Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Covid Conversation

It’s been an interesting week. Last week, there was no swimming. It was a welcome break in terms of sleep; no alarm, being lazy (LOL, being lazy is sleeping until 0600 instead of 0530) taking a walk now and then when I needed movement . . .

It was also handy because at my annual skin scan, my adorable dermatologist wrinkled her brow as she looked at me through her magic magnifier and said “Oh! we need to take care of THAT!” and THAT was prominently on my cheek.

(A brief aside because I cannot resist – when I was shown to the exam room, the tech asked if I wanted a gown and I said yes, and then, not being a smart-mouth but because I wanted to understand, I asked “What is the alternative? Like I stand here naked? Do people do that?” Sometimes I really am a stranger in my own land, and maybe I’ve missed some growing lack of self-consciousness? The tech laughed and said “No, there are people who will NOT take their clothes off!” I tried to comprehend that and totally failed. “So what’s the point of a skin scan?” I asked, “How can they be examined?” The tech said “We pull at their clothes a little and look underneath, but yeh, it’s not complete.” Totally boggled my mind.)

I have never been so happy about masking in my life. Having a big crispy spot about the size of a quarter on my cheek makes me feel like a teen-ager again, like every eye will be fixed on my boo-boo.

With my mask covering my big blotch, I got my second COVID vaccination. Yes, I might be suggestible, and then again, I am not a big baby, but my arm was sore almost immediately. By evening, I had chills so bad I was taking hot baths to feel warm enough. I had a headache just between my two eyes, and I was SO tired. The next day, I felt the same. Finally, the second night, I took an Aleve and slept wonderfully. The next morning, I was fine.

So I really needed the week off from swimming. One funny thing about the COVID vaccination, and again, who knows, it may be in my mind, but all of a sudden I have a sharp sense of smell again. It comes from my father’s side of the family, some of us have it and some of us don’t, but I think it had faded, and right now, it is noticeably back again, and oh, what joy it brings me.

So all the health drama is over now, I am back at swimming, and we continue to have work done to make our house safer and more energy efficient. A roof inspector, seeing our stack of photo albums (labeled Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, etc.) asked us if we had ever been to Alaska, and that started a great conversation, one we are hearing over and over as more people get vaccinated.

“We’ve decided we don’t want to wait any longer. We don’t know how many good years we have left. We are going to travel now, while we can,” he said.

He and his wife want to see Alaska. They want to see France. We had a great conversation, and I sent him some information by e-mail.

COVID has had its gifts, and awareness is one of them. Couple after couple have told us the same thing, this feeling of urgency to do it now, while we can.

We have four trips booked. One, a passage from Japan through Kamchatka and the Aleutians and the Alaskan Gulf, we’ve had booked for over a year. Another is a trip which COVID cancelled, but we want to do it and have scheduled it again. Another is coming up soon, a trip with our family to New Orleans, where we will continue to socially distance in a VRBO near Magazine, near the Audubon Zoo, near the Saint Charles trolley and several of our favorite restaurants with our family, and one back out to Yellowstone and Glacier, staying in cabins, mostly with kitchens. We’re good with take-out; in fact we’ve grown to really like it.

Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite

It’s not a hardship for us. We are introverts. We travel quietly. We stop and observe. I take photos. At night, I write reviews and research possibilities for the next day’s route. Part of the fun I have in life is finding really fun places to stay, some of which, like El Tovar at the Grand Canyon, or Ahwahnee in Yosemite, (LOL, “Yo! Semite!”) have to book far in advance, like sometimes a year out or more. Right now, several of the most popular cruises are already booked in 2021 and 2022 by people a lot like us, yearning to be back out on the road.

El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon

People in Florida are concerned about another wave of COVID following Spring Break. I am thinking here we are, all eager to get back on the road, us restless Boomers, and we’ve forgotten the pounding compelling imperatives of youth – meeting, mating, maybe even committing. But that’s another conversation . . .

March 13, 2021 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Circle of Life and Death, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Fitness / FitBit, Health Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Relationships, Road Trips, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Ahwahnee Dining Room

American diners have steadily avoided formal dining situations, it is a growing trend. I have to admit, unless I am in France, I’m less enchanted by all the formality than I used to be. I still love beautiful china and gleaming silver, snowy white real linen tablecloths and impeccable service, and at the same time, I really have to be in the mood. It really has to be worth the time, time to make the reservation, time to dress, time to enjoy a leisurely meal.

The Ahwahnee has that kind of dining room.

We ate almost every meal during our stay there. We found we liked the lunch menu better than the dinner menu, as we prefer eating our larger meal mid-day and eating lighter at night.

You have to have reservations, even when it is not high season. If you don’t, you may miss one of life’s great experiences. There is a dress code for the Ahwahnee dining room, both for men and for women. It’s a very mild dress code. They prefer coats for men, skirts for women, no T-shirts, shirts with collars only.

We were shown to what became our favorite table at the Ahwahnee, way at the end of the dining room, in a small alcove with five or six other tables, and a stunning view of the entire dining room, as well as mountains and trees. This is table 123, and a view of the 30+ feet high timbered ceiling which gives the dining room its grandeur.

00FavoriteTableAtAhwahnee

My very first meal there, I saw they had a Shrimp Louis on the menu. Shrimp Louis is very west coast; not something I get in Pensacola. This Shrimp Louis was my dream come true; it was served with real Louis dressing, not Thousand Island dressing. I nearly swooned with delight.

00ShrimpLouis

AdventureMan has BBQ pork. He said it was good, but he gets good BBQ in the South 🙂 so he wasn’t swooning.

00AhwahneeBBQPork

The next day, he ordered a Reuben, and said it was good. He hasn’t had a lot of Reubens, and he said this one had a LOT of meat, but it was good meat, and that matters to him. He enjoyed it thoroughly.

00AhwahneeReuben

I had the Trout. I adore trout. This was pretty good.

00AhwahneeTrout

I didn’t take photos at the dinner meals, and some of our meals we also ate in the Ahwahnee bar, where they had a lighter menu, and we thoroughly enjoyed that, too.

You know me and light fixtures; I really loved all the details that go into making this such a designer’s dream of a hotel:

00AhwahneeLightFixture

April 26, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Civility, Cooking, Cultural, Eating Out, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , , | 2 Comments