2011 was a very up and down year for me.
Meaning, every month I was either flying up, or down.
It all started with Las Vegas. (Admittedly flying to Las Vegas was kind of a sideways endeavor, but visiting that sinful city in January seemed to set the tone for the rest of my up and down year.)
I went to Las Vegas alone, on a business trip, and I felt extremely self-conscious about it; going as far to explain in painfully too-much detail to the impossibly beautiful woman checking me in at the Trump why I only needed one room key. Las Vegas, backed by its schmaltzy, tacky-classy reputation, peacocking itself to the masses of bros and bachelorettes, intimidated me. My armor against intimidation was the knowledge that no self-proclaimed cultured budget traveler could ever like a place that so seemingly existed for the person opposite of me.
Boy, was I confused. Because not only did I like Vegas, I fell in love. Something happened to me there, maybe it was the plush carpets, or the blinking lights, or the DING DING DING DINGs. The picture above was taken inside of the Bellagio; the garden was decorated for the impending Chinese New Year. The year of the metal rabbit. Peace and tranquility interrupted by periods of aggression.
From Las Vegas, I lept over to Cincinnati.
This quilt hangs in the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in downtown Cincinnati, where I learned about the historic aggression along the border of northern and southern states during the Civil War. Also, Cincinnati is home to one of the greatest tip jars I’ve ever seen:
From Cincy it was up to Boston, where I didn’t take any pictures, because, I don’t know, I was lazy? Actually maybe it was because I was kind of ashamed I didn’t do much besides eat ice cream in Cambridge and visit the pubs.
Then, down to Washington DC where I failed to catch the cherry blossoms in full bloom but pretended I did for posterity’s sake by taking this picture:
Mostly just sticks with a few mangy petals.
Okay, then from DC I went further down to Miami, which, if you have an active imagination, you can almost pretend is time travel to the 1920s:
Still trying to decide which city was more intimidating between Las Vegas and Miami. I have to give slight edge to Miami because it was basically like Vegas except all the beautiful people were in bikinis. Also the club promoters wouldn’t let my friends into the clubs without “backs” to their shoes so they sported these sexy makeshift foot contraptions (all it took was one rubber band, and poof! Problem solved!) Miamians seemed incredulous to learn that we hadn’t packed club shoes because Miami is like “party in the city where the heat is on!” BUT that’s because we were headed …..
Down further to Colombia, and even more down to Ecuador! (You don’t need high heels to hike the Amazon Rainforest). I don’t talk about Ecuador very much, but I should, because this:
and in addition to being in the Amazon, I was on the Equator:
I took some pictures in Quito, too. They are here.
Flying back home was a drag, but a couple of months later it was back down to Orlando, where I suffered inside of a fantasy.
Being caged inside an all-inclusive resort isn’t as grand as it might sound.
It was up home again, and then back down to Charleston, where I spent Halloween touring some whorehouses.
It’s true. Back in the day, this building housed “working” girls. We were told on our tour that a sure-fire way of distinguishing whether an old house was of ill-reputation to just look for a heart. It was implicit advertising in the pre-“Like us on Facebook” days.
Lastly it was up to New York for some holiday festivities. I’ll leave you with a photo of the Radio City Rockettes. I hope you have a very happy holiday!