Posts from the ‘humor’ Category
Boston is a beautiful city, full of history and easy to walk. It isn’t easy to drive, or park, so don’t even consider driving in the city if you’re just visiting. If you don’t want to walk you can rent a bike for a pittance using the city’s Hubway bike sharing program . They have added lots and lots of new stations so check it out but please bring or buy and wear a helmet, don’t ride on the sidewalks and obey traffic signs. If you want to see which stations currently have bikes available you can download the app Spotcycle. There’s also Boston’s extensive subway system (the T).
You may have heard that some of the major universities of the world, Harvard and MIT, are across the Charles River in “The People’s Republic of Cambridge”. This rumor is indeed true. Not that the Boston side of the Charles is a slacker either with The University of Boston (BU), Boston College (BC). Emerson, Suffolk, Northeastern, Simmons and many others.
You surely also heard and maybe watched the coverage of this year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. It was a horrid, tragic event carried out by two asshat sociopaths (not to editorialize). Hopefully you also saw Boston’s response which was simply amazing in terms of compassion and help for the wounded and killed, unbelievably swift capture of the despicable brothers and pulling together as a city to get through the whole nightmare. It was a very difficult, yet also very proud, time to be a Bostonian.
This post is updated monthly (at least) so here are some of the seasonal items for April and May :
- For the first time in many years every Red Sox home game isn’t sold out. You can see the home game dates and times and get tickets here.
- There is an ongoing series of free and interesting guided tours conducted by the Boston Park Service Rangers. One of the best deals is the 60 walking minute tour of The Freedom Trail. This are first come first served tours and have a maximum of 30 people. The Freedom Trail is really fascinating and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in American history.
- There are a lot of good plays (including The Book of Mormon) and dance performances in Boston in April this year. Half-price day of performance tickets can be found at Bostix’s locations in Copley Square and Faneuil Hall Marketplace and availability can be checked online before going. They’re also a Ticketmaster outlet and you can buy full priced advance sale tickets including ones to the popular Duck Tours (or just get those in person at the Prudential Mall across from the Barnes and Noble store or the Museum of Science in Cambridge). Tip: Duck Tours that start at 9:00 a.m. cost a bit less in terms of price and waive the annoyingly named “convenience fee”.
- On May 12 (Mother’s Day) there’s the Duckling Day Parade. This is such a Boston thing! The Parade commemorates Robert McCluskey’s children’s book, Make Way for Ducklings, set here in Boston. The parade starts in the Boston Commoan and goes to the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden. People from everywhere bring their young children to this thing in all sorts of yellow duck outfits and it’s actually adorable. It also means that if you plan on having brunch in the city on Mother’s Day you need to make reservations early!
- A very popular Sunday activity in Boston is the SOWA open market. It’s on the far edge of the city’s trendy South End and has food trucks, artists, farmers and everything you can think of. It opens on May 5th this year and is held from 10 until 4:00 every Sunday. Here’s more about it and how to get there.
- Boston’s Gay Pride Week begins at the end of May and culminates in a fabulous parade on June 8th. Don’t miss it if you’re in town and assume that you need to book your lodgings early if you’ll be in town that weekend. If you’re homophobic you might want to avoid Boston this week or, best case, in general!
- A quick tour and very interesting place to go is the Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library at the Christian Science Church. You’re probably rolling your eyes now and thinking “Oh yeah, I bet that’s just great“, but it is! It’s a three story painted glass globe you stand in and listen to a shortish recording. What’s cool is that the globe is as it was in 1935 when this thing was made. It’s amazing how many countries now have different names, no longer exist, etc. Also this attraction is very near (maybe 10 minutes if you’re a total slow poke) from the Hynes Convention Center so you can duck out of a boring conference session and be back before anyone will know you were gone (unless you were supposed to be speaking). It only costs $6 and tours of the Mapparium run every 20 minutes, lasting 15-20 minutes. The first tour of the day starts at 10:20 a.m., and the last tour starts at 4:00 p.m.
- The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the site of the largest art theft in history so you won’t be seeing those paintings but you should check out the new wing that just opened and the impressive art collection. Until May 23 there is an exhibit that sounds excellent : Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America. Indeed! Tip: Buy tickets in advance online as the new wing is bringing in a lot of visitors.
- The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) which is only a few minutes walk from the Isabella Stewart Gardner and also has a less new, but newish, addition housing American art and a yummy restaurant. From February 2 – May 12 they have two French masterpieces hanging side by side; Cézanne’s The Large Bathers. Admittedly there are all two many “large bathers” on beaches these days but these are art! Tip: Keep your tickets as you can go back for free once within 10 days and, if you consume museums in small bites, that could end up being a money-saver as adult tickets are $25.
