Seattle/Los Angeles 08

(Mavs/Nash trip #5)

Seattle (Jan 10th - Jan 13th)

Day 1
This is my 5th annual Mavs/Nash trip starting out in Seattle with Gay and Alicia. Seattle is a hipsters town. Young boys wearing their skinny jeans morning, noon and night. Even the old people dress casual cool here. They were playing a remix of Feist's cover of "Sea Lion Woman" on KEXP while we were on our way to eat at Smarty Pants. Our waitress had a combination of green and black hair and had at least three facial piercings which was a little intimidating. If everyone looked like that in Seattle, I could never compete. I had an eyebrow piercing once in college that I had to take out for a job a month later, and that was the end of that. I love the architecture in Seattle . Everything is very west coast modern. The houses are all different shapes and sizes. I had some delicious crab cakes and a Mai Tai at West 5. (Okay, half a Mai Tai because of course I couldn't finish it.)

Day 2

The day started with breakfast at Easy Street Records. I had a Lil Kim (a slice of French toast, bacon and eggs). Everyone uses garage doors for windows. A brilliant idea that I wish to adapt if I ever built a dream home. The sun was out today, and everyone remarked about the lovely, but chilly weather. The people of Seattle are not exactly understated, but calm, witty and very friendly. Maybe all the different types of people make you have to have an amiable personality. I think that's a nice trait to have.

We saw the Space Needle. Very cold and windy, but nice views of the city. Went to Pike Place Market, had a tea at the original Starbucks and some mac and cheese at Beecher's. I love how they have the baseball and football stadium downtown. I'm envious because if Dallas would be like this, downtown would be vibrant.

Took the monorail to the Mavs game. Seattle was no match for the Mavericks. The Dirk finger made its triumphic return because of Gay and will now go back into retirement. Let's talk about Key Arena because of all the hub-bub about the Sonics moving to Oklahoma. The concession stand area pretty good. This ain't Reunion Arena bad by any means. However, the seats were so close together. If you're a big guy or a girl that's like 5'11 and 3/4, you're not fitting in the seats comfortably. Number 2, there's no seafood. I can get catfish and fries at the American Airlines Center. Yes, they have spring rolls, but I want fried greasy seafood. Number 3, no cotton candy! I could get ice cream in 40 degree weather, but no sugary, delightfulness of cotton candy. That's just wrong.

Some of the skits were entertaining, I was hesitant at first about the Sasquatch mascot. He turned out to be great. Seattle, Save Your Sasquatch! Kevin Durant will be very good. Get him a good point guard and design some plays for him. Don't make him work too hard. He's got great handles, Ooh, and Detlef Schrempf was at the game. One of my all-time favorite Mavs. Great shooter and defender, and he had a haircut that reminded me of Larry Mullen Jr. of U2. Still looking sehr schon. I found out Steve Nash has the flu. Very worried about Tuesday's game in Los Angeles.

Day 3
The two-hour West coast time change kills me every time. I just can't get used to it. No rest for the weary. We took a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island and back. I don't think I've been on a boat that large before. It certainly would be an interesting way to get to work every morning. It only rained 1 1/2 days out of 4 while I was here. Not too shabby. Time to 40-degree weather in for 70 degrees. Seattle has got good people. That's probably all anyone could need. Well, that and cotton candy.

Los Angeles (Jan 14th - 17th)

Day 5

I arrived in downtown Los Angeles the same day Britney Spears ran away from the court house and bought a pregnancy test. Was that a top news story in Dallas? January might have been the perfect time to visit Venice Beach. It was cool and not crowded Not a lot of muscle men out pumping iron and no sign of Wesley Snipes playing basketball, but I love looking at the beach. Thumbs up for the Green Tea Pinkberry yogurt and the In and Out cheeseburger.

