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Watersports in Marina del Rey, California

If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I tend to go for the more off-the-beaten-path, lesser-known destinations when I travel. Even when I go to a relatively popular place, like, for example, Romania, I seek out sights that the tourists don’t visit, like the painted churches of Moldavia. Or, visiting South Korea, I…

the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Museum exterior: a brownstone with an American flag fluttering in the breeze

2 small museums in New York City

A while back I posted a list of things to do that are cheap or free in New York City. There were a couple of items on that list that I hadn’t actually done yet myself, so when I had a day free in New York in April, I decided to try to fit one…

Lots of different types of bagels, displayed in baskets in a bagel store

The Perfect Bagel

When other people anticipate a trip to New York City, they might think about fine dining. What’s the latest new cuisine to taste? Which famous chef should we try? Where do we need to make a reservation? (Zie Nederlands versie beneden!) Or they may be looking for “ethnic” food: Chinese, for example, or Cuban, or…

exterior view of the Jane Hotel building

The Jane Hotel: Nautical Flair

When I entered the lobby and spotted the stuffed peacocks on the wall, mounted vertically with their faded tail feathers dangling, I knew the Jane Hotel wasn’t a run-of-the-mill hotel. I had suspected it already when I booked the room. First of all, it was suspiciously cheap for New York City—I paid $115 a night—yet…

daytime view of the Paramount

How my citizenship hit me in the gut

This entry is part 3 of 23 in the series US citizenship

One day last month, when I was walking through Oakland on my way to meet a friend in Berkeley, I passed the old Paramount Theater. This is a gorgeous restored Art Deco theater that I had paused to admire every time I’d walked past that week. That day, though, the theater was open at 8:30…

ad for deep-fried cheesecake

Only in America!

This will be the last of my posts from my recent trip to the US, and it’ll mostly be photos. Every time I visit the US, certain things strike me as odd. They’re not really odd, I don’t think, to Americans, but as an expatriate, they seem strange to me now. I did one such…

Carmel mission graves

California’s overlooked mission history

We often forget that California history goes further back than the “49-ers,” the gold prospectors who hurried to California once gold was discovered in 1848. The first European settlers in California were not “49-ers;” they were Spanish. California belonged to Spain from 1769 to 1821, and then to the Mexicans until the US got it back in 1848 after winning the Mexican-American…

a row of Victorian houses

Haight-Ashbury nostalgia

  Back in the 1990’s, I lived in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the birthplace of the hippie movement and the epicenter of the Summer of Love. When my daughter was born in 1992, I decided not to go back to work right away. Paying for childcare would have cost much of my take-home pay, so…