- Fenway Park which is home to the Red Sox baseball team and is the oldest ballpark in the States – 100 years old in 2012. Tours are fun, even if you aren’t wildly keen on baseball, and they can be booked in advance. Tip: Do not wear a New York Yankees cap or T-shirt or, if you do, expect to be treated with open hostility – at best.
- Go for a walk on the Charles River Esplanade. You can get there via footbridges from Arlington Street, Dartmouth and Massachusetts Avenue. – This is free, something very few things are in Boston. See the sailboats on The Charles throughout more seasons than you would expect and try not to openly guffaw that sailing back and forth across a river seems thrilling to Bostonians. Tip: Watch out for bicyclists as they don’t care about you at all (unless they’re actively targeting you) and don’t be here after dark. There’s a wonderful playground near the Hatch Shell (where concerts are held) at the base of the Arlington Street footbridge.
- Boston Public Garden was created in 1837 and is small, painstakingly maintained, a place for great photo-ops and has the absurdly low tech and wildly popular (at least if you have kids) Swan Boats which operate from April through mid-September. A year-round delight to those with little kids is the small duck statues from the book “Make Way for Ducklings.” You are required to force your child to sit on one for a photo op. Tip: Don’t feed the birds, squirrels or geese in the Public Garden. If you do, Blonde will jump out from behind a tree and strangle you and send your remains home in a huge ziplock bag full of goose poop
- A very enjoyable and inexpensive way to see views of Boston from the harbor is to take the ferry from the Marriott Long Wharf to Charlestown Navy Yard. Here’s their schedule. You can tour the USS Constitution (aka Old Ironsides, the oldest ship in the U.S. Navy) at the Navy Yard or just come back – it’s only a 10 minute ride.
- If you’re brave enough to cross the Charles to Cambridge the Harvard Museum of Natural History is an overlooked absolute gem. Yes, it’s a bit cramped and the facilities need a massive overhaul, but it’s so full of amazing goodies that you will be very glad you went. Tip: If you’re a Massachusetts resident you can get in for free every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9:00 am to noon but need to show proof of residency (they might accept a Red Sox hat.) Another Tip: It would be possible to see this museum in a wheelchair but it wouldn’t be easy.
- While you’re gettin’ your geek on continue to MIT’s Museum which is interesting even to mere mortals. Tip: If you’re in Cambridge on the second Friday of a month go to their free admission “Second Fridays” event which runs from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Beware though: socializing and MIT are mutually exclusive!
- Why not one more museum unlike ones you’ll see elsewhere? This one can be seen if you walk through Beacon Hill on Charles Street, cross Cambridge Street and turn right. It was opened in April of 2012 and ”explores the rich legacy of progress in medicine and health care at Massachusetts General Hospital.” This museum is open to the public and is free. Tip: Prepare to be impressed by all of the things pioneered at MGH.
A few quick and highly biased (but tragically uncompensated) restaurant recommendations are:
- Erbaluce The chef, Charles Draghi, is actually in the kitchen making the meals every night so there aren’t “off nights” and they literally have their own mushroom forager. They also have a different and excellent selection of wines at prices that won’t make you draw on your home equity credit line. This is a cool place with yummy food and it’s truly local, not owned by any out-of-towners. Tip: Make reservations to guarantee a table as it’s a small place but, if you eat at the bar, you can choose between both the bar and dining room menus.
- Picco – Good place if you want to eat tasty food inexpensively and/or have children in your group. But they do not take reservations unless a group has 8 or more so get there by 6:30 max if you don’t want a long wait. Tip: Their pizzas are wicked awesome (Boston term that needed to used somewhere in this post) but they make them “well done” which can mean “with a burnt crust” so speak up if you want a medium rare pizza crust. Second tip at no additional cost – they have sinfully good homemade ice cream.
- Hamersley’s Bistro Another local place where the chef, Gordon Hamersley, is actually in the kitchen cooking (unlike any place with the name Todd English associated with it) and everything they make is delicious. The chicken is the famous signature dish (even if it sounds boring). They have lovely outdoor seating in the summer and, once again, getting there early is a good idea for outdoor seating which cannot be reserved. For indoor seating you will need a reservation. Tip: Don’t bring the kiddies here (or to Erbaluce) but do bring someone you are hoping may have sex with you later. Even if you don’t have the sex you will have had a memorable meal.
