Thursday, November 29, 2007

Time Zone Crazyness

This was kind of fun. We lost 3 hours, of course, by flying to JFK in New York. So, we changed our watches.

In Atlanta, Daylight Savings ended (why end it?), so we gained one hour.

Somewhere in Tennessee (I love to type that word.) we left Eastern for Central, and we gained one hour.

As we left Texas and entered New Mexico, we gained one hour.

Then, as we left Arizona and entered Nevada, we gained our final one hour.
(Note Arizona; it's with California in the Summer, with the Mountain States in the Winter. That's weird. (Arizona is weird.))

West From Memphis

Up early, for an early departure from the hotel in order to do some sightseeing in Memphis.
First stop, of course, Graceland.

It was too early for the tour, but we stopped the car and admired the wall surrounding the mansion. All matter of graffiti, from visitors from all over the world. We resisted the temptation.

It was in a pretty seedy part of town (Memphis, seems to me, is pretty seedy all over, but perhaps there's an area where the bankers live.) Graceland, with its expansive, shady grounds, looks pretty good.

A quick drive to the park along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi (I just love to type that word!) and a chance to get out and view its majesty. Big river.

We got on the bridge and, halfway across, passed a big sign saying "Welcome to Arkansas." Ahhh, Bill Clinton's land.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Beale Street Blues

We left Atlanta a bit late, on our way to Memphis TN.

Our friend, the GPS lady, told us to go South and West to Birmingham AL. Luy, on the other hand, suggested North and West to Chattanooga TN. We followed Luy's guidance.

It took a while, but we found the Westin-Beale Street Hotel, and checked in. Dinner at the hotel included Mieko's Cobb Salad - enough for two large people and a child.

The Westin is in a redevelopment area of Memphis. Very fancy hotel, with the FedEx Arena across the street, and a new baseball stadium a block away. Tough part of town, but we felt okay. After dinner, we asked directions for Beale Street (the legendary "Home of the Blues.) The dining room hostess opened the patio door and pointed us left. Beale Street was right next door, barricaded, and with a lot of police presence. It was Sunday night, so there weren't a whole lot of folks around, but the drinks were plentiful.

Six clubs were open, the music was blaring, and the doors were open. We entered one of them, no cover, no minimum, and we listened to some good music and bought a CD. Then, we tried one club on the corner, no cover for ladies, $3 for gentlemen. Great blues, and a hearty "Air-eee-gate-oh" on the way out. Beale Street is like that.

Eating Our Way Through Atlanta

Our memories of Atlanta are centered around friendship and great food.

Restaurant food

Supermarket food (this Korean supermarket was super. About twice the size of our local 99Ranch markets!)

Specialty cakes, which made us blush

A fully-laden table, every time

And, an opportunity to meet Minh's father. Truly an honor

We hated to leave. But, we were pushing West after heading South to Atlanta. Good times!

Cathedral of Christ The Light, Oakland-Post II

Neat video, but I can't embed it. Cut and paste:

Credit the Bay Area News Group for this video. My second-favorite cathedral is getting there. Although I was disappointed at first with the glass skin, it's growing on me. And, on a recent visit, one of the sidewalk superintendents complained about the raw concrete of the base. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There Is Georgia, And Then. . .

there is Atlanta. We were in Atlanta to meet with Minh Hang and her husband Luy. Minh lived with us in Honolulu when she was a student at the University of Hawaii. Here are Minh and Luy during a recent trip to Hanoi.

We were in the suburbs West of Atlanta, in an area chockablock full of asian businesses. Minh and Luy took us to dinner at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. Very, very tasty!

The next day, Saturday, was spent touring the sights of suburban Atlanta, including one of only three authentic Indian temples in North America. The Hayashi's are on the left, then me, then Minh and son Christopher, Luy, and daughter Christina, the Architect. (Mieko took the picture.)
The temple is put together without reinforcing bars, concrete, glue, whatever. It is truly stunning.

And then to lunch at a nearby winery, the Chateau Elan. Nice restaurant, interesting wine shop, elegant **** hotel, golf course, the works! And, the food and wine were terrific.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

South From Washington D.C.

