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City Views, Travel Advice, Trip Reports

48 hours discovering the magical parks of Utah

November 30, 2015 • By

I’ve developed a fond appreciation for brief vacations.  If nothing else, it proves that you can still enjoy and experience a great deal that a city has to offer without spending an extended period of time there.  I’ve spent 24 hours in Amsterdam and 36 hours in Savannah and didn’t feel like I sacrificed anything in the process.  When I managed to find an exceptional fare from Atlanta to Salt Lake City for $139.00 RT via Google Flights, I  knew that I had to book it.

While I enjoy touring cities with the best of them, nothing makes me feel closest to the Creator than experiencing the Great Outdoors.  I have a poster of the Petroglyphs in Monument Valley in Utah hanging in my office.  After looking at it for five years, I decided that there was no time like the present.  In fact, I booked the trip for early November which happened to be during the off season, but thankfully the parks were still open.


The Petroglyphs of Monument Valley, Utah

My first order of business was to order an annual park pass for $85.00 (including shipping; it arrived in less than a week) from the nearly century old National Park Service.   The passes are free for park volunteers, members of the military and the disabled.  Citizens 62 years or older can get a lifetime pass for $10.00.

park passREAD MORE

City Views, North America, Trip Reports

The End of an Era? The Seattle Gum Wall

November 19, 2015 • By

I heard about it while doing some quick research on a city that I had longed to visit and quite frankly, my stomach did a somersault at the mere thought of it. The gum began appearing right outside the entrance of a little hole in the wall, the Market Theater, thanks to the creativity of patrons lining up for the next show.  It’s located right beneath the main entrance of the Pike Place Market, one of the must sees of any first time visitor to Seattle.


As with all bad habits, the idea caught on. Over the course of twenty years, it began to mimic some version of abstract art. This colorful, gaping wound of three dimensional graffiti soon took on a life of its own.



City Views, South America


August 29, 2013 • By

People watching.  It’s one of my favorite things to do when I travel.  It’s an up close and personal way to studying anyone but it’s particularly interesting when it’s someone in another country.

You quickly come to learn that more often than not, we have more in common than we’d realized.  There may be different methods to attaining similar goals and observing those methods can be teachable moments for us.  But the fact remains that we are not that dissimilar.

I saw these girls on their way to parochial school early one morning in Santiago, Chile.  You could hear them a mile away chattering on about things young girls love to talk about like this guy.  This could have been a scene from any-town U.S.A.  It’s a slice of life of humankind and its simplicity makes me happy to have witnessed it.


santiago schoolgirls

City Views, North America

Travel Photo Friday

August 2, 2013 • By


Party over here!! We were leaving the casino and happened upon this party bus, replete with disco ball and dancing patrons and boy was the music LOUD! But that’s to be expected on a Saturday night in New Orleans. I think it’s a great way to let your hair down, have a few cocktails and party down with your best friends. It’s a pretty safe way to entertain yourself but I would still recommend having a designated driver regardless. Woot!!

City Views, North America


June 14, 2013 • By


Today’s photo proves that you can find opportunities anywhere without really trying. We were on our way back to our rental in Honolulu, Hawaii when we happened upon five men who were kayak racing down a canal.

The canal just happened to be parallel to Pinky’s Pupu Bar where we were enjoying an Aloha plate, which is a traditional Hawaiian plate meal that consisted of pork wrapped in taro leaves, salmon, bbq pork, rice, & macaroni salad. But I digress…..

You could tell that they were having a lot of fun because we could hear their boisterous taunts as they tried to best each other. It was a brilliant scene watching them sail with glee between palm trees and native flora oblivious to two strangers who would capture them forever through the lens of a camera.


City Views, North America, Travel Advice, Trip Reports

Enjoying a Rainy Day in Van Dusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver

June 10, 2013 • By

vandusen cover

The rain brought with it silence and solitude as we walked along the massive pathways that guided us past a menagerie of trees, shrubs and perennials.


It was the cusp of late winter dawning in to early spring and the gardens took on an interesting profile.

The deciduous trees had long been bare and there was some evidence that flowers were awakening from their deep slumber. The sky was overcast and provided a grey backdrop to the illustrious palette that lay before us.



City Views, North America

In search of artistic Sedona, Arizona: A walking tour of Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art

February 4, 2013 • By

This is the first in a series of infrequent articles highlighting the arts community of Sedona, Arizona.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that fine art is not in short supply in Sedona. As you drive through the city’s main thoroughfare on State Route 89A, it becomes quite evident that there is a profound respect not only for nature’s creations but also for those that are meticulously crafted by the hands of men.