- If you are (inexplicably and horrifyingly) into sushi rumor has it that the best is at Douzo near back Bay Station on Dartmouth Street. They’re open for both lunch (another place to skip out to if at a conference) and dinner. Tip: A reservation for dinner is a very good idea but if you blow that they have take-out.
- If you have a yen to go to the North End (notice how I didn’t use the “yen” pun with sushi thereby showing admirable restraint) I recommend Carmen. It’s a very small and very authentic enoteca. Definitely make a reservation and ask not to be seated right in front of the door as that can get old fast – it’s a tiny restaurant. Tip: If your cab driver never heard of it tell him (if you can interrupt his cell phone conversation) that it’s beside Paul Revere’s House (seriously).
- Last year the Oak Room at the Fairmont Copley was redone and reopened to celebrate it’s 101st year of operation. The food is good if a bit over-priced but it’s well worth checking out even if only for a drink. Tip: Great place to eavesdrop – lots of pretentious conversations. It does get mobbed and they don’t take reservations so don’t go there with anyone who will be stressed out by that situation.
- In Cambridge there’s a very casual (you stand in line to get your food but there are tables where you can sit down) restaurant that serves the tastiest vegetarian cuisine anywhere. It’s Life Alive and they can satisfy the vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, raw, gluten-free or other food-challenging person in your group without anyone else feeling like they’ve suffered. And even better you can get wine there too! Tip: If you want dinner without standing in line for half an hour try to get there before 6:00 p.m. Another option is to phone in for take-away 617-354-5433. They don’t have table service but they do have tables (and chairs).
- The MFA museum’s newest wing has a lovely restaurant, Bravo, which features local and sustainable ingredients and a menu that changes often. Tip: If you dine there after 5:00 p.m. you get complimentary parking in the MFA’s garage. Reservations for the restaurant are recommended and may be made through OpenTable or by calling 617-369-3474.
- The Seaport area of Boston is the new happenin’ place and also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art. You need reservations to eat at most places in Boston but they’re mandatory in this area. Some good places to check out are Legal Seafoods (venerable Boston institution) new Legal Harborside which has different menus on different floors so be sure your reservation suits your taste and budget. (Note: I do not recommend Legal’s “Test Kitchen” across the street – I don’t think it’d pass the test for most people.) Rosa Mexicano (yes, the same as in NYC and Washington, D.C.) is reliably good and has obscenely yummy guacamole prepared tableside. And for the carnivores among you there are two steakhouses – Morton’s and DelFriscos (Blonde favors DelFriscos just because Morton’s seems like somewhere you go with old white guys on an expense account and she’s done enough of that!) Tip: Unless you’re staying in the Seaport area the easiest way to get there is probably a cab although the Silver Line T from South Station goes there (and you get to South Station on the Red Line.)
All-purpose Boston tips/travel advisories:
- We will try to laugh if you ask if we “paaahhked our caahh in Haahvaad Yaahd” but we’re only being polite and wishing you had more original material.
- We do not call it Beantown – ever – it’s “The Hub”.
- South Boston is also known as Southie (traditionally very rough and tumble Irish but now gentrifying) and is NOT the same as the South End (yuppy, gay and lots of designer dogs and fertility babies).
- If you hear the news and they talk about “today on Beacon Hill” they mean the statehouse, not the area.
- In Boston people still really really believe the Kennedys matter – you can’t win at this one.
- Jokes about pedophile priests are tolerated better than you would expect.
- Boston sports fans are rabid about their teams even as they savagely insult them.
If you have any questions about visiting Boston please leave them in the comments and we’ll answer them!
Just found this great fast-speed video of “miniature Boston” and had to put it here as a great piece to get you psyched for your visit!
When we began to plan our trip to Australia, Brunette – who has a ready mental to-do list in her head for at least 123 countries – announced that we had to go to Kangaroo Island. Blonde had never heard of it but she’s generally pro kangaroos and islands so agreed.
Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville and it has less than 5,000 human residents. It has lots and lots of other residents in the forms of pelicans, seals, kangaroos, honey bees, sheep who make yummy cheese (well to be specific they produce one of the ingredients, we didn’t see any of them actually making cheese). There are wildlife conservation parks, beaches, natural wonders and conservation areas. This concludes the educational section of this post.
We’ve always had good experiences with Viator so we booked our two day trip through them. They guarantee that their price is the best and refund you the difference if for some reason that doesn’t turn out to be true. That makes them a safe bet for our generally strained-by-enthusiasm budget.
