I have admired the melancholic charm of Buenos Aires from the first time I set foot in the magnificent cemetery at Recoleta. In stark contrast to the vibrance of its neighbor Brazil, modern day Argentina seems to yearn for days gone by—days before the collapse of the peso and before striking graffiti and broken glass marred the pot-holed streets of the grand capital they once referred to as the Paris of the Americas. The recent run to the World Cup final by the famed Albiceleste shifted a positive limelight back on to Argentina for the first time in a while on the global stage. The capital city also makes for a compelling setting for photography in the black-and-white mode.
It was the first new country that I visited on my round-the-world journey six years ago. Because it is in a similar time zone to the US and Canada and leaves the traveler from these areas less susceptible to jet lag, it is a viable location to visit on a long weekend, especially if you are able to sleep on flights and take advantage of the red-eye offerings in both directions.
One in two million: Rare blue lobster caught at Beal’s Lobster Pier, bound for an aquarium
When I think of Maine, with all due respect to its famous lighthouses and coastline, the first thing I think of is delicious, fresh lobster. I’ve loved it ever since I could remember and when I was growing up in Tokyo, Red Lobster was my favorite restaurant. If it was available, I would order it, even when I was young enough that my father had to read the menu to me aloud. In New York City, however, a lobster dinner would easily run you $50+ with no guarantees of freshness, so it was with great excitement that I found myself headed to Bar Harbor, Maine last August.
Bass Harbor Headlight
Bar Harbor is a beautiful area located on Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine, summer getaway for the Rockefellers and other famous families, home to Acadia National Park with its hiking trails galore, kayaking with porpoises, and stirring vistas of coastline and lighthouses. The town is quaint New England with colorful paint and porches, but drive a little ways out of town and you will see some magnificent mansions with wild, country Maine gardens.
Fountain and flowers in the town square, Bar Harbor, Maine
Easter has mostly been one of those holidays for which I rarely had firm plans. As it happened this year, I found myself in Byron Bay, in northern New South Wales, Australia. Its natural setting makes it one of the most beautiful places in Australia, and its people make it one of the happiest, “hippiest” places on Earth (more on that in another post).
As it turns out, Easter is a huge weekend in Byron with everyone on holidays visiting, and the Byron and East Coast Blues and Roots Festival on. “Bluesfest,” as it is known, is a massive music festival, and one of the very best I have ever attended. This year happened to be the 25th anniversary of the 5-day event, and featured headliners such as Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews Band, Erykah Badu, Jeff Beck, the Doobie Brothers, Gregg and Devon Allman, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Ian Butler Trio, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Joss Stone, and so on, as well as dozens of smaller acts. In the past they have had a who’s who of names (King, Simon, Plant, etc.) Since I was there, I had to get a ticket!