Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Hiking Mount Beacon

After visiting Becky and her adorable twins on Friday, I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to tie on my hiking boots and meet Rob and Cece upstate to hike Mount Beacon. (If you're local to the Hudson Valley, you're going to want to check out that link - they have some really incredible hikes on there, and their guides are all very easy to follow.)

The hikers!

Rob was all, "Why did you wear hiking boots?" And I was all "I heard this mother is really steep."

And steep it was. But, fortunately, easy to follow, and not like, "rock climbing" steep. Just normal "walking in the woods" steep. The trail starts with about four flights of stairs, and I still believe that climbing them was one of the hardest parts of the whole hike. (I can run 13.1 miles without too much trouble, but walking up two flights of stairs gets me winded every evening.) The path was very clearly marked, and there were plenty of other people spending their afternoons on the trail, so it didn't take too long for us to stumble upon the Wheelhouse.

About a mile into the trail, the Wheelhouse greets you at the top of what was once the funicular. Built in 1902, it originally brought tourists to see the lovely view at the top, and in the 1920s, a casino and hotel was built there as well. In 1982, after years of declining ridership, it burned down. There's now a little movement to see it preserved and restored, which I think would be very cool, though I'm even happier to walk up.

View from the Wheelhouse

Me near the Casino ruins

From there, we decided to continue the hike, mostly because we didn't realize we were actually at the casino ruins. We wandered up and up, even further, making a few wrong turns until we found the trail again (it's the red one, not the orange one, FYI), and headed another mile or so up to the firetower.

Cece and Rob were brave enough to climb to the top:

But I wussed out and enjoyed the view from the third flight and the ground. And it was beautiful:

After hiking back down, Rob said, "I can see why you might have wanted to wear hiking boots for this." It was definitely a bit tougher than we'd thought it would be, but I had such a blast. The views were just gorgeous, and I can't think of a better way to have spent the afternoon. We walked around the town of Beacon afterward, which has some adorable shops and restaurants. Then, we  drove back down south and grabbed dinner and awesome coffee IPAs at Peekskill Brewery before heading home. It was a perfect day. I can't wait to join Cece this weekend to hike at Mohonk!

Friday, June 27, 2014

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:
  • On Tuesday, I finished up my recap of my long weekend in Philadelphia and wrote about my second half-marathon. Shelby also wrote a race recap, so definitely check it out if you're interested in a second perspective on the race (and a pretty good muppet picture of yours truly).
  • This Writer Wednesday featured Evie of Oh Evie fame. She's one of my writing-idols, so it was great to hear a little more about her perspective on this little old thing we do. 
  • Yesterday was a late Weekend Wanderings post, featuring a bunch of images and not much text from our last four days dog-sitting in Bay Ridge.
Writing Elsewhere:
  • My review of The Accursed went up yesterday on Better in Real Life. Lauren featured me with two other awesome women, Liz and Tory. I didn't fall completely in love with the book (it dragged for me), but I am glad that I read it.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I'm going to visit Becky and her twins this afternoon. Tomorrow is hiking Mt. Beacon, and Sunday I'm running in a really fun race in Coney Island. Can't wait!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Last Weekend in Bay Ridge

Our last weekend of dog-sitting in Bay Ridge, mostly in pictures. We had a great time watching Nola and exploring Dana and Liz's neighborhood, but we're glad to be home now.

Madeline Court, a hidden gem.

The gorgeous view from our walk.

Morning pets.

Morning walk.

Bring your dog to work day!

The stunning view from drinks on Heather's stunning roof deck.

In love with Hoboken.

Friday night dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.

Two friends who are very interested in the World Cup.

Dog-sitting done, we head to Astoria and decide not to wait in line to watch the World Cup at Bohemian.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Evie

Evie is one of my very favorite bloggers of all time. Her words manage to be both humorous and deeply earnest at the same time, and that style feels so real and poignant to me. Her blog is in my Feedly under "Must Reads," and there are only three other blogs at all in there, so I think that says something about how much I love her writing (that I have an unhealthy obsession with it, maybe?). Also, we share an affinity for packing light and travel, so of course I'm pretty sure we'd be best friends if we could just go on a single weekend trip together, except that maybe Evie is way, way cooler than me. I hope you enjoy her interview and take a look at her blog after reading it!

