Day 42: Montreal

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In the car, we listen to the CD of an older man who sang on the boardwalk yesterday. He sang French songs beautifully, but only had American songs on the CD. Our son can’t stop laughing as the man used an over-the-top Louis Armstrong voice in ALL of his songs!

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

Even with the GPS, we take a wrong turn and finally figure out how to get back on track. We visit the visitor’s center on Rue Notre Dame and get a walking map of notable landmarks. We view many, including Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. In the chapel at the back of the basilica, world renown songstress, Celine Dion, was wed.

Notre-Dame Basilica chapel

Notre-Dame Basilica chapel

Lighting a candle in the basilica

Lighting a candle in the basilica

Inside Notre-Dame Basilica

Inside Notre-Dame Basilica

Restaurant Oh! Dumplings

Restaurant Oh! Dumplings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son pops into Restaurant Oh! Dumplings for a quick snack on the run. He says it’s, “Oh-kay.”

Les 3 Basseurs

Les 3 Basseurs

 

 

 

Lunch at Les 3 Brasseurs (The 3 Brewers) was alright. My goat cheese flatbread was good. Lonnie’s schnitzel with bratwurst was average. Our son’s beer-battered poutine was good.

Decorated pumpkins take over the Botanical Garden greenhouse!

Decorated pumpkins take over the Botanical Garden greenhouse!

 

 

Tonight, we go to the Montreal Botannical Garden. We visit the greenhouse and Insectarium first and are disappointed to have not gone to the Mosiacultures Internationales first!

Unusual insects such as this lovely winged specimen fill the Insectarium

Unusual insects such as this lovely winged specimen fill the Insectarium

A sad fact ...

A sad fact …

Watch out!

Watch out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mosiacultures Internationales is winding down, with exhibits being dismantled.

Love is all around

Love is all around

Catch a ride!

Catch a ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canada 3We walk over to view The Magic of Lanterns. Hundreds of handmade silk lanterns from China illuminate the Chinese Garden. This year’s theme is “The First Emperor’s Procession.”Canada 1

Canada 4

In the teahouse, a talented performer creates magic!

Meat lovers could be happy here!

Meat lovers could be happy here!

For dinner, our son takes us to a friend’s recommendation, Schwartz’s Deli. It has got to be the best meat sandwich I’ve ever had! Must be the authentic atmosphere and teasing waiters. It was special enough to have a musical made of it. For a quick dessert, a walk over to Ripples to enjoy Mint Oreo and Cardamon ice cream! My cardamon scoops are chock full of nuts – pistachio, almond, etc. and tiny bits of savory cardamon. It was great at the beginning, but a bit strong toward the end. A good choice for something different and a piquant end to a satisfying day out!

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Day 4: Biloxi, Mobile, Panama City Beach

Saturday,  September 7, 2013

Biloxi, Mississippi has a lighthouse smack in the middle of a highway.  At one time, it was a working lighthouse.  Eventually, the town grew around it.  Built in 1848, the lighthouse has a rich history with two generations of one family operating it from 1866 to 1929.  We’re too late for the last tour at 9:30am, but are able to glean more information about it from the Mississippi Visitors Center next door.Biloxi lighthouse

The center is the most beautiful visitors center I’ve ever seen!  Rising like a grand southern mansion, it’s a mini museum of exhibits, a theater, and an event venue.  There’s a model of the lighthouse, a video on Marlin Miller’s journey to beautify the Gulf Coast, Elvis Presley’s jacket, Bo Diddley’s square guitar and more.  On the wide veranda, two sisters are enjoying the beach view. They came in for a Girls’ Week.

Off we go to Alabama!  The Visitors Center that we visit may be an older building, but they sure make us feel welcome.  An enthusiastic young woman, by the name of Amanda, greets visitors with a mile-wide smile.  Every guest I saw her interact with was treated with attention and lots of suggestions for places to go and what to expect, her ponytail bouncing as she emphasizes points of interest.  So far, she’s the best visitors center employee we’ve encountered.  Wished I’d asked her for a picture so you could see that mega-watt smile.

We stop by Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile to see the USS Alabama and decide we didn’t have time to tour it and still make it to Panama Beach City, Florida at a decent time. But, we did get some photos …

USS Alabama

USS Alabama

This beautifully rendered American flag was painted on the side of one of the buildings two days before!

This beautifully rendered American flag was painted on the side of one of the buildings two days before!

U.S. Coast Guard plane

U.S. Coast Guard plane

Minutes down the street, we have a late lunch at Felix’s Fish Camp Grill in Mobile. It was very pleasant. My husband had Grilled Red Snapper with Green Beans Almondine. I enjoyed the Ahi Tuna Salad. We’re trying to eat lighter as hours of sitting in the car doesn’t burn many calories.

Lunch at Felix's Fish Camp Grill

Lunch at Felix’s Fish Camp Grill

We come into Panama City Beach as the sun begins to set and pull over to see our first Florida sunset on the trip. I’m so happy!

Another gorgeous Florida sunset!

Another gorgeous Florida sunset!