The whole outing didn’t seem like such a fabulous idea when the bus pulled up in front of our hotel in Adelaide about 5:30 a.m. but it was an hour and a half ride to the ferry which allowed Blonde to go right back to sleep. (Brunette has less well-developed sleeping skills.)
Our overnight tour covered a lot so in a rare effort at restraint we’ll aim to only show the highlights. If you want to know more just ask us in the comments and we’ll make up random answers that suit our purposes and may also address your questions
No, that is not a picture of Brunette spotting someone taking away her glass of wine; she looks much more fierce in that situation. That’s a golden eagle which is one of the cast of characters at the very interesting raptor show. Raptors are birds with hooked beaks that seize and kill their entrees using powerful feet, sharp talons, bad breath and dirty looks. (Basically.) They are also caught up in the gluten free trend as they’re strictly carnivores. The show at this stop was interesting and their standards were so low they even let Blonde participate.
The man who did the show was very entertaining and explained why these particular birds were in show biz. Basically they were orphans or raised by bad or absent parents who didn’t teach them to kill properly. This place is actually a bird preserve for raptors who are rescued and are “unreleasable”. (Need a place like that for rappers too but that’s a whole other subject.)
Next stop was to Seal Bay Conservation Park which may not have been given an imaginative name but it was certainly given an accurate one. This is a place for endangered Australian sea-lions to hang out and do things that keep them from going extinct if you get what we mean.
One of the main reasons people go to Kangaroo Island is to see the iconic Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park. This description was stolen from the website to which it is linked: “Remarkable Rocks” are a collection of enormous eroded granite boulders sitting atop a giant dome of lava, that has been shaped by the erosive forces of wind, sea spray and rain over some 500 million years“.
There were warning signs all around to be careful because the rocks are slippery and dangerous. Brunette read in a newspaper a couple days after we were there that two men were swept to their deaths by a rogue wave when their backs were turned to the sea. There aren’t any protective barriers and that apparently wasn’t the first time people drowned there.
Flinders Chase also has a long wooden boardwalk you can walk down to see Admiral’s Arch. The arch is a “flank margin cave modified by sea erosion” (per the brochure)
There’s also a large colony of New Zealand fur sea lions that hang out at Admiral’s Arch; they’re the blobby dots you see on the rocks on the right in the picture above.
Enough with critters and rocks – it was time for some goodies and what comes to mind when you want a snack? Why Ligurian bees of course! We were loaded back onto our bus and whisked off to Clifford’s Honey Farm where we saw why being the Queen Bee is a good deal (you don’t do any work and everyone goes nuts trying to please you – like dating Blonde).
They showed us how they extract honey but more importantly they sold really good honey ice cream and honey soda. There all kinds of other honey products you are suddenly seized with an urge to buy after they explain all of the amazing things honey can apparently do. We were told Kangaroo Island is the only place left in the world where there are still pure Ligurian honeybees. Drop that little tidbit next time you’re at a cocktail party and you’ll never be underestimated again! (Can’t the Italians even keep their bees organized?)
Another place where we had some yummy treats, one of which was connected to the bees we met earlier, was Island Pure. Their products don’t have any chemicals and they emphasize the stress-free, relaxing life of “the girls” which results in mellow milk (seriously). We liked everything they had to sample – all kinds of soft cheeses and almost ice-creamy yogurt made from sheep’s milk and sweetened with honey from the Ligurian bees down the street.
(Somewhere in here we spent the night in the town of Kingscote – we didn’t do all of this in one day).
Speaking of Kingscote, the main entertainment there is some vaguely crabby guy who feeds hordes of pink-beaked pelicans right before dusk. It’s much more enjoyable than it sounds here.
At some point we were deposited at a gift shop and were feeling a bit grumpy about that until we saw a little kangaroo sleeping in a wicker basket. The shop owner explained that a visitor to the island had accidentally hit the kangaroo’s mother with his car and found the little “Joey” in the now dead mother’s pouch and brought it to the gift shop. Well of course that’s where you’d take it! (Maybe we don’t have the sequence of events entirely accurate here.)
One more memorable thing was something we aren’t usually all that keen on – a cave. Kelly Hill Caves had an earnest young guide who fairly successfully freaked us all out by taking us below the earth and having us stand in clammy total darkness. That is not why we liked the place. It was the very cool stalactite that looked like a ballet slipper that was the star of that show.
You may find this hard to believe but there were several other places we visited on Kangaroo Island; it was a very full two days!
