Sunday, July 29, 2012

Another Anniversary at Departure

Been on kind of a hiatus from blogging. I explained that a bit more at my travel blog. Here's the latest outfit: 

Tank and shorts: American Apparel
Bag: Bottega Veneta
Necklace: Tiffany

Nashville: Dream of White Castle

 Alright, so after half a month of blogging hiatus, I’m back and ready to write about all that has been happening lately. For the past month I’ve basically been on a marathon of traveling, hosting travelers, traveling, hosting travelers, which has finally ended in some much-needed down time for me.

After my weekend excursion to Astoria for the Writers’ Retreat I returned to two weeks of hosting my best friends from Dallas, which was immediately followed by a business trip to Nashville, Tennessee, which was then following by hosting my college roommate from Hawaii, which brings us to the present moment.

And in all this mess, I managed to do the one thing I’ve been wanting to do since high school: eat at White Castle.

The dream started when I was sixteen years old. On a typical Friday night in Dallas, Texas, two of my best friends and I watched Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and were immediately compelled to drive exactly 666 miles to the nearest White Castle in Nashville, Tennessee. It would have been a ten and a half hour drive, which means that if we left Friday night we could get there by Saturday morning, eat a White Castle, and then return by Sunday, just in time to go back to school on Monday. It was almost too perfect.

We got in the car, started the engine, and then realized we were completely crazy. Were we seriously going to drive across two states to eat at a fast food joint? How were our parents goig to react when they woke up and found us gone in the morning? Or worse, what if we got pulled over? What would we say to the police officer? Would he really believe that three teenagers were driving 666 miles to go to White Castle and not running away from home?

The plan fell apart pretty fast. So we turned off the engine, got out of the car, went back to our teenage lives in north Texas, and gave up the dream of White Castle, which would not be realized for almost ten years….

When I heard I was getting sent to Nashville for work, I was not originally jumping for joy, until I remembered that it was the home of White Castle! Even though my taste in food has changed, I made a point to go to White Castle and relive my teenage fantasy. 

Truly it is a castle...

The sign of glory
Fucking weird advertisement.
I was taking pictures like a tourist in a foreign country. Hey when you’re from a foody town like Portland, with all its local, organic, and gourmet restaurants, this place does feel very very foreign to me…. Maybe I would have appreciated it more if I was sixteen…

The interior
Wow, there's a throw back....
My feast: four mini cheeseburgers, and one order of cheese fries
Tower of burgers...there must be a competition somewhere to see how many one can stack
A burger close up
Yes, that's nacho cheese.
I'm way too excited
Still can't believe I'm here
Well, despite my very deliberate pose, I was not in food heaven in White Castle. Actually, the best thing about the burgers is that they were small, meaning that I couldn't stomach them if they were much larger. This is one of those things that I'm glad to say I've done...but would not do again. Take me back to Portland where I can have organic, local, gourmet goodness any day...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Snapshot from Taiwan

He hates competition, Hello Kitty Sweets, Taipei, Taiwan

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Good Day for Goodwill

One of the best thrift store days I've  ever had:

(Clockwise from top left)
1. Leapard shirt: $5
2. Zara silk top with pleather pocket: $8
3. Vintage polka dot blouse: $6
4. Vintage mesh checkers top: $5
5. Vintage creme blouse: 5
6. Banana Republic red striped shirt: 6

What do I buy in Scandinavia: Other things

So besides buying amazing totes in each city, I did actually purchase other things.
Once again, I tried very hard not to buy things that looked like souvenirs. I wanted to buy things that were functional, memorable, and cute.

1. Vintage clothing

 Iceland in particular, has some amazing vintage stores. Not only were they abundant, but also extremely cheap. I brought a tiny suitcase with me, so I really had to hold buying everything in the store.

A dress way too summery to ever wear in Iceland.
Costs only $25 USD from a store in Reykjavik
My splurge in Oslo. Almost $80 USD from a
 vintage store in Grünerløkka.

