T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

Hans Christian Andersen is right: “To travel is to live.” I préfère to take Andersen’s quotation as it is:  You aren’t really living unless you’re traveling the world.

Why is this the cas? Well, Batutta couldn’t have answered it better:

When I took a trip to Waikiki Beach in Honolulu on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu in 2008, I witnessed exactly what Battuda expressed: “Traveling [. . .] leaves you speechless“…

…”then turns you into a storyteller.”

You see, I’m from Chicago. The plains. The flatlands. The Midwest. Visiting a city on the Pacific coast…on an island…with mountains was, well, breathtaking.

Diamond Head.

I had stories to go with every photo I took!

I couldn’t agree more (see my series on the chapitres I’ve read).

From Jacksonville Beach to Savannah to Memphis to San Diego to National City (CA) to Anaheim to Hollywood to Las Vegas to Honolulu to New Orleans to Panama City Beach to Knoxville to Tybee Island to Savannah (during St. Patrick’s Day!) to Memphis (to see ma chère amie graduate from Pharmacy School) to Aix-en-Provence (to study abroad) to Nice to Monte-Carlo to Eze to Saint-Tropez to Marseille to Les Gorges du Verdon to Paris to Venice to Rome to Florence to Barcelone to Tours to Briançon and back again…I continue to read this earth and I don’t plan on stopping any time  soon.

5 Raisons How Traveling is Living:

  • It opens up the mind to other cultures.
  • It expands géographique knowledge.
  • It teaches you about yourself.
  • It forces you out of your comfort zone.
  • It enables you to meet and even make friends with a variété of faces.

This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France


Chapitre 11: Mardi Gras in New Orleans, LA

In Février of 2009, I celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.

It sure seems like it was yesterday when I hopped into a friend’s car and we took the road-trip down to the capitale du Jazz . Its charme, histoire, and culture welcomed us with open arms!

As cheesy as it sounds, I thought staying in the French Quarter would make me feel closer to the French and to France. Little did I know, I would get the chance to discover the ‘real’ France through studying abroad 3 years later…and I would come to find that it looked nothing like the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Instead of learning more about French culture, I learned about Voodoo culture (and Zulu)…

…and how the city’s residents came together after hurricane Katrina (despite the lack of government aid).

In 2009 (4 years after hurricane Katrina), the city still hadn’t fully récupérée from the hurricane.

I filled up on delicious cuisine Créole

and beignets from Café du Monde.

I really embraced the city…as a touriste (hey, it happens) who admires every street performer…

…and entre every shop from small boutiques to souvenir shops.

I enjoyed myself along with the milliard other Mardi Gras-ers.

5 Raisons to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans:

  • Bourbon Street (enough said). As long as your drink is in a plastic cup, you can take the party from the bar to the street!

Why stay in a cramped bar anyway? The music can be heard just as loudly on the street as in the bar.

  • Free musique: It’s EVERYWHERE and it’s GOOD!

  • Masques. You don’t have to go to Venice to find a masque classique and beau…and it’s a partie of the Mardi Gras ensemble!

Or you can go full out in a costume!

  • The Mardi Gras Parade! You can even join the Mardi Gras parade even when you’re not a partie of it!

    Standing behind…butterflies?

There are a ton of parades in the week approaching Mardi Gras as well as on Mardi Gras itself: Take a look at this website for 2016’s parade routes (obviously, 2017 has not yet been determined).

  • Mardi Gras decorated cars. Obviously, people go all out for the compétition for the best maison décorée. But they certainly don’t define the line at “house”…They even décorent their cars!

There’s no better way than to spend Mardi Gras than dressed in a purple and gold masque with a trumpet full of your favorite cocktail and joining one of the many Mardi Gras parades on Mardi Gras…

…and hanging out with random street musiciens!

New Orleans, or N’Awlins to the locals, is the way to go! ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 10: Happily Hula Dancing in Honolulu, HI

L’été 2008: the soleil shone as bright as the 7 couleurs of the rainbow that just happened to loom forever in the ciel (sky) bleu et claire.