The Staples Center... a bit underwhelming. Kinda like when you find out the Academy Awards is held in an outdoor shopping center. You expect something fancy, and you're just let down. The seats where I was seating were awful. they were on risers behind the basket. When someone walked by, you had to stand up and your seat would fold up like an unstable beach chair behind you. I had to lean my head out the aisle the entire game just to see in front of me. the Clippers game presentation was dull. The fan bits benefited the advertisers more than the spectators, and the dancers were so bad I had to look away. The Suns lost. It was nice not seeing Steve play the Mavericks. He had a lot of excellent assists. I wouldn't take Diana Ross for being a basketball fan, but she was there. As I left, a guy was yelling, "We'll see you on Thursday, Suns!" (The Suns would be play the Lakers a day from now at the Staples Center.) Illegal!

Dear Clippers/Lakers fan,

You can't be a Clippers and a Lakers fan. You only get to pick one, buddy. They're two completely different teams: a depleted, working-class team and an overly dramatic, upper-class team. You are not both those things. Pick the one closest to you and and stick with it. I'm not a Suns fan. I'm a Mavs fan who enjoys watching Steve Nash play. So unless you've been following Sam Cassell around the league and you're a die-hard Lakers fan, one of your alliances must be forfeited.


Day 6

I think I could live in LA withstanding the price and the traffic and the earthquakes and the forest fires. I would stay in Silverlake. It's got nice cafes and eclectic shops. (A little bit of Seattle with better weather.) I scored some nice vintage finds in Hollywood an picked up a "Thriller" LP and a David Bowie picture disc to display along with my Spanish Led Zeppelin album that I bought last time at Amoeba Records.

All in all, a fantastic trip. I have learned some things to keep in mind on the next vacations. 1. Technology and breakfast bar outweigh decor. 2. Be flexible, with others and even yourself. Whatever you want to do, will probably be there next time. Especially, if you need a nap. 3. LAX security lines suck no matter what day it is. Get there early and hope somehow your group in picked to get to moved up in line.

On iPod:

"Conquest" - Acoustic - (White Stripes)
"By the Monument" (Maximo Park)
"Bridge to Canada" (Noisettes)
"Stolen Away on 55th & 3rd" (Dave Matthews Band)
"He Can Only Hold Her" (Amy Winehouse)
"Emanuela" (Fettes Brot)
"We Were Lovers" (Bloc Party)
"Are You Experieced?" (Jimi Hendrix)
"Clumsy" (Fergie)
"Jimmy" (M.I.A.)
"Potions for Foxes" (Rilo Kiley)
"Thinking of You" (Sister Sledge)
"Pumpkin Soup" (Kate Nash)
"I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" (Aretha Franklin)
"Parade" (Garbage)
"Anyone Else But You" (Juno Soundtrack)
"Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town" (Pearl Jam)
"Hoy Me Voy" (Juanes)
"Play With Fire" (Rolling Stones)
"15 Steps" (Radiohead)
"A Kiss to Send Us Off" (Incubus)
"Luxurious" (Gwen Stefani)


Phoenix 07

(Mavs/Nash Trip #4)
Day 1

This year’s trip started out with a 2-hour delay, most of it was sitting out on the runway waiting for the storms to pass Friday afternoon. Oddly, the plane ended up taking off while it was raining and lightning everywhere. Has a plane ever been hit by lightning? I need to research that. But seeing lightning storm from up above is electrifying. Ha, ha.

Day 2

As for Phoenix, we (my mom and I) didn’t see that much of it. We spent Saturday on an all day trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. The red rocks in Sedona were beautiful. I don’t think I could live there though. All the homes were in these muted earth tones, and I bet that red dust sucks when it’s windy. But the mountains… the mountains would be great to look at. One of my favorite things about trips is being around different people. I don’t think I’ve been to a place yet in America where all types of foreigners flock to. At the Grand Canyon, tons of different people even black people with British accents. The Grand Canyon almost looks fake, like something they created in Hollywood, because of its size. I can’t say that it changed my life. However, to me it made my life span seem short. It will remain long after I’ve gone.

