North America


10 Acres of beauty in Chace Park, Marina del Rey

Marina Del Rey, a man-made place of beauty and boating, is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Burton Chace Park is a great place to enjoy its air and views.

If you’re traveling to Los Angeles and have the time I highly recommend Marina Del Rey as a place to spend an afternoon.


Don’t miss theater when you travel!

One of the nicest things you can do for yourself when you travel is to experience local theater. Whether it’s a small local theater group, a small traveling repertory group, a small drama theater, or a full-blown Broadway cast on tour — you can’t go wrong getting a taste of the local high culture. Theater downtown LA In my adopted home-town of Los Angeles, CA, I never miss an opportunity to see a show at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theater or its smaller Mark Taper Forum, both at the Music Center downtown LA. Busses go right to it and trains get you very close. (They have a 3rd theater in Culver City that’s also accessible by bus.) A show there is the perfect way to top off a day of walking around downtown. I’ve sat almost all over both of these theaters and I don’t think there’s a bad seat in either […]


Sailing in Austin, TX – WooHoo!

It’s been a while since I’ve sailed. My last sailing venture was at Roatan, one of the Bay Islands off of Honduras, and that didn’t actually include much sailing because their appeal for crew was really just an appeal for a wallet. But today I got to sail in the Beer Can Races at the Austin Yacht Club, on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, USA. “Sailing in Austin?”— some people have asked, surprised. Yep! Austin, Texas doesn’t have ocean, but it does have Lake Travis. And, in summer the lake is warm and inviting for swimming too. (Unfortunately, it’s about 53′ less of a lake now than “normal” due to dry spells and water use — but those boats still able to launch still get to enjoy it.) So today promised to be the first of a lot of sailing for me for the next month while I get to call […]


Fav sculpture in Culver City, Los Angeles

This is one of my favorite sculptures in Los Angeles. As you can see, it’s film themed. No surprise. It’s actually in Culver City. It’s at the Veterans Memorial Complex. The parking structure you may glimpse through the first shot is parking for Sony Studios. Look closely and you can see a Culver City Green Bus. In the 2nd shot you can glimpse the US flag and the California flag below it. I love looking at the sunlight on it and the reflections in the water. There’s no grass or comfy seats around it though so I just stand and appreciate it when I come to meetings in the center here. Culver City has been home to The Culver Studios since 1918. You’ve likely seen some of the famous movies that have been filmed there.


Kayte Deioma’s Things to Do in Los Angeles

Whether you’re visiting Los Angeles, thinking of traveling to LA, or live in Los Angeles — if you’re looking for Things to Do in Los Angeles,  columnist Kayte Deioma’s guide to Los Angeles at About.com can help. Kayte’s been collecting and publishing information about events in Los Angeles to guide locals and visitors alike for many years. She’s got post after post about what you can do in Los Angeles. Her LA event listings are well-written: easy to read, full of the necessary information, and complete with links.


For travelers to Montana

If you happen to be heading to Montana… I recently “met” Lynn Kinnaman, a fellow writer, who has lived in Bozeman, Montana for much or all of her adult life and has written many an article and book about Montana. She is also the Editor of this small website that lists some upcoming events taking place there. So, in case it helps you in your travels: SW Montana Magazine — What we love (& you might not know) about Montana.


Marina Del Rey, new business class Hilton Garden with free wi-fi!

As I start writing this I am cozy on a nice suede couch in the earth-toned lobby of the newly opened Hilton Garden Inn (hotel) in Marina del Rey. And… get this — I can actually post this from the hotel because it actually allows guests to have wi-fi access for free. Now, you may be thinking…what’s the big deal about free wifi? So here’s how wi-fi tends to work in the USA. For some reason I have yet to understand, the more reasonably priced hotels offer free wi-fi for guests but the high-end hotels change from $10-$25 per 24-hour period for wi-fi. (At $25 it’s part of a “resort fee.”) Holiday Inn, a chain at which I have elected to stay at and hold events, led the way with access by offering free wi-fi since 2005. Business class hotels followed, and Hilton Garden Inn falls into this category.


