Twenty-Five Things That I Want To Do In 2017

 Twenty-Five Things That I Want To Do In 2017

“The moment you put a deadline on your dream, it becomes a goal” Harsha Bhogle

 Go to Waiheke Island because I’ve heard so much about it from my family.

Take a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier.

Meditate every day.

Do more yoga.

Go to Copenhagen.

See the sunset on the beach whenever I am home at sunset.

Go to Sydney Australia.

Drink less coffee.

Drink less Spanish Lattes and Thai Iced Coffee.  (I love condensed milk coffees)

Take more Ubers in the US.

Go To Sweden.

Be more positive.

Be better about making plans with friends.

Spend more time with my family.

See Auschwitz.

Go to Israel.

Pay more attention to politics and get more involved.

Go To Grouplove concert. (missed them so far this year).

Go to Poland.

Go to Over Film Festival in Oregon.

Be kinder.

Go to Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin again-they are amazing . Congratulations Trevor on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame .

Think more before I speak.

Eat less sugar. (I put this one in every few years)

Fly safe and Happy Holidays,


25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver. ~Author Unknown

1. Do something big that I am afraid of. Yes
2. Drink less coffee. No
3. Go to Rio. Yes
4. Go To Another Grouplove concert. Yes
5. Finish my hamburger blog. Yes
6. Get more people to read my blog. Trying
7. Try eleven more new restaurants in LA. Pistola, New Port, Stir Market, Gracias Madre, Ledlow, Pot, Zinc, The Larder, Burger Lounge, Terrine, MessHall, Fred, Odys and Penelope, Tacoteca, Bel Campo Meat Co, Jon and Vinny, SMYC, Ingo Diner, Aestus, Kiriko, Superba Food and Bread, Scopa Italian Roots, Ox and Son, Sushi Park, Cassia, Trois Mec, Leona
8. Try eleven restaurants in other places. Yes
9. Go to another place on my bucket list. Amazon
10. Read more books – the kind you hold in your hand that smell like books. Yes
11. Go to São Paulo.Yes
12. Meditate every day. Nope.
13. Look up less random questions on the internet.Yes
14. Go To Brazil. Yes
15. Have more real friends. Not sure but definitely less fake ones.
16. Go to The Stanley Film Festival. Not yet.
17. Get more involved at 826 LA. No
18. See ten documentary films. Finding Vivian Maier, Muse – Kobe Bryant, Deli Man, Going Clear, Sinatra – All Or Nothing At All, Monk With A Camera, Bolshoi Babylon
19. See ten foreign films Force Majeure, Leviathan, Timbuktu, The Gett, Wild Tales, A Borrowed Identity, Second Mother, Embrace of the Serpent, Sweet Bean, Son of Saul, Mountains May Depart, Lady In A Van
20. Eat less gluten. Think so
21. Read more of other people’s blogs. Yes
22. Do more beach walks.Yes
23. Be more grateful every day. Trying
24. Finally do that urban art tour in LA. No
25. Be a tourist in LA. No

Still Trying . Merry Christmas.

Fly safe,

Thirty Things That I Wanted To Do In 2014. Did I Do Them?

Thirty Things That I Wanted To Do 2014. Did I Do Them?

