Saturday, 10 August 2019
Location: Campbellford, Ontario
Address: Ferris Provincial Park
Date: Aug 2019
On the August long weekend we took a road trip to Bancroft, Ontario. We went up in search of precious gems. The Rockhound Gemboree was being held in Bancroft that weekend and we hoped to find something special. We didn't find exactly what we were looking for but also didn't leave empty-handed. We managed to get a few gifts from the show.
The Gemboree is the biggest gem and minerals show in Canada and Bancroft is often called the "Mineral Capital of Canada". The Bancroft community centre, curling rink and hockey rink were filled with vendors. A lot of the sparkling rocks had come from nearby areas.
After attending the show we headed across the York River and stopped at The Granite for lunch. We both had wraps and shared some truffle root fries which were delicious covered in parmesan cheese. In a town known for minerals the restaurant was aptly named.
Our journey continued south west towards Ferris Provincial Park. Ranney Gorge suspension bridge is located on the western side of Ferris Provincial Park and offers some great views over the Trent River.
To the south you can see the river cutting through the gorge. To the north is a small waterfall.
The metal bridge hangs 30 feet over the river and is 300 feet long. As people walk on the bridge you can feel it moving beneath you.
After making it safely across the bridge we noticed several large birds circling above. Closer inspection revealed the markings of an osprey. The brown face mark that goes across their eyes and then curves up onto the back of their necks is the most obvious identifier. Osprey love to fish so the nearby river passing through the gorge is a great place to spot one.
We crossed back over the bridge once more to continue our trip home. We had tried our luck hunting for precious minerals, enjoyed a nice meal and swung over a gorge. All in all it was a beautiful day.
Map of Our World
Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge
Post # 259
Saturday, 20 July 2019
Location: Irvine, California, USA
Address: 360 Spectrum Center Drive
Date: June 2019
Hello Kitty was created by company Sanrio in 1974 and since then she has appeared on everything from pencil cases to electric guitars. Hello Kitty products generate billions of dollars every year. People just can't get enough of that cute little kitty with no mouth. That includes us. When we heard that California had a Hello Kitty Cafe where we could also have tea, we made our reservation right away.
The Hello Kitty Cafe is located in the Irvine Spectrum Center. The Irvine Spectrum Center is located about 1 to 3 hours drive (Welcome to LA!) south of Los Angeles. Once you arrive you can load up on Hello Kitty shaped cookies, cakes, macarons and more.
The cafe is decorated with drawings of desserts that feature Hello Kitty. Some of them were available and very similar to what was pictured. Anyone can purchase items from the cafe but you need a reservation to have tea in the Bow Room. There are only about six tables in the Bow Room so book ahead.
The Bow Room is located through a door at the back of the cafe. If you have a reservation you are welcomed into this room, while everyone else looks up from their Hello Kitty cookies to try and sneak a peak. It is called the Bow Room after the little pink bow Hello Kitty always has in her hair. Sorry Pochacco but this is not the Bow Wow room. Only Hello Kitty is featured, none of her large group of Sanrio friends.
The tea cups and tea pots all had a gold Hello Kitty on them and of course a bow. It was too cute.
We started our meal off with a fruit salad topped with coconut cream. It had a Hello Kitty face inside a heart on top.
Hello Kitty's backstory claims here real name is Kitty White and she comes from England. For this reason we hoped she knew a thing or two about high tea service. She did not disappoint. We enjoyed everything. We were served 3 tiers of scones, quiches, sandwiches and desserts.
We devoured everything in between sips of tea. One of the last desserts we ate was a square cake with a frosted Hello Kitty on top. Sorry Kitty but looking cute will not stop us from eating you. Same goes for you Hello Kitty shaped sugar. Into the tea cup you go.
The Bow Room serves cocktails in the evening. But it also looked like you could have your tea around the Hello Kitty silhouette bar. We enjoyed the Bow Room and our visit immersed in Hello Kitty. As we left the cafe we passed a Hello Kiity near the entrance. Goodbye Kitty.......for now.
Map of Our World
Hello Kitty Grand Cafe
Post # 257
Saturday, 30 March 2019
Location: New York, New York, USA
Address: 139 2nd Ave #1
Date: January 2019
Daft Punk caught the world's attention with their single Da Funk back in 1996. It was a purely instrumental song with a driving beat and funky synthesizers. The music video directed by Spike Jonze brought even more attention. The video was a short film called Big City Nights. In the video, Da Funk played in the background behind the dialogue.