Heading South from D.C. on I-95, we transitioned to I-85 (the GPS was working wonderfully) and headed to Winston-Salem, about 1/2 way to Atlanta. GPS screwed up royally in Durham, where a new interchange had been built, but we finally got to Old Salem. GPS took us directly to the Augustus T Zevely Inn, a 200-year-old brick B&B.

Checking in violated my "First Rule of Hotels", but we made it. Breathing hard after the exercise was made easy by the rocking chairs on the porch. Nice

Our fellow guests were mostly retired wealthy folks, from Alabama and the U.K., chortling over how they were "spending our childrens' inheritance." Oh well, the food was pretty good, except for the fried green tomatoes.

The shrimp and grits, on the other hand, were great!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sometimes, Architecture . . .

. . . is just plain fun!

Just look at the spaces, and the lighting (natural and artificial) and especially the way they work together.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Statuary (Again)

There are one helluvalot of statues in D.C. Mieko and the Hayashi's were guided to several of them by a Japanese-speaking guide:

One of the weirdest is something called "The Awakening" out on the tip of Haines Point. (Some folks spell it "Hains", but that's not the way I was brought up.) My brother John and I used to play golf out on the Point. "The Awakening" somehow is a private piece of sculpture, 100 feet from head to foot, which is exceeding, by a lot, its temporary placement permit from the National Park Service. It's been there for about 40 years, and it's been hit twice by drunken drivers.

And then, there's the Marine Memorial, across the Potomac in Virginia. There's some irony here, but the Hayashi's enjoyed the visit.

Ashes To Ashes . . .

While in Washington, we visited the Washington National Cathedral (and drove through my high-school, St. Albans). The Cathedral is truly a stunning edifice.

In the shadow of the Cathedral, lies the Bishop's Garden, about an acre of flowers, shrubs, trees, and statuary.

That's me, pointing out the resting spot for the ashes of Dad, Mom, and Brother Paul.
I approach it with respect, and reverence.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Houses In Washington D.C.

From NYC, we headed South for Washington. Our GPS Voice told us to head West on I78, and we got lost in New Jersey for a while, until I decided to get back to I95 and head South. The Voice eventually caught up with me, and then we were fine.

(Later, I looked at the map, and maybe it would have been faster to take I78 to Harrisburg, and then cut South.)

It's too bad we didn't need gas in New Jersey. New Jersey and Oregon are the only States that don't permit Self Service for gas stations. Full service would have been a shock for all of us.

In D.C., we first stopped at the house where I grew up. It was still there, in good condition, and the owner invited us in to see her remodeling projects, which were really quite good. I was impressed.

(I forgot to tell her that one of her front-door lights was burned out.)

We then headed downtown for the Hay-Adams Hotel, which we bagged at corporate rates since we happen to know the management team. The lobby of the hotel was full of tall, beefy guys in black suits and wires in their ears. The roof of the Hay-Adams offers a vista over Lafayette Park to the White House.

If you look closely here (click to enlarge), you can see Secret Service on the roof of the White House. The Hotel has to call the White House every time before they escort anyone to the hotel roof.

Our friends from Tokyo also stopped by my favorite memorial, Abe Lincoln's house at the end of the Mall. It's always impressive.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Back To The Trip - Manhattan

We were blessed by being invited to stay at the Harvard Club in NY. Elegant location, a half block from 5th Avenue, two blocks from Times Square, and only three doorways from the famed Algonquin Hotel.

Harvard Club's main stairway is elegant, and hardly legal.

The Library is exuberant in its 60-foot ceiling. This is life as it should be!

Cruising around the very noisy parts of lower Manhattan illustrates the total hypocrisy of the signs therein. Oh, well...

Hopeful Sign

Muslims and Christians together work to replace a cross atop a church in Baghdad.

This is a copyrighted photo by Michael Yon. Yon is a free-lance correspondent/photographer who has been working in Iraq for the past 3 or 4 years. His work is entirely supported by the readers of his blog.

Go to:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Our cross-country trip was marked by various regional cuisines, often tasty.

But always elegant!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Statue Of Liberty

Mieko and Akiko went looking for the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

It took a while. . .

But, they finally found it!

We thank the French for this.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Veterans' Day

It has been said that the only folks who have offered their lives to save yours are the US military and one other. But, this is not a religious blog.

The Wonders Of YouTube

This has to be the best two-minute commercial ever made, and now it's available anytime you want it. That's cool.