Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Day in the Chilean Andes

Winding road in the Chilean Andes, west of Valle Nevado ski resort
I'm not sure what it was exactly, but something today had me reflecting on a cruise we took to South America back in December, 2012, so for this installment on the blog, I decided to reach back in the record books and write about something from that trip.  At the very end of our cruise, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Santiago, Chile via the Panama Canal (I will add more installments from that cruise over time), we spent two days in Valparaiso and Santiago to recuperate a bit before the long flight back home.  We had initially planned a shore excursion to the Andes on the cruise itself, but due to the incompetence of the cruise line, that tour got canceled.  Some quick sleuthing on the internet turned up a company called Tours by Locals that 1) offered day tours of the Andes from Santiago, 2) had availability on the day we'd be in Santiago, and 3) wasn't that expensive, at about $110 per person.  And so with that, my wife, my uncle, and I decided to give it a try.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Spring Evening in Downtown Dallas

My wife's birthday is on Tuesday, but we decided to go out for dinner Friday night, since trying to do something during the week can be tough.  With a little extra time to kill thanks to my office closing a little early on Fridays, we decided to take a walk around downtown Dallas to work up an appetite before heading to dinner on the edge of Uptown.  Downtown used to be a place best avoided unless you had business there, especially after 5:00, but the city has done a good job of cleaning the area up and making downtown a place people actually want to visit.  Learn more about our pleasant stroll on a beautiful Friday evening after the jump.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Foghorn Harbor Inn, Los Angeles (Marina del Rey), CA - Hotel Review

Usually when I travel to La La Land, or anywhere else in Southern California for that matter, I don't have to bother with a hotel, because my in-laws live in the area and are more than happy to provide free food and accommodations while we're there.  Back in January, though, we were headed to LA for a very special reason - my brother was invited to appear on the Jeopardy Battle of the Decades tournament, and the taping had been set for January 21st.  Contestants aren't given specific times until the day of taping, so if you're a family member, you just have to show up in the morning and wait for your favorite contestant to come on.  We needed to be at the Sony Studios in Culver City by 10 A.M., which is a really long drive from my in-laws' place out by San Bernardino, especially factoring in that we'd be fighting rush hour traffic in LA.  Plus, my sister and her two kids would be flying in and had a terribly early flight out of LAX early the morning after the taping, so we decided to just get a hotel.  The choice:  the Foghorn Harbor Inn in Marina del Rey.

Friday, March 14, 2014

New and Improved! Follow This Crappy Blog on Twitter @MeanMeosh!

A frequent follower of this blog suggested I join the 21st century and set up a Twitter account.  I had long resisted doing Twitter, but this person did raise a very valid point - that Twitter makes it easier to update frequent readers about new posts as they go up.  So I indeed did decide to quit being a luddite, and created a Twitter account.  Follow me and this blog at @MeanMeosh today!

P.S. Don't worry, I won't waste valuable bytes of your data plan by tweeting about the bathroom at the Statute of Liberty, though I may occasionally tweet a travel-related photo if I think it's too good to wait for a blog post.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ellen's Southern Kitchen, Downtown Dallas - Restaurant Review

I met a friend for a Stars game on Thursday, and not wanting to pay $20 for two hot dogs and a Coke, decided to grab some food in the West End before going to the game.  We had no idea where we wanted to go, so my friend pulled out a restaurant finder app he had on his phone.  Ellen's Southern Kitchen came up within short walking distance of DART's West End Station, and having read good things about this place in both the Dallas Morning News and other Dallas-area restaurant review sites, this sounded like a good place to give a try.  Read about the deliciousness after the jump!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Day Trips from Dallas - Talimena National Scenic Byway, Oklahoma/Arkansas

Scenic overlook with winding highway in background

It's been a while since I've done anything new with the "Day Trips from Dallas" series, and with my series about my recent trip to India complete, now seemed as good a time as any to pick it up again.  On this past Christmas Day, we didn't have much going on since we'd be leaving for India in less than a week, so we decided to enjoy a scenic trip across the Red River to spend an otherwise lazy day.  Our destination would be the Talimena National Scenic Byway, a beautiful, winding mountain drive in the Ouachita Mountains, just a few hours from home.  In case the photo above has piqued your interest, read much more after the jump!