“Every hundred feet, the world changes.”  Robert Boitano

  1. Go to Colombia. Yes
  2. Go To Southeast Asia. Yes
  3. Go to Seattle. Yes
  4. Read more books on the 1000 Books You Have To Read Before You Die. Yes
  5. Go to the theatre with my son. Yes
  6. Meditate every day. I think this may be like a dieting resolution. I will make it every year. Still not every day.
  7. Do an Urban Art tour in LA. No definitely in 2015
  8. Do a spa day with my daughter. Yes
  9. Watch even less Real Housewives. Yes they are getting boring now that so many of them are going to jail.
  10. Go to Guatemala. No
  11. Go To Miami. Yes
  12. Have more spiritual friends. Now I want to have less spiritual friends.
  13. Eat less sugar. Hmmmmm not sure but probably not.
  14. Go to the Bridge On The River Kwai. No
  15. Try ten new restaurants in LA. Yes Orsa and Winston, Bucato, Sushi Tsujita, Bachi Burger, Cleo, Republique, Wallys, Everleigh, Carousel and Escuela De Taqueria
  16. Try ten restaurants in other places. Yes Andres Carne De Res – Bogota Colombia, Matiz – Bogota, Colombia,  Salou – Cartegena, Colombia, Morning Glory –  Hoi An, Viet Nam, Golden Rice – Hue, Viet Nam, Pepper Tree – Phu Quoc, Viet Nam, Washoku Bar – Tokyo, Japan, The Dining Room – Siem Reap, Cambodia, Salumi –  Seattle, Washington, Anchovy and Olive – Seattle Washington.
  17. Have ten meals with Kitchensurfing. Yes
  18. Go back to Japan. Yes
  19. Spend more time at 826 LA.Yes
  20. Practice tai chi. Yes sort of.
  21.  Go to a ryokan.Yes
  22. Go To Angor Wat, YES ( a bucket list item)
  23. Drink less coffee maybe No
  24. React less. Maybe
  25. Go To Agua Dulce. Not yet
  26. Get more people to read my blog. Still trying
  27. Do more yoga. Yes
  28. Go to Bainbridge Island. Yes
  29. Go to the Grand Canyon. Not yet.
  30. Go to a Grouplove  concert. Yes

Not too bad.  Two thirds yes. I don’t beat myself up over stuff like this. On to the 2015 list. I’ll make it smaller and harder.

25 Things I  Want To Do In 2015

1. Do something big that I am afraid of.

2. Drink less coffee.

3. Go to Rio.

4. Go To Another Grouplove concert.

5. Finish my hamburger blog.

6. Get more people to read my blog.

7. Try eleven more new restaurants in LA.

8. Try eleven restaurants in other places.

9. Go to another place on my bucket list.

10. Read more books – the kind you hold in your hand that smell like books.

11. Go to Sao Paulo..

12. Meditate every day.

13. Look up less random questions on the internet.

14. Go To Brazil.

15. Have more real friends.

16. Go to The Stanley Film Festival.

17. Get more involved at 826 LA.

18. See ten documentary films.

19. See ten foreign films

20. Eat less gluten.

21. Read more of other people’s blogs.

22. Do more beach walks.

23. Be more grateful every day.

24. Finally do that urban art tour in LA.

25. Be a tourist in LA.

Happy New Year and Fly Safe,


My Favorite Band Is Grouplove – Teaching An English Class In Cartagena, Colombia

My Favorite Band Is Grouplove  – Teaching An English Class In Cartagena, Colombia

“Small acts of kindness may or may not change the world, but they definitely change you.”   Nipun Mehta

My tour guide  was on his way to teach an English class at his church. He and his  family volunteer their time to teach English. I asked if I could tag along thinking I would sit in the back. It turned out that I was to be the surprise English teacher.

The students ranged from kids to adults and were at all levels of English. The class was usually larger but because it was a holiday there were fewer people. They are amazingly enthusiastic with a real will to learn – even from someone who sounds as illiterate in Spanish as I do.



While learning  English grammar,  we share experiences and insights.

“My favorite band is Guns and Roses.”

“Her favorite actor is Brad Pitt.“

“His favorite soccer team is Brazil.”

“Their favorite place is this church.”

“Our favorite writer is Marquez.”

You can see with each one of the students that every sentence requires thought. It is not only about how to say it correctly but how to answer the question. It becomes important what we tell each other about ourselves. “But I don’t have a favorite sports team because I don’t like sports.” It is more than just a grammatical exercise.

I believe that those of us who travel  seek knowledge to grow and share with others. What better way then to not only teach but to represent English as something more than a workbook. For people who live in cities where tourism is the main industry learning English will help them get better jobs and have better lives.  I could see in their eyes that I inspired them to work on their English that night and I felt honored to be there. If you happen to be in Cartagena, and have a couple of hours to spare for some conversation in English before dinner, contact Jose Villa Rodriguez ( also a terrific tour guide) It’s a great way to interact with people from a country.

