Saturday, June 9, 2018

Zooming through 2018


My last post was about Essaouira, which I left in mid-January. I was very bad about transferring photos from my phone, and when I finally got around to doing it in late March, I accidentally deleted the entire Camera folder from my phone. Since I was too ignorant to just go to Google Photos online to get all of my photos back, I used a free app that not only got them back, but reduced them all to a fraction of their original sizes and returned much older photos, as well as stuff cached from the web.

And then, because I am an idiot, I did it again. Which resulted in duplicates.

It took me forever to dig through them, because there were literally thousands of them, and cull the best of a really pathetic bunch of photos. Even for me.

In doing all of that, though, a couple of things have struck me as really weird.

I decided to slow down my travel and try staying for a
1st time in Oxford - coming soon!
month in some of the places I visit. However, since I left Essaouira in mid-January, I still managed to cover quite a bit of territory. My itinerary from there, in the last 5 months, has been: Paris/London/Vegas/Mexico City/Acapulco/Mexico City/New Orleans/Vegas/New York/London/Marrakesh/Oxford/London/Bath/Mexico City.


I did stay for a month each in Acapulco, Marrakesh, London and now almost that long in Mexico City. But the second weird thing is that I have hardly any photos of Acapulco and Marrakesh, though I stayed in each place a month. It's like the longer I stay, the fewer photos I take. And the less I do.

I did almost no sightseeing whatsoever in Acapulco or Marrakesh. Well, most of the time I was in Acapulco I was recovering from a case of bronchitis so severe that it bordered on pneumonia. I needed an inhaler almost the whole month I was there. 

I did visit the Yves St. Laurent Museum in Marrakesh, but it was a ridiculously small exhibition for a $10 admission, and no photos were allowed inside.

So, hopefully, it won't take long for me to catch up on here to the present. Starting from the beginning...


Paris

Musee Nissim de Camondo Paris
I flew from Essaouira to Paris and stayed only 2 nights. On my one full day, I went to the Musee Nissim de Camondo, which will get its own post...eventually.




Then I took a Eurostar to London for just one night before
Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord in Par
Gare du Nord Eurostar lounge
catching a plane back to the States. I'm sure I've said it on here before, but I do so love taking the Eurostar between 2 of my favorite cities. Not only is it so convenient to go from city center to city center without the hassle of airport transfers, it's also just so much easier than dealing with everything related to flying - particularly security. On top of that, though, I love the Eurostar terminals in both cities. This is the one at Gare du Nord in Paris.

London

London St. Pancras

Princess Hotel, London









Since I arrived and was leaving out of St. Pancras, I got myself a tiny attic bedroom at a hotel just a couple of blocks down the street from the station.




Arriving in the afternoon, and leaving around 7:30 the next morning, I didn't try to do anything at all in London except feed myself. Cheap, filling and tasty is not a combination easily found in London eateries, but one of my favorites is King of Falafel and it was just a short walk from my hotel.

Even that 5 minute stroll was a joy, because Bloomsbury is my favorite neighborhood in all of London.






The train to Gatwick the next day was surprisingly empty when I got on, and never did fill up much. So I had a very relaxing ride to the airport. Unfortunately, between the gate and security agents both putting me through ordeals about the contents of my luggage, I needed every bit of the spare hour I'd allowed myself to make my flight.

Being British, they were both very nice and friendly, and they both allowed me to pass through without making any changes to the contents of my bags, for which I was very grateful. But it is still frustrating that they are the only airport that makes you go through the motions every single time, and I will do everything I can never to fly out of there again. I don't mind flying into that airport, but not out of it.

 Las Vegas



When I flew back to the States on January 15 to visit my younger daughter and her family, I'd been out of the country for 3 months. First thing next morning, I chose to ignore the wide variety of cuisine available in Vegas, and succumb to the craving I'd been having for one of my longtime favorites: breakfast at Denny's.  

The next day, I wasn't feeling well, and by the third day, I was bedridden. The day before I was due to leave, I went to an urgent care clinic and got my diagnosis, then went to a pharmacy to get the inhaler.

