exploring

By aaron.axvig, 25 October, 2019

We traveled the 30 miles from Annapolis to Washington, D.C. yesterday morning via hailed ride to New Carrollton, MD and then the subway.  My priority was the National Air & Space Museum so we went straight there.  That was sort of a bust as about 1/2 of the museum was closed for renovations.  We still spent about 90 minutes looking at the rest of the displays.  For lunch we walked a few blocks to a line of about 15 food trucks that we had previously spotted.

Then we walked back to the Mall and decided to go in the National Museum of Natural History.  One of the first things we saw there was a rhinoceros gathered from Africa by Theodore Roosevelt.  When writing this post I read a little more about the specifics of that, which was part of the Smithsonian–Roosevelt African Expedition that collected over 11,000 specimens!  We spent a good amount of the time on the animal exhibits but breezed through the mineral exhibits which I think would have been really interesting to spend more time on.  But we had more places to go!

We almost made it to the Washington Monument but then decided to go to the Holocaust Memorial Museum first, which was great.  Then we spent a few minutes with the Washington Monument, Anna walked a little on the grass with her shoes off to give her feet a break, and we checked out the WWII Memorial.  We went down the south side of the reflecting pond as the sun was sinking pretty low about an hour before sunset...very nice.  After an obligatory few photos with the Lincoln Memorial we decided that we didn't want to wait the half hour to see the sun set behind us as we watched from the steps there, so we visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and then went to see the White House (from right where the National Christmas Tree will be).  Then we made the long trip back to the boat and had a late supper!

By aaron.axvig, 23 October, 2019

Monday was a beautiful sunny day and we motor sailed about 45 miles to Annapolis, MD.  We checked out Back Creek to anchor where we did last time we were here but it was just a little too full for us to feel comfortable.  So we looked at the map and decided we would try out Weems Creek.  15 minutes later we were there and found plenty of room for us and Thursday's Child to anchor.  I took Louise to shore for a walk and we watched old sitcoms on the Laff channel that our antenna was able to pick up.

Tuesday started off with scattered light rain.  Anna's friend Will who she worked with in Big Sky lives in nearby Crofton and he came to say hi and bring us a few packages that had been mailed to his house.  It started raining more often and I took Will back to shore.  Then he gave me a ride to the grocery store about four blocks away.  I bought about as much as I could reasonably carry (I always put the heavy things in the backpack) and then walked all the way back to the dinghy in steady rain.  As we unloaded the groceries back at the boat Anna said that some of the bags were so wet that they felt heavier from the water!  We used the generator for about an hour to make some water and heat it for showers, and charge the batteries to keep our electronics going to entertains us through the rainy day.  It was interesting that the watermaker produced 27gph rather than the 15gph that we expected in the cold water here.  My best guess is that the creek we are in is not very salty as the tidal range here is only a foot or so.

Today we met Steve and Susie on shore at 9:30am and went to tour the Naval Academy.  It was a pretty interesting tour.  We went through a couple of the big halls and towards the end saw all of the students form up in the courtyard and march in to lunch.  Then we followed them into Bancroft Hall (all 1,000 or more of them were gone into the depths of the building already) which had some great architecture.  After the tour we went into the Naval Academy Museum which had great displays about the ships, technology, leadership, etc. of the Navy in all the wars throughout the generations.  There was also a very interesting part about the research arm, especially all of the satellites that they have launched.

We walked around Annapolis a while and checked out a few shops with Steve and Susie, plus the obligatory ice cream. Tomorrow we plan to take the bus/train to DC and see a few things.  Steve and Susie are heading towards Hampton, VA tomorrow so will probably see them there on our way south in a few days.  There they will be preparing to go offshore with a bunch of boats in a rally down to the Bahamas--something like seven days at sea.  We will proceed our own way slowly down the coast but I think eventually find them in the Bahamas.

By aaron.axvig, 14 September, 2019

Today we weren't planning to leave Gosport Harbor at the Isles of Shoals because of forecasted four foot waves. But when we looked outside around 8:00am all the other boats were gone. And our end of the harbor was getting some wave action so we needed to move further into the harbor anyways.

We decided to see what the conditions were like out there. They were just on the good side of unreasonable and we probably could have tacked our way upwind to Rockport by late afternoon. But we looked at the dark clouds on the horizon and matching forecast for light rain, and then turned around. On the way back the heightened conditions and frustrations of not making any progress for the day led to lively "team dynamics".

We grabbed a mooring ball closer in and had lunch. Our mooring ball floated quite a ways back as our boat hung on it, so that the next mooring ball (unoccupied) was at times almost touching the stern. Later someone was daring enough to snag it and now we are all hanging out with good spacing.

We took the dinghy to Star Island where we walked the trails around the island to look at the sights as the drizzle started. We had very good ice cream and then went back to the boat to nap and read while it rained a bit longer. Now we are about to make pizza and are looking forward to a sunny day tomorrow!

