Saturday, October 31, 2009

Last Minute Panic

What is it with guys? Or maybe it's just Irish guys.

Barely a whisper of interest at the (salsa) club all night and I leave demoralized by the lack of dancing. Then 2:00 am hits and the minute the lights go on I'm getting random lines thrown at me left and right. The whole walk home is an exercise in keeping a straight face while getting hit on by the drunk and the unlucky.

Should I just be pleased that I'm getting any interest at all or insulted that it all seems to be prompted by last minute desperation?

I think I'm choosing Door #2.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A friend posted this on Facebook and it was too amazing not to share. Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Even the smart ones have their spazzy moments

It all stems from . . .  a Japanese MapleImage by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via Flickr

Yesterday over lunch (paraphrased):
Coworker #1: I'm really unhappy because my Japanese Maple tree at home is dying.

Coworker #2: What's wrong with it?

Coworker #1: All the leaves are shriveling and dropping off.

Coworker #2: I think that's called Autumn.

Coworker #1: Oh... yeah!
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Monday, October 5, 2009

One story of an American's fight with the healthcare system

Most of the time I end up ignoring Move's emails, largely because they end up requiring just a little too much real activism on my part. I like my politics kept somewhat at a distance. Yes, I'm kind of a hypocrite.

But, Dawn's story as relates to the fight for healthcare reform in the U.S. really hit me and I realized that I actually can do something about getting her story out there, just by doing something as easy as posting it here on my blog. So, here goes. Take a look at her story in the Huffington Post and keep up with her fight against the bureaucratic juggernaut of the private healthcare system via her blog.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sun Holiday - Cheap and Cheerful!

I love Portugal. Love it, LOVE IT!

Sigh... this is actually kind of a hard admission for me to make because Portugal has been my travel bugbear for years. The one western european country I'd never been to. Ever since - gulp, I'll admit it - I was kicked out of there years ago.

Yes, I was expelled from a foreign country! Sigh again, I can hear my friends shrieking with laughter right now. This is an old story, one they've heard before.

Short story, sweet... 19 year old girl enjoying semester abroad in Scotland makes plans for Spring Break with friends in Portugal. Neither she nor travel agent (this was *shudder* decades ago... remember travel agents?) think to check on whether someone traveling on a Jamaican passport would need a visa. The border agents at the Portugal airport were happy to enlighten me and not at all dismayed by my buckets of tears.

But, all things work together for good. Because I was deported back to London, I got to meet cousins who'd been estranged from the family and triggered a cascade of family reunions. Now it's just a funny story from my college days and a cautionary tale to always, always check the details!

Anyway, enough with the distractions. Here's what you're really here for. Pictures! I just got back a week ago from 7 days in Lisbon and the Algarve coast (Lagos and Faro) where I took over 300 of the darned things. There was a bounty of really great ones to choose from, but I chose only a handful of the best to subject you to. You can thank me later.

One of Lisbon's main squares - Rossio aka Praca Dom Pedro IV

Approaching one of Lisbon's main scenic lookouts, the Miradoura Santa Luzia

Amazing tile work in the Palacio Nacional da Sintra. Sintra was the summer retreat of Portugal's kings and aristocracy. Gorgeous architecture and colors, like a Disney fairytale town.

Fonte Mourisca (Arab Fountain) on the outskirts of Sintra, where many of the locals come for fresh spring drinking water

Church of Santa Maria on the long uphill hike to the Castelo dos Mouros that overlooks Sintra

Inside the church at the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Belem, a suburb of Lisbon

Sentry outpost at the Torre de Belem, an offshore fortress built in the 1500's

One of Lisbon's trams climbing the hill from the Baixa to the Bairro Alto neighborhoods

Street art along the tram line - too beautiful to just call it graffiti

Street in Lagos, a town in the Algarve coastal region

Huh?? Art installation in the entryway to Lagos' fortress museum

House detail in Lagos

Cliff detail at the Ponta da Piedade cliffs outside Lagos

These trees are all over the place. I wonder what they are?

Cliff detail at the Punta da Piedade beach outside Lagos. Beautiful place!

Punta da Piedade beach

Faro is usually only a quick stop for people flying into the Algarve and then moving on somewhere else, but it's worth a day's look in it's own right. This was a beautiful little corner inside the walls of the Cidade Velha (historic old town)

Almost tropical scene on the walk around the city walls of the Cidade Velha of Faro

More views along the walls of the Cidade Velha

They certainly know how to set the stage here. Who could resist taking a picture of this scene?

Just inside the main gate (Arco da Vila) of the Cidade Velha

Street scene in the center of Faro

Did I mention that I fell in love with all the colors? Oh, and the music. And the amazing (and amazingly cheap) food! I almost overdosed on fresh seafood. Not to mention the port wine. This place is definitely on my "must return" list.
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