Never Forget

November 11, 2018

Never forget is what the Israelis say about the Holocaust. They live by this credo. It is why most Israeli citizens are required to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for a period of between two and three years.

        Vietnam Soldiers Memorial in Washington D.C.

Sometimes I think America should bring back the draft and draft women too. Of course it’s easy for me to say being way beyond the age for that type of obligation. But just think for a second of how Americans are so divided these days. Think of how young people have little or no appreciation for our veterans or those who sacrifice so much by serving in the military even if they do not see combat. How much better would we be if our young people learned discipline, responsibility and self-reliance by serving in the military? My guess is we’d be a lot better and have a lot fewer snowflakes and maybe even less PC crap.

Today is the day for us to renew our reverence for our veterans and their families, and remember “All gave some and some gave all”. I recently had the privilege to visit the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. and to look up the name of the brother of my best friend in high school, William J. McFarland.

He was so young but look at any of the photos of the soldiers who stormed Normandy. They were young too.

Why do we offer up these kids for war? And more importantly why do they go? They do it for all kinds of reasons, love of country, patriotism, family tradition to name but a few, but the they do it and that’s what we should never forget.

Take time today to remember our veterans and all who serve or have served and especially for those who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

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My faith in government restored by a trip to Washington D.C.? No.

October 11, 2018

Sadly I have to admit my recent trip to Washington D.C. did not restore my faith in government -at all. Don’t get me wrong I’d never been to the capitol before so it was great seeing the monuments and all the grand buildings & institutions we’ve heard about all our lives. But I admit I have a somewhat jaded or jaundiced view of politics, politicians and generally the people who populate the Washington D.C. area. I mean why is it the zip code with the highest per capita income? Because they live off the largess of the reluctant taxpayer!

First thing I notice after spotting the Washington Monument on our taxi ride in from the airport which I acknowledge was so cool, is the license place for the District of Columbia. It says “Taxation without representation”. And I thought wait a minute what makes them think they have any less representation than any of us rubes. I’ve tried to call my representatives in Washington. I’ve written them and emailed them more than once. Fugetaboutit as they say in Jersey. It doesn’t happen. Write a letter and you’re lucky if you even remember what you wrote about when you get the vague “thank you for you input and concern” letter back. Send an email and you get an auto reply, again vague and useless. And where’s the representation when they pass monster bills and budgets they don’t even read?? Call them and more often than not you get some flunky answering the phone who’ll tell you they haven’t taken a stand on the issue or they’re not sure yet which way they’ll vote on it. Ha, representation. Cry me a river.

We did get to tour the Capitol and I was pleased to see that in the Visitor Center they have a statue of King Kamehameha (a smaller replica of those which stand in front of Ioloni Palace in Honolulu and in Kapa’au where he was born on the Big Island), which stood out very nicely. They apparently even drape it with fresh flower leis on King Kamehameha Day!

I also learned that the Capitol dome is made out of cast iron.

The original dome was made out of wood sheathed on the outside by a layer of copper. It burned down in 1851 and cast iron was chosen as a replacement because it wouldn’t catch fire and it was cheaper, lighter, and less time-consuming to work with, than marble or other stonework.

We had a tour arranged by Tulsi Gabbard, our representative. She of course was not there so one of her staff escorted us via underground tunnel from her office to the Capitol building. You see they, Senators and Congressmen & women don’t like to rub elbows with us guys, or to have to deal with the mostly lousy Washington D.C. weather (either too hot & muggy, or freezing cold), so they get from their offices by underground tunnels & “members only” elevators. I won’t lie, it was impressive. The rotunda is beautiful and ornate beyond belief as it should be in the greatest country in the world. We even got to sit in the Senate gallery while they were in session -and see the bastards up close! Of course this came after strict instructions about accepted behavior (nothing other than sitting there like bumps on a log) -no talking, facial expressions, outbursts, applause or anything else is to be tolerated. I did find it surprising that they still begin each day of business with an opening prayer. But the Senators are so catered to, they don’t even have to open the doors to the Senate chamber to let themselves in! Pages, who are in their junior year of high school, station themselves inside the doors and whisk them open for the approaching Senator so they don’t have to lower themselves to such a plebeian task. I tell you these people are pampered and they expect to be. It’s downright sickening and already knowing how they govern (all for their own power & financial gain) it did not restore my already tainted view of the body politic.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


The amazing Washington Monument

October 5, 2018

It wasn’t by design, just sheer luck that we missed the week-long hoopla over memorializing Senator John McCain in Washington D.C.  Okay maybe it was only about 2 and a half days, it just seemed like a week (and he was over-memorialized IMHO). We arrived in town just after all that so we were still able to tour the Capitol, the US Supreme Court (without the screaming feminists, “We believe survivors” -thank God!), and the White House as we’d originally planned without blocked off streets and public buildings.

But back to Washington. The Washington Monument was the very first thing I saw as we arrived in the city from the airport and as it turned out, the photo taken out the taxi window was the only blue-sky background to the monument we had all week.

Don’t those flags look tiny? The monument is 555 ft tall.

Construction of the monument began in 1848 to honor the man who led the American colonies in the war of independence against England from 1775 to 1783, and our first president. The 50 flags surrounding the base of the monument (barely visible in the photo) were obviously added at a later date and represent the fifty states.

Look closely at the photos though (especially the the first one) and you can see that the lower approximate one third of the structure is slightly lighter in color than the upper 2/3rds. This is because the construction had to be halted in 1854 when the the Washington National Monument Society ran out of money! It was not until the US government took it over in 1884, (adding it to the national debt??) using marble from a different quarry that the monument was completed.