I wondered if I would find a pot of gold at the end…oh wait, I did.

Certainement, it dépend on your définition of gold; however, I think miles of sandy beaches fit the bill.

When images of Hawai’i come to mind, they’re not only filled with sunny beaches, but also with hula dancers.

There are even hula dancers in the centre commercial.

There’s nothing better than a free show as Luaus can get rather pricey.

5 Raisons to Hula Dance in Honolulu:

  • It’s always sunny. There’s nothing better to do than the Hula while basking under the soleil with the sable beneath your pieds (feet).
  • Everyone’s “doing it,” so you won’t feel out of place. This is the one moment you can follow the “everyone’s doing it” phrase. So why not do it? You don’t have to be an expert.
  • There’s miles of océan. Yep, you can even dance in the océan! It can get quite hot hula dancing on the sable, so, why not continue the hula fun in the water? It’s a great way to faire du sport (aka: to exercise)…
  • You can dance with wild fish! How cool is that?!?
  • You get the chance to dance on top of the world (so-to-speak). Take the hike up Diamond Head and let the breeze sway your hanches (hips). 

Joining in the hula dancing fun is pretty exhilarating (even for amateurs like myself); however, there’s so much more to do in Honolulu than dance.

If you ever find yourself basking under the Honolulu soleil, don’t forget to climb Diamond Head,

…take photos with the several statues mémorial located throughout the Waikiki Beach area…

…and admire these statues, too,

…step foot (if you get the chance) on Bellows Field Beach (it’s beyond MERVEILLEUSE with its white sand!),

Bellows is not quite in Honolulu, but it’s close – it’s about a 30 minute drive.

…have fun with the animaux at the Honolulu Zoo,

…scale the Hawaiian coast,

 …and thrift shop (aka: souvenir shop) at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (it’s HUGE) in downtown Honolulu (The location for awesome deals on souvenir gifts).

As you enjoy all of these fabulous activités in Honolulu, don’t forget to attempt to do the Hula. It makes for some great laughs and you might even get lucky & end up with a free Hula leçon (and make some great friends, too). ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 9: Around the World in Las Vegas, NV

In 2008, I traveled the world in 1 day. “How was that possible?” You ask.

Well, let’s take a second to ponder this question: “In what city can you travel the world without leaving the city?”

Vegas (duh!).

5 Raisons to Travel the World in Las Vegas (if, for whatever raison, you can’t really travel the world):

  • La Tour Eiffel. 

Standing strong at Paris Las Vegas, la Tour Eiffel, offers Vegas-goers a hint at what awaits them in the Réal Paris. Certainement, it doesn’t remplace the réal thing, but it lets you prétendre you’re in Paris…

Plus, you can even take the elevator up to the top!

  • Rome: It’s only a few steps (littéralement) away from Paris. It’s rather easy to walk from city to city: Spend the morning in Paris and the afternoon in Rome!

Caesar’s Palace offre Vegas-goers a mix of modernité (think: slot machines) and ancient Roman architecture.

  • The Castle: Excalibur. No need to pull the sword from the stone to live like a King or Queen in this château!

  • Miracle Mile Shops. Even the mall offre something unique: It rains!

  • New York City.

Why go to the real New York City when you can have the NYC experience in between Paris and Rome?

If you don’t have the means to travel the world (for whatever raison) but you have the itch to do so, then Vegas is a good place to start. The varying architecture makes it quite simple to set aside the slot machines and casinos and to let you live the dream of any World Traveler. ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 8: A Célébrité Sighting in Hollywood, CA

“Ah, Hollywood, it’s good to meet you, finalement .”

*The Hollywood sign might be small, but it’s there!

My French students seem to think that célébrités are all over the place in Hollywood, California. Well, I was there…and I saw 1 célébrité. So, obviously, I beg to differ.

In 2008, I (and the dizaine de paparazzi next to me) had the plaisir of seeing Lindsay Lohan while she was filming…some film (it’s not like I could’ve asked her the titre of the film).

While I don’t care much for Lindsay Lohan, I certainly enjoyed the “paparazzi” experience.

