed well taken care of and the lemurs even had their own red rocking chair. And they were purportedly acquired second-hand before owning a primate became illegal.

In light of the recent TBEX controversy, I’ve been reading a lot about mistreatment of wildlife as a tourist attraction. Sometimes the animals are treated cruelly, sedated so we can get that I’m-holding-a-tiger-selfie or F*ck yeah, I’m on an elephant.

I don’t think that’s the case with this place. I think it was a simple case of people who love exotics.

The whole point of this post is know before you go. I don’t remember the one time I went to SeaWorld (before Blackfish) and I barely remember those dolphin shows at the aquarium as a kid. But I’ll always remember the two times I saw orcas whales from the beach near my house. Or the time a bottlenose dolphin swam next to my raft tour off the Napali coast, so close I could have reached down and touched its back. Or the baby bison, on the prairie in South Dakota just kind of hanging out.

That’s the way to see animals. It’s unexpected, it’s magical, and when they leave, you feel like you’ve been kissed.

In October, I’m off to photograph wild horses in New Mexico. I’m excited to be an observer, to watch them thunder across the desert and to know without a doubt, it’s where they belong.

Ever see wildlife in the wild? Where, when, what? Comment below!


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Visiting a Vineyard & Drinking it all in

First of all, this is my 100th travel blog post. Thanks everyone for likes, comments, support. This is part two of Driving through the Storm.

My fascination with vineyards

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Ever since Sideways and “Brothers & Sisters,” I have been dreaming about running to the hills and operating a vineyard. I would give my wine a humorous name, like Miller White or Peanut Grigio. Or a pretty French name: papillon nuit, which translates to night butterfly, or as we like to call it: moth  

I traveled to the Yakima region to find out what running a vineyard in Washington would be like.

Turns out, vineyard is just a fancy word for farm. And farm is just a fancy word for a whole lot o’ work.

If she could speak, my oxygen-deprived, on-her-last-stems, comatose houseplant Gertrude would tell you I am not a plant person. I can’t keep her alive, there’s no way I could handle a vineyard or an orchard or even a single row of tomato plants.

And one slight frost could take out a whole crop.

Luckily, I learned the upcoming year for Washington wines is going to be bright. Summer weather conditions were ideal for grapes, so that means more local wine for us. Continue reading


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The Perfect Storm, Part 1: Driving Through the Rain

This past week, it poured, literally and figuratively. My apartment, my life, my pillow, all soaked. As I write this, the rain keeps coming, no signs of slowing.

Multiple rounds of bad news made me want to stay in my room under my cozy comforter, the Dog curled in tight. But a blanket is no armor. And though I want nothing more than to get on a plane and see my family, I can’t.

This is the biggest drawback of my life 2,018 miles away from my nearest and dearest—there’s no teleportation, no easy way. I have to face the sting of regret when time slips through my hands like a rope. I have to confront the fact that I have missed a lot of birthday cakes and memorials and piano recitals, a lot of moments I really “should of” been there, but couldn’t be.

Damn you entropy!

But forget the storm for a moment. Let’s travel beyond it and into the Yakima Valley.

Yakima Valley Travel

Moving to the country, going to eat a lot of peaches. Totally about this place.

Moving to the country, going to eat a lot of peaches.

There’s a vast desert past the heavy drape of clouds. The topography changes suddenly, just past the ridge. Shrubs, sagebrush, and balsam roots replace leaning firs. Dijon-colored hills roll against a slate sky. Washington is nicknamed the Evergreen State, but the Yakima valley is all gold. Continue reading


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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


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Humorous Pot Legalization Predictions

marijuana tourism washington, travel blog, humor blog

Are we the Amsterdam of America? We do have the tulips.

My current home state, the Evergreen State just became the EverGREEN state with the passing of the legalization of marijuana, coming December 6.

Don’t book your flight just yet. Although the pot fog wafting into my window has thickened, there’s nowhere legal to buy the stuff. And there’s a big parler coming up with the Feds on how this will all work.

As a travel writer, I find this most interesting in terms of tourism. Rick Steves, that khaki-clad, accountant-like celebrity traveler, is a huge marijuana supporter. This surprised me. I had him pegged as the kind of guy for whom a glass of white wine is a wild night. Then again, I am one to talk.

I’ll leave my own political affiliations out of this because I am suffering from political fatigue. Here are some just-for-fun predictions.

Pot legalization predictions:

Please read the following in your best Year 2000 voice. If you don’t know that reference, you really need to catch up on your Conan O’Brien.

  1. Capitol Hill, our trendiest, (i.e. most obnoxious) neighborhood will fill to capacity with potheads and slackers and people who wear vanity monocles and play polo on bicycles. Oh wait – it already is. Next.
  2. Coffee shops will be replaced with “coffee shops.”
  3. Washington State residents will be visited by their long-lost slacker friend, the guy who nicknamed himself The Guy on the Couch, who hasn’t called you in years, who now wants to sleep on your couch. Forever.
  4. People will refer to Seattle as mini-Amsterdam and tourism from here to the legal weed-topia across the pond plummet. Why bother going there? We have tulips and legal Mary Jane. Ok, so we don’t have many windmills or canals or really old buildings or legal prostitutes.
  5. Cheech replaces George Washington on our state flag.
  6. The show Portlandia becomes obsolete as hordes of hipsters migrate back to Seattle to work on their distopic vampire novels and post-post-post modern paintings of clowns. Oh brother.


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5 States Get New Slogans

I have driven across the country three times and been to 35 out of the 50 states. Some states are clearly superior to others. I’ll get to the signs you’re living in an inferior state later. Most of these are just jokes, I have fondness for all the states I visited.

With the exception of New Hampshire’s whose tagline is “Live Free or Die,” the rest of the states should revisit their slogans as they elect new governors. Most of these state slogans are either ripe with hyperbole, totally unfitting, or just dumb.

State Slogan Suggestions:

washington travel, seattle travel blogger

Can’t believe I live here.

Washington’s (where I currently live) state slogan is Say WA.

Say Wa! is how an uncool white guy answers the phone in an early 90′s sitcom. It captures zero of the beauty or coolness or …anything of Washington state. This is the land of Kurt Cobain and and jumping salmon and hundreds of islands blanketed with evergreens. And we get SAY WA?

Suggestions: WA you lookin’ at? Simply beautiful. Bet your state doesn’t have an archipelago.

Continue reading


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Lavender Love: Adventures in Agritourism

agritourism, lavender farms, lavender care

I don’t think the red flower gets enough attention.

The Husband and I have adopted the habits of a couple in our early 50s. We don’t have kids and aren’t big partiers, although I have been known to dance until the wee hours. It’s just us and the dog in our apartment in a complex full of other drifters who decided to retire at the ripe old age of 30 (you know, the types who wear lots of flannel and refuse to work in an office and make art out of paperclips). Continue reading