Who are you? I'm Evie. It rhymes with heavy. I'm 28 and I feel exactly my age. I'm fairly midwestern, a serviceable home cook, and an unlikely runner. I oversleep. I used to call myself a dog person but I only have a cat and have become a little suspicious of anyone who zealously needs to state a preference. I work in the public service sector which I find quietly gratifying but it's not the whole point of me.

Where can you be found online?  Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work?  If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? The main place to find me is my tumblr. I suppose it's vaguely self-improvement-themed, but it's also about being your dumb shitty regular self. On that site I process my guilty materialism by highlighting things I'm not buying (though I may deeply want to), dole out unwanted advice, consider meal planning, strategize packing for travel, and occasionally I just tell vulnerable little stories about my life so far. I have a weekly e-mail newsletter called Everything Happened that goes out on Tuesdays that I've been doing for six months now. I write a little love note at the beginning, link to my favorite things I read online that week, link to my own writing from the week, and drop in a gif or two for good measure. That has been immensely satisfying because it feels like an e-mail to a friend, slightly impermanent and secret in this world of indelible electronic ink. I'm on Twitter, too. I'm too on Twitter. I use that platform to dump all the thoughts I don't want to be alone with: specifications for my one day funeral, trying not to eat garbage constantly (garbage is tasty), blind feminist rage, mining my marriage shamelessly for a handful of "faves". Respectful stuff. Don't follow me on Twitter, it only encourages me.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging?  When did it happen? I've been writing my own thoughts down since I could. In high school I kept a LiveJournal, which got me into trouble because it really felt like you were shooting your words into space in a capsule, never to be found by anyone. Ha. I've kept one blog or another ever since, with the accompanying episodes of panic anytime I learned someone I knew read it. Now, obviously my shit is everywhere, as evidenced by the above list of internet places I haunt. Oh, well.

Why do you write?
I can't help myself, also I'm literally not good at anything else.

Your writing inspires me.  Who inspires you? Ann Friedman. Emily Gould. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. Danielle Henderson. Jane Marie. My friend Lyn. In the mid-00s when I was first encountering all these addictive feminist voices online for the first time, I wrote them effusive insane e-mails after Google-stalking their e-mail address because I was 20 and didn't know for sure I'd ever get older and have to live with my embarrassing decisions.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Australia. It's expensive to get there and I love a good deal. But honestly, I've become increasingly obsessed with Australia to the point that when I finally get there, it surely cannot live up to towering hype I've built for it.

What is your favorite place on earth? Casa Nueva restaurant in Athens, Ohio.

Anything else you'd like us to know? Don't tell women to smile

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

½ Sauer ½ Kraut - Philadelphia, Days 3-4

Saturday, July 14, 2014

After an awesome day of sightseeing and nibbles, we woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, and Mike and Shelby very kindly picked us up to drive us to the race. It was Shelby and Molly's first half-marathons, and my and Laura's second, so we all had a little bit of nerves going into it.

Turns out the nerves were mostly for naught! It was a fantastic race. Shelby and I had decided to run the race together ahead of time, so Molly and Laura headed off in the 3rd wave, at a faster pace, and we met them at the end. The race course was really lovely.  Though it was warm and sunny, almost all of the path through Pennypacker Park was shaded and cool. There were plenty of water stops, each manned by people in lederhosen and dirndls, since this was a German themed race. Several people ran in costume, which was a lot of fun to watch, too!

My favorite part of the run was also one of the hardest - a half-mile trail-run portion. I'd never done any sort of trail-run before, so I didn't know what to expect. It was very muddy (see the picture below), and obviously it was at a very slow pace, but it was tons of fun! I was a little nervous about tripping, just because that sort of thing happens to me a lot, but we slowly made our way through and it was a blast. I can't say I'm going to sign up for any trail-runs again soon, but I'm really glad to have tried it, and definitely hope to run this race again next year!