When asked where to go for dinner, the hotel front desk clerk recommends Capt. Anderson’s. We drive a mile or so down the street to the Marina. There’s a one hour wait at Capt. Anderson’s, so we decide to try the Marina Cantina next door. We had Chicken Chapatula and Fish Tacos. The food was alright, but the view of the marina was better.

Capt. Anderson's Marina

Capt. Anderson’s Marina

To top off the night, we went to Bruster’s Ice Cream next to our hotel, where the ice cream is made fresh daily.

Dessert!

Dessert!

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:5 (NIV)

A week ago, on a bright, glorious day in Boston, two brothers decided to show their contempt and hatred for the country in which they resided. Video shows them making package drops along a street teeming with spectators during the Boston Marathon. First, a bomb blast sent an enveloping cloud of smoke into the crowds. Further down the street, another bomb discharge caused more pandemonium. Three, then four casualties and close to 150 injuries later, a bewildered and shocked city struggled to take in what had occurred, Boston Marathon. A roar of deep pain and an angry determination for justice mobilized one of the most comprehensive manhunts in Boston history. Several days later, a suspected attacker is killed and his brother is in police custody in a hospital. One striking photo from that horrific day is of a woman kneeling on the sidewalk fervently praying.

Two days after the Boston bombing, a fertilizer plant in West, Texas blew up, sending a huge plume of smoke and fire into the evening sky. In a small town of 2,800, emergency first responders arrived quickly to contain the fire. That’s when a second, even more powerful explosion rocked the plant, knocking people to the ground. It launched into the night air flaming embers, pieces of burning metal and anything else it could to decimate a four block surrounding area.   The fire took 14 lives, of which 11 were emergency responders, West, Texas Plant Explosion. Approximately 200 people were taken to area hospitals. In such a close-knit community, most everyone knew the 11 emergency volunteers. The U.S. Geological Survey stated that the explosion registered a magnitude 2.1, comparing it to a minor earthquake.

Please pray for the people affected by these two devastating events. Their hearts must be breaking over the many lives lost or affected physically and emotionally by unexplained circumstances.

 

iPhoneography is Growing Up!

Recently, a professional photographer was scolded for mis-titling his article. Maybe “CONNECT”, the photography site he guest blogged on punched it up a bit, not taking into consideration that it might seem misleading. After that, commenters found fault with his using an iPhone instead of his wonderful DSLR to capture wedding shots at a secluded island’s mass wedding. As the islanders had possibly never seen a professional photographer with big-lensed cameras and blinding light accessories, Kevin Kuster used his iPhone so as to not intimidate them. (His DSLR was used in a smaller capacity.) He also showed two images he had taken at another time of a reenactment soldier. I personally preferred the one taken close up. The other, taken with an iPhone, didn’t have the sharp, polished look of the first, but it seemed to me that he captured more personality. Judging by the blistering comments, you would have thought Mr. Kuster had committed a sacrilege by not using his big camera for the wedding couples! Now, before the DSLR League starts getting riled up, I L-O-V-E the wonderfully crisp, detailed shots from DSLRs. I REALLY do!!! I greatly admire those who take the time and effort to share just gorgeous, phenomenal images with the world. I defer to their dedication to the craft and step aside to go another direction. I can’t afford hundreds of dollars in lenses and I’m too lazy to do more than compose the image, check the lighting, hold steady and click. Anything more is done through my blessed apps, Camera+, Snapseed, etc. ( App designers, has anyone told you lately how wonderful you are?!!? )

Many of the scathing comments to Mr. Kuster were quite mean spirited. Never mind that he was not charging the non-profit group that organized the event and went at his own expense. Or that the couples were quite happy with owning their first ever photographs, holding precious images that would last longer than their lifetimes. An old adage came to mind: “No good deed goes unpunished.” I will say that Mr. Kuster replied with good humor and took the high road. There’s another saying: “Virtue is its own reward.”

I can understand Kuster’s reasoning. I have also photographed people for interviews, albeit for a much, much smaller circulation. They would face my modest Canon PowerShot SX and start fidgeting, becoming a portrait of restless discomfort. Maybe they were just plain shy. Maybe they realized that friends and neighbors numbering into the thousands would see them in a publication that also has an online presence. Having a decent sized camera aimed at you, and only you, can be unsettling.

Well-known sports photographer, Nick Laham, recently used his iPhone to get the perfect shot of the New York Yankees’ third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, http://mashable.com/2013/04/02/instagram-vine-news-industry/. That appeared on the New York Times’ front page … yes, the NEW YORK TIMES.

VII Photo Agency Mentor, Peter DiCampo, has stated that his smartphone allows him “to return to photography’s original and vital purposes: self-exploration and remembrance.”

Photojournalist Ben Lowy covered the Libyan riots last summer, using his iPhone. An iPhone was used instead of a DSLR to allow easier access to the real people. Regarding the Libya assignment, this is what Ben Lowy put on his site: “I was also tasked with using social media platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to immediately post images of Libya, bypassing traditional print venues and perhaps paving the way for a new type of interactive and immediate visual storytelling.”

That last thought perfectly echoes my sentiments!