scribbles tagged ‘LaCroix’

premeditated tourist

Friday, June 24th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

This summer, October (I have a flexible definition of summer)

I’m off to Barcelona with a blogging friend, LaCroix, from Seattle

As the excitement ramps up to amber risk level I’ve been gathering advice from people who know Barcelona. Here’s some awesome suggestions from a London friend who’s in love with a person that lives in Barcelona:

  1. Day trip – Montserrat: Things to do: wander around and admire the shapes that inspired Gaudi, listen to boys’ choir, see the Saint, take the funicular to the top and check out some of the walks once at the top
  2. Day trip if you’re renting a car – Cadaques and Port Lligat, book well in advance to visit Salvador Dali’s house. Drive all the way up to the most Eastern point of the Iberian peninsula (Cap de Creus) and have a coffee/beer/snack at the top enjoying the amazing views.
  3. Montjuic – check out the Olympic Village during the day, pop in to Poble Espanyol, an open air museum and enjoy the distinct style of the Spanish regions. An absolute must are the magic’ fountains (Thurs-Sun 2100-2330, buy some beers or cava beforehand to enjoy the show!) between the National Palace and Placa Espanya.
  4. Eating at the market. Les Cuines de Santa Caterina – this is a general google search. Looks like your Lonely Planet guide should have the details. I’ve only ever eaten at the ‘bar’, not the restaurant part. Quite a trendy place, definitely a step up from the traditional tapas bars, yet located under the market roof. If you want to experience the basic market eating check and love fresh seafood out La Paradeta located in Born. Check out opening hours if you decide to go.
  5. Things you should eat/drink: I am not talking your usual tortilla/paella stuff (btw sangria is widely regarded a tourist drink, try it if you wish but don’t be deceived – in my 4 years or so I maybe drank it….1 time with the locals).
    1. Cruasanes de crema (mini croissants with custard filling), at one of the bakeries around town. I get mine from Moli Vell, perfect with your afternoon ‘cortado’ – a popular afternoon coffee (cortado means coffee cut with milk).
    2. Another thing to try at the bakery is Ensaimadas. It’s a Mallorcan thing, when I first tried it I thought nothing special, but if you find good quality ones they’re divine
    3. Pintxos – Basque thing. Get a few on your plate and then pay by the number of ‘toothpicks’ left from the pintxos (also known as montaditos). The fun is in hiding a few toothpicks and paying less
    4. Pulpo a la gallega – from what I’ve seen the locals eat pulpo as if it was chicken in the UK
    5. Pebrots de padron – one of the tapas – tiny green peppers. The fun starts when you get a spicy one!!!
    6. Ensalada rusa – this is a mediterranean version of the typical Russian dish (Russians have it for every big occasion, so I was surprised to find it made its way into Spanish cuising), one of the tapas
    7. Cava
    8. Jamon – ranging from industrially fed to acorn fed pigs, make sure you’re ready to appreciate the highest jamon category
    9. Pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomato) – typical fresh Catalan bread ‘rubbed’ with tomato (sometimes garlic) and olive oil, probably the most Catalan thing you can find, they use tomato and olive oil like non-Catalans would use mayo or butter
  6. Paella – OK so you should of course try paella, but make sure it’s good. Don’t go for the €10 per person type restaurants. We investigated over the weekend and for quite a central location Kaiku seemed good. Silvia’s relatives have been coming here for years (when Barceloneta was still a fishing village) and it’s got sea views and it’s close to the beach and everywhere else. There’s another restaurant close to Barceloneta bearch – Can Costa but the reviews are not as good. Apparently quality paella is freshly made, on charcoal or wood, uses fresh ingredients and good stock, for that be prepared to pay €25 and up. The cheaper ones are often re-heated from frozen. If you’re sharing a paella between two you probably won’t need starters (unless very hungry)
  7. Go up Las Arenas a bull ring refurbished into a shopping mall (lots of Catalans are against bull fighting, as a. they see it as cruelty b. bulls are a symbol of Spanishness). The facade was lifted up several meters (quite incredible) and you’ll get great views of Barcelona (L’Eixample and Montjuic)
  8. Spice up your Gaudi day by popping into Vincon a designy shop two steps from La Pedrera – great for window shopping experience or buying stuff for Wendy House 🙂
  9. Read The Shadow of the Wind and visit some of the landmarks mentioned in the book. They even do the shadow of the wind tours. You’ll find lots of historic drinking/eating places mentioned in the book like Els Cuatre Gats (the four cats).
  10. Have a drink in hotel Barcelo Raval to chilled jazz music and then go up to the roof terrace to enjoy the night views