Shelby and I were rocking our pace for the first ten miles, and we were actually going much faster than we'd originally intended. Unfortunately, at mile 10, she had some really awful muscle spasms in her foot and calf. It was really horrible to have to watch her in such pain, and not have anything I could do to help. She did some stretches and ate a Gu, and decided she could keep going, but at a walking pace. We walked the last 3.1 miles, and while it definitely meant we weren't going to meet our time goal, I was so glad we were able to finish together. Shelby, like the champion she is, even managed to jog for the last half-mile or so at the race, so we could cross the finish line running!

The after party was awesome. Seriously one of the best I've ever been to. They had some great German bands and dancers, and the race grub - brats and beer - was fantastic. And, unlike a lot of the race parties I've been to, there was plenty of seating and nothing felt chaotic or over crowded. We even saw two guys who run in the Putnam County Classic every year! They gave out prizes (cuckoo clocks, of course!) for fastest times and best costumes, and overall, it was a blast to hang out in the sun, eating, and relaxing.

After the party, Shelby and Mike dropped us off at Laura's apartment, where we planned to shower and then head out to a few street fairs and flea markets. It didn't quite work out that way, and instead, Laura, Molly and I ate leftover pasta while watching TV and lazing around. We'd earned it, though!

Laura stayed behind to wait for her boyfriend Jeff, and Molly and I went on a walk in the beautiful Philadelphia sunshine. She went to a lovely yarn shop we'd passed the day before, and I headed to Barbuzzo, a fantastic bar that a stranger in DiBruno's had mentioned, to meet Leanne, Liz, and Josh for drinks. I don't know if I've said it here before, but I love meeting friends from the internet. I'm always shocked by how easy it is to slip right into conversation like you've known each other for ages. The bar, despite being in the middle of a very commercial area and looking very fancy, was reasonably affordable, and had this incredible caramel cream pot for dessert that was just to die for. (If you want to make it, and I bet you do, here's the recipe.) Their pizzas also looked wonderful, but I had to hold myself back so I didn't spoil myself for dinner.

And look, we somehow managed to remember to ask Josh to take a photo of us:

A weekend of wonderful people!

After the bar, Leanne walked me over to Rittenhouse Square, where I hung around for a bit, listening to Museums without Walls and taking photos.

As I walked over to the restaurant, I discovered Tatyana, an adorable store with vintage-style dresses that I'd previously only seen on Modcloth. I tried on about a million, of course. I only wish they'd been open when I was in high school - I won the Retrosexual award in my drama club, ha! - or that I'd had some event to go to that justified spending the extra money. One day soon, and now at least I know they have a store in New York!

I met up with my friend Sarah (interestingly enough, the one who gave me my retrosexual award lo those ten years ago) for dinner at Russet, a really lovely BYOB farm-to-table restaurant. We split two types of pasta and a fish dish, and everything was delicious. We chatted for the better part of two hours, catching up on everything we've done since we last got together a year or two ago for a friend's graduation party. I love reconnecting with old friends like this. There are only so many people I know who remember what I looked like in second grade, and so I really value them, even if we don't see each other often.

Afterward, Sarah and I met up with Laura and Molly at a rooftop party, celebrating one of Laura's friends and his graduation. We had a gorgeous view of the city under the day-old honeymoon, and Molly played some great beats as it devolved into a dance party. The apartment was just stunning - a beautiful studio loft in a historic school building. I mean, seriously. Look at this place and tell me it isn't the most gorgeous apartment you've ever seen. We're moving to Philly. (Shockingly, despite being THE BEST PLACE EVER, buying one of these units would not be the most insane thing we could do, unlike buying any unit in NYC ever.)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I don't know how, but I managed to wake up on Sunday morning reasonably early and without a headache. Molly and I said our goodbyes and took a long walk north from Laura's apartment. We stopped along the way for some delicious cookies to bring home, and then decided we needed a pastry and coffee to tide us over. We stopped at Sabrina's, where the breakfast looked delicious, but like a little more than we wanted, and ordered two iced coffees. We were sad to learn they weren't serving any baked goods, so we sat outside in the sun and enjoyed the coffee. And then, a miracle that cemented Philadelphia as a place of joy in my mind: as we got up to get the check, they told us the coffee was on the house. I have no idea why, but it struck me as the absolute nicest thing that could ever happen to a person. So of course, it's first on my list to try for brunch next time we're down there.