As the bus headed to the ferry to take us back to Adelaide the bus driver went on at great length about how we had enough time to stop at the world’s best fish and chips place and buy our dinner if we “unanimously” agreed to do so. If we didn’t agree to that we would have to (allegedly) eat from vending machines that served rat corpses or something equally appealing at the ferry embarkation point.
After hearing this litany multiple times we all wearily gave our “unanimous” agreement (it was more like Stockholm Syndrome) and went to the fish and chips place. Cynics that we can be we assumed his brother probably owned it, the food would be awful and the guide would get a cut of the proceeds. However, it really was amazingly good, exceedingly fresh fish and chips so we quit worrying about the rest of it.
That bus driver also realized that a bus full of people with bellies loaded with food would be sleepy and quiet which we all were for the remainder of the trip.
If you get the chance to hop on over to Kangaroo Island take it and please send us some of that honey ice cream.
We do a series on “Places We’ve Loved” and Phuket won’t make it. Did we have fun there? Yes, we had a lot of fun. But if you’re trying to decide where to spend limited time and money to go we wouldn’t recommend Phuket. The towns are very noisy, crowded, chaotic and filled with fume-spewing traffic. Maybe we didn’t get to the right places, but in our experience you couldn’t wander around pretty little streets and enjoy yourself. It was more likely that you’d be melting while trying to avoid getting run by over a scooter.
Phuket has long been known as a free wheeling party town and still is. We aren’t party gals so that may have also been an issue. But if you don’t think the word “party” is a verb and do think “clubbing” is something people shouldn’t do to baby seals, and you find yourself in Phuket, you might enjoy the same places we did!
So what were those places? Glad you asked. One was the Phuket Botanic Garden.
We weren’t even aware that this place existed but a driver we’d hired for a couple hours from our resort, the Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, took us there. We had hired him to take us to a batik shop Brunette read about before leaving home but that proved to be a briefer stop than anticipated. Frank (the driver) offered to use the remaining time to take us to some other places he thought we would enjoy.
Although the heat was brutal and the humidity gave even bald people a bad hair day, we managed to eke out sweaty enjoyment from the garden. Perhaps it was their modesty that kept our expectations low causing us to be more satisfied than we might have been otherwise.
They were right – it was sufficient and that isn’t a bad thing to be! There were lots of beautiful flowers, areas devoted to specific themes or types of flowers and fountains. If you have about 45 minutes to an hour that you’d like to spend somewhere peaceful and pretty go to the garden. The admission price is 500 Bhat apiece for adults or about $17 USD when we were there. (OK, this is where we confess we thought it was cheaper than that!) Hmmm…. it was still nice , just see!
Aside from the horticultural specimens seen above there were two unusual items we still recall with a smile.
The only problem was that the heat was so overwhelming that is was very hard to get Brunette to keep her clothing on.
The second place we’d recommend is the Wat Chalong, a Buddhist temple with wats (other buildings) and a brick firecracker oven that could be very alarming to anyone with PTSD or actually, just anyone. So be prepared for loud noises occasionally! (Not the same kind as you may produce after a couple days of eating Thai food.)
Apparently there’s a Buddha bone in the temple but we didn’t make the effort to locate it. This is actually the #1 rated attraction in Phuket on Trip Advisor and that’s where we (belatedly) found out about the bone possibility. As we would have had to enter the temple and climb stairs we probably wouldn’t have chased the bone down anyway. If you plan to enter the temple you should be dressed appropriately and leave your shoes outside. If you wear $800 shoes…oh never mind, if you wear $800 shoes you should be able to afford losing them!
If you visit these places on as hot a day as we did be sure to have your cool down plan ready! Ours was to get back to our resort ASAP and into the Andaman Sea and the pool. Although it’s only fair to warn you that the sea is so warm it isn’t necessarily refreshing. You may want to stop first at an ice machine and pour a bucketful of ice down into your bathing suit.
Who else provides you with such in-depth cultural information and helpful personal tips?
First things first; Barry Mann and Gerry Goffin put the bomp in the bomp shoo bop and Mann recorded it as his sole vocal hit. He also put the ‘ram’ in the ramalama ding-dong. According to our usual exhaustive fact checking of one Google search the “two men wrote the song during a playful experiment where they were seeing how many songs they could write in half an hour. “Who Put the Bomp” took all of five minutes”.
And who put the miracle in the Dubai Miracle Garden? Actually that’s a bit harder to discern, it took 3 clicks to find out! AKAR Landscaping Services and Agriculture designed and built the gardens which opened mid-February 2013. AKAR was probably chosen because in superlative-laden Dubai they had one of their own to contribute: “AKAR is the only landscaping company in the world who achieved Guinness Records in landscaping.” Seriously? There is such a thing?