Interestingly, barrios (neighbourhoods) like Raval and Barceloneta close to the sea tend to be the poorer ones, as they used to be fishing villages, old buildings with no lifts. The further up ‘the mountain’ you go in Barcelona, the posher. Watch your bags at all times when on the beach and in crowds of people. On the Barceloneta beach literally attach your bag to yourself as thieves can grab it and run. Take minimum cash and documents when you’re out. If you’re vigilant chances are nothing will happen, but I’ve had all my documents, cards, mobile and money stolen once

How fabulous to be given such thorough and thoughtful advice from a friend. Excitement levels have definitely reached amber!

premeditated tourist
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Mine’s a pint of Bass

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | tags: , , , , ,  |

My Seattle leaving do was full of a hand-picked set of local characters that  I’ve met  through blogging, tea parties, being a Lecturer in a past life, and being taken to bizarre mountain getways surrounded by gnomes and melon-eating hyennas (you had to be there).   LaCroix and I were able to indulge our predelictions for Bass ale,   while others drank iced tea,   all around it was a stonker!   One of the girls that arranged this party  had also attended my ‘leaving the UK’ party in April 2000!  

By the end of the excellent  evening everything was slightly fuzzy.    I had to hold onto the patriotic balloons in order to maintain a standard  upright position.   The infamous grin was on full display all evening.  

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dropping by for tea

Monday, June 4th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

yesterday several people dropped by :: the Wendy House  ::  for tea on the way to, or from, cycle rides,   wedding anniversaries, de-salinated dudes,  and other more unmentionable doings.

People bought things as conversation pieces and talked about them and talked about sailing,   fables. cuckoo clocks  and the French.  Urgghhhh, I realised 30 seconds before  people other than   LaCroix arrived,    maybe the Bonzo  Dog Doodah band  wasn’t right musical accompanyment for an afternoon of tea and conversation with North Americans.    LaCroix saved the afternoon…

Tea was consumed by the pot-load,   green, white and a  red (Rooibos, not really tea).   Subtle (white) through to strong (Assam),   with and without biscuits,  dunkakable.      I had a fabulous time.    I  must remember to ensure that my  guest have a fabulous time too.   Ooops.   When the tea flows I’m accustomed to leaving enjoyment to fate…

Thankyou guestipoos,   you know who you are, you were wonderful and frighteningly well turned-out too   🙂

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easter hat

Monday, April 9th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

Inspired by LaCroix’s project to take one photograph per day.   I’ve started ‘Project hat’.  

 Project hat is an attempt to document my collection of over 50, uncounted,  hats.  I’ll  gather the photographs of the hats  in their natural use habitat.   It may take some time because some hats are rarely worn.   Here’s hat #9, a baseball cap that I captured in an impulse moment of boredum while waiting for my Vista laptop to boot…


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Tea in Panama

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 | tags: , , , , ,  |

fifthteenth in a  series of  Thursday posts about taking tiffin with  (black) tea  and milk in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #15 Tea in Panama

Panama:  The Panama canal was a significant engineering achievement sponsored by the Americans and French prior to WW1.   The Panama Hotel dates back to the 1920’s and is based in what has become Seattle’s ‘International’ district.   The Hotel’s Tea rooms provide a pleasant mix between oriental and English tea customs.   The tea was well made, not stewed, plentiful and upon request an appropriate jug of milk was supplied.

