Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Cool Summer

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

I appear to be in Northern Ireland at the a similar time to when I was here last year. And just like last year summer is a cold and wet affair. Today we had a high of 14 C (57F). Last year I posted a picture of my Mum’s forlorn washing and looking out the window today nothing much has changed.

Different clothes, same problem.

Different clothes, same problem.

I do love how summer smells here, the flowers and the wet grass reminding me of my childhood. I’m also enjoying the spring-like weather, as I had enough summer in Orlando and New York. I have quite a few things planned for my short trip so hopefully I still like the weather when I have to walk around in it.

Leaving the USA

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

I’m sitting in the lounge at JFK waiting on my flight to London. I’ve been here for about 6 weeks and I’m ready to leave. I do like visiting but I’m not sure that I could live here. On a frivolous note it will take me months to recover from the overeating that’s so easy to indulge in. On a serious note the racial tension and violence, that seems to be on the rise, is unsettling.

Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan

Crazy Shakes

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Tonight we queued for about an hour at Black Tap, Soho, so that we could try their popular milkshakes.  I had told my niece that you could get any food you wanted in NYC and she asked me to find the best milkshake.  “Best” can be defined in many ways, and I’ve certainly had a milkshakes that tasted better than tonights, but it was the most over-the-top milkshake I have ever had.  Mine was called “The Cookie” and was a vanilla shake with quite a few cookies.

The Cookie Milkshake, by Black Tap, Soho

The Cookie Milkshake, by Black Tap, Soho


Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy Milkshake by Black Tap, Soho

Broadway Digital Lotteries

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

It’s expensive to go the theatre in New York.  I saw The Phantom of the Opera on Friday night, in a seat that was one row from the back of the theatre, and it cost $75 (57 GBP, 7,600 JPY).  Since I can’t afford to see every show I would like to watch I have been entering the various digital lotteries that are available.  It would be amazing to win the opportunity to buy reduced tickets for Hamilton, but I have not been that lucky.  I did, however, win the opportunity to purchase $35 tickets for The Crucible tonight.  The seats should be much better than The Phantoms ones, as they are in the most expensive section.  Without the lottery it would have cost between $149 – $189 for the seats.  I’m really looking forward to seeing Ciarán Hinds as the Deputy Governor, and Saoirse Ronan as Abigail Williams.

Walking the High Line

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Today we went for a walk along the High Line, which is public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.  It was beautiful, if a little crowded, and a pleasant way to spend part of the 4th July.

Views from the High Line Park

Views from the High Line Park


Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

I’m staying in Midtown, New York.  It is chaos outside.  I have been told that the crowds will be worse on the 4th July, which will be quite something as there really isn’t room for any more humans.  I love how alive the city is.  I love that you can walk between places, even if you have to constantly stop and start at traffic lights.  I walked just under 10 miles today.  We didn’t have a destination in mind, we just wandered around, ate interesting food, and found beautiful buildings to gaze up at.  Of course, as well as looking up, sometimes you have to look down.

Paving Stone, at Library Way

Paving Stone, at Library Way

In Orlando

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

I’ve been in Orlando for a couple of weeks now.  Given the horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub, it’s not been an easy time to be on holiday.  Of course, it shouldn’t be easy to forget the events and there are reminders everywhere.  The staff in the hotel are wearing Orlando United t-shirts, everywhere I go there are signs and messages about the tragedy, and this morning I was asked to take a picture of a couple going to one of the funerals.

It’s a time for sorrow.

Cold in Summer

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

I have goosebumps on my arms.  I have tried switching off the air conditioning but it’s tenacious and refuses to obey my instructions.  When I arrived at my hotel last night the air conditioner was set at 67 F (19.4 C).  It felt like a fridge in the room after the warm air outside  I had already spent a large part of my day on a plane being really cold and would have liked to be able to sit in my hotel room without getting into the bed for extra warmth.

Recently I spent quite a few evenings rehearsing in community halls in Japan.  It wasn’t easy, as I became so hot dancing, but they only use air conditioners once the temperature in the room gets above 28 C (82.4 F), and that only happened on a couple of occasions.  There is a “Cool Biz” campaign in Japan that runs from May to October to encourage businesses to set their air conditioners at 28 C (82.4 F) to limit the use of electricity.  This means that men have stopped wearing ties to work in the summer and that cooler clothes are used.  But I’m in America where the people around me are sitting in chilled rooms wearing t-shirts and shorts – something the Japanese wouldn’t really consider for work.  The are also carrying cardigans and jackets, because it’s cold inside.  The last time I went to the cinema in America, during the summer, I took a blanket!  It’s ridiculous.

I’m going to be in America for quite a few weeks so I’m going to have to come up with a way to keep warm while indoors.

Aircraft Food

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

This morning I was offered a cooked breakfast on my flight from Belfast to London.  I know aircraft food can be terrible but normally I can recognise the food.  I thought I was getting scrambled eggs but I wasn’t sure when I tasted it.  It had a very smooth texture, was a very light yellow in colour, and had no real flavour.  After reading the food label I decided not to eat it because it was only 66% egg!  The rest of it was rapeseed oil, buttermilk power, cornflower, salt, white pepper, and lactic acid.  Thankfully I have been able to buy real food at the airport.

Travel Delays

Monday, May 30th, 2016

I have rarely been delayed when flying out of Tokyo.  But on Friday the runways of Haneda airport were closed because of an engine fire on a Korean Air flight.  Inside the airport this information was not given out.  At first we weren’t given any reason for the flight delays and then there were announcements about runway closures and air traffic control problems, but nothing specific.  I assume they think that passengers will panic if they hear about a problem on a plane.  Of course, most of the passengers knew anyway, thanks to the wonder that is the Internet.

The delays wasn’t as bad as I feared and at one point I was hopeful that I would make my connection in Frankfurt.  But once we got to Frankfurt the plane couldn’t land as that airport was closed due to a storm.  We ended up being flown to Leipzig where we refueled and waited to fly back to Frankfurt.  Once we got to Frankfurt there was the usual chaos of hundreds of people with missed flights not knowing what they were supposed to do.  The staff at the airport were not that good at giving instructions and I ended up queuing in the wrong place for a while.

I did eventually find the right place and queued for my hotel voucher and for information on when my flight was rescheduled.  It is not pleasant trying to do this after being on a flight for more than 14 hours.  But at least in Europe they sort these things out.  If I had been in America I would have been told that the airline was not responsible for the storm.  They would have rescheduled my flight, but they would not have sent me to a hotel.

By the time I got to the hotel they also had a large queue of people waiting to check-in.  It was midnight, 22 hours after I had left home, when I sat down to eat dinner.  It was a rather strange buffet meal with lots of things I couldn’t identify.  I was a little disappointed, as the airline had told me I had 30 EUR for dinner, to find out I could only use it on this buffet and couldn’t have a la carte items, room service, or even anything to drink.  I was hungry though so I had an odd schnitzel like thing and some rice – hardly anything that should cost 30 EUR.

The hotel room was lovely and I did manage to get five hours sleep before having to get ready to go back to the airport.  It is horrible wearing the clothes that you travelled in for a second day, but my suitcase was in transit. The airline paid for taxis to and from the hotel and I got to experience the speed that people drive in Germany.  I don’t mind that they drive fast, I would just like them not to use one hand to hold a mobile phone while they are doing it.

In many ways the rest of the trip was uneventful, and I was incredibly glad to arrive in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.  Though not overly thrilled that I then had to get to Belfast, but at least the bus ride through the country is beautiful.