Day 3

But on to more important matters… the basketball game. This trip was different from the rest since I normally go see Dallas and Phoenix play in a different city against the same opponent, not them facing off against each other. I didn’t feel that I got all the quality Steve Nash time I needed for worrying about the pick and roll that the Mavs kept switching and letting Stoudamire stroll down the lane and why was Terry guarding Boris Diaw. And why did Avery leave Dirk in, when his ankle was obviously bothering him. Tell him, “Nein, sitzen sie in das Stuhl.” The Phoenix fans we sat by were so nice and friendly. They love their Suns and worship Steve Nash like an ex-girlfriend who broke up with him, saw him with a hot new girl and decided they wanted him back. At the airport, there were about 10-15 of us in or sad Mavs jerseys waiting to go back home. I didn’t mention today, April 1, 2007, is my 30th birthday.

On iPod:
- "Taking the Long Way" (Dixie Chicks)
- "Shake It Off" (Mariah Carey)
- "Man I Feel Like I Woman" (Shania Twain)
- "Lullaby" (Dixie Chicks)
- "Ten Years Gone" (Led Zeppelin)
- "Michelle"(Ben Harper)
- "We're Going To Be Friends" (White Stripes)
- "Home" (Dixie Chicks)

World Cup 06

Switzerland – Lausanne

I forgot my passport at my apartment. That’s how my State-side departure started, but there was plenty of time to get it before we left. The plane ride to Zurich had to be the longest, most uncomfortable flight that I’ve ever experienced. In the airport, there seemed to be these really tall, thin girls everywhere; and for one in my life, I didn’t feel so alone in the world. We (Gay, Alicia and I) took a short flight to Geneva, which is in the French part of Switzerland. Our hotel was in Lausanne. We had beautiful views of the lake from our hotel rooms and I spent 24 Francs keeping track of the Mavericks (Finals Game 3) on the Internet with Gay at 3am. They had beer in the vending machine, which appeased Gay.

True story: I left my bag with my money, passport and everything else in it on a bench at the train station, but it was picked up by a guy who worked at the station before the train left. And henceforth, Gay asks if I have my black bag.

Switzerland – Murren

I can officially cross off “rode an air cable car” off of my list of “Things I want to do in the air.” ( Yes, this list does exist.) Murren is in the middle of the Swiss Alps. Mountains everywhere and waterfalls. We watched Germany defeat Poland on a last minute goal. However, I was disappointed that the Swiss coverage didn’t include the exchanging of shirts after the game. We meet the nicest people who worked in our hotel. Emma actually came back at 3am, so we could watch the Mavs game (Finals Game 4) on TV. We asked Marco, the chef, what he wanted from America and he said “Peace.” Don’t we all. We love the Swiss Germans!

True story: We were at the top of a mountain in the Alps and my zipper was undone, and I told Gay, “No wonder I was so cold.”

Germany – Munich

I wasn’t expecting so much diversity in Germany, but there all types of people (Italians, Africans, Asians) in the city. Munich is a leisure city. There’s no big business buildings blocking the views. There is an abundance of people everywhere wearing their Ronaldinho t-shirts waving flags and blown up Kangaroos. There is nothing like the World Cup in America. Flags hanging from apartment buildings and in car windows. People chanting songs in the street. I can’t imagine an event that bring people together like this. It’s amazing. Used cell phone to keep track of Mavs game (Finals Game5). Highly disappointed that the Premiere cable channel decided to show a Red Sox’s game and a re-run Japan-Croatia (0-0) match instead of basketball. Come on Deutschland, we are talking about Dirk. Found German hip-hop group called Fettes Brot to listen to while watching MTV.

True Story: Had to go to train station at 11pm to look for a tampon, which apparently is not a universal word, because the German guy at the pay bathroom had no idea what I was saying; and in walked an Australian who apparently had to go before he made it to the bathroom.

Germany – Berlin

I could live in Berlin. The people here are really friendly. It’s easy to navigate around using the train. And even if there are hundreds of people in the streets celebrating a Germany victory, it doesn’t seem overly crowded. In the back of my mind, I have a plan to open a bar called Die Dirk Garten in Berlin where people can watch basketball at 3 in the morning.