I got to the airport a couple of hours in advance of my flight because I'd finally been approved to be interviewed for the Trusted Traveler program. That would get me TSA Pre-check on all of my flights out of a US airport and a quick Global Entry breeze through customs on my international return flights.

Except, the entire government of my country had shut down from midnight Saturday, January 19th to the evening of Monday, January 22nd. Unfortunately, my flight out of the country was on the afternoon of Monday the 22nd. I'd heard the news, of course, but my fogged brain hadn't thought to consider the consequences. So I arrived to find this sign on the door where my interview was to take place. 

I was sick, uncomfortable and had an extra 2 hours to kill at an airport. I was SO not happy.

Mexico City

Needless to say, I didn't get out much during my week visiting my older daughter and granddaughter in Mexico City. However, 3 things struck me enough to take a photo.

I've commented before that one of the things I love best as a traveler is looking at buildings. My preference is for architecture from the past, but I appreciate some forms of modern design, and Mexico City has lovely examples of both.

My kids make fun of me because I was so taken by this parking structure. I thought it was some kind of ultramodern building at first. There is a restaurant beneath it, at the back, where we went to eat. But as you can see, there is outdoor dining in front of it. I just love that this utilitarian structure was designed to enhance the backdrop of the dining area, and I think it was a great success.

Empty subway cars are a marvel in any big city. And with about 25 million people in the greater metropolitan area, you certainly won't find them often in Mexico City. But that's what you get at the beginning of a line.





And, finally, I love Public Bathroom signs that display a sense of urgency. I've seen them in other countries, and here is Mexico City's version.


Acapulco

I was still feeling completely like shit, and having trouble breathing, when I got to Acapulco at the very end of January. There was a pool at the apartment complex where I had an AirBnB, and I optimistically bought a pool noodle so I could relax in it while I was there, because the weather was glorious.

As it was, I only left the apartment to go to the grocery store. The walk back ended in uphill climb at the entrance to the apartment complex that was so steep I was literally bent at an angle as I walked up. Carrying a week's worth of groceries. Including a 6 litre bottle of water.

Since I was gasping for air by the time I climbed a flight of stairs to my apartment, and that bottle of water only lasted a few days, I decided to just start boiling my water instead. 

I never got so much as a glimpse of the beach, but fortunately, my apartment was very nice, with lots of light and a view of the mountains from the dining table where I spent most of the days at my laptop.

Revisiting Mexico City, Vegas & New Orleans

Since there are no convenient flights to anywhere I wanted to go from Acapulco, I decided to wend my way back to visiting my daughters before heading back across the Atlantic. So I spent a few days in Mexico City before going back for another week in Vegas, since I'd been bedridden almost the entire time I was there before.

Though I was pretty much recovered by this time, I didn't get out and about hardly at all, just spent most of my time with family. But it's rare that I get out in Mexico City and not spot at least one thing worth noting. This time it was a huge government building with a colorful art installation in front. One of the things I like best about this city is its use of color everywhere.

I keep saying I will get out to the Strip when I'm in Vegas, and take photos, because I haven't done so in many years - I don't even know half the hotels over there anymore. But, once more, I didn't get around to it. Just hung out with my family and ran errands.

I also have no photos from New Orleans, because all I do there is hang out with the friends I stay with, in their lovely home, and play Scrabble. I did get out a couple of times, to go to a fun toddler birthday party and to see Black Panther for the third time, but that was about it.

From New Orleans, I went to New York for a few days. I've
Columbus Circle, from the Warner Building
managed to recover some photos from that trip, though they are only tiny resolutions, so I don't know how well they will reproduce here. But New York always deserves its own post, and now we are at mid-March here on the blog, so I'll leave this here and continue - hopefully - soon.

I'm in Mexico City for the next 10 days, then off to New Orleans for a week or so. After that, it's a little up in the air, but I'll probably be back somewhere in Mexico into August, before heading back to Vegas.

Just a reminder that, while you will find details here about where I've been, you can check out the Twitter feed on the right to find out where I am at any given time. Of course, there will be a lot of re-tweets of other people, as well, which have absolutely nothing to do with me. But a quick scroll down should yield some information about what I'm up to at the moment.


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