Sunday, January 31, 2016

Travel Tips at the 2016 Dallas Travel Adventure Show

Travel Tips at the Dallas Travel Adventure Show were everywhere.  Over two hundred booths had experts about how to have the perfect vacation.  The booths were arranged by country so it was convenient to see the choices from that area of the world.  The minute I stepped into the showroom I could hear the stomping of feet.  I went to the stage where live dancers displayed a unison of graceful movement as they represented their culture through dance.  I thought what a great way to begin a travel show, I have something lovely to photograph.

 A travel show is a wonderful place to ask questions.  Since I like taking photographs I was interested in travel tips about photography.  Photo Enrichment  Travel Company gave a great tip.  He said get out early to take photographs when the locals are going to work, taking their kids to school and the lighting is great.  I checked out his website and the photographs are spectacular.

  A section about Africa caught my eye because Zulu Nyala provided an opportunity to stay at a wildlife conservation refuge to protect Rhinos and other animals.  What a great way to take some fantastic photographs of wild animals and help them at the same time.

 China said you could take a twelve day tour with the added bonus of the Yangtze River Cruise for 1699 dollars.  However when I asked more questions it was not available in the summer when I have more time off.  Some of the adventures on the tour was to hike on the Great Wall, take a tour of a Pearl Factory, visit Summer Palace on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and view Tienanmen Square.   On the menu was Peking Duck for dinner.  I'd have to skip that meal because I love ducks.  Another Tour of China gave us a wonderful Travel Guide for free.

Rick Steves, our family hero gave a travel tip;   avoid crowds and don't travel in the summer.  I think he's right because some of our best vacations have been on spring break.  Venice was wonderful in March because it wasn't hot and little waiting in lines.   Rick said sit at a bench and discover the locals.  One of my favorite things to do in a country is just watch the people.  He also said to pack light.   All the husbands in the crowd looked at their wives with a glare.

 One of Rick's requirements for his tours is carry a small suitcase or backpack.  I'll have to work on that one.  I like to take a big bag so I can stuff souvenirs in it.  It's also reassuring to know I have enough clothes for two outfits a day.  One for day and one for evening attire when you go out to dinner.  I'm not sure how that could be possible in a small bag.  I guess you bring everything in black.  Even if I don't agree on the small bag advice Rick was a very enjoyable speaker who has a passion for history.  He said taking an art history class opened his eyes to culture in a new way.  His guide books are filled with fascinating stories that make the place you visit so much more interesting.  Rick Steves engages people because he is honest and wants everyone to have a terrific travel experience.

A highlight of the travel show was to see the cultural dancers move with joy.  I think a wonderful travel tip is to take the time to stop and listen when something amazing is happening even if it isn't on
your schedule.  You can feel it in your bones that what you are witnessing is full of energy and life.

Watching the dancers lift their dresses with the rhythm of the Spanish music reminded me of our trip to Spain last summer.  All of a sudden there was a band marching in the streets of Granada.  Sons were holding hands with their mothers as they got out of Mass.  A statue of Mary was raised to the sky as a sign of respect and adoration.  I cried it was so beautiful to watch the procession of people and life.

Enjoying great food is another travel tip people don't have a hard time following.  A live cooking show was demonstrating how to cook exotic Polynesian food.  In Spain a platter of assorted meats were cut from hanging hams.

Wedding Destinations is another important part of a travel show.    My husband's brother got married on the balcony of their favorite hotel in Maui.  It's sort of like eloping many years ago when you didn't want the hazzle of all the dos and don'ts of a marriage ceremony.  We got married in  the Methodist Church I was raised in.  My parents eloped because my mom didn't want to deal with certain stresses of getting married.  They were married over fifty years.   I love Catholics want to get married in the church and the ceremony is beautiful.
But even if you do get married in the church and don't do a Wedding Destination,  there's always the honeymoon.  I remember we took a Caribbean Cruise  and my husband gave me a lesson in how to put away your clothes neatly in the cabin.  At the travel show there were lovely ladies dressed in beautiful wedding gowns to get into the wedding destination travel spirit.

You don't have to go to Egypt to ride a camel.  The travel show provided an opportunity to ride on the back of a camel.
I think trying new things is a very important travel tip.  Sometimes it takes courage to get on top of a live animal and there is a degree of trust the guide will keep you safe.  Watching other people do it first gives some reassurance you won't fall off.  
Watching the camel eat was enough of an adventure for me.  I enjoyed just seeing the exotic camel upclose. I think travel adventures should be something you feel comfortable with.  

Some people plan their entire vacations around great places to scuba dive and snorkle.

  At the Dallas Travel Show you had the opportunity to see what's it like to  breathe underwater.  It's an experience people will always remember.  Memories make life special.

Rock climbing in exotic places like Nepal is a delight to some.  Children enjoyed rock climbing at the Travel Show as they reached new heights.  Didn't Mary in the Sound of Music sing a song about climb every mountain.  Our family took the Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg, Austria and went bobsledding down the mountain in the middle of summer, so it was a very happy memory savor.
Traveling is a way to find your inspirations.  What makes you smile?  What makes you wonder?  Come to the Travel and Adventure Show in your area and discover your next tourist destination.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Eagle Fest in Emory, Texas

Eagle Fest 2016

Rains Country Eagle Fest celebrated twenty one years of enjoying Texas wildlife.  The community opened Rains High School as a place for vendors, families, and wildlife photographers to enjoy a beautiful Texas winter's day.  The goal was to find eagles nestled in bare trees. A bus from the high school took us to Lake Fork. A comfortable barge was awaiting us.

