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Saturday, July 16, 2016

almost there...

so I know I have been promising Canada for some time- LOL - like a month or more- but things come up- LOL - and now we are about three weeks away from our anniversary trip to Scandinavia.(We were married in Denmark after a trip to Norway north of the arctic circle and spent our remaining time of our wedding trip traveling in Denmark.) Now fifteen years later we are revisiting old haunts on a small ship (99 passengers) and starting in Copenhagen to spend a few days with friends and ending in Stockholm where we have reserved at a mind-blowing restaurant called gastrologik - see the post "minds blown" from 2012...

http://blog.semifreelife.com/2012/10/mind-blown.html

anyway- along the way between those two cities we have stops in Gdansk (new to both) Tallinn and Riga (new to Phil) and St Petersburg (a return for us both - eagerly awaited!) and Helsinki (last there in 2012 on our "nordic capitals" - Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm- trip for the two of us for Phil's birthday) so we are getting psyched about the trip... except for one niggly little detail.

I can't take a trip unless I have finished the photos from the prior trip (ahem! Canada!) - the
finish means photos culled and posted on the DART website and made into our souvenir photo album and posts done about the trip for semifreelife... LOL - so you get the picture I am sure - I won't need a thousand words to say I am under the gun LOL

So off we go! Oh Canada! -

Let me say by way of pre-amble that both TB (my long time travel companion) and I had gone through house sales and downsizing this last spring and we were interested in a no drama no work trip this year... so this was intended to be paced much more leisurely than our usual DART trips. And to make matters more challenging I developed an inner ear infection and severe vertigo about three days into the trip... long distance walking was completely out of the question for me.

but we did manage some interesting things along the way... we were to meet up in Seattle and drive from there the following morning - due to horrendous service on Alaska Airlines I arrived at 3 AM - five plus hours late and so had minimal sleep when we met the next morning to start our road trip. my first and ONLY trip on Alaska Air believe me... I had booked a first class ticket and they had no food on the four hour plus flight time journey for first class- only boxes for sale in the back--- which they tossed down in front of us when we took off at 11 PM - aaaaccccckkkk don't get me started - just let me say "forewarned" - consider yourself!

so the same morning I arrived and got my requisite 4.5 hours sleep we headed out of SEATAC towards the Canadian border... we always take the scenic route so we were on the freeway for an hour or so and then took off for the less traveled road. We headed from Bow to Hoogdal to Acme to Nooksack and crossed the border at Sumac.  It was well afternoon when we spied the place we stopped for lunch- Bob's - where we had a friendly waitress and a decent meal before heading on to today's big adventure - Point Roberts USA- LOL yes you read that correctly!




and on to the border (three times in a day should be more than enough for anyone)


the extent of commercial development in Point Roberts -


what it mostly looks like- some summer home style places and lots of boats-  which would be the only way to go from US to US without the border crossing-





Point Roberts (known locally as "Point Bob" or "The Point") is a census-designated place (CDP) in Whatcom County, Washington, United States. It has a post office, with the ZIP code of 98281, and a population of 1,314 at the 2010 census.

Point Roberts is a part of the mainland United States but is not physically connected to it, making it a land exclave of the U.S. It is located on the southernmost tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, south of Delta, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver, and can be reached by land from the rest of the United States only by traveling through Canada. It can be reached directly from the rest of Washington and the U.S. by crossing Boundary Bay by sea or air.



The only authorized land access to Canada from Point Roberts is Tyee Drive, a major thoroughfare northward that becomes 56th Street in Canada. Point Roberts also has a small airport (Point Roberts Airpark) and a large marina (Point Roberts Marina Resort) for air and water access; these two point facilities allow direct access to the rest of Washington state without the need to enter Canada.





Many of the area's businesses serve weekend and recreational visitors from Greater Vancouver. Canadians visit for cheaper American gasoline, alcohol, and food when the Canadian dollar is strong; Americans from Point Roberts do the same in Canada. Many Canadians visited its bars and nightclubs on Sundays until Sunday drinking was legalized in British Columbia in 1986. The local post office and several private companies rent many post office boxes to individuals and businesses from the Greater Vancouver area (including the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver), who find it a convenient and fast way to receive mail and parcels from the United States without paying for cross-border shipping costs.

Because of having to go through the international border twice to get to the rest of the U.S., some have called it "the best gated community in the U.S." Residents enjoy a low crime rate at the cost of a high local security presence and other inconveniences. There is no hospital, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, or veterinarian, and because American health insurers will not pay for treatment given by Canadian providers, Point Roberts residents usually seek emergency medical care in Bellingham, Washington, although Vancouver is closer. The international border also purportedly makes Point Roberts often used by the United States Federal Witness Protection Program. 

