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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 31 Alexandria to Potomac

left Hawaii on March 26, so on this 26th day of April, I Metro'd from Alexandria (Virginia, not Egypt) to Potomac (the city in Maryland, not the river), which, in 2013 was identified by CNN Money as the most affluent town in the Nation, and had the largest population of any living area in the U.S. with a median income of more than $240,000.  Who lives here?  Wolf Blitzer,  Thomas Friedman, John Glenn (until he passed away), Joseph Kennedy, Ted Koppel, Sugar Ray Leonard, J.W. Marriott, Queen Noor of Jordan, Farah Pahlavi (former Queenn of Iran), Sargent Shriver, Sylvester Stallone, Mike Tyson, a whole bunch of current and former NBA stars...and Gloria and Joe Vadus.  That's their home to the left.

For a quarter century now I've joined them for a drink or two or three with fancy appetizers prepared by Gloria at their residence, followed by dinner somewhere close by.  Now that we're old, we are doing this at lunchtime, here we are with Judy and Cliff McLain.  Joe retired as Chief Ocean Technologist for NOAA, and is one of the founders of the Blue Revolution.  Cliff worked for Werner von Braun in Alabama and ARPA (now known as the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) when it was first formed.  We proposed holding a workshop on the Cascadia subduction zone a few decades ago, for he is from Oregon, and the really big one will probably not be along the San Andreas fault, but here in the ocean off the Pacific Northwest.

I should add that I show these photos because the leis were made by Charlotte Matsuda, my 15 Craigside neighbor across the hallway.  I think her purpose was for me to give them to a potential girlfriend or wife I chanced to meet on my global adventure.  As I found none, and time is running out, they got the leis, which are associated with Hokulea.  Charlotte's hula halau will dance on the ship when it returns from its around the world cruise on June 19.

By the way, Joe asked me what these name tiles were.  He found them in a Palau (which has 340 islands) cave 60 years ago when he was with the U.S. Marines.

We speculated that each piece had something to do with the Japanese soldiers who served in that cave during World War II.  The larger sizes probably denoted higher ranks.  IF ANYONE HAS THE ANSWER, PLEASE LET ME KNOW SO I CAN SO INFORM JOE.

After my two martinis, we went off to Normandie Farm, a French country restaurant:

This place is known for their popovers, and I ordered escargots plus a salad with a glass of Prosecco:

I took a couple of photos of purple flowers on the premises:

I returned to the Sheraton Suites in Alexandria via the Metro Red and Blue Lines.  I was picked up at the Reagan National Airport by the hotel van.  

Across the street (view from my room) is a supermarket:

Just another block over is a Trader Joe's:

Two-buck Chuck's now costs $3.29 here.  However, as the the hotel gave me a bottle of red wine, I just got Trader Joe's beer:

I complemented the above with some items from Harris Teeter for my dinner tonight:


Monday, April 24, 2017

PaGA: Day 30 Munich to DC

I noticed that my most popular article today is four years old:

Myself, I threw the bottles I had away because I read that this pill weakened chest muscles, or something like that.  But I've not been able to confirm this sense, so, maybe I dreamt this notion.

Also, general readership has dropped since I left the Orient.  I guess people are not interested in Europe.