Dubai Miracle Garden bills itself as “the world’s largest natural flower garden” (of course) and the 72,000-square-meter attraction has more than 45 million flowers. By our personal observations 44,999,999 of those flowers are petunias. There may have been a marigold in there somewhere too.
Brunette found out about the Miracle Garden before we left and the pictures on the website were quite compelling. We thought it seemed like a better use of time than going to a shopping center to see a ski slope (a major tourism ‘must do’ in Dubai). Given that we never went to see the ski slope we don’t know if we were right about our choice.
Miracle #1 : This many petunias can be kept alive anywhere, much less the desert.
Miracle #2: Visitors to the garden in the daytime can survive at all. The day we visited the gardens in March the temp was well into the 90s Fahrenheit and there isn’t any shade anywhere.
Dubai likes to have things be neat and orderly which is generally a very positive characteristic for a city. However, the guards in the Miracle Garden are numerous, menacing men with whistles and the corrupting taste of petty power in their mouths. (We’re not talking the “flower power” of the 60s here – this is active resistance – to visitors.)
We observed several people sitting in front of some of the flowers and having their pictures taken. Deciding to do the same before we melted into completely unrecognizable blobs, Brunette sat demurely in the same photo-opp spot others had been using. No problem. Blonde took Brunette’s picture then switched places.
Major whistle blowing ensued. An angry guard shouted to Blonde that she could not pick the flowers – something she definitely wasn’t doing. Seriously, who wants a wilted petunia? You be the judge if one sister is being good and one being bad.
We began to see that Blonde and Brunette were viewed very differently by the guards. Blonde was glared at by an unending supply of guards who saw her every move as evidence of probable criminal behavior. Brunette picked flowers, mugged a few old ladies and ran nude throughout the gardens without any interference from the guards.
Finally, wilted and exhausted we made our way back to the entrance gate. We’d had a taxi driver take us to the gardens as they are nowhere near public transportation. We asked if one of the young men at the ticket gate would call our taxi driver for us as we didn’t have international service on our phones. He very nicely did so and informed us that it would be about a 20 minute wait.
Although there shouldn’t have been anything surprising about this we were so hot we despaired as if we had a real problem. One of the men brought a chair for Blonde to sit on and he thoughtfully placed it in the shade. No chair for Brunette until her kindly sister indicated that one would be welcome and then one was produced.
Blonde commented that she was thirsty as the refreshment tents on the edge of the property had sold out of water. The same helpful man scurried off and brought Blonde a cup of water. No water for Brunette who was in a coma by this time so it might have been a waste anyway. After all, it’s one thing to irrigate 45 million petunias but why waste 3 ounces of water on a Brunette?
Moments before the taxi’s arrival Blonde’s new BFF asked if he could have his picture taken with Blonde. Sure, why not? It’s probably on whatever Dubai’s version of an AARP porn site is right now.
Miracle #3: Brunette found all of this to be amusing and not offensive. She realized that it somewhat balanced the scales after Blonde being treated as Public Enemy #1 while in the actual flower garden.
After our semi-miraculous survival we went to a lovely small shopping center, Medina Jumeirah Mall, that has a lake and Moorish architecture, for some much-needed sustenance.
Afterwards we couldn’t face the prospect of public transportation (even though it’s excellent) so we had another taxi take us back to our hotel. Over the course of the ride our driver told us he was from Pakistan but that he’d had to leave it “after the Taliban fucked it up”. He has a wife and two young children who live there.
He then asked Blonde her age, she actually told the truth, and he announced that he’d thought she was roughly half that old and asked if she would marry him. She (regrettably) declined.
And you wonder why we call this “Blonde Brunette Travel”?
When Blonde and Brunette were wee lasses our packing was all done by our mother. Our part of pre-trip planning was getting over-excited and giggly and hoping our grandparents would give us spending money.
When they did give us money Brunette would add it to what she had already saved. Blonde hadn’t saved a penny and would spend all of her money at the first Howard Johnson’s rest stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Even when our family was literally driving to California and back Blonde could never manage to make it out of Pennsylvania with her money. But that didn’t mean she didn’t have money for the rest of the trip. It just meant she would have to earn her additional cash.