True Story:
Saw African man bongoing to Depeche Mode song on the street. Also, slept with blown up German #1 finger to bring good luck to the Mavs (Finals Game 6). Oh well, have something to take to Mavs game next year.

Czech Republic – Prague

The buildings in Prague are beautiful. It’s definitely a tourist town. Surprisingly, it’s trendier than Berlin. I thought I would enjoy the market more, but I felt as though most people were standing around without any purpose. Maybe I would have felt different in another part of town. I did have the best potato pancakes ever at the restaurant that was in a cellar. I had a wonderful time. I look forward to exploring more of Europe.

True Story: Met Czech basketball fan who was a big fan of Shaq. He had been following Shaq since he was with the Orlando Magic. Gave him Mavs shirt to win him over.

On iPod:
- "Don't Panic" (Coldplay)
- "Is It Any Wonder" (Keane)
- "Young Americans" (David Bowie)
- "Munich" (Editors)
- "Miss You" (Rolling Stones)
- "Auf Ausche" (Franz Ferdinand)
- "Mass Destruction" (Faithless)
- "Hard to Beat" (Hard Fi)
- "Black Devil Car" (Jamiroquai)
- "Damelo" (Juanes)
- "Slow" (Kylie Minogue)
- "Misty Mountain Top" (Led Zeppelin)
- "Finding Out True Love is Blind" (Louis VIX)
- "No Suprises" (Radiohead)
- "Private Dancer" (Tina Turner)
- "Suddenly I See" (KT Tunstall)
- "Here's Where The Story Ends" (The Sundays)
- "Everyday People" (Sly and The Family Stones)
- "A Man and A Woman" (U2)
- "Level" (Raconteurs)
- "Dancing Shoes" (Arctic Monkeys)
- "Hero" (Bloc Party)
- "Girls & Boys (Blur)
- "Get Yourself High" (Chemical Brothers)

Portland '06

(Mavs/Nash Trip #3)
Day 1
It’s 1am in Dallas, and I’m still awake. The first thing I notice here is how blossoms have started to grow on the trees, and it’s winter and 30-something degrees outside. My hotel is across from the waterfront and near a TriMet rail stop, so it’s perfect for me. The Mavs won tonight. I saw two black women on the rail with Dirk shirts on – so that made three of us. When I left the arena, it was snowing. Apparently, there’s more on the horizon.

Day 2
I haven’t seen any Hummers on the road, on the news a city worker promised everyone that their recycling will be pick up today after yesterday’s snow and the only thing people are asking you for on the downtown streets is to sign a petition. At one time tiny ice pellets were raining down from the sky and by the time I was back at my hotel the sun was out.

Day 3
Okay, I saw two Hummers, but they probably need them here. The public transportation system here is great. If you stay in the downtown area or go to the Rose Garden arena, it’s free. I spent $4 on a day pass to go up to the Japanese Garden. You can see downtown Portland from there amidst all the trees. After that I took a bus downtown, to check out Powell’s bookstore – on of the largest bookstores ever. I won’t bore you with my Steve Nash notes. However, he did play and Phoenix lost. As one newscaster put it, it was the biggest win for Porland all season.

On iPod:
- "When The Sun Comes Down" (Arctic Monkeys)
- "Skeleton" (Bloc Party)
- "Yo, Excuse Me" (Chris Brown)
- "Munich" (Editors)
- "Ooh La La" (Goldfrapp)
- "Upside Down" (Jack Johnson)
- "I Want You To Stay" (Maximo Park)
- "Beast of Burden" (Rolling Stones)
- "World Wide Suicide" (Pearl Jam)
- "Green Eyes" (Erykah Badu)
- "Michelle" (Ben Harper)
- "This Modern Love" (Bloc Party)
- "Eleanor Put Your Boots Back On" (Franz Ferdinand)