One of the first things that you notice, besides the beautiful red rock formations (of course), is the inordinate number of art pieces sitting in full view for everyone’s enjoyment on the city’s street corners and side streets. Usually, these pieces can be found right outside either one of Sedona’s massive number of art galleries.

It’s the perfect blend of aesthetics that makes the city that much more wondrous if that’s even possible.  Yet, somehow it is.  The city boasts at least 50 fantastic galleries which house an amazing array of sculptures, paintings and southwestern artifacts.

I decided to take a walk outside of my hotel room to pay a visit to an art gallery that was literally steps away on the right.   Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art was more like a 3 dimensional fantasy where every thing that you loved about art was staring back at you in living color. I was literally on sensory overload.  There were so many things vying for my attention that I had to stand still for a moment and get it together.  It was overwhelming and dramatic and uplifting.

I spent a good two hours taking in every shape, color and meaning that this showcase offered its visitor. There was ample seating for those who wanted to sit and ponder on the rather high price tags that went upward in the million dollar range.  There were sculptures made out of various media, glass art that shone like the morning sunrise, intricate jewelry that honored indigenous cultures, Oil Paintings that told stories of the old Southwest that you couldn’t wait to listen to. This is just a small sampling what I got to experience.


Sunriser 2 by Sculptor Bobbie Carlyle is a study in dramatic poise.


All  three of these Wind sculptures are by the artist Mark White.  On the left is Flame 3 Blade, the center one is the only one of his sculptures I couldn’t identify and the one on the right is called Wind Ripples.


City Views, South America

Pictures of Lima, Peru

September 14, 2012 • By



When I decided to visit Easter Island, I was really trying to burn frequent flier miles since rumor had it that the upcoming British Airways program revamp would require almost double the miles it currently took to book an award trip.

Thankfully, our fears didn’t materialize but I was glad that I booked it anyway since the new program is distance based so I would have to use significantly more miles today than I did before the change took place in November 2011.

I found out that B.A. allowed stopovers which is the best friend that a traveler could have.  As long as I had the time to spare, I could travel to many cities along the way to my final destination as long as the flights were in a logical (read: circular) path.

So, Lima wasn’t high on my to-do list, but why not?  I’d never been and I figured it would be a great move.  First impressions weren’t great because the hostel where we stayed sat on a piece of real estate that resembled times square in NYC….it was v-shaped and both sides of the street were impassable due to a water main leak.  Once we navigated our way through the mounds of earth, we made our way upstairs only to be told our room was downstairs.  The room was nice enough…no phone and right on the street, but we dealt with it.  What happened next was not funny.READ MORE

City Views, North America

Pictures of Honolulu, Hawaii

July 3, 2012 • By

Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles”, but my visit to Honolulu, Hawaii in the summer of 2006 gave Thailand a run for its money. From the moment that I stepped off the plane into the tropical paradise masquerading as an airport, I was in love.

The resort like feel of the Honolulu International Airport was given notice of what joys were in store for us on the island. We rented a car during our stay even though we were told that there was a pretty good public transportation system at our disposal. I’m so glad that we did….mobility is crucial if you want to see all of the hotspots. We decided that the best way to familiarize ourselves with our new environment would be to do the Circle Island Tour.

It would allow us to circumnavigate the entire island in a day. We could get a taste of each landmark and then come back on successive days to give it a thorough look over. This photo gallery was taken as we drove around the island that day. I hope that it inspires you to add this destination to your list….bucket, or otherwise. Aloha!

Click here to view these pictures larger

City Views, South America


May 24, 2012 • By


We decided to take a day trip to Valparaiso a couple of days after our arrival in Santiago, Chile two weeks ago.  We took the Tur Bus (which is located adjacent to the Universidad de Santiago metro station) to Valparaiso which took a little over an hour to get there and cost less than 10.00 USD.

Valparaiso is a port city that is built on a hill.  It reminds me a lot of San Francisco with its winding, unforgivably hilly terrain. In order to navigate the city, a series of  sharply inclined cable cars, also known as Funiculars, were built to move people and parcels between the port and the highest peak.

The construction of the Panama Canal in the early 20th century made this port nearly obsolete and had a devastating effect on the economy and there was little need for the elevators since the population began to decline as a result.

Today, there is only one out of fourteen that is still in operation, but there is a move afoot by local civil engineers to restore them. It was interesting seeing a piece of history standing stark and alone with so many wonderful stories to tell.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that soon, they will all begin to tell new ones.



This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox