Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

I love playing tourist in my own city.  I loved it when we lived in Brooklyn, I missed out on doing it when I lived in London and Frankfurt, and I love doing it here.

Yesterday my mom (the tourist) and I took the kids to the water park.  As always, it was an absolute dream going there. We made sure we picked up the discount ad from the DBQ Kids booklet ($8 during the week, $12 for a weekend) and went.

Everything was great. I am especially impressed with the people that work there. The lifeguards are both conscientious and fair.  They do something you don’t see at the city pools. They use their judgment.  They’re not constantly blowing their whistles at simple things, but are quick (but respectful) to step in when something is heading the wrong way.  You have no idea how this makes for an enjoyable experience. Bad lifeguards can really ruin your day. (They also didn’t spend the entire time acting like it was a cocktail party.)

My youngest, who has been terrified of pools in the past, had a blast. He’s been going to the city pools with us (a mix of dangerous and annoying, my kids got hurt there more than once) and went to the pool at my parent’s hotel.  So he was pretty happy at the water park.  When they tried to talk to him because he was in the way on the slide (lifeguards are quicker than I am slogging through water) they were very understanding when I said he can’t talk.  He got off, and they were nice (that was something they had to repeat to the little ones quite a bit).

We all enjoyed the whirlpool, the lazy river, the basketball, and I even went on one of the three water slides. The one with the tubes is the one I went on, and I had NO IDEA it was pitch black inside! Very fast and very fun and just a little scary.

I was even happy with the water temps.  Even the food and the people who worked there made us happy.

We’ll probably have a party for my daughter here AGAIN since it is such an enjoyable place. It’s a shame they had no available rooms when my parents checked, but it is close enough that we can go.

I heard they had yearly passes, and after we wasted our money on the city pool passes, I think we’ll check it out. I heard it was expensive, but it would be  worth it. I feel safe there, we have fun there, and it is close.  What more could you want?

I’ve yet to hear a bad thing about that place.  There’s a good reason for that.

Oh, and I forgot to add, they had SO MUCH FUN, they didn’t even ask for money for the game room. We only gave them money so they’d have something to do after we got dressed, and before my dad picked us up.

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Well, at least the food was edible.

My retired parents flew into Dubuque to see us. I thought Taste of Dubuque would be a great event to wind down after a day of travelling. That the kids could get ‘kid food’, like pizza, and the grown ups could get other food.

I had been warned, however, that it was geared towards drinkers. I waved this off, though, figuring we’d be ok. There was a kids area, right?

Well, once we found the trolley stop (not one trolley stop downtown was marked), we chugged over to the festival.  The kids area was a bouncy castle, and…I guess some sort of putt game and a fishing game.  Not too much, but a nod to families, I suppose.  I think there was a ‘sucker wheel’ or something, too.  Well, we weren’t there for games so the lack of kid’s activities was acceptable.

Of course, we had to do a bathroom run, which was firmly in BEER STAND TERRITORY. Still, no lines, clean, limited smell, and nice hand sanitizer stand right there.  Then we went back to get food.

There were lines everywhere, which was encouraging.  The food was typical fair/festival stuff, I thought perhaps some of the restaurants would use this as a chance to show off, even outdoors, and have something a bit more unique. Coming from NYC, though, we’re a bit hard to impress, to be honest.

Then my parents took the kids to look for a table and some chairs (which you think would be standard at a festival all about FOOD), and I spied a pepsi stand. Strange, honestly, that the individual stands didn’t also sell drinks.

You needed a ticket, a beverage ticket, even for soda. Or water. You couldn’t just buy it. I can understand needing the control for the alcohol, but can’t you give non drinkers a break? I guess not.  I was not willing to go on TWO lines for a drink, so I went to find my family.

Well, they were under a tent (the only shade available), sitting on the ground. A gaggle of volunteers had a group of seats, while my parents sat in the dirt. I don’t mind my kids sitting in the dirt, but I really think that volunteers are there to help the general public, and the tourists, and letting an older retired couple sit on the ground is pretty appalling. I was embarassed for my new city that they could just sit there and do that.  I really think that the only reason people volunteer is for the free t-shirts (which are usually pretty entertaining).

Eventually a different group of people got up, and we got to sit. No tables, but we sat. We then left the festival, and let me tell you, my dad’s back was still in agony the next day.  (In a forum on the thonline website someone said you are expected to bring your own seating. I did not see one person carrying their own seat around.)

I think the Dubuque Historical Society has something to do with this, but I’m not sure.  If that’s the Mississippi River Museum people, the ones that don’t like disabled people going to their museum (which is why we didn’t renew our membership — we’re not welcome), then I guess I’m not suprised.

Dubuque looks really, really ugly right now.  In NYC, my parents would have been offered a seat. For all that they say about rude New Yorkers, this festival was one big exercise in rudeness.

But hey, the beer drinkers were happy.  Beer makes this city go round.

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It’s beautiful, it’s wonderous, it is GLORIOUS.  Best thing I’ve come across on the internet in a LONG time.

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Photos of my new town. (Not by me.)

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Link: Oddly Enough News Article | Reuters.com.

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – A new Cambodian cafe is offering diners a slice of life under the Khmer Rouge, with a menu featuring rice-water and leaves, and waitresses dressed in the black fatigues worn by Pol Pot’s ultra-Maoist guerrillas.

Newly opened across the road from Phnom Penh’s notorious Tuol Sleng "S-21" Khmer Rouge interrogation and torture center, the cafe is meant to remind Cambodians of the 1975-1979 genocide in which an estimated 1.7 million people died.

But the set "theme menu" of salted rice-water, followed by corn mixed with water and leaves, and dove eggs and tea at $6 a time is proving too much to swallow for many visitors.

It caters to both tourists AND dieters!  Two niches for the price of one!

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I live in Sheepshead Bay. It’s a lovely little area in Brooklyn. The link goes to a huge gallery of local photos I took, including the original of the gorgeous sunset I posted in my Project Blog gallery over on the right, there.

Sometimes my daughter goes fishing, on the Sea Queen. Of all the boats, I think I like their fleet the best, I guess because I know the owners and people who work on the boat and you couldn’t find nicer, more down to earth people in all of Sheepshead Bay. And I trust them with my daughter’s life — I was a bit worried the first time she went out on a party fishing boat, but now, doesn’t worry me a bit. Last time she went it was a bit rainy and for a moment I thought “oh, my poor girl, out on the ocean like that” but then I remembered who she was with, and where she was, and felt better.

She’s had no luck with fish though, to be honest, but her friend, a couple of years younger, got her first bass the other day! Pretty cool, I think.

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