Well, I leave Munich for DC Dulles today,  a distance of 4240 miles.  Hawaii to DC?  4772 miles.  I'm not sure when I'll be able to send my next posting, so this might have to do until I get settled in Alexandria much later today.  So in the next few minutes let me provide a comparative analysis of Pat's Global Adventure (PaGA) thus far:
  • First of all, there hasn't been much in terms of adventure.  Not going over a waterfall in a barrel, hiking the Himalayas or personally confronting Kim Jung-un.  Notice how the tenseness over North Korea has diminished the problems in Syria.  Reminded me I need a haircut.
  • I should have been more informative about the French presidential elections.  Effectively, compared to the U.S., the dominant Republican and Democratic Party candidates were defeated by two outliers.  Marine Le Pen is an extreme right-winged conservative, something we don't really have, although Donald Trump seems so.  Emmanuel Macron has never run for office before, and if he wins, he will have very little support in their Parliament.  Thus, no matter who prevails in the runoff on May 7, they will have no control over legislation, unlike Donald Trump.  However, Marcon, the centrist, at least will keep France in the EU, be sensible about immigration and retain the Euro.  So he will easily win.
  • My Westin TV set accessed 229 channels, with nearly 50 from the Middle East and Africa.  Libya, Algeria...and all in language I don't understand.  Even a bunch of stations from the former Soviet countries like Kyrgyzstan.  And Cuba.  There were 20 or so radio stations and four of them played classical music, while a half dozen regularly had older American hits (60's to 80's).  While in Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and South Korea there must have been a dozen sports stations, in Germany, there was only one, with a paid channel for U.S. sports.
  • Speaking of sports, I've been managing my six ESPN fantasy baseball teams, and four are currently in first place, with two in third.  There was at least one, and sometimes two or three, major league baseball games every day in Japan and South Korea on television.
I've eaten modestly today awaiting a feast on United Polaris First Class to DC Dulles, so my breakfast and lounge meals:

No, that is not a raw egg yolk in the top photo.  It is half a peach.

Lufthansa is similar to Singapore Air.  They both want to be exceptionally superior, so their highest class demands a secured apartment in a Singapore Air flight, which is one step above first class, and Lufthansa has three kinds of lounges:  Business, Senator and First.  To get into the First, you need to purchase a first class fare.  Try being in Star Alliance First Class around the world and getting a seat in Lufthansa's and Singapore's highest class.

About United's Polaris, the reason for this change is that they are deleting first class and enhancing business class.  However, for now, apparently, being on Polaris First Class is supposed to be equivalent to most international first class flights.  I'll see, soon.  All USA airlines have pretty much terminated true first class service, and if they have it, it is really business class.  I'm curious where Polaris is headed.  But the basic point remains:


PaGA 2017: Day 29 My Day in Downtown Munich

It was a beautiful day.  When I awoke:

Caught the U4-Bahn into Odeonplatz:

That was a mirror image.  Up the escalator, the typical buildings that tell you, yes, this must be Europe

A close-up of that middle lion:

And just about here, my Blue Bar Pigeon crossed the street.  With this type of store, it must be Germany:

Walked back through Hofgarten:

Took a photo of an almost black tulip:

They say you can now buy a black tulip, called Paul Sherer, developed by Geert Hageman.  However, on the online page is this tulip:

I would contend that the BLACK TULIP has not yet been developed.  The story is the same for the BLUE ROSE.  After a lot of hype, involving Australian company Florigene and Suntory, they proudly announced in 2004 a blue rose.  However, they, too, are stretching hue-ness.  Here is their blue rose:

Mauve, maybe, or lavenderish...but NOT BLUE!

A ten-minute walk brought me to Schuhbecks in den Sudtiroler Stuben, whose three restaurants share the square, or, really a rectangle, with Starbucks and Hard Rock Cafe:

Looking out, you can seeStarbucks and Orlando, a Schuhbecks bistro outside:

The decor is attractive:

This is an award-winning restaurant:

I started with beer, white wine and bread:

The first course was grilled octopus.  I thought the temperature could have been higher.  Plus, here is another chef who only prepares the flesh without drawing out the taste that makes seafood like scallops and octopus special.

Next came a terrific truffles linguini.  Nearly perfect.  However, if I return I will ask  them to top the dish with six basil leaves and a slice of onion.

The suckling pick was also excellent, with a truly crispy skin.  The restaurant is actually a fusion of German and Italian.  The only problem was that for a large establishment, for the entire lunch, there was a threesome and me.  Counting the $7 for the roundtrip U-Bahn (which was an all day pass), the total for everything came up to slightly less than $100.

The Sheraton is across the street from Rewe, a giant of a supermarket.  As I was getting tired of the free drinks and appetizers in four weeks of executive lounges, on the way back, I bought my dinner to eat in my room:

Tomorrow, back to the USA.