Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Aztec Pyramid of the Moon - Beware these 2 tricks

Traveling in Mexico would not have been my first choice, but I go where the clients need me. Luckily for me, a quick web search showed that there are some pretty cool sites to see in Mexico City. If you have a chance, take the time to spend a day climbing the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the moon. But beware! Even my spanish-speaking companion was tricked by the following.

1. Everyone who acts friendly is NOT a park ranger with your best interests in mind. The friendly fellow with a handful of flyers is NOT an employee of the park, he is a hawker for the vendors at the park. His job is to make sure you park near a gift store and buy something.

2. Don't be fooled by the people whistling or pointing at you, then motioning you to park in front of them. These are NOT park rangers, they are vendors trying to get you to park in front of their restaurant. This restaurant is probably a very long way from the entrance to the park.

The park is BIG, so be prepared before you go and know the layout, where the parking is, and where the entry points into the park are. If you want to try one of the restaurants at the park, please indulge and enjoy. But don't be mislead into parking, then finding out you are not at the park entrance.

One other word of advice: It is quicker and closer to park near the first pyramid, then walk to the second pyramid. Don't go back to your car and drive around the park to the second pyramid. It is a much longer walk and the gift shops are much more expensive.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Close Encounters of the Smithsonian Kind

Our family vacation included a stop at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. They've reworked the exhibits since the last time we visited and the layout is an excellent showcase of the U.S. exploration of space. We saw Mercury and Apollo capsules, the lunar lander, the Apollo-Soyuz space station, the Space Shuttle, Space Ship 1 and other experimental aircraft, satellites galore, and lunar rovers. It was a space lover's dream.

As we wandered away from the beaten track, we found this odd little out-of-the-way display. A quick question was asked:
"What is this?"
Without even thinking twice, I said
"The mother ship from Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
"Right the first try!" I was told.

I was suspicious, and walked around the display case until I found the placard on the exhibit. Yes, I was, in fact, correct. This is the very model that Steven Spielberg's crew used when filming that famous scene. Wow, now I've seen everything!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Scars On Broadway in Dallas?

While on my way to Argentina, I had a rather extended layover in Dallas Fort-Worth airport. Although I've been to this airport before, this terminal was new to me. This sculpture looks like a cross between the Emerald City and a surrealistic vision of On Broadway. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Women Freedom Fighters - WWII Style

During World War II, Japan launched a war of aggression against China, killing an estimated 10 to 35 million Chinese, followed by the brutal and unwarranted attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese began to fear an invasion and prepared their people to fight house by house if necessary. This photo was on exhibit at the National Marine Museum and shows how Japanese housewives were being trained to fight tanks and machine guns with pointed sticks. This exhibit saddened me greatly.

Unlike the Japanese, the U.S.'s goal was simply to end the war, not murder millions of innocent Japanese. We would not have attacked Japan had it not been for Pearl Harbor. And when we did attack, we only attacked 2 cities, though it was with overwhelming force. Our goal was to end the war with the lowest possible casualties. We succeeded.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wishbone Ash in Texas

Every airport has its own unique style. True to form, everything is bigger in Texas. Does this count as art, architecture or humor? I'll let the reader be the judge.