If only someone would volunteer to help me with my Spanish.

Muchas Gracias Daniel, Diana, Edwin, Erdas, Laura, Leidy, Manuel, Muriel, Nini and Salvador.



Viaje con cuidado,





The Last Things That I Did When Traveling

The Last Things That I Did When Traveling

“it can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression”as pretty as an airport” Doug McAdams

People magazine thinks that I want to know the last things celebrities did before that interview.  I think that you must want to know about the last things I did when traveling .

The last piece of gum that I chewed on a plane before landing – Trident Peppermint I prefer the Bubblegum flavor for flying but I didn’t see it in Sydney airport.

The last trashy magazine that I bought in an airport and the last trashy article I read in it – Australian OK magazine – I only buy gossip magazines when I fly and then I buy all of them like they are crack cocaine. The last article was some Kardashian story like the hem on Kim’s dress was falling down creating yet another fashion faux pas. Her publicity hungry “mum” was happy. Khloe was jealous and doing something outrageous like divorcing her cheating, drug addict husband for attention. Kourtney was whining.

The last presents that I bought in an airport – Tim Tams, Crocodile and Kangaroo Jerky.

The last room service meal I had in a hotel – The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart Tasmania. I believe it was fish .

The last movie I saw on a plane – Identity Thief and half of the Great Gatsby

The last book I read on a plane – In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson . It is published under the name  Down Under in Australia and everywhere that is not  Canada or the US.

The last thing I took from a hotel room – It is always the baby soaps, lotions, shower caps and tea. I have a whole collection. I think that I might be a hoarder.  In Japan there are a lot more “giveaways” as I call them – hairbrush, razor, toothbrush toothpaste, nailbrush, pajamas, kimonos etc.

The last souvenir I bought for myself – It’s always a Starbucks mug from a country with Starbucks. I don’t even like the coffee anymore but I like the collection of mugs.

The last time I used hand motions to communicate – Kaiseri, Turkey. At the airport, I was trying to explain that my friend was given the wrong thing in the coffee shop. I was saved by someone who spoke Turkish and English.

The last song I listened to on the plane with my iPod – “Ways To Go” Grouplove.  It is also the last song I listened to in my car today.

The last time I got lost in an airport – It is always Miami. I went to school there and it was a cute little airport. Now it is a big confusing airport. it is easier to find my way in downtown Tokyo where I don’t speak or read the language.

The last time I cursed at Customs in my head – It is always Miami (except when it is Chicago or summer in any major airport)  It is always a mess unless you arrive at 4AM when they open.

The last selfie I took with my Iphone – Misiones, Argentina. It was terrible and reminiscent of Picasso.  I havent attempted it since.

The last flight I missed. – Sydney to Melbourne. There was a computer glitch. The airline I booked with (Delta) had a record of the Virgin Australia flight to Melbourne but Virgin did not.  They were dealing with other people’s problems and by the time they got to mine it was too late to board the plane. It is a once in a while thing that happens. If you are booking with two different airlines, it is a good idea to call the second airline to make sure they got the flight reservation. Don’t assume because you got the email with both flights on it that the second airline knows about it. Always bring the email –if I didn’t have it, they would have made me get another ticket. Who knew?

The last time something was stolen from my luggage – Moscow, Russia . All my luggage tags (Is that a big black market item?), and all my dirty underwear and sox which I keep in the outside zipper compartment. My thinking of who would steal dirty underwear and twice worn sox did not apply to people working in the airport in Moscow.

The last time I lost my luggage – JFK in NY. There were a couple of years after 9/11 that AA was constantly losing luggage. It happened numerous times in NY and Chicago. The suitcase always arrived early in the morning.  I now  fly with a change of underwear, big t shirt., medicines makeup and a toothbrush in my carry on.

The last time my luggage was overweight – always.

I hope this was as interesting for you as reading about Don Cheadle’s last things he did before that interview was for me.