Goodnesses:   I had advertised that I would be loitering in this Tea house on a Sunday afternoon at 3pm to 12 or so favourite people.   To my enthusiastic suprize 8 people* turned up to join in.   We were able to arrange to sit around one ‘coffee’ table and share conversation.   This made the afternoon really enjoyable.     The tea prices were reasonable at  $6.00 for a pot of at least 6 cups of tea and some classic (Darjeeling) and interesting (lavendar flavoured) choices.   Yummy,   naturally I finnished off one pot of Darjeeling  all on my own and managed to scrounge cups from friends’ pots!   The Tea house provides free wireless access,   there were groups of people with Tea and Laptops opened on long tables.   The rest rooms were very stylish,   though difficult to spot from the outside,   not labelled.   I accidentally walked into the broom cupboard,   perversely this was actually a highlight for me,   giggling in the broom-cupboard bought back lots of fun memories.   The clientelle looked mainly,   but not solely, Asian and of varied age maybe 20 through to my 43yrs.   Girls and ….boys….   and sometimes it was difficult to guess….


Discomforts:   these were miner,   I feel a bit churlish even mentioning them.  The shiney wood floors and some of the hardwood seats gave the place aslightly cold, uncomfortable edge.   I kept my coat on to stay warm and was lucky enough to find a seat on a soft sofa.

Panama Hotel Tea rooms are  a  good place  for a reasonably priced and brewed hot tea in a relaxing environment conducive to good conversation irrespective of age and gender

* People included:   LaCroix, Raymond, NitwitOddment, Mark, The CultFigurine, the DevilsGulch.   No-one was a post-menopausal woman (not even me!) consequently several people risked taking milk in our tea,   Hoorah!   I even put milk in my Darjeeling….   just a comforting ‘dash’…

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November’s comment of the week

Monday, December 4th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

For the week starting Monday:

  • 30th Oct: Seamus for building an outdoor coyote-proof cat enclosure using re-cycled wood.
  • 6th Nov:   AF Harrold’s mention of ‘the Goons’. Any reference to Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan,   Harry Secomb, or Michael  Bentine,  direct or indirect is pleasing. Altogether is simply outstanding.
  • 13th Nov: Katy  for mentioning the Pooh
  • 20th Nov: The Cultfigurine for asking  “is your anti-spam-bot psyhcic?‘  The word ‘bot’ is particularly appealing.
  • 27th Nov: LaCroix for detailing the push:me-pull:you Seattle:snow car experience including the pulling:person’s  inspection of the  underside of  the car.   Reality stranger than fiction!

you guy’s made my day with your cheery little published thoughts 🙂

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Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

Party season and dressing-up time (tree and me) is here!  Religious?   Looks like religious consumerism frenzy with some Christianity thrown into the mix based on many diverse seasonal pre-Christian ceremonies and some generally bizarre behaviour.   Seems like mostly well intentioned good fun.   In the Wendy House:

Same tree as last year,  wearing it’s party-best with an imposing new Angel atop


Same Wendy as last year,   this year wandering around an EMP seasonal party armed with Camera, LaCroix, Bollywood fans  and Russians,   including a very creamy white one.   I was tempted onto the dance floor by Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’,   kept there by the Bee Gee’s “Saturday night fever” and the Village people’s “YMCA“.   The DJ’s 80’s  tunes mapped rather closely to my  stereotype of ‘gay’ music.   It’s possible that I was sending  an unintentionally inaccurate message about my gender preferences by dancing to these tracks,   they were familiar and  FUN!   While LaCroix put her colour theory and unique eye into picture action I tried to capture the atmosphere during a Bollywood style song:

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time bound

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

tenth in a timely Wednesday series of “why wendy’s single“.    