I headed to the Mütter Museum to meet Shelby and Mike, while Molly made her way back to 30th Street Station.

It's been my goal since 2004 to go to the Mütter Museum. We actually went on that trip we took in 2008, but I got sick right before hand, and spent most of the time we were there vomiting in the bathroom instead of perusing the collection. You aren't allowed to take any photos inside, but it's a gorgeous old building filled with incredible medical oddities. I'm a giant fan of museums and ancient things, and this did not disappoint.

After the museum, we walked over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to pretend to be Rocky. Seriously, we had no intention of going in, but like a gazillion other people, just wandered around the Eakins Oval, which has an incredible monument to George Washington and then ran up the stairs.

It was pretty fantastic.

The museum is actually great, and has some pay-as-you-wish days, so it's definitely worth a visit, but we were short of time and hungry, so hanging out in the sun, we headed for one last meal and I thoroughly enjoyed my sandwich at Rybread down the street from the museum.

Overall, it was an incredible trip. I had so much fun and can't wait to go back with Roger one day soon. Philadelphia was even more wonderful than I'd remembered it, and it really felt like all of the wonderful things about New York (delicious food, adorable neighborhoods, tons of culture) without all of the terrible things (exorbitant prices, that urine smell everywhere). If only they had the same quality public transportation system, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

Friday, June 20, 2014

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:
  • This week's Writer Wednesday featured Devi K. Lockwood, a poet, traveler, and recent college grad who has created some incredible projects recently (and is about to embark on yet another)!
  • Yesterday, I wrote about the first two days of my recent trip to Philadelphia. Spoiler alert: it was awesome.
Writing Elsewhere:
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Ours looks like it might be jam-packed with fun. We're not totally sure of our plans, but they could include any or all of the following: historic houses, Shakespeare in the Park, the Mermaid Parade, a going-away party, and plenty of re-acclimating to our apartment, now that dogsitting is coming to a close.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

½ Sauer ½ Kraut - Philadelphia, Days 1-2

I spent the past weekend in Philadelphia, and yes, it is the greatest place on earth. I visited with Roger and a few friends from high school in 2008, and we did a whole bunch of touristy things, and I loved it then. But now that I've had plenty of time to explore New York and a few other cities, and I've gotten to see a little bit more of the Philly where real people live, it's a lot easier for me to say with confidence: Philadelphia is the best. Plus, it's only a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride away from New York. I hope to be back very soon!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My bus got into 30th Street Station about 15 minutes later than planned. For those of you planning a trip from New York, note that Megabus has two stops, not just the one they say on the website. It stops first at Market Street and 6th Street. If you're staying at my friend Laura's, this is a lot closer to her apartment. Unfortunately, I'd already told Laura that I would meet her at 30th Street Station, so I ended up going further out of our way than I should have. Lesson learned.

I met Laura and Molly at 30th Street Station, which was lovely, and reminded me of the station in New Haven. We went on a long, rainy walk back to her apartment, stopping at a friend's place to pick up an air mattress, and at Fountain Porter for some delicious pickles, burgers, and beer for dinner. We chatted back at Laura's apartment for a while, and then tucked ourselves in pretty early.

Friday, June 13, 2014

We were very lucky that Laura's a teacher and that her summer vacation had already begun, so she was able to give us a really lovely walking tour of Philadelphia on Friday. We didn't walk quite as much as we could have, because we had the half-marathon the next day, but we did walk a good amount and we saw some fantastic things. She lives in South Philadelphia, which is just adorable.

We started our morning at Termini Brothers, which had some incredible old school Italian pastries. We walked in, and first thing, we were offered a free sample of their blueberry cake. Expecting just a cube, the woman handed Laura a full-size slice, and then went to get one each for Molly and I! We demurred and all split the one piece, which was rich and moist, and had the thickest, sweetest cream cheese icing you can imagine.  Of course we each bought a few cookies, which were all perfect.

