French Friday

Okay, okay, fine. I won’t be one of those people with the themed day of the week posts. Mostly because I’m not disciplined enough to post consistently on certain days of the week, plus, what if I want to write about something else next Friday?

Anyway, it’s time for a stroll down memory lane. The first time I visited France was with my French class in 2005. It started out with a few-days long tour of the Loire valley, including 2 or 3 castles, and then I had a week-long homestay with my French family, finished up with a day or two in Paris. My memory (of how many days things took and such) is really hazy! Must be getting old.

Here is a very young Staci in front of my favorite castle, Chenonceau. It’s hard to pick a favorite castle because… well… they are castles, and by definition, awesome. I really liked Versailles too, of course… isn’t that technically a palace? So Chenonceau is my favorite castle and Versailles is my favorite palace. Speaking of Versailles, note below: the hall of mirrors. Very blurry (my trusty old 2004/2005 fujifilm camera did not have image stabilization, but overall seems to have done okay). Also, the tops of my host family’s heads.

This is Da Vinci’s house. Very cool!! Filled with art and cool furniture. I saw the bed where he died! The grounds were filled with cool Da Vinci inventions, like this one (below) created for battle. It spun inside with a mechanism like Disney’s tea cup ride. Note my wallet chain. I was extremely cool (and thin, apparently!) in high school.

Aha, here is a shot of the Eiffel Tower. I climbed it to get the full experience, even though it was cold and windy and I was wearing high heels. We were dressed nicely because we had dinner in the fancy Eiffel Tower restaurant! That thing you see attached to the front of it says “Paris 2012.” Paris was trying to get chosen to host the 2012 Olympics, which at the time seemed EXTREMELY far in the future!

Well, that was fun. I’m also a little worried because the CD these pictures are on did not have any photos of Chambord, another castle I saw, or the inside of the Louvre. Maybe I didn’t take any? What was my 17 year old self thinking!

Another fun fact about the trip: I bought my first iPod for the overseas flight. A white one with no color screen or video capabilities. We have come so far.

Submarine Voyage

Today’s Google logo in honor of Jules Verne’s birthday brought back a rush of memories from one of my earliest trips to Disneyland. You know how it’s hard to remember a lot of things from childhood, but there are just certain ones that stand out vividly? One of my vivid memories is the Submarine Voyage ride at Disneyland.

I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember looking out the glass windows and seeing what life was like underwater (100% accurate, I’m sure). After some research on Disney fanatic sites, I learned that the live mermaids were discontinued before I was born, but I’m sure I saw some fake mermaids down there, which is what stood out to me at the time. This ride was AWESOME. After the ride had been disassembled in the late 90s, my middle school band played at Disneyland and our bus drove through the backlots. I saw pieces of the submarine voyage ride on some of their massive storage shelves and had the same vivid flashbacks I’m having right now.

Image from Wikipedia

Isn’t the art great on that poster? I wonder how much one of those would go for on ebay….

Washington DC Memories

Well, just because I’m not on the road as much as I’d like to be, that doesn’t mean I can’t reminisce about my recent (or not-so recent… becoming more distant) trips I’ve taken. In fact, I kind of want to talk about them so I have it written down… I’m not much one to journal while things are happening (maintaining a blog or 2 has helped with this) but even so, I don’t want to forget important times I’ve had.

I’ve been to Washington DC twice in my life and loved it both times. It was just a little over 2 years ago that I went with my PLNU group for the most recent inauguration.

The night my group got to DC I immediately went to a party with my friend who knew some people from his semester in DC experience. There, I met a cool guy from South Africa who had a Led Zeppelin tattoo! This was very cool to me as I had just begun to get into Zeppelin’s music at the time. The next day, we went to the “We Are One” Inauguration concert where I got as close as I’ll ever be to Bono (and the rest of U2) as well as Springsteen, and others. The irony of Irish band U2 playing at a concert days before the American Presidential inauguration was not lost on the performers, but Bono is pretty much as involved in US politics as a rock star can be, so I think everyone let it slide.

The next day, all the Smithsonian museums were packed (not a huge loss, as I’d been to some of them twice), and it was freezing. So after picking up a new hat at Urban Outfitters (and eating at the very same place I had my very first Chipotle burrito in January 2006) we went to the botanical gardens. The rationale was that it would be warmer in a greenhouse–our bet paid off and we avoided the cold for an hour or two.

On the 20th, we got to the National Mall around 5 in the morning. They played the concert from the 18th on a loop to keep us entertained but it didn’t help keep my mind off of my numb extremities. Things finally kicked off around 10AM with the inauguration itself around 11. After it was over, getting to and on the subways was a nightmare. Upon arrival at my hotel room, I took as hot a shower as I could stand and dove into bed for a several hour nap. Got up in time to primp for a nice dinner at Old Ebbit Grill. I don’t remember what I ate (this is why I should blog the day of events!! ) but I do remember it being delicious.

In front of the Capitol building, right after the inauguration. I was a mere one of 2,000,000 spectators.

Finally, my second video to ever grace the internet. Videos made my me are even more rare than Sasquatch sightings.