How does a child in a car (legally) earn extra cash? That was actually easy; by singing. Even as a mere slip of a thing Blonde had one of the worst singing voices imaginable. Combine that with determination and energy and it’s a powerful weapon. The most effective fund-raising technique was to sing, on an endless repetition loop, the old song “Ive been workin’ on the railroad”. The real moneymaker lyrics were:
- Can’t you hear the whistle blowing,
- Rise up so early in the morn;
- Can’t you hear the captain shouting,
- “Dinah, blow your horn!”
- Dinah, won’t you blow,
- Dinah, won’t you blow,
- Dinah, won’t you blow your horn?
- Dinah, won’t you blow,
- Dinah, won’t you blow,
- Dinah, won’t you blow your horn?
- Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah
- Someone’s in the kitchen I know
- Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah
- Strummin’ on the old banjo!
- On a good day by the third round of this verse Brunette would be willing to pay Blonde to stop singing. It cost a quarter to shut Blonde up. (It’s much more expensive now). But Blonde didn’t say she’d shut up forever and Brunette wasn’t a very effective negotiator. She would pay the quarter, Blonde would shut up briefly and then resume. From Pennsylvania to California, even 25¢ at a time, you can generate a significant transfer of wealth.
- But, alas, we grew up and had to take on our own travel planning and preparation. We still sat and smiled for pictures but we were now in Turkey, not Pennsylvania. Our travel planning had changed. Instead of taking clothes we already owned we bought new outfits for every trip. We packed and checked gigantic suitcases, got pre-trip bikini waxes and Blonde still spent all of her money in the beginning of the trip.
Now we are planning a trip to Dubai and Thailand. We still buy new clothes and this blog has become a reason. We don’t want to bore you with seeing us in the same outfits you saw us wearing on the last trip.
We still get bikini waxes but now we need to get our moustaches waxed too. Instead of worrying about having our periods when we are on vacation we buy travel insurance and sign up for MedJet (motto: Take trips. Not chances.) so we can be evacuated in a medical emergency or have our remains “repatriated” if one of us croaks.
Cute shoes have been replaced by sensible walking shoes (complete with custom made orthotics). Clothing is chosen for what it effectively conceals, not what it alluringly reveals. And Blonde still spends all of her money immediately but now it’s in airport terminals on layovers, not Howard Johnson’s. But she has lost the knack of replenishing her funds from the National Bank of Brunette.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that we still get over-excited and giggly.
Now where did I put my travel-size denture adhesive?
Brunette sent Blonde a smarty pants picture of Brunette sitting, smiling in a Bentley convertible in Florida yesterday. A friend who is in Morocco sent a picture of herself riding a camel (sort of). Blonde’s friend who is staying with her (very) temporarily takes a train and a bus to work. Blonde uses her feet as much as possible followed by cabs then her car. So many ways to move so many women around.
On the 945th day of snow so far this year in Boston there isn’t much for Blonde to do so she’s left pondering transportation options. What have we tried?
What do we still want to try?
We have driven in many countries all over the world and the one thing that never changes is that we get lost. Repeatedly. Profoundly. Mystifyingly. Alarmingly. You get the idea.
In hopes of no longer being such dumb bunnies we have dreams of one day driving a new smart car. Not only are these adorable but we can only assume from the name that we would be much smarter drivers if we had one. Maybe we’ll rent an electric one to look extra chic and eco-sensitive. Also it’s a good size to help us contain the amount of junk we accumulate (maybe).
Next month in Phuket, Thailand we hope to ride elephants in the sea. We assume this will occur naturally and not as a result of some cheesy touristy thing we do (but know it won’t).
Brunette has become very spoiled seeing porpoises cavorting from her condo on Marco Island. Now she’s starting to ride them.
What have we missed that you think is a “must-do” transportation option? What’s your favorite?
It’s still snowing in Boston – even if you’re reading this two years from now in July. Apparently writing a post can only transport you in the figurative, not literal, sense.
This orangutan at the Singapore Zoo seemed to be directionally dyslexic. If he (?) wanted to go backwards that was awkward and forward wasn’t much better but both were fun for the spectators. Maybe he’s considering being a politician in America and wants to have a hand and a foot everywhere but leans to the right. Well, our right, his left. Never mind, this analogy is getting too tortured!
During our recent extended frolic on Marco Island in Florida Blonde and Brunette saw reenactments of some of the proverbial phrases that seem to be disappearing from use. We would like to offer a refresher to remind you why these phrases stood the test of time until the text of time became 140 characters or less.
Phrase: Birds of a feather flock together.
Meaning: Those of similar tastes congregate in groups.
Phrase: He really had his feathers ruffled!