Molly and me in front of Termini Brothers

We continued our walk up 9th Street, through the Italian Market, stopping at different shops and booths along the way. One of my favorites was Fante's, a little kitchen shop where it seemed like you could find anything you wanted. Laura picked up a pasta maker for our pasta dinner that night. We also stopped in the Spice Corner, where I bought some Russian tea and some crystalized ginger. I was really impressed, all over the market, at how affordable these small businesses were. In New York, I never even stop in these places because of how prohibitively expensive they are, but we wandered in and out of shops and boutiques, and I never felt uncomfortable or like I couldn't afford to even be in them. I wish I could remember the names of all the little shops we stopped in on East Passayunk Street. Liz suggested Occasionette, Home, and Nice Things Handmade, and I know all three are lovely.

We picked up delicious cheese sandwiches at DiBruno Brothers. It was a gorgeous little shop, and the sandwiches were incredible. We continued wandering around, looking for a park to picnic in, but ended up eating in front of Whole Foods instead. It was sunny and beautiful, and the perfect spot.

We also stopped at the Fleischer Art Memorial, an incredible arts center that offers affordable classes to adults and children. Laura had taken a few classes there, and is volunteering there this summer. I really want to look into similar places in New York. It would be so much fun to take a ceramics or painting course, I think. They had a lovely little gallery, and part of the building is an old church, so it was really cool to wander around the center for a bit.

We also passed a bunch of beautiful mosaics by Isaiah Zagar in our walk, and saw the mother of all of them at the Philadelphia Magic Garden. We didn't go inside, but the view from outside was really cool. Laura says that they offer drink nights and other events, so if you're interested, that could be a great time to check it out. It was so different and lovely, even just to peek into.

We grabbed a John's Water Ice - tasty, but I'm being honest, not Ice King of Corona tasty - and then headed a bit further north to the Liberty Bell Center to meet up with Shelby and Mike, who had just seen the bell. The area was really crowded and touristy, so very different from where we'd just been, but it's still gorgeous to see all the manicured lawns. Plus, I'm a big sucker for living history exhibits, so any time someone is dressed up like they're in colonial America is fine by me.

We stopped in at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, an absolutely gorgeous library. They were having a book sale, so we perused that (I bought The Namesake for fifty cents!), and generally enjoyed the beautiful architecture and the air conditioning before continuing on our way.

All over the city, we passed beautiful architecture and incredibly sweet townhouses. One that looked just like the one on the right below was being rented - the entire thing - for just $2,500 a month. I just about passed out. I think Philly is a place I could really live. Not survive, but live.

We picked up Shelby and Mike's car, and headed to the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein German Club to pick up our bibs for the next morning's race. We hit some traffic, so it took longer than we expected, but I'm still really glad we did it because it made the next morning much easier.

After that, we headed back to Laura's apartment for a delicious, homemade pasta dinner. Laura and Molly are such good cooks! We ate our fill and then called it an early night in anticipation of the race the next morning.

Next up: the ½ Sauer ½ Kraut race!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Devi K. Lockwood

Devi K. Lockwood first came to my consciousness when my coworker, Meredith, who went to college with her, suggested I check out her website, since I'm interested in telling stories through poetry. Turns out Devi is freaking awesome. On top of being a poet, she's an avid bicyclist, rower, and Arabic-speaker. She also just graduated college and I think we all know how rough that can be. I'm pretty sure she's got a handle on it, but send some good vibes her way as you read this interview and then hop on over to her site to learn more about her incredible thesis.

And, in the time since we first did this interview, Devi sent me an update with some great news! She writes, "I am a recipient of a Gardner and Shaw Postgraduate Traveling Fellowship from Harvard, which means that my "all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world" is going to become a reality... thank you Harvard funding gods! I will leave in the fall for New Zealand, bike the length of both islands, spend a few months in Fiji and Tuvalu, and then bike in the late spring and summer in the U.K., all the while collecting stories from people I meet along the way about water-based climate change. I will be blogging during the trip (and learning lots about the art of blogging along the way, I am sure), and also creating a website that acts as a sonic map where people can click on a place and listen to a recording that was made there that has something to do with water."

