Monday, January 16, 2012

I Know I Should Have Made a Left Turn at Albuquerque

A good friend brought this video to my attention a month or so before my train trip, and, on the train, many travelers alluded to Bugs Bunny's wrong turn as we neared Albuquerque, NM.  For those of you who have or haven't seen this clip, I just thought I would share.  It's pretty funny.

Monday, January 2, 2012

And This Bird You Cannot Change..

Currently in the planning stages of more trips!  Over Spring Break, Los Angeles and maybe Vegas with one of my girlfriends from Grad School.  And over the summer, Botswana, Mozambique, and hopefully Madagascar with one of my other girlfriends from Grad School.

All you need is love?  I disagree.  I need coffee and travel, too.

And Lord knows, I can't change.

Team Train or Team Plane?

Aristotle proposed the Theory of Non-contradiction.  If it’s A, it’s not B.  If it’s B, it’s not A.  It can’t be both A and B, or at least, that’s how I understand it.  In my Materiality of Language class this semester, we discussed that something can be both A and B, it just depends on the circumstances.  I wonder, though, if what Aristotle said holds true in the popular transportation debate.  I wonder if people either like to travel by train or travel by plane.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately...


Here are some pros and cons of Trains v. Planes

Pros – roomier, can walk around, access to lounge car, access to shower (though small, if you’re willing to pay), able to see more scenery, more relaxed, community aspect, less crowded, more space to store stuff, no baggage fees?, charging stations at your seat
Cons – takes a long time to get there, subject to frequent delays

Pros – get there quickly, though delays are still a possibility, not as subject to delays on planes as on trains, can get you to places trains can’t (i.e. Hawaii and Switzerland)
Cons – tediousness of security (I forgot to take off my shoes ……needless to say, TSA did not like that), rushed, cramped, tense, crowded, less space to store stuff, baggage fees, individualistic, grumpy friggin’ people


For the majority of my relationship with Brad, we had to do the long distance thing.  So, I found myself flying often.  Very often.  I wanted to see him as soon as possible, and I wanted to have as much time with him as possible.  So, my priorities were different.  I valued being at my destination rather than getting to my destination.  On the plane, train travel never came up in any conversations I had with people.  I rarely had conversations with people, though.  Sunglasses, hat, headphones, book.  Can’t get any clearer than that…

Train vs. Plane, however, is a frequent topic of conversation while traveling by train.  I’ve said it to people before, and I’ll say it again.  People who prefer the train seem to value getting to their destination in addition to being at their destination.  Where Team Plane folks just want to get there.  I was a Team Plane person for a while, but when traveling for pleasure I consider myself very Team Train.  So, yet again I can prove Aristotle wrong…….I’m both A and B.  I’m both Team Train and Team Plane; it just depends on the circumstances. 

I want to say this, too, though.  Train travelers seem to have a different culture than plane travelers.  Sweden even claimed in conversation that “Everyone is so adventurous” when referencing those who lean toward Team Train.  Just think about the topics of my posts.  Also, I am willing to suggest that there is a class difference between those who travel by train and those who travel by plane.  It seems as if the majority of train travelers prefer this mode of transportation because of the low cost.  Some, though, are just afraid of flying.  And others just don’t like the atmosphere of airports. 

I know I’m oversimplifying this, but it seemed as if the second I got to the airport my demeanor completely changed.  Maybe it’s because my iPod wasn’t charged.  Maybe it’s because my laptop wasn’t charged.  Maybe it’s because my Nook wasn’t charged.  Maybe it’s because I wasted two dollars on shitty headphones because I was a window seat, and my backpack was two rows ahead of me.  Maybe it’s because both my hat and sunglasses were in that backpack, as well.  Or maybe it’s because the woman sitting next to me looked at me like I was crazy when I told her that I had just taken the train to Los Angeles only to fly back the same day that I arrived.  Wait…maybe it’s because the overweight woman in front of me decided to lean back as far as possible in order to sleep, and the gentleman behind me wanted to rest his head on my chair.  Or maybe it all started when I left my debit card on Olvera Street.  Or maybe it’s just because I knew my adventure was almost over.  And when the cabin door closed I was still waiting to hear from my ride (more on that to come)…

I’m a glass half full girl, though.  I saw the Pacific Ocean and some really big something swimming toward the surface of the water.  There was no one in the middle seat, and we didn’t crash into a fiery ball of death.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Olvera Street

And yet again I return to Steinbeck's quote.  I couldn't control the blizzard the Southwest Chief hit in the southwest, and the three hour delay which was a consequence of said blizzard thwarted my plans to put my feet in the Pacific. While on the train in Cali, I found the need to improvise.  Following the suggestion of several other travelers, I decided to hit up Olvera Street. 

I did not write the following information.  It's copied and pasted from  The site gives a nice, though at times syntactically awkward, summary of what one will find when visiting Olvera Street.  I have supplemented the site's info with a bit of my own commentary.

Olvera Street is the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles, otherwise known as El Pueblo Historic Monument.  The colorful village features 27 historic buildings with a traditional Mexican style plaza area. Wander around the marketplace and shop for souvenirs including handcrafted Mexican wares typical of old Mexico. There are also free docent tours by Las Angelitas.
Stroll through this beautiful street and stop for the popular taquitos or tacos at the outdoor cafes. Olvera Street also offers a variety of traditional authentic Mexican cuisine, with delicious enchiladas, mole and other native dishes.

For lunch, I ate at El Paseo Inn. Thanks to the gorgeous weather, I was able to dine on the outside a t-shirt.  When the waiter came up for my order, I asked him his favorite thing on the menu.  He said the sopes with beef.  So, that's what I ordered which gave him a chuckle.  I also ordered a margarita before 2PM on a Tuesday.  I was on vacation, after all. 

On weekends you can enjoy outdoor entertainment by strolling bollero musicians, Mariachis music and performances by Aztec Indians and folkloric dancing. 

While on Olvera Street, I enjoyed the music of a couple of mariachi bands, even have video of one of them!  Just you wait.

The original pueblo was built by the 44 settlers of Los Angeles in 1781.  (For more information please visit History, Fiestas to find out about our event schedule). Today Olvera Street is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the City of Angels, located right across the street from Union Station, La Placita Church and one block from Chinatown. 

Olvera Street was a great impromptu adventure!  I bought a ton of earrings and postcards, drank a margarita in an authentic Mexican restaurant, and saw the most beautiful church.......that's not a very valid statement, FYI.  I've only been inside like four churches in my lifetime.  It was gorgeous, though.  Honest. 

Before I wrap this post up, I want to give a quick shout out to Los Angeles who escorted me to Olvera Street.  Also, when I had questions about what signs said or the jewelry that I was looking at, he acted as my translator.  Gracias, LA, for helping this gringa navigate the language barrier.  I now realize I really need/want to learn Spanish.

P.S. Please enjoy the music while your party (i.e. me) writes her next post.