“The world is a book, and those without travel read only one page.”–Saint Augustine.
New York Times on 8th Street, Manhattan
Michael Jackson Musical @ the Neil Simon Broadway Theatre, Manhattan, New York
Update On Leaving Henry
Hello Everyone, and Happy Holidays! I know it’s been a while. My travels for work and leisure kept me busy for most of the year. Traveling inspires me to write. I finally finished my novel, Leaving Henry, and I have started writing my second draft. The first draft was thirty-six chapters full of adventure, some heartbreak, and eventually triumph. I want to shorten it to 34 chapters once I finish the rewrite. Then, I can focus on preparing the manuscript for my editor to review and chop it up to her heart’s desire, with the end goal of publishing by late summer 2024.
While completing the first draft of Leaving Henry, I worked three months in Manhattan, Kansas, spent vacation in Costa Rica this past summer, and traveled to New York City last weekend to see the Michael Jackson Broadway Musical for my 65th birthday. It was a whirlwind trip but exciting. The last time I visited New York City was in the 90s.
Being a novelist, I stopped by the New York Times as my hubby and scrolled down a busy corridor on 8th Street. I majored in social work and nursing in college and began studying journalism. I even wrote for the university newspaper twice during my college tenure. Unfortunately, I did not pursue my literary passion, but if I had, I dreamed of working at the New York Times. It sure would’ve been an adventure if I had followed the journalism path.
We continued to weave and navigate the masses of people, stopping at a food cart along the way to order a hotdog, a food my doctor advised me to stay clear of because of my hypertension. But since it was my birthday, I ignored her advice. I always wanted to eat one of those famous street hotdogs in New York City, and it was good, juicy, and greasy. Later in the afternoon, we dressed up and attended the Michael Jackson Musical. My hubby surprised me with front-row seats. It was a fabulous musical, the best I had ever seen. The talented cast was mesmerizing, and the actor who portrayed Michael Jackson brought the iconic singer back to life. I swore Michael Jackson was singing and dancing on that stage if I didn’t know any better. Lol!
Dinner After The Show
After the show, we enjoyed an authentic Italian dinner with wine at Da Tommaso Ristorante, around the corner from the theater. My hubby had Gamberi Portofino, a delicious shrimp dish with prosciutto, mushrooms, sherry wine, and cream. I had Saltimbocca Alla Florentine, a scrumptious dish of veal sautéed with sage and prosciutto, and we shared a large portion of Tiramisu for dessert. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself for my 65th birthday!
The American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Kansas
Union Station, Kansas City
My Travel Work Gig In Kansas
My traveling social work gig took me to Manhattan, Kansas, the home of Kansas State University, 2 hours from Kansas City. The quiet college town surrounded by cornfields and farms lacked entertainment, and when my hubby came to visit, we spent the Labor Day Holiday weekend in Kansas City. We visited the American Jazz and Negro Baseball Museum. It is a must-see if you decide to visit the city. My mother often talked about the Indianapolis Clowns Negro Baseball Team she saw play after she left Henry, Tennessee, and moved to Indianapolis. I enjoyed reading about the team’s history while visiting the museum, and I mentioned the group in my novel, Leaving Henry.
We also visited Kansas City Union Station and the Blue Room, a famous, historic jazz club back in the day. With its mysterious, dark vibe and thrumming jazz beat, I enjoyed listening to the music. Last but not least, we visited the Country Club Plaza on Broadway, a pretty outdoor mall with a Moorish, high-end vibe. Although Kansas City is known for good barbecue, I wasn’t impressed. Lol! But if I were to recommend a barbecue place, I encouraged you to visit Jack Stacks Barbecue at the Country Club Plaza. Their Fire-Kissed Wings, hickory cooked and rubbed in cajun spices, were to die for.
Traveling To Costa Rica on Vacation
Outdoor Eatery in the jungle.
Looking out the window from our hotel-Costa Rica
We passed by these Umbrella Plants on our journey in the Jungle
Donell shopping at the flea market in San Jose
Waiting for ice cream at the flea market.
Bobcat resting on the path during our hiking journey.
My hubby and I visited Costa Rica this past July, a Central American country known for its Pacific and Caribbean coastline, rainforest and jungles full of wildlife, and vast green coffee plantations. The most exciting thing about Costa Rica was the loud, screeching, colorful, exotic birds we heard all day. The locals told us they become louder and shrill when rain is on the horizon.
I could take a picture of one of those Screeching Birds during my various treks through Costa Rica.
On our first day, we spent the day in bustling San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, combing their large flea market, Mercado Central. The busy retail bazaar is a crazy maze of narrow alleyways with vendors selling wares from Costa Rica’s famous ice cream, Lolo Mora, to authentic pottery, jewelry, and masks. We spent the whole day there shopping.
The following day, we did an 8-hour hike to Poas Volcano, an active 8,848 ft stratovolcano in central Costa Rica in Poas Volcano National Park. During our journey, we saw exotic plant life like the umbrella plants in the picture above and various wild animals. We stopped and ate delicious, spicy taco salads at a fun outdoor restaurant. The 8-hour hike worked every muscle in our body, and we were tired at the end of the day.
We also had an opportunity to visit a coffee farm, Cafe de Monteverde, a few miles from our hotel. We tasted three different coffees. The nutty coffee aroma smelt delightful, and the delicate, smooth balance of acidity, buttery, and sweetness danced on my palate. I enjoyed all three coffees so much I bought a pound each to take home.
Coffee Bean Tree @ Cafe Monteverde during my pilgrimage to the Coffee Plantation.
Coffee Beans Before Roasting
Therefore, as you can see, my travels inspire me to write and share my adventures and experiences with all of you. Next year, we plan to visit Egypt once I finish my final draft of Leaving Henry. I’m still determining what exciting traveling work gigs may come my way, but I will keep you informed. In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas and a joyous Happy New Year!