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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

ROUTE 66 ROAD TRIP: DAY II & III

now we are going back in time and i am finishing up my route 66 birthday roadtrip. we stayed the night in needles and made our way to oatman, az in the morning. i did not realize how close to the border needles is, you literally drive 5 or so miles and you are in arizona. very uneventful.

when i was a wee lass i went to oatman but i knew i wanted to revisit. i love tacky old places and there actually is a history. through the hills is this little old mining camp. here, they mined for gold. today, it is just a tourist site with old buildings, quirky shops, and wild mules that visit the area for food.



a pretend mine to visit. i enjoyed this more than a 24 year old should.



and the mules! there were a ton of babies.



                               a floppy eared mule                       a baby mule with a 'don't feed me' sticker.



and a mule trying to get some kettle corn.





a cute little post office. i really am an admirer and should make a post on only post offices.




the oldest building in oatman is the oatman hotel (c. 1902). here clark gable & carole lombard spent their honeymoon. today it is a little gift shop / museum / snack bar. i had an affogato, vanilla ice cream topped with espresso. it was random to have at a little tiny snack bar, but was so delicious. really made my day that they offered it. nothing better than an italian desert in the wild west!




after oatman we headed over the hill to see an old 1920's gas station and a little museum. it was supposed to be open, but no one was there. what was open was a self serve little gem shop. it is based on the honesty policy. such a cute idea :)





my rock i bought.



i can't get over the cuteness.


we then spent the rest of the day in laughlin. i'm not a gambler, dancer, or drinker, but i had a delicious meal and bought a watch. i'm boring like that.



a mural right outside our little hotel in needles. also, i did not get a good photo but man the sunsets are different than in california. the mountains turn pink/red. so pretty.

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the next morning we took a little detour to poston. here was the largest japanese internment camp during world war ii. to get there, you have to go down a one lane road through an indian reservation. today, there is nothing left but a monument. it was very small, but i was glad to visit. it's nice to be reminded of some more recent history that often gets forgotten.



the next stop was the long drive to joshua tree national park, in twentynine palms. along the way, you would see some abandoned little box buildings. i later found out 'jackrabbit homesteaders' lived in these temporary shelters in the 1930s. at this time, unwanted federal lands was given to citizens. i wish i would have gotten a picture of these shacks but learned of the history after the fact.








skull rock. honestly thought it was going to look more like a skull.



i always have this urge to look like the objects i am taking pictures of. it runs in the family.



a mural on the old schoolhouse 


we visited both the joshua tree visitor center and the oasis visitor center. across the street from the former is a cute little general / souvenir shop. i must add i got the best mcdonalds iced coffee ever!!! 



so cute.



there is also a little western facade around the corner.



bringing out the big guns.


we then made our way to pioneertown, an old west movie set from the 1940s turned tourists site. today, they have cute little shops selling local crafts and western shows. they even have a little inn, which i would really like to stay at. 








the last and unexpected stop was the cabazon dinosaurs. never knew these were here and i am in this part of the inland empire quite a bit. the brontosaurus is a gift shops, while t-rex and the surrounding area require admission. apparently there are more dinosaurs over the fence. i am planning on visiting with my sister when we are back in the area. apparently today's owners promote creationism within, but i did not notice it.



meet dinny & mr. rex.


now for a song. the song that reminds me the most of this trip is 'vice' by miranda lambert. i have featured her many time and she is for sure my favorite country singer. anyhoo, enjoy!