Historic Route 66: 8 States to the Pacific Ocean

US Highway 66 was once THE way to cross the US from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA and arrive at the Pacific Ocean. You may have heard, “Get your kicks on Route 66” from the 1946 song written by Bobby Troup. Then the larger higher-speed roads were built and travelers stopped taking this route. Real travelers continued to choose roads such as this and actually get to see and know the USA instead of speeding past so much of it. When I drove across the USA myself the 2nd time, after traveling much of the world, I sure elected those real-life roads. I highly recommend those smaller roads whenever you have time. Anyway, the historic Route 66 log appears more and more on clothing and products. It’s got the appeal. And happily, towns along the route are helping people know about it. Google Maps even notes it in its directions […]


Scallions & Celery by Food Artist Victor.

Produce Artistry by Victor at RALPHS Supermarket in LA

Let’s see if, wherever you go in the world, you ever come across vegetable displays as great as these.

This is the work of a man named Victor. Victor’s proud fellow RALPHS workers call him The Produce Artist.


Free Trolley in Ventura, CA

People come up to Ventura to enjoy the harbor, the amazing Channel Islands, and the fresh breeze — and now the Ventura Trolley will make travel within the area a breeze. Ventura, California is about to become easier for travelers to visit this summer thanks to a FREE trolley system to take you between Ventura’s Downtown and Harbor Village. After living in Los Angeles for many years, I finally got up to the Southern-ish California coastal village of Ventura. I was there to kayak around the Channel Islands and their pristine beauty took my breath away and reinvigorated me at the same time. But while there, I also got to know downtown Ventura — and as I walked around I was sorry I had missed this lovely town for so many years. (I also learned Ventura has two great golf courses and that one is a true Links course. Soon […]


In CA Sprint LTE handles dual apps — even when one is real-time navigation

I write this from my home-base of Los Angeles, CA as I take a travel break and my travel is house/tech-sitting within various areas in LA. Sprint recently launched it’s LTE (Long Term Evolution aka 4G) network in Los Angeles, California, so I took a Samsung Galaxy Note II for a test run on a bus across town to see how it does. The bus was a local, but there was no traffic at this time of day, so we moved rather swiftly. The Note II is a rather large screen and has a split screen feature so you can view and use two apps at the same time. I placed the Maps app on the top and, well, Facebook, as the bottom app. Maps loaded immediately. I figured out how to set it to track my movement. (It’s not highly intuitive.) I did that first by Destination, later just […]


Carry light, give light

I think that we who live in cities, be it on any continent in any city, tend to not realize that there ARE places in the world where there is NO electricity and people do not have light — other than that of the sun. And we who live in cities have so much light in the sky at night that we don’t even realize… how very dark the night really is. Those who live in non-electrified places can wake with the sun and go to sleep with the sun — but there are still issues such as: going to the bathroom before bed or in the middle of the night a mother needing to get up in the night to feed an infant a parent needing to tend to a child a person needing to work until dark and then find his/her way home boats needing to cross a lake or ocean or […]


3% international fee on credit card purchases — not!

This post is for American travelers who plan to use an American credit card while traveling outside of the United States.

It’s great to be able to travel with a minimum of cash in your pocket but did you know that when you use your credit card outside of the United States, you may incur a 3% fee on top of your actual charge?


Ambulance/Fire truck/Bus rally from CA to Honduras for charity

In 2011, 30-something-year-old Murray Johnson and some friends reached out to CouchSurfers to join them driving two donated ambulances down to Honduras to give them to Honduran hospitals. Johnson recently posted: “The experience was so amazing and the donation so needed that we have made the Charity Rally official and opened it up for others to join! You can mix travel, adventure and charity all in one for a good cause. How it works: You form your own team or join a “potluck” team. Your team can be comprised of any number of people. (I am guessing it is best if all of our team members fit in your vehicle though, of course.) Each team secures its own car/ambulance/fire truck/buse/whatever and drive down. The rally organizers work with you to get the vehicle, secure the donation and do the paperwork to have the vehicle imported into Honduras — or wherever […]


Thefts by USA, TSA

On Monday, December 10, 2012, TravelMole.com reported about a TSA agent leving JFK International Airport with iPads he stole from passenger luggage. The story is “TSA agent caught red-handed with stolen iPads.” Regarding action against the employee, the story says: Transportation Security Administration spokesman David Castelveter told ABC News that the TSA has “taken the steps to begin processing [Henry] for termination.” “TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace,” said Castelveter in a statement. What I do not understand is why the TSA does not have a simple rule: You steal, you lose your job! Granted, the USA is a country where we stupidly are not permitted to say something negative if asked to give a job reference, so a second rule is needed: You steal, you lose your job and the theft becomes a criminal record! It is […]


