It was my son’s 10th birthday and we always try to celebrate with a super summery adventure. One year we went to Disneyland. Last year, The Police Reunion Concert (my choice) and this year I deftly averted a trip to Vacaville, CA and Scandia; a nightmarish Scandinavian themed,  mini-golf/ arcade experience, in 100 plus degree heat (thanks to a colleague who did a weather check for me). We settled on Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a West Coast Coney Island if you will, kinda lost in time;  totally manageable.  So off we went ready for rides, perhaps swimming, lots of sugary treats and maybe a skeeball game or two (my grandma Viola was the queen of skeeball in Hollywood, Florida and I have taken up the passion).  We had a blast on the flume, roller coasters and my favorite, a hang gliding twirly thing; although the chin rest smelled super funky sweaty. I even did some body surfing and a sea lion joined me about 30 yards away. But the highlight o the day was the FREE circus performance on the beach. CIRQUE MAGNIFIQUE has performances July 12th- August 20th. There are two free shows daily; Monday –Thursday: noon & 3:00 and Sunday: noon & 6:00. It is no Cirque du Soleil, but we knew immediately the performers were Quebecois (what’s in the water there?). It was so adorable, I would venture… enchanting. It wasn’t jaw dropping feats but completely entertaining and so lovely to enjoy in the sun, rubbing your feet in the sand; don’t miss it!

2 Comments | Filed Under Amusement Park, Budget Travel, California, Culture, Driving Trips, Family Travel, Feature, Northern California, Santa Cruz

The Obama family has landed in Ghana, the first independent sub Saharan country and the ancestral home of many African Americans. A democratic and peaceful country, Ghana is sitting on a lot of oil and certainly is a strategic visit for Obama on many levels. Ghana has been dubbed the Gateway to Africa and the presidential family visit is placing Ghana in the tourism spotlight. Currently, Ghana is third in West Africa tourism arrivals. Senegal is considered the most developed tourism destination in West Africa. Nigeria is second. Many Blacks in the Diaspora have made pilgrimages to Ghana’s Castles, which served as transit points for the shipment of their ancestors to the then new world. The President plans to visit the castle which symbolizes so much to so many. If you want to learn more about Ghana, check out Triporati’s Ghana destination page which is our featured destination this week to coincide with the Presidential visit.

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Africa & Middle East, Ghana

Bastille Day is next week. This is a special day for me, not because I passionately studied French History or married a Frog, in a previous life, or even because I count being at the Bi-Centennial Celebration in Paris in 1989 as a peak life moment, but because my eldest son was ironically born on July 14th, 1999. I have so much baggage and history with France and French Culture. The love/ hate relationship still teeters more towards love but I can’t deny I get a bit gleeful when there is bad press, the French are exposed as hypocritical or in some way there is de-mythologization of some aspect of the coveted culture. I get a lot of mileage out of my stories of living in France; much like the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnick, I always found humor in the little things. The hilarious scene at Disneyland Paris buffet where diners swarmed a waiter delivering a bowl of bread to the buffet before he could even reach it. The fact that my friend was served mussels and spicy merguez sausage as the first post-operative meal in the hospital or the fact that before my marriage I had to get a ‘Carte de Concubinage’; a card stating that I was his concubine… I could go on.  So today I open up to the Yahoo Page with the lead story: “French Tourists Seen as World’s Worst: Survey”. So apparently, according to this survey, done by Expedia, the French, despite their rumored savoir faire, were declared the most arrogant, cheap and worst at foreign languages of all global travelers. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Culture, England, Europe, Feature, Food, France, Overweight travelers, Paris, Restaurants, Travel, Travel Tips, shopping

San Francisco summers are notoriously foggy and cold, so I try to get out of the city as often as possible. Luckily there are amazing overnight and day trips in every direction.

Last week I was invited to a friend’s rental house in Inverness in Marin County, on Tomales Bay, surrounded by Point Reyes National Seashore, with my five-year-old. We left the house at 7 a.m. to maximize our visit, stopped at House of Bagels (the best bagels in SF) and bought loads of yummy stuff and headed over the bridge.  The sun was shining and I was so looking forward to spending quality time with my friend and her family.

Inverness is a small village named after the Scottish town and there is so much to recommend it. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Birdwatching, California, Canoe/Kayak, Day Trips, Family Travel, Feature, Food, Hike/Backpack, Marin County, Northern California, Point Reyes, San Francisco, wildlife