Thursday, November 17, 2016

SOLO BOSTON: DAY V [BOSTON]

this was my last day in boston. i decided to leave early so i could still see a good chunk of things. my first stop, was returning to the thinking cup.





also look at these beautiful trees in the boston common. it's crazy how a few days can make the trees more vibrant.


the big stop of the day was the john f. kennedy presidential library and museum. it's a little bit outside  of the city; it takes a subway and bus ride to get to. i really enjoyed my time here. the museum was interesting. who knew he was also a fellow historian and became a published author before he was president! it was a little smaller than what i expected (he is such a loved president), but the way the museum was laid out and information was presented was beuatiful. i love when it feels immersive and like you stepped back in time.







one of my favorite pieces. a scrapbook jackie kennedy made for her parents when she went to europe with her sister.



this quote really stuck with me and makes me think more since you know what happened last week :(



random, but near the bathrooms were some really cool prints. i love all the colors and the visible paint strokes :)



a shameless bathroom selfie. i have never taken a picture of me with all my gear.



the pavilion was absolutely beautiful. kind of strange, but i could see the blades of grass blowing in the wind in such a strange way. you could also see boston and bay in the distance.






after seeing the museum i headed back to the city. i actually had quite a bit of time left and got lost a couple of times. the next stop was visiting the boston tea party museum's gift shop. surprisingly, i didn't run into a lot of souvenir shops during my trip. now why the gift shop, but not museum? well, for starters you have to take a tour with a reenactor. for the most part i hate taking tours, and more so having to pay for them. i would rather do it on my own time. also, it seemed more like disneyland than a historically accurate museum, so i passed.



outside the boston tea party museum.





so pretty.


the last stop before heading to the airport was a highly reviewed italian restaurant, but it was closed. who knew so many places would be closed on columbus day? instead i went to another place that shall remain nameless (it was not very good). i was a bit bummed i did not get to try any authentic italian food, but oh well.



i love seeing old relics in a modern backdrop.



and then my trip was over. ta-da.



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now for the hostel. i stayed at hostelling international's boston hostel. i really like this company. there are some really great ones here in california. but i find their hostel's are either my absolute favorites (i.e. san francisco & sausalito), or least (i.e. portland and now this one). this one is not necessarily bad, just understaffed and super huge. i prefer smaller hostels. the customer service is better and you get to know the other backpackers more. i don't know how many people were in this one, but i rarely saw the same person twice.


now about the understaffing thing. check in was not until 4, but then you would be put on a waitlist to actually be able to check in. i waited 30 minutes to get an my key card. also, i discovered their was a guy in my room. now i don't mind co-ed rooms, but that is not what i reserved. it turns out mike reserved a female dorm and the worker did not check his id or room. the worker apologized, which was fine. also breakfast was not served until 7 (i'm out the door by then). i have seen hostels serve earlier. also, the workers (other than the worker mentioned in the above paragraph) were not friendly. now i feel i don't set high standards for customer service workers, but i absolutely hate when workers make you feel like you are wasting their time. i felt like this often.


anyhoo, now some good things. it was swanky, much nicer looking than i thought. you also could not beat the location. it is located in downtown boston right on the border of chinatown. there are 2 very close subyway stations: boyleston (green line) & chinatown (orange line). also, the rooms were very nice! probably my favorite. they actually boarded inbetween the bunks to create more privacy and included a little night light (so you could actually do your own thing when people were sleeping) and a little shelf. also, the lockers were huge! i could actually put all my stuff in there with plenty or room,.

overall, not a bad experience, i have just had better.





my bed and bunk.




now for a song. i will conclude my trip with the last song from hamilton. i really like this song for multiple reasons. firstly, christopher jackson's part is like listening to an angel. also, i really like the message. those who tell history are also a character of the story. who is telling the history affects the narrative. anyhoo, here is 'who lives, who dies, who tells your story.' enjoy!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

SOLO BOSTON: DAY IV [SALEM]

so it is kind of appropriate that i am starting this post on halloween (but who knows when i will actually get to posting). salem, massachusetts was always a must for me when planning this trip. it also was part of the reason i wanted to go in october. now if you live under a rock, this is where the salem witch trials occured. unlike europe, the united states didn't have many rash witch accusing fits so it really sticks out in our history. also there is a big maritime history, though this was not the initial appeal.




in 1692, people in puritan colonial massachusetts were accused of being witches. in total 20 people were executed by hanging, 1 was crushed to death with stones, and 5 others died while in prison. to keep it short, some girls had a fit, others got included in the mix, and the townspeople freaked the fuck out. in response, they were arrrested, tried, and killed. oh i wish we moved on from mass hysteria, but we have not. look at our politics? anyways, i sidetracked.