Veteran’s Day Free Inns & B&Bs for vets

B&B are a great way to travel and this is a nice thank you to our troops. The 4th Annual B&Bs for Vets program. (The info and quote I am sharing here is from a press release I received.) Inns and B&Bs throughout the U.S. and Canada will honor men and women who’ve served in the armed forces by offering thousands of veterans and their guest (family?) complimentary stays on n Veteran’s Day — November 11, 2021. The complete list of participating inns and B&Bs in the USA: bnbsforvets.org. The list of participating inns in Canada is at: bbcanada.com/bbforvets In addition, Salute our Heroes special offers for veterans and those serving in the military are also found on BnBFinder.com. Many of the participating inns and B&Bs are donating all their guest rooms for free stays for veterans on November 12, 2012. Others are offering special military discounts throughout the weekend. […]


Mexico to Belize to Honduras by boats

It is quite possible and cheap to go by bus from Mexico into Belize and even Belize to Honduras. But that second part is long and tedious. Plus, you miss the beautiful islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker. This is a viable route, the route I took.


Grand Cenote, Tulume

Today’s plan: travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Enjoy the Grand Cenote. Travel on to Chetamal, a town at the southern boarder, close to Belize. I am making my way to Belize, Honduras, and the sailboat. I write this on my iPad’s built-in keyboard at 8:34pm on a dark bus from Tulum to Chetamal. For the 1st time on this trip, I am not alone as the only English speaker on the bus. Jessie, with whom I took the hour-long comfy Collectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum (40 pesos, but locals may have paid only 20) sits beside me, resting. (He will likely travel with me at least into Belize.) We left the Happy Gecko hostel/hotel around 11am. The plan was to leave around 10 but heck, we’re traveller’s and not tight on any schedule. I’d gone to bed around 1am and woken up for good at 9:30, […]


Last day in Playa: GET TO THAT BOAT!

Sunday. The day after the two Passover Sedars for which I’d come to Playa del Carmen. Per my recent non-plan revisons, it was my day to leave town and continue south. But the night before, while I was using someone’s Mac, he’d been interested in possibly joining the boat. That, plus I heard there was a woman in Playa that may be my cousin and I wanted to meet her. A funny thing happened today. The rabbi’s brother, an amazingly exuberant man full of song and laughter, an enjoyable leader, asked my next steps. I told him I was heading to Honduras to meet a sailing boat but sadly, it meant rushing down the coast to be in Placencia, Belize, by Friday at 9:30am, to catch a ferry. He said don’t rush, take my time and enjoy Playa and all the places down the coast. I said, you think so, […]


Passover Seder in Cancun

About 150 people attended this Seder. Hebrew may have been the most spoke languages there. The rabbi had quite a challenge being heard and keeping the attention of the large room. Very different from the last 19 Seders of my (well, my brother’s) ever-growing family. I missed the family and learning there but also loved being at this one. One woman is starting a Kibbutz between Playa and Cancun!


Bus from Izamal to Cancun

Again, I am the only foreigner on the bus. In fact, the only tourists I saw today were the same couple from the pyramid. Izamal is a day trip for most people and a destination at which to stay resort style with a rented car for others. I wish I had picked up a book to read. The iPhone is useless for reading without Internet. 5 hours with nothing to read. What a waste that is because for 20 years I have mourned having time to read. The bus arrived at 2;40. I zipped up the backpack straps and carried my pack onto the bus taking the first seat on the non-driver’s side so i can have leg room and a view. My pack is on the floor in front of the seat beside me. Space permitting and with a stop in Villadolid I am more comfortable having it on […]


Living on tacos; waiting for seafood

Living on Tacos in Merida, Mexico. In Cancun lived on Tacos and all other ready-made hot food at Chechrui, the local supermarket. Loving it. I expected seafood though, with the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean Coast. It was disappointing to learn from my friend Dalila that fishing wasn’t permitted on the coast in and near Cancun. It was also exciting to learn that in Chetumal there is seafood! I met a really nice guy (another CouchSurfing guy, friend of my host) who is from there and filled me in on his favorite restaurant. I’ll be dining there and posting about it for sure.