Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pictures, video links, and the future Miss America!!!

The only sewing I did yesterday was sewing the binding on a hot pad that I may or may not include with my UKE gift on Saturday - it doesn't look as good as I had hoped. Other than that, it was a 13 hour day away from the house - a full day at work, arranging to have my furnace and fireplace serviced, a visit to the library, flu shots for the kids, two karate classes, a quick drive thru at KFC for dinner, and then a Board Meeting. Ugh! Can you say "exhausted"?

So no pretty quilting photos, but I realized that I haven't yet shared photos from my trip to Latin America. There aren't many because I didn't take a camera, just my phone, and the memory got used up pretty quickly.

First stop, Mexico City. While walking down a street, I came across these wings - I was wondering where I had left these!

I visited El Castillo de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Castle). It was hard to get a photo of the outside of the castle because it was up on a hill and surrounded by foliage. But inside, wow! There were several carriages: (reminds me of Cinderella)

Beautiful artwork - and I'm not just talking about the painting - that frame is wood inlaid with miniature pieces of artwork!

Lots of stained glass, including an entire hall - this is one of about 8 or 10 scenes down that hallway.

The view from the castle over the city - Mexico City never ceases to amaze me - it is SO BIG!!!

Another day I went to El Centro Historico to pick up some trinkets for the kids and some co-workers from the street vendors. There were several street performances going on.

Next stop, Costa Rica! Here's the view from the balcony of my hotel room, looking out over a putting green with the city San Jose in the distance.

It is a great hotel - the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose, and I highly recommend it for anyone stopping in San Jose. If you care to view it, here is a link to a little video of the hotel that I took for the kids on the iPad so they could visualize where I was. Video of My Favorite Hotel

But the hotel wasn't the highlight of the visit to Costa Rica - the zip lines were! On the way to the cloud forest, we stopped at a roadside bodega to get water and use the facilities. Look what was growing right outside the rest rooms - COFFEE!!

The red bean is the ripe one, and if you squeeze it, out pop two little white coffee beans surrounded by what I can only describe as vernix. Ick! I prefer my coffee beans dry and brown, already roasted.

Anyway, I bought a whole CD of photos and videos from our ziplining adventure. A highlight for me (besides NOT DYING!) was the Tarzan Swing high out over a river.
Video of Erin on Tarzan Swing

After about 8 zip lines, I was feeling cocky and even let go for a split second. While going BACKWARDS, no less!
Video of Erin doing backwards zipline

Our 12th zipline was the longest, 550 meters face down over a river - that one ride lasted well over a minute. Here I am coming in for a landing, and grinning like a fool!
Video of Erin doing Superman zipline

Next stop, Guayaquil, Ecuador. I was only there for 14 hours, including getting a night's sleep and giving hour-long presentation at 3 schools, but during my free hour before my next flight, my driver took me to El Parque de las Iguanas - yup, you guessed what that is! Freaky! There were hundreds of them just hanging out and eating lettuce out of people's hands! (NOT my hands!)

Then we went to El Barrio Las Penas, the oldest part of town displaying coastal colonial architechture built onto the side of Santa Ana hill. It has recently been rehabilitated, and it is very cool that each renovated, brightly painted building has a photo of what it looked like before mounted on a plaque on an outside wall! Here I am at the bottom on the only street in the barrio, which is lined with art galleries. (Ignore my cheezy, squinty grin)

And here I am about halfway up - I couldn't go all the way because I didn't want to miss my flight!

In Quito, I didn't do anything very touristy besides visit a museum in the historic center of town and ride the trole (best ride I've ever gotten for 25 cents!). However, I did take a photo of this, Albert Einstein rendered in chocolate - a gift from the Colegio Einstein school, one of the many schools I visited. I ate about half of him, from the feet up, before I started to feel like I was OD'ing on chocolate.

I hope you enjoyed my travelogue! And now, for something TOTALLY random...

one of my favorite students, a top scholarship winner here at W&L and one of the sweetest, most helpful people you could ever hope to meet, is competing in the Miss America pageant. Part of the competition is raising money for The Children's Miracle Network. If even just 25% of my followers donate $5, she'll exceed her fundraising goal. Wanna help me help this phenomenal young woman acheive her dreams while helping enrich the lives of sick and injured children? The link to her personal page is

I promise you, this impressive young woman is the POLAR OPPOSITE of this poor girl:
(wrong of me to pick on this girl, I know, and I'm probably going straight to hell, but I couldn't resist!)