Zanzibar Zeitgeist

I’ve been extremely poor at dropping photos of the places I’ve traveled to. You know, to satisfy your inquisitive pleasures. Or at least contribute to the zeitgeist of the day!

Consider this a course correction. Here is an assortment of still frames from my recent jaunt to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and a weekend on the island of Zanzibar.

Hotel views in Dar es Salaam

Hotel view

Continue reading “Zanzibar Zeitgeist”

Copacabana, Corcovado e Caipirinhas


On top of ol' Corcovado


Welcome, my children. With a warm embrace from Christ the Redeemer, I offer you your very own cut-out journey of Brazil.  Last year I went to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and somehow failed to share. Let’s correct that now. 

Cristo Redentor

Cristo Redentor, Corcovado  – Jesus, thats a big statue. Oops, I mean that’s a big statue of Jesus. At the pinnacle of Corovado, stands the 130 foot statue of Christ the Redeemer, overlooking the city and slums of Rio, the multitude of beaches and sunbathers, and the endless Atlantic ocean. Iconic.  



Feijoada – a humble stew of black beans, beef and pork that is such a hearty and filling lunch, you really do wish the siesta was practiced in Brazil. Best eaten over a long, lazy afternoon with a lively jazz band across the room. 


Farofa – a type of flour made from manioc that looks like sawdust (yet is edible and tasty) and is used as a topping for other dishes like feijoada.  

Ice cream flavors – I have to say that I love ice cream, but sadly I did not love the Brazilian flavors at all. Many of them, I couldn’t spit out fast enough. I can’t remember which ones I did like, but here is a sampling of some of the flavors available to give you an idea of the randomness of options one encounters:  

  • graviola – made from something that is kind of like a custard apple
  • cupuaçu – made from a chocolaty kind of fruit
  • açai – made from a fruit like a grape
  • milho verde – made from a type of sweet corn


Ipanema Beach


 Ipanema Beach  – deep, fluffy, white sand to squeeze between your toes as you stroll up and down this vista of tanned bodies, crashing waves and crystal blue sky. In three directions, mountains tower over this expanse of simple beauty. Granted you do have to hide your bemusement when you notice ‘the please don’t show skin people’ flapping in the wind or camped forever in the sand. You know who they are. To complete the journey, we did need to find the famous Girl from Ipanema from the song. Turns out the place is now called Bar Garota de Ipanema (called Bar Veloso when the song was written), but the girl wasn’t there to greet us. She’s likely too old and flabby by now, and probably already on the beach… 


A Painting of?

 Night market at Copacabana – artists out in force, ready to sell their wildly colorful and brilliantly alive paintings, or their pieces of shiny jewelery, or their statues carved of rock and wood, or their leather works, or their, well…just about anything they want. 



Fly Away

 Hang gliding – on paper it seems like a crazy idea. There’s a quick lesson and gear to fit into and glider to get strapped to. And when you’re overlooking the tableau of city skyline and the ocean is so tiny, maybe there’s good reason to have a fear of heights. It didn’t help that my ‘pilot’ didn’t show up until 30 minutes after my other friends had already took the leap and soared away. Literally alone with no one I knew and a faint unease, I stewed until the ‘pilot’ made his appearance. Some girl just ahead of us would not go, so finally they told her off and all the other waiting gliders had to back up and make room for her anticlimactic exit stage left. Then suddenly…my turn! A short spurt of running off the ramp, a slight downward arc and then…peace. Floating in space, overlooking all the postcards you’ve ever seen of Rio. It was so easy (of course, the ‘pilot’ did all the steering and work) and relaxing. The only advantage of having to wait so long is that my friend was able to take a long sequence of photos of my entire journey down. Cool. 

Caipirinhas – made with healthy amounts of cachaça (say: ca-sha-sa), dollops of sugar, ice and a few lime wedges, it goes down smooth and fast. This is Brazil’s national drink, so try to keep up, because we’re about to go… 

Samba – dancing in style. At a seemingly random neighborhood in São Paulo, we walked into Bar Mangueira to the blast of a live band rocking samba music. The place, with its funky atmosphere, soon became overcrowded with enthusiastic revelers moving to the beat. An impromptu dance lesson from our wonderful host, an unhealthy amount of caipirinhas, and the rubbing of shoulders with what quite possibly was a clique of the  Brazilian mafioso, gave us just what we needed to get into the spirit of things. Forget that we all had to attend the last day of a conference in a mere 3 or 4 hours… 


Not Me

Me, Way Up High

Nice View


Coming in Fast

Landing in Rio


Tourist: Seattle

You are in Seattle. You have a car and one day to explore. Your goal is to show someone who’s never been around the city. What to do? Let’s start with…

Hello Seattle
Hello Seattle


Kelly Park – up on Queen Anne hill, which is a much photographed, scenic view of the city skyline. You forget the exact street, so you’ll have to drive around, up and down a few blocks before you finally find the park and get your glorious snapshots. Next let’s see the infamous…



Fremont troll
Fremont troll


Fremont troll – just across the Fremont bridge. You just need to take a quick detour under the bridge to see this crazy, giant troll holding his VW Beetle tightly. Now that you’ve seen it, let’s go to the…



UW Drumheller fountain
UW Drumheller fountain


University of Washington campus – where there can be little doubt that you’ve arrived at the exact right place on the exact right day. I practically dare you to find somewhere that can even compare. You have complete reign to pick anywhere! Got nothing? Well, how about the…



Washington Arboretum – since you have decided that driving around and looking at even more beautiful scenery would be a fairly good idea. You regret not stopping at the Japanese Garden to admire the koi ponds, but feeling a bit nostalgic, you start driving around the local neighborhoods next to…

Lake Washington – and determine you’ve found the ideal distraction. But since you’re getting hungry, it’s time to head back towards downtown, with a pass by Lake Union and…

Ivar’s – for a nosh of fried salmon, crisp french fries and steamy clam chowder, while sitting right on the lake. With a complete view of the city and the landing seaplanes, you start to wonder why you don’t come here more often. Since logic is not part of this journey, you decide that after your lunch…

View from Alki
View from Alki


Alki Beach – is your next destination. You want a beach with a good view, even if it’s too fricking cold to enjoy it properly. Well, you soon discover that the weather is not a factor in your enjoyment, and frankly never has been. You’re from Washington after all. Next you decide the next random place you should go to is Ballard and the…



Ballard Locks
Ballard Locks


Ballard (Chittenden) locks – because that’s where you can see the mashup of the fresh waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington with the salt waters of the Puget Sound. Also, you can admire the many yachts and boats poised to pass between the two. With the day slipping by in a rush of fall colors, you believe that a quick jaunt downtown and entry into…


Elliot Bay Book Store – will inspire your creative juices. Exploring the nooks and crannies and random isles of books, with no goal in mind, you read a few book covers and then walk out for a look around…

Pioneer Square – to see the architecture and landscapes. Finally, finish the day at…

Beer and cheese
Beer and cheese


Pike Street Brewery – with a beer sampler, cheese plate, and a yummy pizza.




Okay, so that’s one hell of a random journey. If you’re a tourist with only one day or just a bored Washingtonian, throw out a couple of the above and make sure you add the Pike Place Market to your itinerary as well.


University of Washington
University of Washington
Small Ballard lock
Ballard locks