Monday, February 28, 2011

Russ Goes to the Windy City

I know it has been a while since my last post.  But there are always places to visit, and today the traveler has a destination to visit and a story to tell.  I visited Chicago Illionis in April 0f 2006.  The weather was comfortable for that time of year.  We were able to wear t-shirts while we were site seeing.  We took in the high sights of the city and Lake Michigan atop the Sears tower.  It was 103 stories to the top.  After we walked on Magnificent Mile and took in some of the better shopping sites of the city.  While we were on the mile, we spotted Chicago's famous water tower.  We topped off the afternoon at Navy Pier.  The Navy Pier contains much to keep both a Chicagoan and the tourist happy.  There are rides, food and shopping.  There was also an interesting activity that our group did, we took a speed boat on Lake Michigan and viewed the city from the lake.  We ate dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.,  where I had delicious coconut shrimp.  Our show for the evening was at the Briar Street Theatre, and it was the Blue Man Group.  The show was truly amazing.  It is raw talent that 3 men can perform and entertain an audience without ever saying a word.  

Our second day in Chicago was an all bus tour of the city.  It was themed as an all gangster tour.  Our designated tour guide was dressed up as a gangster from the 20s.  The windows on our bus were like looking into windows of the past.  We saw many places where gangsters would hang out.  Places where undercover speakeasies were being practiced, due to the prohibition of the 20s and 30s.  We also saw the famous Rose Bud Cafe, a very special place where Frank Sinatra would visit when he would come to town.  After passing the cafe, we look to view the famous harpo studios, the home of the Oprah Winfrey show.  Unfortunately we did not get to see a show, but we were just happy to be that close. 

After we finished our tour it was time to depart for home, I watched the Sears Tower fade into the distance.  I do hope to visit Chicago again soon.  

Resources for your information:
Sears Tower (Willis Tower, still commonly known as the Sears Tower)
 The Magnificent Mile
The Blue Man Group Chicago
The Rosebud Cafe

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New York New York So Nice They Named It Twice

I visited NYC in late March of 2007.  It was a very cool day for the time of year.  It was only a one day trip, but our group got to see a lot of the city.  The photos shown here are of some of the stops along our days journey.  We visited Radio City Music Hall, unfortunately we did not get to see a show, but we got to enjoy the scenery of the great building.
We had then walked a couple blocks over to Central Park.  There we saw the tribute to the still famous John Lennon.  There were many music fans including myself who were paying there respects to the late great John Lennon.  This picture is very important to me. 

The final stop on our list was Times Square. We had decided to take a taxi there to get the full New York experience. We had arrived there right at dusk, just in time to see the beautiful display of lights.  Times Square is chock full of stores, restaurants and theaters.  When you are in Times Square, you truly feel the pulse of New york as the lights flash.  It is in Times Square where you feel that many dreams are made and come true.  We topped off our day in "The Big Apple" by eating hot dogs from a street vender.  It was truly a day one must experience in their lifetime.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cancun, where traditional meets modern travel tastes.

     From my recent trip to Cancun in September of 2010, I was struck by how traditional elements of the indigenous population meets tourist chic. As you can see in this photo, the massage hut, known as a palapa, sits next to a modern hotel, the Crown Paradise. It is easy to see in Cancun, this combination of traditional with modern, not only in architecture but also in cuisine. The food is a mixture of American flares and Mexican spice, but always alluding to its true indigenous base. An example of this  combination is the variety of seafood pointing to Cancun's once vibrant fishing industry, mixed with a side of pasta spiced with Mexican chilis. Cancun is a nexus of traditional offerings for the adventurous and yet modern comforts for those playing it safe.