Point Roberts lies within a depression created by Vancouver Island, the north shore mountains surrounding Vancouver, and the North Cascades (including Mount Baker). This micro-climate provides some of the mildest weather in the Pacific Northwest. With annual precipitation of about 1000 mm (40 inches), Point Roberts enjoys more sunny days and a milder climate than its neighbors. (all the above from wikipedia)

So about now you might be thinking - why? and that is the question the border guard asked us as well- we just laughed and said- "because it's there" LOL and he completely understood - he said this was not an unusual response from folks coming through the border there....

so we did it- we cross hatched all of Point Roberts and then headed back to Vancouver for the night at a very nice Best Western in Chelsea.  Had a late dinner at a greek place nearby - called My Greek Taverna... and fell into bed dead tired thanks to alaska airlines crappy service the night before/morning of.... but slept really well- because the linens were very nice and the pillows excellent...really upgraded Best Western - highly recommended....

so tomorrow off to visit Canada - really in Canada for the next week or so--- stay tuned I will get us through the week and back home so I can leave again LOL.....

gorgeous goosefoot reset

our friends Nina & Chris Nugent have a refresh for the goosefoot menu and some gorgeous new courses... the new concept (which began in January when we were south for the winter) has limited the number of covers for the night and is more interactive with the diners.

when they called and asked us to change our 8:30 reservation to 6:30 we weren't too thrilled - as many of you know we lean toward later times as I lean towards "night owl" but Phil is well past that with 4am to noon sleeping hours... we usually start thinking about dinner around 8 PM LOL-  but these folks are dear to us so we acceded to the request.

the new menu was both beautiful and full of flavor and the artistic designs for the presentations were an added value- with both Nina and Chris creating various presentations.

but on with the show! This was such a wonderful meal and lovely evening....

the entire menu- now wood grain and seedless (they gave us gifts of seeds for pea tendrils at the end of the meal)


we begin!







 











so Chris and Nina knew it had recently been our anniversary and had a beautiful bouquet of roses for us as well- they are just such nice people!
and they knew we had been away so long because of the sale of the house and the move into the condo... now mostly accomplished - still need to ditch the palace drapery...LOL so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

the best of theater

A powerful exploration of the United States of America and the People's Republic of China's similarities (and differences) - this compare and contrast play focuses on the "tank man" from the famous photo of the June 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre of more than 2,000 (mostly students) protesters.  Intricate plot lines are woven in the nearly three hour running time which sometimes illuminate and sometimes obscure the search for "truth".


In June 1989, as the Chinese government cracked down on a pro-democracy rally in Tienanmen Square, the iconic image of one man standing alone in front of a military tank captivated the world. Twenty years later, a photojournalist searches for the truth about that mysterious “Tank Man” in an epic, global adventure that explores the complex relationship between twin superpowers China and the United States.

here are some blurbs from the TimeLine website and from various reviews in papers-

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “Chimerica is now receiving a riveting Chicago premiere by TimeLine Theatre – that peerless company devoted to work that probes history in the most unexpected and engaging ways. And under the razor-sharp direction of Nick Bowling, who has gathered a uniformly impressive group of Asian (and Caucasian) actors, and deployed the talents of set designer Brian Sidney Bembridge and master projection designer Mike Tutaj, it keeps you watching, listening and guessing for close to three fire-breathing hours.“  —Hedy Weiss

“Chimerica is propelled by a clearly articulated but interwoven clutch of mysteries. … [Nick] Bowling’s eclectic production contains a number of interesting performances, including gutsy work by Wai Yim and, especially, Norman Yap, who plays Zhang Lin, the play’s moral conscience and thus a courageous victim of the mutual culture of China-U.S. exploitation posited so juicily by [Lucy] Kirkwood. … the play’s final revelation is exceptionally clever and potent — not least because Kirkwood deftly ties up the human mystery by making her audience confront its own assumptions of heroism, foisted on it, of course, by images from the media, now a parody of its former self, but still foxy and dangerous.”  —Chris Jones

“An engrossing slow-burn Chicago debut … Lucy] Kirkwood’s Chimerica rewards audiences with a compelling mystery and plenty of food for thought on the growing and uncomfortable interconnectedness of East-West relations … Audiences should be awed and taken aback by the Kirkwood’s masterly intertwined story filled with suspense and introspection on the clashing and interrelated ideologies of China and America.”  —Scott C. Morgan




this story was complex and the characters multi-faceted. this is the kind of theater we are always seeking.  People you care about in challenging situations showing the best of humanity and the darker side as well.  It doesn't get much better than this.  Terrific performances by the large cast with special shout outs for the Tessa and Joe and Dog-Face characters with honorable mention for Mel and Frank and the brother.









extremely thought provoking and yet and entertaining evening at the theater - the thing we are always seeking as we head out to see the next play on our list..... tomorrow a return to goosefoot - but a "new" goosefoot - so we will update you on the changes- one we already aren't thrilled about - a 6:30 start time (what?- what happened to "dinner at eight"?).... STAY TUNED!