Tag Archives: NaNoPoblano

Five Travel Tips from “Une femme d’un certain age”

Give a man a Fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

This morning I didn’t want to arise. The bed was warm and the kitty was soft (and giving her cute little purr as I rubbed her ears). I yielded to temptation and opened Bloglovin‘s email “20 Travel Posts You Must Read Today”. As often is the case, this was a disappointment. When you get to “un certain age” you have seen many things float by.

Reflecting on this I realized that maybe I have something, however small, to add to the travel tips conversation: Here are some tips from “une femme d’un certain age”:

  1. Take tea to China…and anywhere else, specifically decaffeinated tea and tisanes (herbal teas). Decaffeinated hot beverages aren’t common in many places, and sleep is a good thing. In China this is especially useful since the tap water is unsafe to drink and hot water is readily available all over (add on tip: carry a water bottle that is safe for hot water in China). My favorites are Constant Comment and green tea, but I also carry lemon ginger and mint herbal teas, which are good for congestion and tummy upset (helpful in places where the air is a bit…”iffy” and the foods are unfamiliar). A hot drink is soothing at the end of the day and a variety of decaf options help you stay hydrated.
  2. Check a bag. (Shocking isn’t it? Everyone else out there will give you advice about how to manage with just a carry on). There are several reasons why I suggest this, some examples: a) I am usually either traveling alone or riding heard on others and the last thing I need is extra baggage to keep track of and schlep through an airport. b) I have a computer, camera and a few other things that must be carried on because of lithium batteries, that is enough weight for me to heave into an overhead bin. c) I like to carry a Swiss Army knife and different security personnel have different ideas on whether it is okay. Last I knew, it should be fine but it is easier and faster to just put it in a checked bag, this also prevents a problem if the rules change while you are traveling. d) I like to bring moisturizer and shampoo that I know agree with my skin (and the fragrances of which do not make my skin crawl). I don’t need huge amounts and, for most trips it would fit in a “3-1-1” bag, but why schlep it if you don’t have to? d) The less stuff you have the easier it is to get through security and onto and off of an aircraft, especially if you are assisting others.
  3. Channel your inner scout and carry a Swiss Army knife, compass, and flashlight. It is surprising how often you run into instructions like “the hotel is southwest from the train station”. Also, many older cities are not on a north-south, east-west grid, and they often have curving streets. The Swiss Army knife can cut open stubborn snack packs, or other packaging (camera memory cards, for example), slice mangoes and other foods into manageable bits, and open a bottle of wine at the end of a long day of sight seeing. I don’t think I have ever not used it on a trip. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the need for a flashlight.
  4. Obtain a paper map, and study it ahead of time.  Have an idea of where you are going and how to get there. Paper doesn’t need reception and its batteries never wear out…Just sayin’. Last trip my son and I ran into a young man relying on his phone for all. He was a bit disoriented when there was no reception. But, to be fair, he did have some information that we didn’t. Balance, ne (ne is Japanese for ne, a bit like n’est pas? ).
  5. Learn a few words of the language and don’t be afraid to ask…or laugh at yourself. That is how you get to know folks.

Do you have unusual tips that you have learned from experience?


Fall Leaves

Vegetal Growth in my yard today: Notice that I focus on fall leaves not the weeds and unmown grass.

Due to our relatively protected location our Japanese maple is usually a bit later than many trees in changing color. It is a tree of many colors and varies from year to year. Here are some pictures from today:

I have a “thing” for hardy cyclamen. The variegated leaves are so charming. I was delighted to notice that it is starting to spread. I noticed a few single leaves here and there among the fallen maple leaves today when I was sweeping the walk today.  Yeay!

Happy fall to all!

Nancy Merrill Photo a Week Challenge: Leaves

Chen Shourong

Portrait of Chen Shourong

This post is just to share some artwork that I found moving.

While in Weifang we went to the city museum. There was a special exhibit of the work of Chen Shourong, a traditional style Chinese painter. His work was beautiful and powerful. His specialty seemed to be birds, eagles in particular, and flowers, peonies in particular.

The paintings that struck me most strongly were the two that incorporated the factories into the background of very traditional paintings. The one of the goddess reminded me of paintings on temple walls.

A couple of examples of the temple art that the goddess painting brought to mind:


Commercial Windows


The In Zone mall in Weifang, Shandong Province, China. Even though I am not crazy about modern architecture I have a fascination with its reflective zigzag. It reminds me of a city skyline.

A day late (my husband was off work and I didn’t realize it was Monday) but the post is a response to the two challenges below:

cffc badge Monday Window Home

Three minutes thought

A long time favorite quote of mine is “Three minutes thought would suffice to find this out, but thought is Irksome…and three minutes is a long time.” A.E. Housman. It was published in the 1930’s!

That last fact is important because it was before the microwave…and twitter. Nothing is irking me today, so the prompt got me pondering: Is three minutes of thought put into every twitter post, on average? I really have no idea since I don’t participate. If it is then: WOW! that’s a lot of thinking!

I struggle with writing, finding just the right words to put into your head the idea I am trying to convey, and find that the shorter the finished piece, the longer it takes me to compose. With a 140 character count I would probably never choke anything out…or never get dinner fixed.

That leads me to ask this question: if all that thinking goes into twitter posts what is being traded for it?

What do you think? (you can use more than 140 characters if you want). Is it the same as what you would think if you spent three minutes on it?

It used to be my town…

The sculpture in the picture above is called “Welcome”. It is located on the waterfront in Seattle, and it is new.

My husband and I went downtown today. I can’t really say when we last did that. I used to be familiar with downtown. Seattle used to be my town, I felt at home in it…I even drove in it. I knew which streets were one way and where to park.

Today we went to Metsker’s Maps. It is an old Seattle institution, an all around cool place, if you like maps and globes and stuff, which we do. It used to be in Pioneer Square but moved up by the Pike Place Market some years ago. This is only the second time we have been to the “new” location. We were searching for maps of southern South America for an upcoming trip.

Metskers was Metskers, and we were emboldened by that to see if, by some twist of fate, a store that specialized in Middle Eastern food preparation supplies was still there. No such luck, and seeking it through the crowds of what may be the last nice Sunday this fall soon had us regretting the impulse. We decided to walk along the water front to one of our old favorite places: The Owl and Thistle Pub, which is pretty close to both the water taxi and the last bus stop before the viaduct to get back to West Seattle.

ksm20161106-my_town-01Construction thwarted us. We stood and discussed and someone with a British accent stopped to give us some advice. In my town I didn’t know which way to go!

When I was a child my father worked for the Port of Seattle and, especially after the divorce, we spent hours exploring that very area on foot to kill time while Dad was working before we needed to catch the bus or train back to Corvallis, where we lived with our mother. (Now-a-days that would perhaps be considered neglect.) You wouldn’t know it for the same place if the Market weren’t there. The skyline has changed completely and is still doing so.

ksm20161106-my_town-03Following the advice of the “newcomer” we got down to the waterfront and walked along. Happily The Owl and Thistle was still there and they still have the same lovely happy hour menu.

As we waited for the bus, at a temporary stop because of construction. I noticed some tourists taking pictures. Inspired by the Discovery prompt from a couple of weeks back: Flâneur, I went up and took the same pictures, obviously if I want this to still be my town I am going to have to spend some time getting reacquainted. Trying to see the city through a stranger’s eyes seemed like a way to start.