Louise getting off the couch
Louise getting up from her nap.
Anna and Louise on some rocks
Walking Louise on a little island
A trail through some flowers and bushes
One of the trails on Smuttynose Island. There are a lot of muskrats living in the bushes!
Aaron and many solar panels
Aaron loves solar panels. These are on Star Island.

 

By aaron.axvig, 23 December, 2006

I've been to several interesting things over the last couple of days:

Thursday Javier, Daniela & I went to an area of the town called Xochimilco.  We saw an old cathedral (not as nice as many that I've seen, and definitely showing it's age, but still impressive), ate at a market, and went for a ride in "trajineras."  There is a canal system in that part of the city, and the trajineras are the most common type of boat there.  They are propelled by pushing a pole against the ground, which is about 8 feet under water.  We went on a trip of about 1.5 hours.  It was very relaxing.  There are other trajineras that pull up along side you, offering a variety of services, ranging from taking your picture or selling you food to a real live mariachi performance (and even marimbas if you prefer).  Reportedly they are pretty popular for parties at night too.

Friday Aline, Angeles, Daniela, and I went shopping (Christmas shopping of course).  First we went to Suburbia, which is a lot like Herbergers, and then to Wal-Mart.  After that Angeles dropped us of at Frida Kahlo's former house, which is now a museum/art gallery dedicated to her.  She was a painter who lived a very traumatic life.  Then we went to a market and had quesadillas and sopas, which are tostadas with beans, lettuce, cream, and steak.  The museum is in a part of the city called Coyoacan (my third trip there), and we went to the market in the plaza area, where we tried some new candies.

This morning we went shopping with Aline's friend Miren at the same Suburbia as yesterday.  Well, that was after waiting "1/2 hour" (actually more like 1 1/2 hours) for Miren to dye her hair.  We had frozen yogurt at a place called Nutrissa, which was very similar to TCBY.  We dropped Miren off at her house, and then went home for a afternoon lunch of hamburgers, which were very good.

No special plans for tonight, but tomorrow will be busy with all the relatives coming.  It's a very large family.

By aaron.axvig, 18 December, 2006

Yesterday Javier, Javier, Julia, Daniela, and I went on a trip to Chapultapec.  This is an area of the city that is sort of like a giant park/historical zone.  The first place we went to was the Anthropological Museum of Mexico.  They had a temporary exposition on Persia which was pretty interesting, and then we moved on to the main part.  It is arranged around a central courtyard area which is half-covered by a roof held up entirely by one big pillar in the center.

The first building we went to was about the beginning of man--not specific to Mexico.  They didn't have any clothes on the models.

The next building showed after man learned what clothes were (good thing too, because they were hunting woolly mammoths in the snow).  And it was more Mexico-specific.

The rest of the buildings were more interesting.  They covered the Mexicas, the Aztecs, and each of the regions of Mexico (North, South, and Central).  I thought the one about the construction of Tenochtitlan was really interesting.  The tribe was told by their god to find a place where an eagle is sitting on a cactus with a snake in its beak, and to build their city there.  As luck would have it, they found that eagle in the middle of a lake.  So they drove piles of some sort of water resistant trunk into the lake and built their city on top of that.  The problem here is that Mexico City was built on top of this city after it was conquered. Downtown Mexico City (located precisely over the center of the old city) has many heavy buildings, like...a cathedral and an art museum made of marble.

Daniela says that the art museum is actually sinking 5-or-so centimeters per year.  The government is considering moving it.  When I visited the cathedral, they had a pendulum hanging in the middle of it to show how much it was leaning to the side (a foot or so, with a pendulum length around 100 feet).  It is also sinking.

After the museum the Javiers and Julia went home.  Daniella and I went to the castle that's in Chapultapec, which was built by an emperor they had from Europe.  Mexico's presidents have also lived there, up until 1939 when it was converted into a museum.  We saw lots of paintings and murals inside, along with lots of old furniture and exhibits of old stuff.  I think my mom would have really liked it.

Then we went to the zoo (also in Chapultapec) and ate at the TacoInn.  By the time we finished the zoo was closing, so we didn't get to see much, except for some birds.  There were a lot of people leaving the zoo though--apparently it's very popular.

We got some cotton candy on the way out, and rode 3 buses home.

By aaron.axvig, 11 December, 2006

Yesterday I went to the pyramids of Teotihuacan with Laura.  I woke up at 11:00 (in know, in know, that's kind of late), took a shower, and all of a sudden Laura was sitting at the dining room table.  She showed me a bunch of pictures that Tom and Jean (my grandparents) and my family had sent her over the years.  There were a bunch of me and my siblings when we were really young, which was pretty neat. 

Most interesting I thought was the one of me and Laura (sister Laura) playing in the new sandbox, which I remember my dad building.  It had a date on it of July 1990, placing me at only 3-and-a-half years old. Then she asked if I wanted to go to Teotihuacan then or Monday.  Well, I didn't really have any commitments, so off we went.  We walked a few blocks, took the subway for 40 minutes, and hopped on a nice motor coach for the rest of the way (only 28 pesos, or $2.50 USD, for the 1 hour ride).

