United States


NEW ORLEANS: STILL MY FAVORITE CITY IN THE WORLD

Posted on September 19th, by Steven in Louisiana, Travel, United States. 2 comments

Even the truss-like diagonals and curvature of the letters that make up the words ‘NEW ORLEANS’ exude a feminine, wrought-iron elegance. There is architecture even in the name here.

A pianist/singer I heard at LaFitte’s on Bourbon Street once informed us, “I’ve played in two countries: the USA and New Orleans.” It seems New Orleans doesn’t really belong anywhere. While New York and Los Angeles remain a patchwork of influences, there has never been a definitive style that comes from either city. As the common notice goes, San Francisco has been “yuppiefied” and sterilized for years. Boston and Philadelphia, though physically stately, were never the most emotive of places. Chicago is an athlete with a strong chin, indifferent to its style. New Orleans, however, is of its’ own.

Everywhere I go in the world, I still see New Orleans. It’s there in … Read More »



ROAD TRIP USA: LOS ANGELES to LAS VEGAS via MOJAVE DESERT BACKROADS

Posted on September 17th, by Steven in California, Nevada, Travel, United States. 4 comments

For tourists to the USA, one of the most often-traveled routes is Los Angeles to Las Vegas. We have seen it in countless movies, including The Hangover, Very Bad Things and Swingers. I have spoken to many international tourists who have made this drive. Almost always, they travel straight along Interstate 15, making the 4+ hour drive as fast as they can, seeing power lines, billboards and truck stops along the way.

However, if you take a full day and the initiative to push your car off the restrictions of the 4-lane Interstate and into the depths of the desert, you will find a rewarding journey filled with surreal desertscapes and highway ruins, exposing layers of forgotten Americana that few international travelers can experience in American cities. Additional time may allow for some exploration of Joshua Tree National Park, famous for … Read More »



GOODBYE, GOD. I’M GOING TO BODIE

Posted on September 16th, by Steven in California, Nevada, tips, Travel, Uncategorized, United States. No Comments

“Goodbye god, I’m going to Bodie” – diary entry of a little girl moving from San Francisco to Bodie

My favorite California destination to come back to again and again, Bodie is an eerie ghost town that once housed 7,000 residents and is now home to a few helpful park rangers and some squirrels. Located 8,000 feet in elevation, near the California / Nevada border, about 75 short American miles (120km) southeast of Lake Tahoe, Bodie is a perfect tie-in to any trip to the more-famous lake. Getting there is half the fun, as you drive south through some canyons and finally veer off onto a hairy 13-mile dirt road into the heart of the high desert landscape.

Bodie thrived in the 1870s, when prospectors predicted it would bring enormous amounts of gold. While the town did produce some gold, production quickly declined. At … Read More »



THE EPHEMERAL MAGIC CARPET: VISITING CALIFORNIA’S SPRINGTIME WILDFLOWERS

Posted on September 16th, by Steven in California, tips, Travel, Uncategorized, United States. No Comments

California’s nickname, The Golden State, comes not only from the gold rush of 1849, but is also inspired from the autumnal golden and yellow hue of the fields and hills, and the springtime poppy blast that rewards residents for surviving the soggy winter rains. This annual flower explosion could only be described by The Insane Clown Posse as a “miracle”.

You should visit; and, first things first: it’s all about timing. The bloom will only last a few weeks and often peak unexpectedly, depending on the amount of rain received in the weeks and days before the flower season. The impressiveness of the flowers is different each season, but the flowers do tend to consistently gather in the same locations each year.

I have two favorite places that I return to each spring season when I am in California:

Death Valley – The flowers … Read More »



EXPLORING DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES: AMERICA’S FORGOTTEN URBAN FRONTIER

Posted on August 6th, by Steven in California, Travel, United States. No Comments

Los Angeles is a big valley full of mystery. Most Americans have grown to view Los Angeles as an uncomfortable patchwork of suburbs and expressways. Images of riots, earthquakes, and endless traffic have given the city a notorious reputation throughout the states. Tourists unfamiliar with the city’s physical dysfunction will often make overambitious itineraries and then quickly find that getting around is half the schedule. So, how can you simplify your visit and make the most of LA’s complexities?

One great place to start is downtown Los Angeles, as it is compact, walkable, fascinating, and regularly overlooked in guidebooks and discussion of LA.

Some history:
As Eastern and Midwestern Americans flocked west to Los Angeles in the early 20th Century, they built the young new city to resemble what they had back home: tight, organized urban grids with well-defined sidewalks, street trees, squares … Read More »





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