Santa Fe Depot, San Diego
Underneath my superficially normal appearance lurks a train geek. I thought I loved trains in the UK but trains in America are way cooler! I just need to hear a train whistle to get excited; I must be one of very few of the millions of people who live in the Houston area that gets stuck waiting for a concrete train to pass for 20 minutes and doesn’t mind.
Bright Red Trolley
As I walked towards the water from the Gaslamp area in San Diego my heart skipped a beat when I saw this fabulous old Santa Fe depot. It was built in Spanish colonial revival style in 1915. The hub combines access to Amtrak trains and the San Diego trolley system, buses and the San Diego Coaster, a commuter service. Although we are surrounded by trains in Houston and all over Texas, very few are accessible to people. Most ship goods from our frenetically busy port of Houston to all over North America.
Only 2000 plus miles to New York
There is a silly Subaru advert on TV about living an alternative lifestyle that is clearly better than everyone else’s but I do like the one where the girl with the turned-up nose looks longingly at an open train that drifters might ride on. Here is a link to what we call a SMUGAROO
advert – just casting a little shade…😈 Teddy and I argued endlessly about it the girl. I thought her nose looked like mine but Teddy was adamant that my nose was much nicer. We still keep arguing about it!
The coolest ticket station!
It is my dream to travel on the Amtrak train from Houston to California but the price is not right. Train travel is a luxury these days. Still I can dream.
I really admired the way San Diego had managed to blend the old with the new in a vibrant city.
Old and new architecture
The pink hotel viewed from the Hotel Andaz
This area of San Diego was once known as the new town and most of the buildings are Victorian with some Art Deco. In the 1980s and 1990s many of the buildings were listed as historic buildings. It is now a lively center for business and nightlife. This is a link to the Wikipedia page about the Gaslamp Quarter –
I wasn’t able to identify all the buildings in this post but they all caught my eye.
Sunset from Gaslamp
I loved the detail on the side of the this building. The new architecture looked really good against the older buildings.
Water feature in front of buildings
Totem pole at the mall
The Tipsy Crow
On the water somewhere?
Can you guess? Apologies for my absence from writing and reading blogs. My life has been a little hectic recently and I took advantage of a short hiatus in my schedule to fly to San Diego. What a photogenic city! I chose this destination because some of my American ancestors were early settlers in San Diego…and it had a great weather forecast. I am so shallow.
Over the next few weeks I will share my travels but for a change, I had very little funny human encounters. I think I was disadvantaged by staying the Gaslamp area which was full of convention visitors and tourists. The Uber drivers were eagerly engaging but other people didn’t seem to want to talk to me. 😢 I’m Chatty Kerry, for goodness sakes! Nobody was unfriendly but just focused on themselves. When I walk around the trails near my house most people wave or say hello whether I know them or not.
The Gaslamp is an interesting part of downtown San Diego which is on the way up but some parts are still a little run down. My hotel had a guide for safety at night and there was a safe in my crappy room. Istanbul seemed safer… I dutifully took sensible precautions and went to dinner at Happy Hour, taking advantage of sunset and safer streets. When I walked into the lobby of the Hotel Andaz, I thought I had interrupted a photo shoot for a glamorous magazine. There were a plethora of handsome young men in snappy suits. When they ascended to the rooftop bar, I asked why they were being photographed. It was a groomsman party from England would you believe? They must have had megabucks to party across the pond! More lovely shots of them in blogs to come.
I love rooftop bars because of the photo opportunities and this one was lovely but full of lonely people sitting by themselves (and me…) It crossed my mind that this would have been a good Bunny and Teddy destination but we are travelling alone until our last cat makes it to the rainbow bridge. On the the second night I ventured further afield and for the the first time ever, rejected a meal at a swanky bar. It was terrible so I found yet another rooftop bar (not the hip Hotel Andaz in the shots) which was much better but the food was still meh…
Kerry with the San Diego skyscrapers at sunset in the delightful Hotel Andaz
The barmaid in the second unnamed rooftop hotel, however, was wearing an outfit that shocked even me. She was an attractive slim blonde who was wearing a non supportive bralette with see- through linen pants that revealed that she had forgotten to put on her underwear that day. Perhaps it was a way to increase her tips? Ladies at bars were wearing very revealing costumes so maybe it is a really fun city after dark. Guys were giving me lascivious looks or none at all and I was wearing very supportive underwear. I don’t mind a nice compliment or admiring eye but I felt uncomfortable on my own. Many beautiful shots to come and some funny stories.
San Juan de Dios
Despite my shortened trip to Mérida, I was quite enchanted by the city. They enjoy using color as you can see in the old building above. I tried to research it and I think it may have been a hospital.
The more recently renovated buildings included this lovely candy colored street (below) leading up to Mérida Cathedral.
I particularly like the dappled sunshine on this pink bar and restaurant (below). You can see some of the cyclists meandering around the hot streets.
This busy little colored row of streets was part of the Barrio of Santa Lucia. I love the ‘Muerte’ lady.
The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta
There is something about this photograph that summons up the feeling I get when I am inside a church. Sometimes I enjoy going to a service but mostly I like the silence of an almost empty sanctuary. On this hot day in Puerto Vallarta, it truly was refuge from the busy resort. The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is not a cathedral although it is often called such. Perhaps it is because of the beautiful baroque crown that is said to be a replica of Empress Carlota of Mexico’s crown.
I was utterly fascinated by Empress Carlota whose existence was unknown to me. Napoleon wanted a figurehead for Mexico – Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Emperor Maximilian married Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium) in Mexico City 1864. This is a link to the Wikipedia page about the Empress which is an almost fantastical tale of the brief influence of France on Mexico.
church side door
Mexico has held me fascinated since I discovered that many generations of my Ortega family lived in various states of Mexico. Until recently I didn’t think I had any connection to the state of Jalisco (in which Puerto Vallarta is) until I found an ancestor on Familysearch, Felipe de Jesús Quintero Rosas who was born in Poncitlàn in the late 1600s. Don’t Spanish names sound so romantic? I now regret my haste to get rid of mine when I married. I so longed for an ordinary Scottish name so I could blend in. Only as you mature, do you realize how important your uniqueness is.
When I moved back to the USA over a decade ago, I was slightly surprised that there were so many Spanish speaking Protestant/Evangelical churches in Texas. Somehow I thought they would all be Roman Catholic. This car in Puerto Vallarta amused me…😇
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?