When completed the Washington Monument was the world’s tallest man-made structure until it was surpassed by the Eiffel Tower, completed in 1889. The cap, a 9-inch pyramid, completes the top of the structure as it narrows to a point. It is 100-ounces of solid aluminum, a lighting rod of sorts and part of the monument’s lightning protection system. When the monument was constructed in the 1880s, aluminum was pretty rare and pretty expensive, so much so that upon completion and before mounting it atop the structure it was exhibited in New York before it was brought to Washington. For two days, the pyramid sat in the window of Tiffany’s in New York City, displayed like a precious jewel. And that’s what I know about the Washington Monument.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Our favorite breakfast spot in Washington D.C.

September 28, 2018

We almost always take the touristy “Hop on-Hop off” (HOHO) bus tours when we travel. It is pricey, but it’s a great way to get a good overview of whatever area you’re visiting so you can get the ‘lay of the land’ and then go back to where you want to spend more time. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great the day we were on the bus, but we did happen upon our favorite breakfast spot in Washington D.C.

Ford’s Theater where President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865

The HOHO bus let us off and across the street from Ford’s Theater -yes where President Lincoln was assassinated and outside Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (where Mickey ran into none other than Samuel L Jackson!)

At any rate we had started out early with just coffee so we asked someone on the sidewalk where to go for breakfast. Without hesitation he said, “down the block, the green building on the right, Lincoln’s Waffle Shop.”

So away we went. The building being green was spotted easily. There was a line outside which is always a good sign! It didn’t take long to get inside though and we were home free. We’d found our Washington D.C. breakfast spot! It was packed and the seating was family style. There was counter and then several various sized tables. Wherever there were 2 seats is where they sat us. The food was good, the service was fast and friendly (the place run by a large Chinese family all moving like so many cogs in a machine) and I finally got to try chicken and waffles!

Ever since I’d seen the item ~probably on Dives, Diners & Drive-ins) I wanted to try this dish but never had the opportunity. And here it was right at the top of the menu! No complaints I’ll have to say. It’s the perfect combination of salty/crunchy and the sweet from the waffle, only they gave me 6 chicken wings, not the 4 pictured here. I couldn’t eat them all which turned out ok, I ended up sharing with a lady from Orlando seated next to me!

The only bad thing about this spot for breakfast was that it wasn’t within walking distance of our hotel, but we did manage to make it back.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


A restaurant find in Los Angeles

September 4, 2018

I can hardly believe it. We only ever come to LA on our way to somewhere else (why would it be anything else, right?). No, actually that’s not true, when my mother was still alive, (dear old Lucky was quite the gal), and before they killed my sister Kelly with chemotherapy over 3 years ago, we did go to Southern California (SoCal) much more. Now it’s just a gateway, an overnighter to regroup before the next leg of a more exotic locale. Santiago, Barcelona & Bueños Aires come to mind.

So on our way to Santiago last February we tried out a Mexican restaurant Mickey must have found online called Paco’s Tacos. It was a short Uber-hop from our hotel and turned out to be great! We went for a late lunch and were kinda surprised that it wasn’t very busy – except for a big long table of policemen. It must have been after a shift change or something. Anyway seeing the cops eat there assured us it would be good and it did not disappoint.

We are on our way through LA this time headed to Washington DC and NYC, and naturally made it a point to visit Paco again. We had to. I mean we just never seem to have any really good Mexican food on the Big Island, not since Bueños Nalo pulled up stakes a long time ago.

Here was my dinner last night, the chili relleño & chicken enchilada combo. Yum!

Mickey had a ginormous burrito with about half an avocado on top. Anyway our waiter Lorenzo & we are all old friends now so I know we’ll hit it on our way home again in a couple weeks. The address is right there on the top photo if you’re ever in the area. I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


The Incomparable “Completo”

February 27, 2018

I’ve been all over the salads (ensaladas) here in Chile and it’s been great. Avocados are in season and they aren’t shy about it loading up their salads with them.

This mixed salad came with a whole avocado filled with shrimp, hearts of palm, tomatoes and a side of roasted nuts.

You never get the choice of dressings like Italian, Ranch or French, which is ok with me. Those are all loaded up with calories & artificial flavors anyway. No here you get olive oil and a lime cut in half. So good!

But what we did for lunch today is no doubt on the other end of the healthy scale. I’m talking about the Chilean “completo”, Chile’s favorite snack or fast food, a hot dog with the works. We’ve seem them advertised a lot and on many menus and honestly they do look good, though a little different from what were used to at home.

Entire families sit down in a restaurant and all order various renditions of the completo with papas fritas (French fries). All versions have diced tomatoes on top. Many also have what they call “smashed palta” which is guacamole and most are topped off with a big squirt of mayonnaise.

So I guess we go back to more healthy eating when we get home. But that’s what traveling is all about right? Many new & different things to experience and I for one, would never have missed the completo!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures. For now and the next several days we’ll explore the long & skinny country of Chile!


I Am The Queen!

February 26, 2018

It started as a joke when we noticed a hotel in Valparaiso named “Hotel La Reina Victoria” down by the port. It was built in 1899 and soon thereafter (1906) destroyed in an 8.2 earthquake. It sits right on the Plaza Sotomayor and was named for Queen Victoria in England.

I started kidding Mickey that I was the queen and of course, my every wish & whim should be met (where to eat, the day’s activities, etc.). Then today at a sort of crafts market a few Metro stops away in Santiago, I spotted this cute, touristy refrigerator magnet and had to have it.

I am the Queen!

Sort if corny but it will be a good remembrance of our trip to Chile and it meets the “easy to pack” requirement!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures. For now and the next several days we’ll explore the long & skinny country of Chile!


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