2. Stationary
There was so much cute stationary in Scandinavia. I have too much of it as it is, but I couldn't resist a few more items.

Ording & Reda Pen case from Sweden

Notebook and pens at Tiger at Reykjavik.

3. Accessories

Just a few cute impulse buys from various places.

Barrett from the gift shop of the Louisiana Museum;
Ring from a thrift store in Reykjavik.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Japanese Cemetery in Victoria

Part of the cemetery I explored in Victoria was built to honor the Japanese Canadians who died during the early part of the twentieth century. Many of the tombstones looked new, although the deceased had been dead for almost a century. So I think the graves were made long after their deaths, in effort to right some previous wrong.

Many of the tombs were for children or infants. I have never seen so many infant graves. Their tombstones were engraved with the image of a cherry blossom, and in a poetic gesture of symbolism, actual cherry blossom petals had fallen on their graves.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eagle and Anchor: A cemetery in Victoria

In my world, no vacation would be complete without a trip to the cemetery. Here I am in Victoria, British Columbia, and it feels good to be back in black and white.  I made a special point to visit this beautiful piece of land which was a 45 minute walk from downtown. It was scorching hot that day, and I didn't much like all the sun exposure I was getting. But, as it turned out, the long walk was one of the best parts of the trip. We got to explore an entire suburban neighborhood of Victoria, which few tourists get to see. Yes, this place was a bit "off the map" which made it even more special. 

It was so interesting, I had to photograph it from every angle. I have often seen owls or other bird imagery in cemeteries, but never an eagle.

When I first entered the cemetery, I found it to be pretty typical. At this point I've seen a lot of Western cemeteries, and I'm beginning to get bored with all the ordinary images: tombstones, crucifixes, forlorn Mother Marys, plaques. At first glance I was worried that this cemetery was too typical to be photographed, that there was nothing interesting or special to record....until I got a closer look...
..and found this statue looking right at me...


Almost directly beside the eagle grave was a gigantic anchor grave. This is another image that I had never seen in a cemetery. It was so large, it looked more like a giant sculpture than grave.

On a stone near the anchor was this tiny inscription:

I also found a sun dial in this cemetery! I was so excited because it was my first time to see a sun dial in a cemetery. This place turned out to be full of amazing images.


The last image I took was of a small, lonely Jesus on the side of a large tomb. I decided that this last image should be in color. 

After a disappointing first impression, this cemetery turned out to be one of my favorites in all the world. The diversity of unique and intereting gravestones is really unmatched in any of the cemeteries I've visited. This cemetery was also located right on the shore of the ocean, so I could smell the sea water the entire time...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Harpa: Reykjavik Concert Hall

I didn't know this building existed before I went to Iceland. That's because before I went to Iceland, this building didn't exist...well, barely. Only three months old by the time I arrived, the Harpa Concert Hall is an eye-catcher in a city of painted aluminum houses. I had just gotten off the plane at 6:00 am, and after enjoying myself at the Blue Lagoon, we decide to take a walk around the city and get our barrings. This glass beehive caught our attention from the city center, and we went to investigate.

After being up since 6:00, I didn't much care to be photographed. 

Glass beehive ceiling

Inside the place was absolutely packed. We didn't realize it at the time but it was Reykjavik Culture Day, so the whole city was out doing...cultural things. There was a trio of classical singers entertaining us with Broadway tunes. That counts as a cultural thing, right? But mostly people were just eating and drinking. In other words, doing what Icelanders do all the time. 

View of the water

Honeycomb windows

Sunset over the lounge

Like being in a kaleidoscope

The view from the top floor was really remarkable. To the left are platforms with lounges for guests to relax between shows. To the right are the long hallways, whose doors lead to the actual concert hall. In the top center is a small bar serving cocktails, and below is the restaurant and cafe. 

Not a single rounded edge in the whole place. 

Well done Reykjavik!

Touchdown Tokyo

Every time I fly to Japan, I have this routine of changing clothes in one of the large, accessible stalls in the arrivals lobby. I would do ...