We were watching the music video for Da Funk and after the dog missed his bus (more on the video's plot later) we noticed something. Down the street we could see a sign for the musical percussion peformance group STOMP. In New York, STOMP has been performing at the Orpheum Theatre since 1994. They are still going strong after more than 10,000 performances.
We did some research and found that a large part of the music video was filmed in New York's East Village on 2nd Avenue near the Ottendorfer Library. The building was built in 1883 and one part is the library and another part is the Deutsches Dispensary (pictured above). The building does not make an appearance in the video but its bus stop does as do some of the surrounding buildings.
The video follows Charles the dog as he hobbles through the street on crutches. All the while his boom box with a broken volume knob is blasting Da Funk. Charles is not a real dog but an actor in a costume. Daft Punk also like to hide behind costumes and usually appear in public dressed as robots. Charles tries to take a survey, buys a two dollar book called Big City Nights and eventually runs into an old neighbour.
Charles the dog runs into Beatrice inside a variety store and they walk out into the street. Beatrice invites Charles to "come with" for dinner downtown. Charles agrees. They wait for a bus outside of the East Village Meat Market. The gold door on the left looks about the same but the white door (pictured above) used to also be gold back in the 90s.
We know this is the right place as across the road is a restaurant. You can see the words Ukranian Restaurant reflected in the window behind Charles.
A bus pulls up and Beatrice gets on. Charles wants to follow her but sees a sign stating "No Radios. No Smoking. No Spitting". Now he must choose between his music and a girl. The bus closes its doors and drives away. Charles hobbles down the street alone.
Map of Our World
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 1054 Kingston Road
Date: August 2018
Uber 5000 is a graffiti artist who calls Toronto home. One building which is covered in his characters is a Pizza Pizza on Kingston Road. We took a walk one day and visited this pizza place and some other art in the area.
One character that seems to appear on almost everything Uber 5000 has done is the little yellow chick. The Pizza Pizza is no exception as we counted at least a couple of dozen.
Cats are also a favourite. This cat above looks to be riding a red magic carpet along the wall.
Another cat is holding a ghetto blaster and wearing a chain that is part of the building's gas piping.
The back of the building is filled with a giant green octopus.
In a doorway on the side of the building are more yellow chicks and a city of Toronto logo. This makes us think the artwork was commissioned by the city.
We enjoyed the playful and colourful display but we needed to get on our way. We headed further west on Kingston Road.
We hadn't gone too far when we noticed a swan painted up on a rooftop. From the tag we determined this was from an artist called Half Decent. Not half bad we thought.
We walked another block or so and came to Scarborough Road. Here there was a nice mural of a brown bear beside a waterfall. It was on the wall of Dashwood & Dashwood law firm.
The wall faces the patio area of a small restaurant called The Loop.
Around the side of The Loop was more artwork. This time it was a toucan balancing a beer on his beak and suggesting it would be a lovely day for a Guinness. We looked behind us and were surprised by what we saw.
Uber 5000 had struck again. The utility box on the corner was covered with the same cats and chicks from the Pizza Pizza building. Thanks again Uber 5000.
Map of Our World
Pizza Pizza (Uber 5000) , Half Decent Swan , Dashwood Bear Mural
Post # 242
Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Location: New York, New York, USA
Address: 92 9th Avenue
Date: November 2014
We arrived at TAO Downtown on a busy weekend evening. TAO offers Asian cuisine like dim sum, sushi and more all in a mysterious setting. We encountered a long corridor which was lit by candles. We slowly moved down the dark corridor towards our dining destination.
Tucked in behind the candles were different sculptures and artwork. Sitting men and elephants watched us as we made our way deeper into the restaurant.
We turned a corner and there was a reclining Buddha. According to TAO's website, the Buddha’s position signifies tranquility and serenity that comes with enlightenment and represents the final passage into Nirvana.
We turned around again and found ourselves at the top of a grand staircase looking out across the restaurant. It felt like we were entering a large temple. We were led down the staircase to the main dining area below.
At the far end of the dining room stands Quan Yin. Quan Yin is the goddess of compassion and has 24 hands.
3D projection makes Quin Yin appear in different colours and outfits. At some points it looked as if birds were flying past her or if a waterfall was flowing over her. All of this and we haven't even ordered our food yet.
Our group ordered various items from the menu and everyone was pleased. We also loved the cute little chopstick holder man even if he was a bit cheeky. After our meal we climbed back out of TAO's temple and into the busy Manhattan streets having had a memorable dinner adventure.
Map of Our World
Post # 240