San Francisco '05

(Mavs/Nash trip #2)
Day 1

Today was my first real day in San Francisco. It started with a tour of Muir woods located across the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s still hard for me to imagine the vastness of the ocean. I admire the hills and the green color of everything when we are in the middle of February. It’s lovely here. The houses are unique as the people on the street, and downtown in vibrant. A boy name Steve – I haven’t seen my Canadian basketball boyfriend play in person since last May, and it will probably be the last time this year since it bothers me so that he’s left Dallas. Phoenix beat Golden State by 2 points in overtime. It was so boring in the 1st half that the woman sitting by me kept falling asleep, and I really couldn’t blame her. However, the Suns are a lot like the Mavericks’ little step-brother, and the large margin game soon featured the Suns at several points down by five. (During these moments, the woman next to me would wake up and cheer like she was watching the entire time.) I miss the way he makes my team better, the way he runs the break and his two-sided hair tuck. It was great seeing him. See you next year, Nash. Have a great summer.

Day 2

I’m exhausted. I retuned to my room heavily breathing with my heart pounding. Not from a heart attack, but from climbing a hill back to my hotel. I’m one of those people who doesn’t rest until I reach my destination, and if my hotel was any further, I probably would have passed out on the street. Good grief.

You can tell it’s not the weekend anymore. The business class is swarming around the hotel. I wish I had more time to study the people. I saw the coolest Asian girl walking to her art class. She had on these cool scrunchy boots with a skirt. Her highlighted hair was in a ponytail and her bangs stood perfectly in the misty air as she strolled down the street. I want her fashion secrets.

Day 3

One of the great things about traveling by yourself is that you’re not really alone. There’s always things that remind you of your friends like how John would enjoy the different activities during a Warriors game, what Meredith would say to me as the cute guy in a blue track jacket rode by on his bicycle and how Joanna would be so happy that I’m exploring something new. This morning I had a tour of the city. Its such a mixed community here. I wonder how the people really get a long.

Day 4

There are Germans everywhere. I’ve heard so many different accents and different languages over the past couple of days. Last night at the Mavs game, someone was wearing a Dirk jersey from Germany. I was shocked to see so many Mavs fans. It was another too close for comfort game, but my team came through. I really enjoy road games because it’s a different dynamic. You get to see other fan reactions and how your team handles situations when there’s not a crowd cheering them on. The Warriors aren’t the greatest team, but they play hard and the people here appreciate their effort. (That sentence now in 08 is almost funny – almost.) It’s been a fantastic trip, but I’m ready to come home and plan my next vacation.

On iPod:
- Led Zeppelin
- Ella Fitzgerald
- German Audiobooks for class
- Franz Ferdinand
- U2
- Marvin Gaye


Boston '03

(Mavs/Nash Trip #1)
This was the first city I traveled to by myself. I always wanted to travel, but I was a dreamer and never went anywhere. I found out that Dave Matthews was doing a solo tour on the east coast; and I said to myself if the Dallas Mavericks have a game in the same city around the same dates, then that’s where I would go. That city turned out to be Boston.

Boston is a perfect city for beginners. It easy to get around, you can take the rail to/from the airport and the Celtics’ fans were actually some of the nicest fans I have come across. I didn’t keep a travel journal at the time, but I do have some artsy fartsy notes that I will share.

Traveling by yourself for the first time isn’t easy, so I’m glad that I choose Boston for my first trip. If I hadn’t enjoyed it, things might have been different.

Arsty-fartsy notes:

How can two things be so different? So urban, yet easy to manipulate. Open and free with a winter breeze blowing threw my hair and water rushing over me (rail system runs underwater). Radcliffe Rugby lives here. Small pathways, watch your step, look the other way, sit and stand with the masses who do this everyday while everything seems so new. Brick, where I’m from, is portrayed as cold and unfeeling, but here it’s warm, it’s inviting and it’s home. Old school alternative lives here. No wonder Meredith loves it. Should we talk about the weather? Should we talk about the government? Songs that go unsung are opened out of their magic boxes. Why can’t it be this way all the time?