 Our barge tour had a discussion to if we really saw an eagle.  I want to believe we did.  Birds naturally camouflage themselves to hide from predators.  Even if it wasn't an eagle it felt like a glimpse into the life of nature on a cold winter Texas day.
Our barge captain was a volunteer from the community.  He steered his boat into waters with tree stumps.

  Occasionally we heard a thump, thump as his under boat was dragging things beneath the water.
Photographer's eyes were collectively looking for eagles perched on a limb of a tree.   
"Oh look, right between the branches.  I see a bird with a touch of white."
  There was evidence of birds making nests in tall trees.  They enjoyed the Texas sun as it beamed down on all living things.  

The sun shined on fishermen catching Texas Bass.  They grow big in East Texas Waters.  It'll be nice for dinner, pan fried with a little butter. 

The sandy shoreline had layers of earth settling over time.  Colors of copper, and light tan mixed with rock and roots was soothing to the soul.

We spotted a nest in the top of a lone tree.  Was an eagle sleeping inside the nest?  
Waves of color swirled in the wake of the barge.  The sky and lake merged into a mass array of pale blues, deep greens, and purple hues.  
Docks built over the blue waters wanted to touch the glassy surface.
Paths of wood connected nature with humanity.
Long lenses stretched to capture the beauty of nature.  
Was it a hawk, eagle or other bird of prey?
As nature lovers sat on the bus to view photos taken. there was a spirit of calm to witness the beauty of winter in Texas.
Coming back to Rains High School there was a Birds of Prey Show by the Blackland Prairie Raptors explaining how wild birds survive in the area.  I recognized this owl who had come inside our living room to perch on top of our oil painting.  Screech Owls like to live in the same place over time and nest in large Red Oak Trees. 

Vendors were selling fur pellets and interesting things of nature.
I purchased lovely products from Life is Fragile.  It reminded me of the duck feather just flapping on my window pane for several days.  She shared her story of how God helped her overcome addiction.  I loved her message of hope and redemption.  
 Thank you Emory, Texas for giving us a glorious day of discovery.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fort Worth Stock Show 2016

Fort Worth Stock show celebrates 120 years of tradition.  More than one million people will visit the rodeo and grounds.  Ranchers come to show their prize winning cattle.

You don't have to be a cowboy or cowgirl, you just have to appreciate western heritage.   People will enjoy a midway full of enticing food of funnel cakes and cotton candy.

  Cowboy boots come in all colors and styles for a comfortable fit.  Grandbury High School 16 year old, Daniela Cortez won the grand prize for the cover of the stock show program with a painting of cowboy boots.  She is the first blue winner for 2016 Show.  She wants to become an art teacher to use her talent to help children. The idea came from her mother's love of western fashion. Many students enter the art contest of talented artwork.

The Stock Show creates a hundred million dollars to the  economic wealth for the city of Fort Worth. About 4000 FH and FAA High Schools participate in the events.

 The legendary stock show contains  31,160 entries from 44 different states.   Twelve hundred  professional atheletes will compete in rodeo events.

The show opened January 15th and will run for 23 days, closing February 6th.  So plan ahead to get your rodeo tickets.  The price go from $20 to $28 dollars and will give you admission to the grounds.

 Parking cost $10. Visitors can take a $5 dollar shuttle leaving from Billy Bob's.  If you want to see all the amazing animals grounds, tickets are only $10 for adults and $5 dollars for children.  If your little one is under 5, they are free.

A new arena is planned to open the fall of 2019 and will be ready for the 2020 stock show. It will be built to seat 12,000 ti 14,000 people.  Ed Bass is the Stock Show Chairman and led as a leader to plan for future stock shows.  The improvements will cost $450 million dollars.     Original barns were  built in 1948 so they needed some updates.

 Cattle Barn 2 renovations are a prototype for future improvements to Cattle Barns 1,3, and 4.  The Swine and Sheep Barns will be finished by 2020 this year.   The new lighting  and ventilation help improve on the health of the animals.  Individual circuits to every stall were added for a vast improvement.  This is helpful when you need electricity to shave your sheep for the show.  They want to look their best.

The city of Fort Worth  and facilitates will share the cost.  They work as partners to improve a one hundred and twenty year tradition of fun.

If you want to learn more about Cowboys and Ranching visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Page.

See link below.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Grandma and Black Eyes Peas

It's been a southern tradition to eat black eyed peas to ring in the new year. If we weren't together on new years day my mom would always ask,

 "Have you had your black eyes peas yet? It's suppose to bring prosperity,"

"Yes, mom," I answered.  I really don't believe in luck but God's grace, however it is interesting how traditions get started.    It turns out black eyed peas are suppose to look like coins.  During the Civil War in December of 1864 food was scarce but a common food to eat was  black eyed peas.  The peas came  to the south from West Africa brought on slave ships. Black eyed peas had been domesticated in Africa 5,000 years ago and made there way into the diet  all over the continent. Everywhere African slaves involuntarily arrived, black eyed peas followed.    Today peas are also eaten in Central America, Caribbean and Brazil.

 Peas are flavored with collard greens which symbolizes money in many cultures. They also bring good health with fiber, protein, calcium and Vitamin A.  Eat them with cornbread because they look like gold.    George Washington Carver encouraged people to plant black eyed peas because the plant adds nitrogen to the soil.  They are also drought tolerant and free of pests and disease.  My grandmother grew black eyed peas in her Oklahoma garden.  She loved to fry up bacon in a cast iron skillet and then listen to the black eyed peas sizzle in the pan.

My son Michael listens to his 94 year old grandma.  She has wise sayings and good cheer.   She says,
"Michael it's so good to  see you."  her eyes beam just seeing his smiling face and gentle voice.  Grandsons are God's gift to us. New Years is a time to remember traditions and give friendly hellos. Happy New Year Grandma Palmer.