Fly Safe,


Things I Have Learned In Sydney, Australia

Things I Have Learned In Sydney, Australia

“But when the sun comes out in Sydney, it bats its eyelids, it’s glamorous, beautiful, attractive, smart, and it’s very hard to get away from its magnetic pull.” Baz Luhrmann

Sidney is located in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Sydney is the largest city in Australia with over 4,000,000 people. Canberra which is the capital city has  300,000.

I am a threat in the Sydney  airport. I have been checked for explosives, found to be carrying unidentified metal in  my plastic peak flow meter,  patted down for weapons, pulled aside for a search and set off the walk through security with my bracelets  – in the five times I was there.

The Sydney Opera House and the story of its magnificent design deserves its own blog.


Bondi beach has the cutest lifeguards.

Australians may not have invented surfing but when you see the long rolling waves on Bondi Beach, you know this is the place to surf. (This is coming from someone who lives in California )


The traveling rock-music festival, “Big Day Out”, originated in Sydney.  Grouplove is playing Big Day Out in Sydney on January 26 and 27.  Check dates for other cities in Australia and New Zealand.


The most famous legal art mural in Bondi Beach is one that is in memory of Chloe, a Bondi girl who was killed in the Bali bombings of 2002.


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You have to take a breathalyzer test before climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. (bridge climb –  photo Sean Dirks)

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It is touristy but definitely something I want to do. (some day) You have to be reasonably fit, have no issues with height and a few hundred dollars to pay for it.  Facing your fear of heights does not come cheaply.


It is also the sixth longest spanning arch bridge in the world, and it is the tallest steel arch bridge.  It was also the world’s widest long-span bridge, until construction of the new Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver. (under the bridge -photo Sean Dirks)

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The Rocks is the oldest area in Australia. It was the first European settlement  – mostly military and convicts. It is filled with historical buildings museums and stories. Take a tour or get a map and explore by yourself. The Rocks Museum a good place to start. There are cool restaurants, bars and shops. It is a little touristy now but the history is everywhere. They have a great weekend market also.


Taronga Zoo is on some prime coastal real estate. You take one of those vintage ferries from  Circular Quay ( check the schedule) and then ride  a lift up to the entrance. Remember to get your ticket for all of that and your zoo entrance before you embark. You can also go by car or bus.  So what if it was a hot afternoon and the animals were sleeping.  Sleeping kangaroos are better than no kangaroos.


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Jordy gives a great Koala feeding demonstration if you happen to get there during feeding time. (Probably a good idea since that is the only time they move.) Koalas live on Eucalyptus leaves (called and spelled Eucalyp In Australia) which doesn’t give them enough energy to stay awake more than four hours a day. (They tell the tourists they are drunk but that is not true.)



One of the best museums in Sydney is the Art Gallery Of New South Wales. It is located in the beautiful parklands (That is how Australians refer to parks. It makes it sound further away then ten minutes of walking). The museum is five levels down – a lot bigger than that neo classical building looks. There are huge modern gallery installations. The Modern Australian Art and Aboriginal Art galleries are worth seeing.


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If you are walking to the gallery from Circular Quay, you will  pass The State Library of New South Wales. It is located on Macquarie St. (One of the many main streets in Australia names Macquarie,  after the colonial Governor of New South Wales.). It is the oldest library in Australia and was built in 1826. When I was there they had a great fashion photography exhibit, but if you are walking by, just pop in and see the grand splendor of the building.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is located on Circular Quay . The back entrance lets you out in The Rocks Area. It is a new beautiful building. There is a wonderful exhibit called String  – modern interpretations of Aboriginal string games. It is a small museum, free and easy to find. Even if you aren’t a fan of contemporary art, walk in, while you are waiting for the ferry, exploring the rocks or having a drink on the Quay.




Rugby league is the most popular sport in Sydney. The NRL which began in Sydney in 1908 is the largest and most prestigious domestic rugby league competition in the Southern Hemisphere.

October is Food Month  in Sydney and that means Noodle Market in Hyde Park.  There are 47 stalls from  Sydney’s Asian restaurants, art, music and entertainment.