It goes without saying that I will definitely be following that blog and living vicariously. Congratulations, Devi! 

Devi K. Lockwood searching for stories in Vicksburg, MS.

Who are you? I am a poet, a folklorist, a storyteller, a rower, a daughter, and a lover of bike trips. This May I will graduate from Harvard with a degree in Folklore & Mythology and a language citation in Arabic and officially enter the postgraduate abyss––though I hear there is much to look forward to on the other side. Last summer I biked 800 miles along the Mississippi River Trail between Memphis, TN and Venice, LA and collected stories from the people I met along the way. For my senior thesis, there are no straight lines: a collection of mississippi river stories told as poems, I wrote 100 pages of poems inspired by the stories people told me on the bike trip. I am a firm believer in the art of storytelling and the art of listening, and there is nothing I love more than using the energy of my own body to get from point A to point B. I also love baking bread.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? If your work doesn't live online, tell the hot-tub-stranger about your writing in such a way that makes them urge you to get an online receptacle for it. I'm relatively new to blogging, though I created a website to go along with my thesis ( are a few poems from there are no straight lines there. I also have poems published online at Split This Rock and Verse Wisconsin.

What inspired you to start writing? When did it happen? I think it all started in the third grade. My teacher had bins of books in her room that we were meant to peruse during quiet reading time. I have this vivid memory of picking out a book of poems and finding a poem about Zinnias, likely this one by Valerie Worth. I had never heard the word "zinnia" and I didn't know what a zinnia was, but the poem made zinnias real for me. And what a beautiful word! Zinnias! I felt the pull and power of poetry in my life for the first time and sort of never looked back.

I started writing poetry in the summer after fourth grade as a camper at Centauri Summer Arts Camp in Ontario, Canada. I came to the camp as a dancer, but found that I liked the writing crowd better. The writers would go to breakfast, spend the entire morning writing under the “Poet Tree,” break for muffins, and then get back to the business of writing and reading and being ridiculous. I fell in love with words. I love them still. For this love I am especially indebted to Laura Farina and Beth Follett.

This process sort of accelerated throughout my high school career. As a student at Phillips Exeter I had the chance to meet Patricia Smith, Major Jackson, W.S. Merwin, and Naomi Shihab Nye as part of the Lamont Poetry Series. When I ended up at Harvard, I felt like the luckiest woman alive. Christina Davis at the Woodberry Poetry Room curates events that bring amazing poets to campus and keep me hungry and inspired to write and to listen. I have been fortunate to take poetry workshops at Harvard with Joanna Klink, Jorie Graham, and Josh Bell, each of whom facilitated a workshop environment in which it was possible to grow, explore, and learn from my classmates. I am especially grateful to Josh Bell for advising my senior thesis.

Why do you write? I don't think I could live without it.

Who inspires you? Mary Oliver, Adrienne Rich, Marge Piercy, Joy Harjo, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lenelle Moïse, Jorie Graham, Patricia Smith, Maggie Nelson, C.D. Wright, Alice Oswald, E. Patrick Johnson, Anna Deavere Smith , Chris Kay Fraser's Toronto Kiss Map, and so many more. I love being a part of artistic communities of all kinds––I live in a co-op with 32 other undergrads who push me to be the best human being I can be.

If you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would go on a year-long bike trip to collect stories from people about water-based effects climate change. I would start in New Zealand, bike the length of both islands, and then visit Tuvalu, a country dramatically affected by sea level rise. Then I would bike in and around the U.K. to listen for stories about flooding. [Editor's note: Did you read above? Devi is actually going to be living this dream for the next year!]

What is your favorite place on earth? In a rowing shell suspended between the Charles River and the Boston skyline at dusk, just as the moon is rising behind the city. I've experienced this twice and it's sublime. 

Anything else you'd like us to know?
This semester I'm taking a class called Sonic Ethnography in which we learn to make and edit high quality audio recordings. Last summer on my bike trip I made over 50 hours of audio recordings but didn't have a clue how to make them sound worth listening to. At the moment I'm working on a project called the Boston Puppet Map which will feature audio recordings made at different loci of puppetry in the Boston area. I hope to incorporate this kind of work into future projects: a mixture of poetry and raw audio files.