We spotted the pyramids from a long ways off.  When we finally got there, we started walking in the wrong direction (couldn't see the pyramids from there).  But Laura talked to someone and we found the right place.  The admission fee was 45 pesos.  I think the pictures I took would explain everything pretty well, but on the slow dial-up connection I have here I could see it taking me more than an hour to get everything uploaded right, so you'll have to look at my pictures when I get back.  I'll just say it was really cold, it was really windy, the steps were really steep, and Laura actually beat me to the top (I went walking around on one of the levels while waiting for her, and she got ahead of me).  The big one is 213 feet tall if I remember right.

The bus ride back was very nice, with only about 10 people on the very quiet, peaceful, dark bus.  So yes, I promptly fell asleep. Laura and I got off the bus in the middle of a traffic jam, took a short subway ride (2 pesos no matter how far you go), and had some quesadillas.  I really liked them--deep-fried bread around either meat or cheese, with cheese, cream, and salsa on top.  I really stuffed myself by eating four.  Then we went to Laura's apartment, which is pretty small but cozy.  There had been a lot of a special kind of cactus at Teotihuacan which they make pulque out of, which is an alcoholic beverage.  I had expressed interest in trying it, so we went to the pulqueria near Laura's house and got a half-liter of it.  The place smelled really strongly (badly) of fermenting.

It turns out that the smell is much worse than the taste.  I think it would be fair to say that it almost tastes like nothing (similar to my raw egg drinking experience).  Despite the unobjectable taste, I only drank about half-a-cup.  I stayed on Laura's couch for the night, which was actually almost long enough to fit me comfortably.

Saturday I didn't really do anything exciting until the evening when Aline, Angela, and I went to Angela's cousin's house.  Her husband really resembled a short version of one of my high-school teachers, Mr. Skytland.  We had an excellent meal there of spaghetti and pizza, and I stuffed myself almost to the point of sickness.  Afterwards we played cards and dominoes until 10:00 when we headed back.

By aaron.axvig, 18 November, 2006

Today I went to the city of Saltillo.  Our intelligence showed that Saltillo is renowned for its blankets and linens and things, and my mom had recently placed an order for some of those items.  Plus it would make a nice little day trip.

We (Christin, from Tennessee, and I) left at 7:00am in a taxi to the bus station.  It was a 1.5 hour bus ride to Saltillo, in a very nice bus.  The route was very scenic, with jagged mountains on both sides.  It was pretty cheap too--just $5.50 for each of us each way.

Outside the bus station:

Landscape

We then crossed the street and walked past a bunch of shops and stores.  One was Waldo's Mart, which we felt horribly inclined to go check out.  It was just a discount store.  We didn't stay long, primarily because of the Christmas music that was playing, composed of meowing and barking sounds.

Waldo's Mart

There were no blankets too be found.  We decided to head downtown, where there would be markets.  So a local told us to get on bus 17.  Annoyingly, a different bus 17 would drive right by us every 5 minutes (no matter how hard we tried to flag it down), and after four times we asked and found out that we had to go to a different corner to get on it.  10 minutes later we were downtown.

The first market we went into had a lot of jeans, shirts, and bootleg movies and music for sale.  After walking around for 1/2 hour, we went looking for something else.  On the way, I saw a man standing by some sticks that were angled from the sidewalk to the building.  They looked kind of like a broken picture frame (a very thin one).  So as I went by, I stepped in between them, being VERY careful to not knock them over or break them.  I guess I should have been as observant as I was careful.  The man standing there hollered something, and I looked down to see wet concrete.  Luckily it wasn't very deep, and really only the sole of my shoe went in it.  But the guy still had to re-smooth the surface.  Note that I successfully managed to not touch any of the sticks.

On we went, making note not to go back down that street lest we get mugged.  A couple of stores later, we were ready to eat, and found a quiet little place.  There were some nice old ladies working there, and when we asked what some of the items on the menu on the wall were, instead of explaining she took us back into the kitchen.  She practically gave us a tour of the place, showing what went into each item.  Very interesting.

At first I ordered 7 gorditas, which are tiny little tortillas (but thicker, like bread) that are cut to create a pocket in the middle and stuffed with meat, cheese, or beans.  But then I saw chilaquiles on the menu.  I've been a fan of the chilaquiles at the cafeteria on campus (fritos and cheese melted with lots of grease, slopped on a styrofoam tray), but my mom said the chilaquiles she had in Mexico City were entirely different.  So I went back and revised my order to chilaquiles.  This time they were like this (soft chips, frijoles, and some cheese):

Chilaquiles

They were just as good, but I'm sure more nutricious.

The ladies then tipped us off to where we could get the linens, and off we went.  There seemed to only be one store in the market that had them, but they had the variety of selection that I needed so the mission was accomplished.  We asked a policeman which bus would take us back to the bus station, arrived there 15 minutes later, and were soon on our way back home.

Large Mexican blanket

Mexican blankets