Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

15 April 2011

A Taste Of Summer

Ryan is visiting with his parents in Arizona at the moment, enjoying some lovely summer weather. We spoke earlier today and I told him it is cold here. The wind is blowing hard, I am waiting for the power to go out, and tomorrow we are expecting three to five inches of snow. That made him happy. I'll bet. Just last week it was the other way around. I was basking in the Arizona sunshine while he was stuck in winter.

I was in Arizona for the annual National Indian Gaming Association's Conference and Trade Show. This was my second time and it was better than last year. I met some old and new business contacts, watched my old boss win a Harley Davidson, and participated in some very interesting workshops. But most of all, I enjoyed the weather.

Walking in Phoenix in the warm evening breeze reminded me of my vacations in Spain during my high school and college years. Pasty white skin, dolled up for an evening on the town, we would wander the streets of Blanes or Malgrat de Mar and enjoy the warm weather and the local charm. The Arizona locals complained it was cold outside one morning, a lovely 70 degrees, forcing me to pipe in and tell them they don't know what cold outside is.

Downtown Phoenix is a strange mix of old and new. Of European architecture, Latino architecture, and modern office and hotel buildings, rising above everything else. The vivid pink and red flowers and fresh green trees brighten up the drab colored buildings. The strawberries taste sweeter in Arizona, I found. The cars are nicer, classier, and cleaner. Phoenix is a very clean city. Surprisingly so because I had a very hard time finding a trash can on the streets.

One afternoon I stopped in to visit St. Mary's Basilica, Phoenix' oldest Catholic church just passed the Convention Center. It was a quiet and peaceful haven. The large cross facing the modest front doors was dressed in purple for Lent. Inside it was cool but not cold. Only one other visitor was sitting in the pews, silently praying. The stained glass windows were beautiful, as was the colorful dome. When I went to light a candle, a surprise awaited me. No doubt as a result of local fire code, I could not actually light a candle but had to push a button to ignite a small flickering electric light. Ah, progress...

03 April 2011

Three For Three

When I traveled to Palm Springs two months ago, the Midwest was hit by the Storm of the Century, shutting down the region entirely. And while Lola and I were enjoying glorious spring weather in Holland recently, the Northwoods were treated to a whopping fifteen inches of snow.

In a few hours I leave for Phoenix where the temperature is a balmy 85 degrees. True to form, I leave Wisconsin looking like a winter wonderland once again. My fellow team members have requested I do not leave the state anymore.

08 February 2011

Zoltar Speaks

Do you remember Zoltar? The fortune teller from the movie Big who granted an eleven year old Tom Hanks's wish to be big? I met him the other day in San Francisco. He resides on Fisherman's Wharf and will tell you your fortune for a dollar. I asked him to read mine.

"You may be wondering if now is a good time to travel."


We were not supposed to go to San Francisco. The plan was to fly from Palm Springs via San Francisco to Chicago and then on to Green Bay. However, the Storm of the Century prevented that. And so we came to spend the day in an uncharacteristically sunny Golden Gate City.

After finding a place at the airport to store our luggage for the day, we took the train to down town San Francisco and started walking. We walked all the way to Fisherman's Wharf, where we purchased some comfortable shoes because our feet were starting to kill us, and admired the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz from afar.

Then we meandered over to China Town. It truly was meandering because while the map we were given showed a straight line from Pier 39 to Grant Street, there was this little bump called Nob Hill in the way. By the time we found China Town, our feet, our legs, and our backs were seriously protesting.

I loved China Town, in spite of the physical pain I was starting to feel. The markets and shops with little trinkets, the street decor (Chinese New Year had just started), and the mix of locals and tourists wandering the narrow streets. I bought some souvenirs for my loved ones and talked myself out of buying an authentic Chinese wok.

We ended the day at the mall. One of my companions had won some money at the casino which was burning a hole in her pocket. All I wanted to do was visit H&M. We didn't stay very long. After nine hours of walking our comfortable shoes were no longer comfortable and we took the train back to the airport.

We left San Francisco at one in the morning on the Red Eye. Thanks to Laura at the Palm Springs airport we were given seats in the extra legroom section. We returned to Green Bay at 11 AM, dead tired. A two hour drive later, I was finally home. My bed has never felt so good.