June 28, 2009

In which I enjoy myself thoroughly!

The town we currently live in while Mr. Pony is a completing his Masters (and possible PhD) program isn't a bad town- there are lots of restaurants, an active student community and a variety of shopping areas. But for Mr. P and I, something is missing. We like culture in the form of gourmet food, fine art and a thriving nightlife- all typically results of a more diverse population than we find here. Our answer to the frustration we sometimes feel at being almost cut off from some of the aspects of life we value most? Day trips!

From a farmer's market to Dim Sum to traditional Mexican food (on which we gorged), we had a wonderful time immersing ourselves in the culture of a city that seems a million miles from Central Nowhere, even though it is only about a 1.5 hour drive. Its amazing the diversity one can find in our area! We started out at the farmer's market, and Mr. P was drooling over all the home-grown goodies and we were limited only by what our stomachs could hold and our cooler could contain!

We wandered into several eclectic stores after that, working up an appetite to go eat dim sum- amazing! If you have never had the chance to experience this style of Asian dining, I suggest you Google the nearest restaurant go TODAY with a pack of your nearest and dearest!! The concept revolves around numerous carts that zoom from table to table. You point at what you want (one of everything, please), and you get a dish that will have 3-4 rolls or wrappers or... whatever... on it! You dole these out among your companions, chow down, then gleefully await the next cart of goodies. It is a fantastic way to taste new foods (though I don't recommend the chicken feet- just not my thing), and the larger the group you go with, the more things you try and the more fun you have!

After lunch we navigated our way to what may have been my favorite part of the day. The City boasts a marvelous botanical garden, complete with a Japanese Tea House & Garden. For $3 to park and no entry fee, we were treated to a meandering path through a wide array of greens and browns, with trickling streams wandering across our way and a glorious natural soundtrack provided by indigenous birds. Despite the blistering heat, all the water features cooled the garden down quite a bit, making for a very pleasant exploration. But what was the best part?

I got to take some awesome photos! Of course, I'm limited by the quality of my equipment- right now I'm playing around with the point-and-shoot we already own (a Fujifilm FinePix F30, if you are at all interested). It really is a fantastic little camera for your basic photography needs- I'd recommend it to anyone who isn't trying to be an amateur photographer. I'm practicing editing the pictures with GIMP, a free photo editing program, so let me know if you think I overdid anything in the editing of my photos in this post!

After a fantastic time at the gardens, we did a bit more shopping and went to gorge on traditional Mexican food- it was glorious. Of course, we'd been looking forward to seeing a bit of the nightlife, but... after all day in the sun and eating enough for 4 people, we were ready to call it a day. I guess we'll have to save up a bit and go for a weekend next time- then we can have our cake and eat it to (literally- I have a recommendation on where to get a fabulous chocolate cake, and we missed out this time!). I can definitely say that we'll be back to that city again in the next few months- so much to do and so few weekends to do it in!

You can fall in love at first sight with a place as well as a person. - Alec Waugh

*photo from Wiki Awe's Flickr photostream

all other photos by me

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