Long live the art of storytelling! If you'd like to contact me, please email devi-dot-lockwood-at-gmail-dot-com.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mayans and Margaritas - Cancun

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

After an interesting trip inland the day before, we spent our last morning in Playa del Carmen relaxing in one of the hotel common areas while Roger finished writing an article. The area we sat was adorable, and had complimentary cookies and coffee, which was lovely.

And, we even got to see the Rally Maya Mexico 2014, a procession of over 180 vintage cars that were driving through Playa (on their way around the Yucatan Peninsula). There were so many really cool ones, and I spent at least a half hour standing on the balcony watching them.

With the article done, we made our way down Quinta Avenida to the bus station, where we grabbed a very affordable and easy bus into Cancun. (We also noticed the price of the public buses to Chichen Itza and realized we hadn't really gotten such a bad deal with the price we paid for our tour the day before, either.)

The bus ride to Cancun took about 45 minutes, and while we could have taken a collectivo to our hotel from there, we had some extra pesos and splurged for the cab. We arrived about 15 minutes later at the Hotel Bellvue Beach Paradise.

Despite my previous negative experience with all-inclusives, we decided to stay just one night in one in Cancun because we wanted to spend our very last day on the beach and this was much closer to the airport. Plus, at just $115 for both of us, everything could have been terrible and it would still have been a good deal.

View from our room.

We arrived and immediately, I knew it was a lower-quality place than the Excellence had been. So, note: if you're looking for a very fancy all-inclusive to spend your honeymoon at, this is NOT it. All of the hotels in the hotel zone are right on top of one another, and instead of being greeted with a drink, we were told we were 5 minutes early and would have to wait to get our room keys. We sidled up to the bar, and immediately a drunk American man fell off a barstool next to us. We were pretty terrified, but ordered some drinks and waited the 5 minutes until our room was open, and luckily, we were able to spend the rest of our time there avoiding other patrons and relaxing.

The hotel itself is nothing special, but it wasn't terrible, either. And the beach in Cancun was absolutely gorgeous.

It was so gorgeous, we didn't even step foot in the pool, although we did frequent the bar there. They also had a snack bar set up as a buffet, so you served yourself, instead of ordering and being served, as it was at the Excellence. This meant the food wasn't quite as good (and that's saying something, since I hated the food at the Excellence), but it did make me feel better that no one was standing over me waiting on my every whim. Having a smaller and less attentive staff might make some people feel like they weren't being pampered enough, but for Roger and I, it was exactly what we needed.

Pool Bar

Of course we stocked up on a huge basket of fries, beers, and headed to the beach, where we spent the rest of the afternoon, reading and lazing around. It was easily the most beautiful beach we'd seen the whole trip, and despite being CANCUN, it wasn't too crowded or rowdy at all, which I'd been worried about.

In the evening, we had dinner at both restaurants on the hotel, desperately trying to find something good to eat, but alas, it was all truly bad. We made up for it with mixed drinks. That evening, we thoroughly enjoyed watching terrible karaoke from the bar.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the buffet, which--with more chilaquiles, quesadillas, and other Mexican food--was significantly better than dinner had been. We checked out right after that, but the hotel very kindly let us keep our wristbands, so we headed back to the beach for a few hours before our flight.

More beers, more fries, more reading, and a few selfies later, and our trip was sadly over.

You know, this trip had the potential to be a true disaster. Not a whole lot went right with it, and the best part ended up being the part we'd been most afraid of - the dreaded all-inclusive. I was glad we packed in a bunch of things to do at the start of the trip. Taking Roger snorkeling for the first time was a blast, and I was stunned by the beauty of the ruins. But, I'm also really glad we spent our last two days in Mexico basically doing nothing. Despite starting out in a pretty terrible way, by the end of the trip, I was really and truly sad to be leaving. I may even have teared up a little on the last day. I don't know that we'll be heading back to Mexico any time soon, but I couldn't be more grateful to have gone. It really is one of the most perfect places for a beach vacation.