5 Raisons You Probably Won’t See a Célébrité in Hollywood:

  • Although many célébrités live in Hollywood, they are rarement prancing around the city. Unless you show up to a Star Unveiling Cérémonie, you’re not likely to see a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Their homes are gated. In fact, you can barely see through the gate’s entryway. Or, in some cas (such as that of Ozzie Osbourne), the gate doesn’t have holes to pear through.

Ozzie’s house in 2008 (it was on the marché in 2008).

  • The property they inhabit is quite vast. Their mansions sit far enough away from the gated fence that not even a person with 20/20 vision can spot a célébrité by peering through the front gate.
  • Most of the time, they aren’t even at home. They are either working on a film or an advertisement, faire un apparition (making an appearance), or traveling (for whatever raison).
  • They don’t randomly shop anywhere. In fact, most célébrités hire assistants to do their shopping; however, when they décident to shop themselves, their dizaine de bodyguards surround them. This article in the LA Times might be able to help you encounter a célébrité while shopping; however, don’t count on it.

Seeing a célébrité is difficile – and for good raison! They deserve some “alone-time” as much as you and me. Plus, there’s much more to see in Hollywood than célébrités: For exemple, there’s the Hollywood sign

or the hike…

to the Griffith Observatory…

and the vue of LA from the observatoire.

However, if you really want to see a célébrité, visit this website for some pointers. ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 7: An Amazing Aventure in Anaheim, CA

There’s only 1 réal thing to do in Anaheim, CA: Go to DISNEYLAND.

Ok, so, there are other things to do, but, let’s be honnête, Disney is The highlight.

5 Raisons to Have an Aventure at Disneyland in Anaheim:

  • Disney’s California Adventure.

Whether or not you decide to venture on this aventure, you can still have your photo taken in/on/around/under the lettres of CALIFORNIA. How cool is that?

  • The parade in downtown Disney. The parade offers viewers quite a show with its acrobats and floats representing your favorite Disney characters. 

  • Meeting Disney characters.

  • The French Quarter in Downtown Disney. 

It was as close to France as I was going to get in 2008.

  • The attractions. From speedy roller-coasters to relaxing boat rides Disney has an attraction fit for everyone!

Disneyland fulfills most peoples childhood dreams…at least for the time you’re there. Why not let your dreams come true for the 12+ hours you’re in the parc? Even adultes are kids at heart. ♦

*My next stop (in 3+ years…when my daughter is old enough to appreciate the parc): Disneyland Paris. I look forward to seeing all of my favorite Disney characters in France!

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Chapitre 6: Filipino Fast-Food in National City, CA

National City, California is the second-oldest city in California (San Diego being the first). It’s a small city near San Diego with over 20% of the population  being Filipino résidents. Thus, there are a plenty of good restaurants serving delicious Filipino food.

Karihan Filipino Food.

Karihan Filipino Food.

5 Raisons to make a pit-stop in National City:

  • Good Filipino food. Finding a Filipino restaurant is quite the easy task.
  • Jollibee. I wouldn’t consider this “top-quality” Filipino food, but it’s quite an experience.

    He was quite a jolly ol’ bee…

    Instead, I consider it good Filipino Fast-food, which you can’t find in the Chicago-land area.


  • Delicious old-fashioned ice-cream. Niederfrank’s Ice-cream offers patrons ice-cream made through an “antique, inefficient, outdated and expensive process” but it’s certainement tasty!

  • The Santa Fe Rail Depot. The Santa Fe Rail Depot was created in 1882. This transcontinental railroad is the only terminus in the United States that still exists. Today, it is a musée (see this website for more info). The highlight: It offers touristes some photo ops of old train cars.

National City isn’t The number 1 spot for tourisme in California, but it’s a great place to make a 1-day pit-stop: Grab some Filipino grub, visit the Santa Fe Rail Depot and the Jose Rizal mémorial, and then top off the day with some old-fashioned ice-cream. There’s nothing better than a day full of good food and some sight seeing. ♦

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.