Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Vacation Pictures

As we've been hinting, over the holidays we made a quick trip to visit relatives and see the sights in New England. We're back home, now, but thanks to the wonders of digital photography we've almost instantly put together an album of memories. We'll be sure to treasure them just about as long as they can be viewed with current technology -- a couple more years, anyway.

The airplane trip from Pensacola to Boston wasn't long. But the waiting inside airports was interminable. First, there was a three hour delay at Pensacola's airport while air traffic controllers in Atlanta tried to figure out how to turn on their computers. Then another four hour wait in Atlanta, due to "inclement weather" or so we were told.

a photo of the "inclement weather" out the window, taken as our airplane was beginning its descent. The airplane was shaking quite a lot and something heavy from the overhead bin fell on us just as we were snapping the picture, so it didn't turn out quite as sharp as we hoped.

Boston was cold, windy, and snowy. We were concerned that dropping in so suddenly on the relatives might have inconvenienced them, but were relieved to discover they'd already prepared for us by shoveling out a dog run on their lawn, below. We didn't bring a dog with us, but they had one of their own on hand, just in case.

The Northeast, we discovered, is far more advanced, environmentally speaking, than the Gulf Coast. For one example: the "waterless urinal" at the Ikea store in Staughton (below). It's really too bad that we couldn't photograph the smell, too.

After days and days (and more days and days) cooped up with grousing relatives, we decided we needed a break. All that quality family time was getting on the nerves. So on the spur of the moment we set off on a drive to New York City for the weekend (below).

Along the way, we had a chance to do some shopping and sample a few restaurants. Below, one of the restaurants:

Shopping once upon a time must have been possible in the "Antique Mall" in New Bedford. We asked if there wasn't a newer New Bedford, but the answer was disappointing.

The snow started up, again, just north of New Haven (below). The going was slow, so it's hard to understand why this photo didn't turn out a little clearer.

We were so excited by the time we reached the Big Apple that we couldn't resist snapping a photo at our first glimpse of the Chrysler Building (below). Unfortunately, a couple of days later we realized we had been in Midtown at the time, and that church spire you see in the distance isn't the Chrysler Building, after all. It doesn't even look like the Chrysler Building.

Driving along the East River, we were excited to see something quite unusual floating along. Can't remember what it was, now, but if you look really close you can sort of see its shape there, off to the left.

One of our objectives in the Big Apple was to visit the Museum of Modern Art to see the Van Gogh exhibit. However, the line was too long -- it stretched completely around a very long and very wide block. Moreover, once we had survived the -12 degree wind chill and were inside, we faced another two hour wait. So, instead, we contented ourselves with a tour of the paintings on permanent exhibition on the fifth and sixth floors. Below: A view of the stairs.

The painting, below, must have really impressed us. But we can't remember what it looked like or who did it:

Another must-do for us was to visit the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, and maybe sit at the Roundtable in the same chair that Dorothy Parker occupied.

However, the Oak Room was temporarily closed when we stopped by. A stern looking fellow with a bulge under one arm allowed us to peek in, but he warned that photographs were not permitted. We thanked him and then cleverly started our camera's timer, placed it on a rectangular table with a view of the room, and stepped far enough away that no one could suspect us of illegal picture-taking. To be sure, the result (below) is mostly table, but we're pretty sure Dorothy Parker's chair must be in there, somewhere, although there were no round tables to be seen.

This is Times Square in the background. We have no idea who the people in the foreground are. Really, we don't. They just asked us to take their picture, so we did.

One of the more astonishing sights we saw in New York was a stranger drinking beer in an Irish bar. We estimate his beer mug (below) must hold a half gallon or more.

Nothing much happened on the return trip home, except for another three hour wait in Atlanta's airport. There, we saw this on the back of a man's T-shirt:

One question we're left with is, did his ex-girlfriend give him that shirt when they split up or did he pick it out all by himself? Another question is, what could be the mental state of someone who would wear such a shirt in public?

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