Meaning: The person was annoyed, offended, upset (or in another condition which is chronic with Brunette’s husband)
Meaning: Literal demonstration:
Phrase:: Fish and visitors begin to smell after three days (Benjamin Franklin)
Meaning: Fish begin to decay and stink after three days and guests get on your nerves after three days (max)
In closing Blonde is pleased to have discovered, as part of the rigorous research required for this post, a new (to her) idiom:
“Only fools and horses work”.
Blonde is neither a fool nor a horse.
When we travel Brunette is often afflicted by Temporary Travel Deafness (TTD). Hers is caused by flying. The air pressure changes appear to extract the sense from her ears which leads to many humorous exchanges. Our classic favorite is from a flight to Athens.
The cart for meal service was coming down the aisle and Blonde heard the flight attendants ask each passenger “chicken or pasta”? In an attempt to allow Brunette some decision making time Blonde leaned across the aisle and said “Do you want chicken or pasta”? To which Brunette, looking startled and mildly offended said loudly “Do I have a chicken in my pocket“?
She did not in fact have a chicken in her pocket ,due to recent TSA poultry carry-on restrictions.
When writing this post Blonde and Brunette were spending time in Florida. Brunette had flight-induced TTD and Blonde poured a swimming pool day down her ears on her first day here. The power of two people with TTD allows for many excellent misunderstandings. We would like to share a few of our favorites with you.
One evening we had a lovely dinner outdoors at CJ’s On the Bay on Marco Island. Afterwards we walked across the street to pick up a few things at the Winn-Dixie supermarket. As we were walking away from the checkout counter Blonde saw the usual assortment of grocery store machines; kiosks to apply for dead-end jobs, coin counters and……a large old fashioned scale for weighing people, not produce. As per usual Blonde immediately assumed that everyone else in Winn-Dixie would be there as she was; immediately after consuming a meal. So she asked, in her best “what idiot thought of this ?” voice “Who would go out to dinner then want to get weighed”?
Brunette calmly responded “It’s very common actually”. When her sister disputed this assertion Brunette asked what Blonde had said. Upon hearing the clarification she said “Oh, I thought you said ‘who would go to dinner then want to get laid’? “. She had a point. That is quite common.
The following day we went on a jet ski outing in the The Everglades. Lots of wind in our compromised auditory canals did little to improve our TTD.
Blonde spent considerable time on the outing trying, and mostly failing, to get pictures of various interesting birds as they flew in horror away from us.
Upon returning to where we were staying Blonde sat down at her computer, pulled the chip out her camera and said “I’m going to put in the bird chip”. Brunette looked around in astonishment and responded ”You stepped in bird shit”?
Well, yes, at some point that probably happened but not in this instance.
Once again we headed out to dinner – something we did every two hours in Florida. Our waitress was very fair-skinned and did not have a hint of a tan or indeed of any exposure to sun over the course of her entire life. As Blonde and Brunette regularly slather ourselves in sunscreen hoping to not end up with that Florida rhino hide skin we were admiring this woman’s triumph over tanning.
Blonde said “The waitress must really wear her sunscreen”.
Another amazed look from Brunette – said looks being one of her specialities.
Then she said ”Her son is green“?
Now there was another restaurant we couldn’t return to due to laughing until we cried throughout our dinner and most loudly every time the unfortunate waitress approached our table. Marco Island isn’t large – we were getting dangerously close to having exhausted the hospitality of the majority of the dining establishments.
However, our guide on the jet ski tour had recommended getting a casual dinner at a bar which is practically next door to where we were staying and where we had not yet humiliated ourselves. The bar had live entertainment so we decided to give it a try.
The entertainment that night was two men who at least were younger than Mick Jagger, if a tad less well known and talented. As they went on break they encouraged the patrons of the establishment to submit song requests. They said they covered a broad range of music. Blonde and Brunette are both huge fans of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah.
As the guitarist walked past our bar stools Blonde asked him if he could play Hallelujah. He said they could not but that he loves the song too. Instead of just letting the guy go off for a beer or a whiz Blonde felt the need to remark that she’d recently read an article saying that when Cohen wrote the song he wanted something “that could be sung at a wedding or a funeral”. (Not very different occasions in Blonde’s mind.) The bar singer said “Yes, it really takes you on a journey”.
Blonde turned to report this fascinating conversation to her sister who said (indignantly, once again) “Did he tell you to contact his attorney“???
We are somewhat disappointed to report that our hearing has returned and wonder if you would mind contacting the Florida Dining Commission and asking that our lifetime ban be lifted.
Any support will be appreciated and, most likely, misunderstood.