Saturday, April 29, 2017

Suspension Bridges

The other day I was remembering a suspension bridge that I use to go on in San Diego.   One day I had the whole family with me which is unusual since they are scattered around the country.   My mom lived in Phoenix and my brother lived in Lakeland.   Going from left to right is my daughter, my brother, me, my late wife, and my mother.
Out of curiosity I did a search on the internet for the suspension bridge to see if it was still there and what condition it was in.   I believe it is called the Spruce Street bridge.  This was a real suspension bridge that swayed and undulated up and down  when I walked across it.   But it wasn't one of those rope bridges with broken rotten wooden planks to walk on.   Not like the one in the picture below
It was a modern one.   Although I did have a small amount of apprehension about the wooden planks.
The bridge was pretty high as it passes over a canyon below.
So exactly where is it located?    Well one hint is that it is on spruce street in San Diego.   If you come in on the east side you will be right at one end of the bridge where the picture was taken with my family.
If you look right in the center of the photo below you can actually see the suspension bridge.    Isn't Google great?    I use it all the time.
I also stumbled across a terrific site with lots of pictures of the suspension bridge and canyon that it goes over.

Years ago Mary and I were at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Mary was a good sport to go out on this primitive-style suspension bridge so that I could get a picture.
This isn't the only suspension bridge that they have at Animal Kingdom.   This one really looks even more primitive.

Take a close look at the planks in the bridge.   Do you see a broken one?   Scary. 
So you think this is just a decoration and not really used?   Gong!   Wrong, it really is used for the Wild Africa Trek that people can go on.   Oh yes, alligators and crocodiles.
I think that anybody who crosses this rope-style bridge should get a certificate of bravery.

If you should go on this please don't trip and fall sideways over the side between the wires.
But wait, there's more.   The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a beautiful Disney resort hotel with an Africa theme to it located right next to Animal Kingdom.   And they have an actual suspension bridge inside the hotel.   Incredible.   I haven't seen this bridge in the Animal Kingdom Lodge but perhaps on one of my future trips to Animal Kingdom I will go to the Lodge to see it.
Well, I guess that you have heard enough about suspension bridges.   You can see them in San Diego or Walt Disney World near Orlando.   Have a great day.   Lew

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Duisney Springs Music Stage

Disney Springs and the Pink Flamingo
I went to Disney Springs earlier this week.   While there I went to the musical stage to watch some bands play.   I listened to two bands play.   They were both High School bands and they were very good.   The first band was from Wisconsin.
I couldn't help but wonder if that in addition to being a concert band if they might also be a marching band because the music was so loud, which is great.    It sounded like whoever the fellow was beating the kettle drum and bass drum was beating the heck out of them.   Whoever he was he got a really good workout. 
But some of the loudness may have also been due to the microphones scattered throughout the band and the large speakers facing the audience.   And notice the blue lights on the ceiling.   I have no idea what they were for.  
And periodically they would change color.   Now they are red.   For what purpose?   It was such a bright sunny day.
And then a medley of colors.   Anyone with any theatrical experience know why they would do this?   Just curious.
I took a look around at the people listening to the concert.   There weren't more people because the sun was terrible on an already hot day.
And then I saw it.   I couldn't believe it.   Can you see it?   I know, how could anyone miss it.
Let's get a closer look at this.    Don't ask me because I don't know why he is wearing a flamingo hat.   I have never seen these flamingo hats at Disney but I suspect that they must be for sale somewhere.    But the important thing is that he is having fun.   And if he is happy wearing the flamingo hat then "what the heck" why not.  
A girl started to conduct  the band.   Maybe she was a student conductor.   I don't really know.    But right in the middle of her conducting, the volcano of the Rainforest Cafe started to erupt with flames, smoke, and noise.
I left the music area for a while and when I returned there was another high school band playing also.   This band was from Massachusetts.  
They finished their concert with a medley of John Philip Sousa patriotic marches.    Arthur Fiedler would have been proud of their performance.   It was like listening to the Boston Pops on the Fourth of July.    Now, I have never been to a performance of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops but I have listened to them many times on CD.    And this high school band sounded just like the Boston Pops.   The people gave a standing ovation with a long period of applause.    Yeah, I was standing and applauding also.    In fact everyone stood and applauded.   I looked around and didn't see anyone sitting.   It was a really grand finale.    I spoke to the conductor that ending the concert with some Sousa marches really got the people enthused.   He smiled and agreed with me.   So the music was over and it was time to go home.
I have heard it said that Disney is the "happiest place on earth".   I agree, it is.   Lew