look at this goober.


unfortunately, this was a cold rainy day (unlike the near 80 degree weather just 2 days before). the upside is it was not as busy. so many locals told me the day before it was so crowded (and clear weather). october, for obvious reasons, is a busy month. i took the train and arrived early in the morning. because nothing was open, i had breakfast at gulu-gulu cafe. it was cute. the first and only other one is in prague! funny how hopefully a year from now i will be there.







the samantha from bewitched statue right outside the cafe. apparently it was given by tv land.


after taking a bit of a walk i went to the salem maritime national park visitors center (the first np historic site) to get a little more information on what else there was to see. in early us history, salem was a huge trading port. i forgot how much, but salem brought the most taxes to the new federal government. next i made my way towards the sea, and saw some cool things along the way.



a witchcraft store



some creepy art installation



the statue dedicated to the founder of salem. they made his face mysterious because no one knows how he really looked like.


i then went to waite & pierce, the nps gift shop. now why the name you ask? at least i was curious. normally, the nps gift shop is just in the visitors' center and doesn't have its own name. the ranger told me that the company this store is named after was paid by the us to steal from british boats. it was legalized privateering, something salem was known for. their tagline was, 'fortune favors the bold.'




no one signed up for the tour of the narbonne and derby house, so i told the ranger i would. i also took the tour with a couple from kentucky. they were so nice and i had a really pleasant conversation with the wifr. the derby house (c. 1762), reflects georgian design, while the narbonne house (c. 1672) was constantly transformed by new owners and was a private residence until the 1960s!



the wallpaper inside the narbonne house.


what i found the most interesting was learning about how the nps has preserved houses throughout it's history; the history of the nps archival theories. in the 1920s, it was all about restoring a building to its former glory even though it may not be the most accurate and irreversible damage may occur (the derby house). in the 1960s, the theory was about keeping things the way they are, the bare minimum. restoring, but not replacing. this was shown through the narbonne house. the house had barely any furniture, chipped paint, and peeled wall paper. boring to most, interesting to me.



the custom house, where all the taxes were collected from the ships arriving.



the scary eagle making sure you are paying your taxes.



so many cool decorations.





the tentacles or so cool


next was the memorial to the victims of the salem witch trials. it is a granite wall inscribed with each of the victims' names. unfortunately because of the rain, they were hard to read. probably because it was october and more people visit the city, almost every slab had some type of gift (mostly flowers). in 2001, the victims were exonerated from their crimes 300 years too late.



the memorial of john proctor.



an interesting gate around the corner of the memorial.


i also went to the witch house. now this was an experience, but a bad one. it was super duper busy. the cashier (who was young and overwhelmed) did not have any change, so i told her i could pay the coin amount, but then she got even more confused and overwhelmed. the boss lady then walked in and told me i was just making things more difficult. yea, i should have walked out but this was the only actual attraction i went to that was connected to the witch trials. i definitely would not recommend.





inside the witch house






for lunch i went to the new england soup factory and got a caprese sandwich & clam chowda.



the court clerk in me had to appreciate salem's old superior court building (c.1862)


i left at 3:30. a little early but it was starting to get more crowded. this weekend was the biz baz fair (bizarre bazzar, i figured this out later). also it was really cold and wet. while waiting at the stop i met a real nice bostonian gentleman. i love meeting friendly locals. it makes my trip even better :)



one last stop before going to the hostel was dunkin' donuts.



i also tried historical 18th century american chocolate. it can only be described as chocolate flavored chalk. they should call it chalk-olate (i am so punny). 


now for a song! i know i have been picking more of the broadway classic songs, but they are so fun to sing. today, i chose 'take a break.' i love the dialogue between hamilton & angelica. my favorite line is, 'ambition is my folly. i'm a polymath, a pain in the ass, a massive pain.' also, a really funny line is, 'angelica, tell my wife john adams doesn't have a real job anyway.' enjoy!