Stained glass window on rooftop of Mayo Hotel
My biggest surprise in Tulsa was the abundance of fabulous Art Deco architecture. It was known as the “Terra Cotta City” in the late 1920s which coincided with an oil boom. My grandfather, Raymond, was born on the Chickasaw Nation, Purcell, Oklahoma in 1899 or 1900 and eventually ended up in San Bernardino in California (where he married Juanita), following various boom towns. I love to imagine what life was like for both my sets of grandparents, marrying in the 20s and 30s when society was changing dramatically in terms of style and habits. Irish Nana Kathleen married in a short and daring coffee colored chiffon dress with a matching cloche hat. I kept it until recently when I passed it on to a younger cousin.
Elevators in Philcade Building
Window display in the lobby of the Philcade Building
Display of Chrome
The Philcade building had a T shaped lobby lined with shops. There are few shops now but you can still browse the window displays. It was designed by architect Leon Senter for oil magnate Waite Phillips. His brothers formed the Phillips Petroleum company. Teddy is an oilman (geologist) and we have survived three major slumps. We used to joke that the 66 in Phillips 66 stood for the amount of geologists they ‘lost’ in a year…it’s not quite as funny as it used to be. Heck, yes it is!
Rooftop of the Mayo Hotel at sunset
Sunset view of the Arkansas River from rooftop Tulsa
Teddy and I had some lovely sunset drinks on the rooftop bar of the Mayo Hotel built in 1925 and designed by architect George Winkler. It has been wonderfully restored with many of the original features kept intact; from stained glass to ceramic tiles in the coffee shop.
Original tiles in the coffee shop of Mayo Hotel
Hyatt downtown Tulsa
I love the sharp edges of this contemporary hotel building contrasted with the bright, cold sun and autumnal leaves.
The shadows are so vivid in this shot, just before sunset.
Vivid blue flowers with silver umbrellas
Building reflected in stripes
This final image made me laugh out loud. If you look closely at the Petroleum Club of Tulsa, you can see that there is a Thai Spa. Do you think they get happy endings?
Aisle of the Holy Family Cathedral, Tulsa
As you know, I love to visit churches when traveling – it appeases my lapsed Catholic soul and the photos are always good. In most of Texas (and Mexico) Catholic churches are open all the time, for sinners like me. This beautiful cathedral was locked but there was number to call. I called the number and the lady said that it would be open when Mass was said later in the day. This was a 24 hour trip (to Tulsa), so I didn’t have time to wait for Mass. I gently persuaded her that I needed it open NOW and I wrote travel blogs. She sort of sighed but came and opened the front door for me – what a treat! This cathedral was a real beauty.
Right hand nave
This is where I lit all my candles for everyone. I kinda wanted to pray for myself but that’s not allowed and I had already manipulated the poor church secretary (one more black mark on my soul…) I love to see purple in a church and priests’ robes are purple at Easter. The smell of incense would have made it a sublime experience.
While I was taking photographs/praying, some men where repairing the organ that somehow made the experience a little more memorable, if slightly off key.
Standing on route 66, Tulsa
I have wanted to visit Tulsa for such a long time. Finally, Teddy had a short business trip so I accompanied him last fall for a one night stay. It is a small city but I saw some fabulous highlights. Oklahoma is mostly flat prairie, uninteresting to some but the sky goes on forever. Tulsa is unusual because it has hilly terrain. It has been a wealthy city for many years – it is an oil city and on route 66.
Fountain in downtown Tulsa
I expected people to be friendly and they were, with a little reserve. That might be because we travelled the day after the election in 2016. Everyone was frightened to say anything in case they offend their political viewpoint – we still are, for the most part. You could see that the oil slump had affected some of downtown but it was still resplendent with Art Deco architecture in another boom time and more recently with fantastic modern buildings.
Last year was a strange one for me and my health. The trip was in October and in my head I feel that I have aged hugely, in one year, but when I look at the photograph above I can see a glimmer of happiness. It is strange how the mirror rarely reflects the truth.
More lovely photographs to come from Tulsa.
Isn’t he handsome – a perfect choice for Khaleesi! He was a few feet long and gorging on the Tamarind fruits that you can see next to him (and falling out of his mouth). If we turned up the hill leaving Hacienda Escondida, we headed towards a more local area with the river dissecting the two areas. It was a haven for wildlife – and they were all new to us!!!
Rivera del Rio
There is a bathing area and we saw local children having fun swimming in the river. The bridge across was the major route from the hillside down to the south side of the Old Town of Puerto Vallarta. If you stay at a resort, you will miss all of this, including a wonderful fresh market. I was told that despite the cobbled streets, the water from the taps was safe to drink. I drank it and it tasted good.
I think this is just a plain old Grackle, above, but I love his silhouette against the trees and hills. I don’t know the name of this little yellow bird, also enjoying tamarind fruit, but he was as little as the iguana was big.
Tiny little yellow bird
Simple Mural at Rivera del Rio
It wouldn’t be a travel blog from Kerry without a church – ‘Nana, I hope you are proud of me!’ The church was celebrating mass when we took this shot but were able to go into the side chapel at anytime to pray. One of the local street vendors showed us where to go. I said my usual prayers but there were no candles to light. My favorite part of this shot was the parking stances with the crosses on them. Who would DARE park there?? I can see the lightning bolt now…
The church was not far from the beach and I loved this shot of the vendors on the beach. Those skewers looked really tasty.
This was a typical view of the streets of Zona Romantica – wealthy tourists in a real town. You could see that local people really benefited from the tourist money and many traveled down in local buses from the hills to come to work.
Autoshop and Taco Stand
I love everything about this shot, close to the river. There is your local family car autoshop and next door a taco stand that has rainbow flags to indicate it is gay friendly. What a fantastic place!
Los Muertos Pier
Our Hacienda was located in the Zona Romantica and this beautiful pier was just a short walk down the hill to the beach. The sands are almost white despite how they look in this shot. I liked this area because you could see locals along with tourists enjoying the beaches which are all public. Shouldn’t all beaches be public??? As you approach Puerto Vallarta by air you can see dense jungle and hillsides and suddenly the most beautiful coastline much of which is taken up by resorts.
The view right outside the Hacienda
I love this shot – it takes me straight back to Cairo. Cobbled streets, flags across the street. It was a curious mixture of a wool shop here, a gay nightclub there, beautiful small hotels, street food and exquisite small restaurants. The mixture was tantalizing. When I chose the Hacienda, I noticed it was aimed at the gay community but welcomed straight folks. Even more intriguing… When I researched the area, the guides said it was particularly safe, with a strong police presence. Teddy and I went out to a lovely little restaurant called Casa Naranjo. I think we were the only straight couple there but we were all the same age. My appetite had disappeared and the host went out of his way to cook some mashed potatoes and also some buttered home-made pasta just for me.
Isn’t there always a little yellow dog wherever you visit? There were many in Cairo and Istanbul. This one resided at a restaurant and was well cared for.
Teddy and the cat
…and then there are the cats. This one was not a stray as you can see from her lovely red collar. She looked just like Katniss.
Teddy and Bunny with funny hats