Friday, April 21, 2017


Poutine.   I saw this Kiosk-style walk-up restaurant at Disney Springs.   I read up on Poutine and discovered that it is a Canadian dish that originated in Quebec.   It consists of thick-cut french fries with curds and a beef gravy poured over everything.   I had never had anything like this and so I wanted to give it a try just to see what it was like.   Perhaps I am a little bit Andrew Zimmerman at heart.
They seemed to have a fairly well equipped kitchen.   It is not a good sign if all you see is a microwave.
It was in a really nice location with a pretty fountain right in front of it.   I always like fountains.   There is just something about the flow of falling water that I find very relaxing.   When you visit Disney you will see beautiful things everywhere.   I think that too many people concentrate on the thrill rides and don't fully appreciate the beauty:  from flowers to architecture to decor and on and on.
They seem to have a limited menu.   Basically four different types of entrees.
Since I was new to this and it was my first time eating Poutine I decided to try the Poutine Classic.
This is what I got which was a lot.   Definitely a full meal in itself.
Here is a picture with my hand in it for size comparison.   At first it didn't look like all that much.    But halfway through the meal I found out that it was much more than enough.
The seating was outside on wrought iron tables with a basket weave design and wrought iron chairs.   The french fries were thick cut, tasty, and hot.   They must have been fresh cooked in the deep frier.   The beef Poutine gravy was rich and flavorful.   Very good.   Now we come to the cheddar curds.   They are the cube shaped things.   They were very rubbery.   Plus I couldn't taste any cheddar flavor at all.   They seemed to have no taste.   But that may have been due to the delicious beef gravy overpowering any cheddar flavor.    It was just the texture that I didn't like.    Rubbery, in my opinion.   I always thought that curds were like cottage cheese and that is what I was expecting.   But not being a connoisseur of Poutine they may have actually been just perfect.   I kept trying them and actually ate around five of the curds.    I gave up on the curds and left the rest.   I thought of the nursery rhyme about Little Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet eating her curds and whey.   I believe that whey is the liquid left when the fat has been removed from the milk.    I checked the internet for an illustration of this nursery rhyme.   I found one and maybe those round things in the bowl are curds.   They look to be about the right size.    But I prefer my milk curds as cottage cheese.
After eating I left Poutine's and took a walk around Disney Springs.   I was crossing this foot bridge when I spotted an amphicar.
Does anyone remember these cars from the middle 60's?   I do.   I wish that I had gotten one.   A car with a propeller on the back and so you just drive from  the road right into a lake.    I wonder if a person could fish from the car?   Seems like a pretty neat car.
While I was standing on the bridge taking the pictures of the amphicar I struck up a conversation with a man and his son (total strangers).   He thought that a car had been turned into a boat.   I told him that it was an amphicar with a brief description and that they had been produced around 1965.   He said that was why he didn't know about them because he was born in 1969.   Made me feel older than I normally feel.   I told him that I had just eatin' a Poutine and he just came alive.    He said that he was from Canada and that he really liked poutine's and told me that they had originated in the city of Quebec.    You can meet a lot of nice people at Disney.   I continued on my way and returned to the Lime Garage.   At Disney Springs they have two huge parking garages:  one is the Lime Garage and the other is the Orange Garage.   Naturally being in Florida they would have Citrus names.   I had done many other things at Disney Springs, far too numerous to put into this particular blog.   Going to Disney Springs is always an adventure.    There is just so much there.   Have a great day and if you ever get to Disney World be sure to visit Disney Springs and take a ride in an amphicar.    Lew

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Little Sisters of the Poor

Back in the late 60's and early 70's I lived in Phoenix, Arizona and worked at St. Joseph's Hospital in their x-ray department.

St. Joseph's Hospital is operated by the Sisters of Mercy nuns.   The nuns were very nice.   The only nun that I can remember right  off-hand was Sister Mary Ralph who was in charge of the Emergency Department.   All the nuns wore "habits" that look like the one below.   The picture below is not of Sister Mary Ralph.
I think that it was more practical than the older bulky "habits".
While I worked at the hospital I also did volunteer work for the Little Sisters of the Poor.  
They operated what I would call a nursing home in Phoenix.   It was located just south of St. Joseph's Hospital.   The nursing home was excellent.   I remember that their "habits" were a bit more bulkier than the Sisters of Mercy.
The nuns were absolutely super nice.   They had really kind hearts. 
I was an x-ray technician and when they needed me they would call me at the Radiology Department of St. Joseph Hospital.   They would call me when a patient may have gotten injured, say falling down.   They had an x-ray machine and developing dark room right there at the nursing home.   I would leave the hospital (I had been given permission by the supervisor), drive to the nursing home, take the x-ray, drive back to the hospital , and have one of our hospital radiologists examine the x-ray to see if there was anything wrong.   Then the radiologist would write a handwritten report.   I would take the report and the x-ray back to the nursing home and give it to the nuns.   Fortunately, all of the patients that I x-rayed at the Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home were okay.   I really enjoyed doing the volunteer work at the nuns nursing home.    I just had the feeling that by helping the nuns I may have been doing a little bit of God's work.   Of course, the nuns were doing a whole lot of God's work.   Working with the nuns both at St. Joseph's Hospital and Little Sisters of the Poor made me feel good about myself.   I considered that it was an honor and a privilege.    I worked at St. Joseph's Hospital for 10 years and enjoyed every minute.