Reason # 10:   time-bound

Time bound between employed, online-li-ness, asleep,  and occassional trips out.    Sharing  that time approximately

  1. 10hrs per weekday  from leaving The Wendy House in the morning (going to work)  to returning in the evening  (Employed)
  2. 7hrs per weekday roaming the Wendy House.   Generally in the   kitchen, the Fridge,  the shower, the frontroom with the fluff-balls  a pile of books and CD’s strewn on the floor around the sofa.   Darling  is always ‘on’ when I’m home (online-li-ness)
  3. 7hrs per day sleeping (asleep)
  4. Sporadically I  leave the Wendy House to spend time with local friends and bop at concerts  (out)

Online-li-ness with Darling  involves

  • reading, replying and starting email and Instant Message conversation with people I know,  
  • investigating requests to be ‘friends’ from people that  I don’t know (orkut, friendster, myspace, tribe, friends reunited) including the occassional love  letter.  
  • Researching,   writing and occassionally attempting to proof-read blog entries.  

I have not established any relationships that I would consider labelling as ‘friends’  where first communication was online through my 6 years of online-li-ness.   With the notable exceptions of Jenn, LaCroix, Kate, and  Jen.

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Sunday, September 3rd, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

Horses go faster than Yak’s.  

LaCroix took Eric and I on a betting Frenzy at  the Emerald Downs race course.   It’s  much cheaper and more casual than Goodwood but easily as enjoyable.    They took my wild $2.00 bets with the minimum of smirking.   Highlights included

  • the little people (Jockey’s)
  • well toned bottoms (on the horses)
  • space (seating, padock views, course-side views)
  • the imposing grandstand.  
  • beer could be taken anywhere in the arena
  • LaCroix  had her age checked before they would sell her beer


  • bets.   Not winning anything with a strategy of picking horses based on their names.
  • cash-only entry fee.   Huh?   why’s that.
  • camera ineptness.   I now know that I need to work out how to take photographs in quick succession because by the time I’d taken the first photograph of the horses coming out of the chute they were half way around the track!

Woooooosh!  see the dirt fly



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Thursday, August 3rd, 2006 | tags: ,  |

LaCroix lured me out of the Wendy House for a fabulous American brunch (with coffee) at the Five spot and an afternoon browsing in “Twice sold Tales“.   LUXURY!   In amongst the cats I found this little treasure of a book:

‘England and the English: from an American point of view”   a book by Price Collier first published by Charles Scribners and sons in 1909.    The book is poetically written  in the first person.   During the first chapter Price describes his boat Journey to Britain.  


What will you have for breakfast,  if, alas, you will have any breakfast the first morning out?   Something very light perhaps.   These islanders, you soon find, have little regard for lightness. A light dish of eggs in some form, a light roll, fresh butter, coffee and hot milk? Yes, of a sort, but none of them light. You soon forswear coffee for tea, and ere long the passive bulwark of resistance wearies you into eggs and bacon, and cold meat, and jams, for your first meal of the day. Little things are typical. What you want is not refused you, but what they have and like is gradually forced upon you. Thus they govern their colonies. No raising of voices, no useless and prolonged discussion, no heat generated, no ridicule of your habits, or eulogy of their own, none of these, but just slow moving, unchanging, confident bulk

Who would have guessed that at the turn of the century the English were slow moving, not light, with their passive bulwark of bulkiness!    Price’s passage  implies a humerous irony for me.   Me, (almost) wearied by the confident bulk of Americans into trying sugar laden waffles for breakfast with Coffee instread of Tea…    

Stay riveted to the edge of your seats… ….what will Price write next?

