Category Archives: Travel 2016

#TBT: travel

I went down a rabbit hole on AirBnB the other day, looking longingly and lovingly at places I’ve stayed on travels around the US and Europe.

And some photos from these places:

#TBT: places

As travel restrictions mount, I’m thinking of all the wonderful and meaningful places I’ve traveled since 1994, and the important cultural and personal relationships that were the focus of these trips.

A lifetime of memories lives in these photos:

Proper Marmalade

Two summers ago, whilst in Exeter, Devonshire, I made a purchase at the local market, held on a Saturday in the Exeter Cathedral close.

The purchase? Three jars of delight from a shop in north Devonshire: Proper Marmalade.

At Sunday breakfast, I finished the last jar.

I saw this marmalade for sale at Borough Market in London last month, but didn’t purchase any. My suitcase was already at weight, and I had little wiggle room to bring home delectables. (I did, however, find some room for a brick of Caerphilly cheese.)

I’m now regretting this Proper Marmalade decision.

You see, this brand is not sold here in the USA, and the small operation in Devonshire does not currently ship to the USA. I tried to order this week some of their flavors: blood orange, quince, Seville, lemon. All to no avail.

I may have B find some and ship it to me.

And now I’m off to Dierberg’s to peruse their selection of international jams.


My 2.5-week summer holiday has commenced, as of the close of the work-day yesterday.

Unlike other summers where I’ve taken a full four weeks away from the office, I’m departing for a shorter term this year, since I am music-directing two different shows and only have 1.5 weeks off between the end of The Sweet Smell of Success and the start of rehearsals for Out on Broadway: The Third Coming.

But summer holiday is filled, as usual.  I’m off to NYC next week, for a short visit and some research.  Then I have a dash over to Lee’s Summit and on to Des Moines to see Billy Budd at Des Moines Opera.

The next few weeks, until August 10 or so, are still three-days-in-office, and some long weekends.  I still have reading to do, and music to compose, and local tourism to do!

But I wish I were abroad this summer . . . .


I was looking for one particular photo this weekend, and in doing so was struck by the loveliness of some of the snaps from July 2016 on my UK tour.

Here are some of the nature and architectural photos I took in England this last summer:

Hong Kong — Day Two photos

A pre-new-year photo:



Hong Kong Island carousel:

Other random shots:

Hong Kong — New Year’s Eve street scenes

Hong Kong — New Year’s Eve

Anatomy of a day:

  • another sumptuous breakfast
  • hotel shuttle to central district
  • walk to waterfront, only to find the art museum under renovation
  • so plenty of time on the waterfront, with photos!
  • slow walk through side streets, regal old hotels, local commerce, and lunch of rice noodles with beef at a traditional HK hole-in-the-wall
  • fitting for my new suits
  • much of the afternoon at the Hong Kong History Museum, a well-planned and engaging place to spend part of a day
  • bus and then ferry across to Hong Kong Island (of the iconic skyline)
  • a carousel ride
  • a long walk through crowded streets and uphill to Lan Kwai Fong, the entertainment district on the island
  • dinner of very good Tex-Mex at a hole-in-the-wall on a tiny side street
  • loads of photos and marvel at the police presence and the crowd-control barricades
  • subway and taxi back to hotel, after a quick trip through Marks & Spencer
  • fall sound asleep well before midnight
  • but wake to see in the new year

The fireworks reveling crowds really throng the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon, and after seeing how many people were already present by 4 p.m., J and I decided to watch the fireworks on the telly.  This was the right call (although I could see them over the tops of the high-rises to the southwest), as I was again utterly worn out from the kilometers and kilometers of walking yesterday.

Say one thing for certain: I shan’t be gaining weight on this trip, if the dining and walking so far is any indication!

What impressed me the most last evening was the visible police presence all over the wealthy Hong Kong Island. Barricades were ready.  Pedestrian control was well-planned.  Revelers could not become rioters.  They were everywhere, and from the looks of it they raided the police academy to make it happen, so young were these mostly-male officers.  They had the traffic flow and crowd control down to a science in Lan Kwai Fong.

My fitting went well. I’m sorry I didn’t have any photos taken. And later in the evening I saw a local television tourist spot for Sam’s Tailor, and realized that I’d been helped by Sam himself on my first visit.  (I go back Tuesday for a second fitting.)

So today is the first day of 2017.  As I write, my friends in the UK have just turned into the new year, and folks back home are now in the dark of night awaiting the new dawn.  May 2017 be better than many of us dare hope, and filled with compassion, truth, justice, and the good works that many people can do together.

To see the local fireworks celebration, take a look here.