It frustrates me when people travel somewhere but then never leave their hotel room or the confines of the 'tourist' district. How can you say you have been to a place if you haven't actually walked a street, dined at a local restaurant and made and attempt to get to know the place? It can be a very daunting task to get to know a city you are in for only a few days, especially if you don't know anyone there. But that is not an excuse anymore!
I just discovered a service that is offered in some cities: Greeters. Greeters are residents of a place that volunteer their time to show a visitor around. They introduce the visitor to their favorite local haunts, explain public transportation and, most importantly, personalize an otherwise overwhelming place. And it's FREE! (at least in NYC).
With this type of service available, it would be much easier to explore a new place that you are not familiar with. This is also a great PR tactic for cities with tarnished reputations. If you have friendly people showing you why they live in a place, it's hard to form a bad opinion.
There are Greeter programs in New York City, Chicago, Fairbanks, Houston, Toronto, Melbourne and Adelaide, Australia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Thanet district in Kent, England; Paris and Nantes, France; the City of The Hague, Netherlands; and ShenZhen, China. I think I will try to utilize this service if I ever find myself in a place that offers it.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
hmm me either. I'm trying to remember if it is against the rules when showing dogs. I gave Ruby a bath this evening and started playing with all the cowlicks along her back as she was drying. If I just put some gel on her, she would look more like a border collie with all her hair standing up. Is that animal abuse?
Ruby finds the weirdest things in the backyard. We had a photo shoot with some of the odd items that she let me put together. Some items: a coconut, walnut shells, avocado seeds, and bones. Lots of bones. Big bones. She wouldn't leave the avocado alone so it's not pictured. Every time I think she has found everything in the yard worth finding she brings up something new.
Do I talk about my dog too much? Perhaps I need a new hobby. Oh and I'm not going to put gel in her hair. She would prefer mousse.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Mary, Benny and I were looking for something to do Saturday after our plans to go tubing at Ginnie Springs fell through. So I loaded them up and took them with me to Wacahoota to watch the Gator game with my family. Since Benny is Australian and has been in Florida for just a few days it was his first experience with American football. I think he enjoyed watching it with the rabid Gator fans in my family. After the game (ok, we left during the 3rd quarter, don't tell anyone) We went to the Williston Peanut Festival. Because it was a little late in the afternoon everything was winding down. But there were still a good amount of people out.
There was one booth with an interesting mix of items. Some of them were antiques, some junk and other art items. This was a display:
Since we are (were) grad students, everyone knows we work for peanuts.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Ruby wishes I was a cooler mom. I can see it in her eyes every time we go to PetsMart. "Why can't I have the squeaky? Why am I not allowed to lick the little girl? Fargo's mommy would let him eat the treats off the bottom shelf."
She also gives me the same look at the dog park. "Stop being so protective. Let me play in the mud. Why can't I sniff that pit bull's butt?"
She judges me. "Why can't I have a bonfire like our neighbors? like BOTH our neighbors? Why can't I visit them and their fires? I think they LOVE me constantly barking at them through the fence, telling them what they are doing wrong and why they should pay attention to me. The dust that I kick up when I play chase with the other dogs tastes wonderful in their drinks. I like it in my water. Why won't you open the gate? Do we have to go to bed so early?"
"Why can't you be cool?"
Ruby is about 5 months old now. I can't believe how fast she's growing up!She weighs 25 lbs and has a really long and lean body and tail. She has also lost 2 teeth in the last couple days. Her behavior has gotten better, she listens most of the time, although she has selective hearing sometimes when I call her.
The other morning, Ruby was particularly rambunctious because of the cool air. I had a faculty and staff meeting at 8:30 so I had to get to work a little earlier than usual. Of course I had stayed out till almost midnight the night before at the Brad Paisley concert so I was moving a little slow. I put Ruby outside and left the backdoor open because she was being very needy that morning. Well I sat down on the couch with my chocolate milk and my laptop after I had gotten dressed and even blew my hair dry. Ruby came bounding in at full speed, launching herself at me. She hit my glass, and half of my milk went up and all over my head, my shirt, my couch. Luckily it missed my laptop.
I had 10 minutes before I had to leave for campus, so I sprayed my hair down with water and tried to comb it out. I took inventory of my clothes, and I was thankfully wearing a brown shirt that didn't show the spots too bad. The rest of the day I worried that I smelled like milk and wondered if people could see the stiff section of my hair that I missed with the water.
Thursday night, throngs of country music fans flocked to the O-dome to see Brad Paisley and... Jewel? The same Jewel that sang painfully woeful breakup songs in middle school? Yes, the one and the same. It seems like a slightly odd pairing, but I guess Jewel has tried to position her folksy sound more towards country fans. And of course, what is country music without breakup songs?
So Emily, Georgia, Cathy and I went. I'm not a huge country fan, but I like Brad Paisley because he is witty and his tunes are catchy.
I was going to upload a video of Jewel singing one of her hits (You were meant for me), but Blogger seems to not be a fan of folk-pop music. Anyway there were people moving back and forth in front of the camera as a result of all the DRAMA that was happening. There was a group of young people who couldn't find their seats, mainly because there was another group of young people sitting in them. So they confronted them and made them move. Apparently they knew each other though. I love people watching at concerts. It's almost better than the music.
Oh and the concert was excellent. Brad did not disappoint. It was probably one of the best large-venue concerts I've been to (but I usually avoid large venues).
Speaking of people watching, Emily makes for good people watching. She loves her pickles. A lot. She steals them off my plate. And then talks to them.