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Piehole Panorama

Sunday, June 11th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

Space Needle 11pm June evening

Originally uploaded by :: Wendy ::.

after a couple of beers in good company (LaCroix, Anne, Jen). Just to be clear, its not a Pie and its not a Hole. It is a bit fuzzy…

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Excel explains: popular people

Saturday, June 10th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

a careful inspection of the chart below reveals some spectacular truths.   For example:

  1. Jenn (Piehole) is on  track to become like Raymond (oldnewthing).   They both have very shiny black hair and tanned complections.   I’d never realised this similarity until Excel pointed it out to me,    but its undeniably true.  
  2. I am going to have to turn into Jen (quarterlife crisis) before I can make headway on being as popular as Jenn.   Jen and I both have fair skin and wear jeans.   It’s striking how Excel can spot these similarities and show you the way.

Excel shows how to become popular

I’m planning to keep consulting with Excel to improve my general popularity level,   eventually becoming like Raymond.   My next move is to get a good tan and maybe some contact lenses to make my eye’s brown.

note: edited to adjust the number of n’s in Jen because I got it COMPLETELY wrong

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cinderella streak

Thursday, May 11th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Alas,   I bailed on the evening of teenage diary readings before midnight.  

Actually,   I bailed on the evening before it even started.  

Jenn and LaCroix had a pant-peeing-purrrrrrfect time.   Naturally,  being paranoid,  I blame work.   But really,   I need to get a firmer control on my cinderalla streak otherwise I’ll be bailing on evenings before I’ve even been invited.   That just wont do.

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I’m a sheep

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

Morning rituals blogged:

  • Meegan:   Rituals
  • Geeky:    Ritualistic, inspired by Meegan’s entry
  • Anne:   Routine, inspired by Geeky’s entry
  • LaCroix:   Compulsive, inspired by Anne and Geeky’s  entry

As a committed conformist here’s my outstandingly pedestrian morning inspired by all the above entries:

  • alarm, wake,  fluff-ball love-fest, get out of bed (15mins)
  • shower & dry (15mins).   Homage to Lush.
  • fluff-ball love fest  @ top then foot of staircase (5mins)
  • make & drink TEA while checking other people’s blogs (20mins)
  • Leave for  work in a chuggy little LooSea.

chain-letters…   …chain blog-entries… …if I tell you about my morning does that mean it exists?   If no-one see’s my mornings (apart from the fluff-balls) does that mean they don’t exist?   Should I waffle about a tree falling in a forest or just go to bed?   😉

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virtual and real merge

Sunday, February 19th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Meeting real people as a by-product of blogging!  

Jenn and LaCroix blog on our evening out with regular ‘commenters’ Drew and Mr.Fancypants:

  • Piehole
  • Ordinary: tales of a librarian

I’ve met more, more like-able, people through blogging than through subscribing to an internet dating service. Who would have guessed that it seems more ‘natural’?!  

The ’70s dive bar music was outstanding.   The beer was sadly all bottled and lager oriented.



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Beers with spirited bloggers

Saturday, February 4th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

Met these online gals in the real world last night:

Evening started well:

Wendy: “what beers do you have on tap?” to server

LaCroix: “I never thought of asking that question because I know they have Bass here

Wendy: “I’ll have a Bass

Evening got better:

These women were all articulate, plucky, self-aware, vibrant, valuable (soppiness police stopped me here). No time for trivialities such as ‘breathing’ inbetween

  • telling a story.
  • laughing at a story.
  • pouring beer down your neck.

Evening lasted long after I left:

I made a naughty cinderella exit before the night ended….

Fabulous evening.

Thanks gals.

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phonological similarity VII: Bass

Saturday, February 4th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

Bass sounds like Becks

Wendy:   “I ordered Bass,   this isn’t Bass

Server: “Yes it is Bass”   (Becks?)

Wendy: “This is not Bass” (Wow,   American servers ARGUE with their customers!!!!!) “Bass is amber,   this is yellow

LaCroix: “That is not Bass,   this is Bass” (raises her pint of Bass)

Server takes the pint, returns with a Bass and apologises.   Phew phonological beer-lager disaster avoided.

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