A great place to stay in Sydney is the Hughenden Hotel ( It was a family residence built in the 1870’s which renowned children’s author Susanne Gervay and family has turned into a boutique hotel.  It feels more like a home away from home than a hotel. Each room is different and breakfast is included.  The hotel is filled with art, memorabilia, and illustrations from famous authors. Their new restaurant, Vincent is already one of the trendy hard to get into places in Sydney for dinner. Make reservations.

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The hotel is located in the  affluent Paddington/Woolahra area which is ten minutes away from downtown Sydney. Paddington is filled with heritage Victorian houses,  trendy stores, antique stores, pubs, cafes and has a wonderful market on Sundays.


It is across the street from the Centennial Parklands , a beautiful park filled with local residents horses  swans and cockatoos.


One of the two statues of Charles Dickens in the world is found in Centennial Parklands  in Sydney. The other is in Philadelphia. He wanted to be remembered by his words only.


Sydney has the deepest natural harbor in the world.


The view of Sydney Harbor with the bridge on one side, the opera house on the other and the ferries in between will become one of my great travel memories. I plan to come back but if not, it will last a lifetime.  Good memories are like that. (sitting at the Opera House cafe overlooking the harbor – a last coffee before I go – long black with a side of milk)


Fly Safe,


A Perfect Travel Day In LA

A Travel Day in LA

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller

There are days that I miss traveling so I  decided to have a travel day in Los Angeles.  This would be my perfect travel day.

It is always a traveling day in my car.  I listen to a Canadian radio station that only plays French music.   I am usually driving on the streets of Paris. There are cds in my car from my trips – most recently Turkey, Argentina and of course Grouplove (LA band who met in Crete).  I am always going somewhere much more exotic than the market or yoga in my head.

For breakfast I have Greek yogurt (the not nonfat kind) with fresh honey and either a latte or cappuccino with whole milk (not soy or almond). Another option is  a croissant from Tavern and a Spanish Latte from Urth Café. Truthfully I drink this several times a week.  Carnation condensed milk in coffee always reminds me of being in my early twenties in Greece.  This was all they used until they became weight conscious and got Starbucks.

I go to a museum on a weekday morning.  There are mostly tourists and schools there.  It is just like exploring a foreign city.   I love modern art so LACMA and MOCA are good choices for me.

For lunch, there is sushi. I pick a place where the clientele is mostly Japanese and I feel like I am in Japan. Some good places are Mori Sushi, Hama Sushi and Sushi Gen. Or you can have a real travel experience and take an interesting guess .  Walk into a place on the street in Little Tokyo or Sawtelle Blvd. They both have Japanese markets , bakeries, stores and restaurants.

I stop off at Travelers Bookcase  to get books for my next trip.  There is always some fabulous conversation going on about somewhere in the world that I never heard of or want to go to.  Natalie has a ton of book recommendations, interesting friends and customers and loves talking about everywhere!!  Isnt that what books are for anyway? To travel without packing? Here are some of the books they love -me too..

In the afternoon I see a foreign film. Now we have many in LA to choose from. They play at the Llaemmle theatres or the Landmark. I have pop-corn (French for popcorn).  I love going to the movies in the afternoon anyway.  The theatre is empty and it feels like sneaking out of school to go to the movies.  I think it is ok to admit that now.  There are two blogs on foreign films if you want to see some of my favorites. ( and

I have some Thai iced coffee at Chan Dara and  head out to Venice, Santa Monica or Malibu for a beach walk at sunset. If I am anywhere in the world and there is a beach, I am walking on it. This is followed by Tapas and Sangria at Bar Pinxto.

Dinner is somewhere like  Angelini Osteria  or Osteria Mozza for fresh pasta and traditional  Italian dishes.  Bar Ama is great for Mexican food – not so traditional but so delicious.  My favorite restaurant is Hinoki and the Bird for Asian ambiance, amazing food and green tea donuts.

I am dating someone from Mexico City so we spend the whole day speaking Spanish.   I pretend I understand just like I do on a real trip or with men in general.

At home I start reading the books I have bought and plan my next trip – one where you take a plane. Tomorrow I will have a diet day.

What are your favorite  places in LA?

Fly Safe,


hama sushi 347 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, (213) 680-3454‎‎‎‎