Where The Locals Go – Singapore

Sanchez Barry is the next contributor in my series ‘Where The Locals Go.’  Sanchez is from Singapore and writes for Expat Life

Singapore is a city, a country, an all-in-one. It’s a melting pot of culture that mainly comes from the South East Asia region. Its population comprises of mainly Chinese, Malay and Indian people that have been here for generations, forming our own unique Singaporean culture.

Every destination has a local hotspot. What is the local hot spot in your area and would you please describe the atmosphere?  Why do locals go there?

As Singapore has such a diverse culture, there is no one spot that all locals go to, but a few. Haji Lane/Arab Street is a great place. Lots of different cultures intertwine here. During the day, you’ll see boutique hipster shops, Arabic textile shops and great Indian, Arabic and Mediterranean food. As it creeps closer to night, the nightlife begins with jazz bars, hipster pubs and sometimes street performances.

Haji Lane

Your friend is flying into town for the first time and wants to experience the local food scene, where would you take him/her?  What are some of the dishes you would recommend?  How is the ambience? 

Hawker centres are great for this as they bring together different local delights together. Maxwell food centre, Gluttons by the Bay and Singapore Food Treats come to mind. For Indian food, try Little India.

At these places you can try many different local dishes – Hokkien Mee (stir-fried prawn noodles), Chicken Rice, Laksa (noodles in a thick gravy-like soup, and Orh Luak (oyster omelettes).

Hokkien Mee

Travelers enjoy learning about the local art scene when they arrive in new locations.  Are there local artists (musicians, painters, poetry writers, etc.) in your area that perform or feature their work?  Where can travellers go for these experiences? 

There is a cluster of museums close to each other, all perpetuating the local art scene. Singapore Art Museum, the National Gallery and Singapore National Museum can be found close together. Local art and literature are often exhibited in the museums, especially the Singapore Art Museum.

For local acts such as musicians and plays, head over to the Esplanade theatre, where you can even watch performances for free at the outdoor theatre.

Esplanade Theatres

What are some of the more popular festivals in town?  Are they held annually, several times a year, once a month?  What time of the year do they take place?  Where can travellers go to find out more information?

For music, Laneway and Baybeats are festivals are held once a year. Laneway (during January/February) is a paid indie music festival where bands from all over the world come to perform. Baybeats (held during August) is another music fest where local and international artists come together and perform for free.

Singapore Art Week is one of the biggest celebrations of art in Singapore. Supported and hosted by many different venues and both international and local artists, travellers can immerse themselves in all forms of art. Musical performances, art pieces, and theatrical performances can be found during Art Week.

The information for all of these can be found online, as they all have their own websites full of information.

 If travellers want to experience recreational activities during their stay, what can they do and where can they go?

Gardens by the Bay is a great place to just relax and take a scenic stroll with nature right near the heart of the city. Marina Barrage is a great place nearby as well. It’s a commonplace for locals to partake in recreational activities like picnics, flying kites, water sports like kayaking or dragon boating or just chilling out with family or friends.

Many travellers pick destinations that offer volunteerism / eco-tourism / activism / volunteer opportunities.  What types of opportunities exist in your area?

As we’re a city-state, most of the volunteer work here revolve around helping people, we don’t have eco-tourism activities otherwise. Singapore has numerous organisations that offer volunteer work, so I’d just list out the one that are close to my heart. The Institute of Mental Health patients live a very recluse life, cut off from most of the rest of Singapore, volunteering to do activities or just keep them company.

I know travellers like certain forms of transportation.  Some like to walk and/or bike while others prefer to get around at a quicker pace.   What is the best way for travellers to get around town? 

 The best way to get around Singapore for anyone is the public transportation system. With the combination of trains and buses, you can get to practically anywhere in Singapore.

If you’re going to the central of Singapore, it is possible to explore most of it on foot, just remember to keep hydrated as Singapore is both humid and hot. Singapore’s very well mapped on Google and Apple Maps as well, so it’s quite easy to find your way around with just a smartphone. For those who like to bike there are bike-sharing services like ofo and oBike, so you can pick up a bike nearly anywhere to cycle from place to place.

For those who want to get away for a day for some peace and quiet, yet still take in the scenery, where are some areas that travellers can go to “get away from it all” and still enjoy the outdoors?

Macritchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah Hill are great places for the casual hiker. Lush greenery and easy trails are available at both locations. These trails are not difficult and do not require any extra equipment. Especially on weekdays, these areas are close to empty.

Macritchie Reservoir

Travelers can get a sense of culture by observing their surroundings and people watch.  Where can travelers go in your area to engage in this popular activity?

Going to any heartland neighbourhood food court in Singapore is a good start to observe the locals. You’ll see the bustling lunch crowd move quickly and the slow pace of the retirees enjoying their afternoon coffee. The steps outside ION shopping centre at Orchard Road is another good place to people watch, you can see people from all walks of life – people shopping designer goods at Ion, people taking a smoke break or just sitting around and relaxing.

Thank you Sanchez for contributing to ‘Where The Locals Go.’

Cover photo of Supertree Grove by  Carlotta Rebonato

Airplane Games – Yes There’s Room to Play

I like to keep myself busy on an airplane.  I read, listen to music, solve many Sudoku puzzles and play games.  I’m going to share a childhood favorite my dad taught me.  All I need is a surface, paper and a something to write with.  This is a two player game.  It can be played adult vs. adult, adult vs. kid and kid vs. kid.  When traveling alone, I have no problem talking with people, so I always have a potential partner to play with.  The game is called Bagels.

Bagels: – This is fun logical number game.  I’ve played it in bars, on planes, on napkins, in terminals, in the backseat of a cars and wherever I have the items needed to play.

Items Needed:  A writing utensil and something to write on.  Ideally paper.

How To Play:  The game begins with one person writing down a secret 3 digit number.  Do not pick two of the same number.  The other person attempts to guess the secret number.  The person guessing writes down their 3 digit guess on their own piece of paper.  The one who chose the secret number responds to each guess as follows:

Bagels – If there are no correct numbers in the secret number, this is bagels.

Pico – One number in the secret number is correct but in the wrong place.    

Fermi – One number in the secret number is correct  and it’s in the right place.

Let’s look at an example.

My opponent chooses the secret number 723.

Guess 1:  491  (B)  This is Bagels because none of numbers are in the secret number.  I place a B next to the number to note none of these numbers work.

Guess 2:   385 (P)  This is Pico.  I have one of the secret numbers (3) but it’s in the wrong place.  I don’t know if the 3 is the Pico number but for example purposes I’m identifying it as such.

Guess 3:  637 (PP)  This is Pico, Pico.  I have two numbers but in the wrong place.  At this point, the 3 may not be in the secret number based on the outcome of the previous guess.  Right now I have the 3, 8, 5, 6 and 7 still in play.

Guess 4:  735 (PF)  This Pico, Fermi.  One number is correct and in the correct place (7) and another number is correct but in the wrong place.

Guess 5:  765 (F)  This is Fermi.  I have one number correct and in the right place.  From here, look back at the previous numbers and numbers that haven’t been chosen and work sequences.

Guess 6:  713 (FF)  This is Fermi, Fermi.  Two numbers correct and in the correct place.  I stayed with the 7, switched the 3 based on guesses 3 and 4 and chose the 1 just to see if it works.

Guess 7:  783 (FF)  Fermi, Fermi.  I stayed with the 7 and 3 and chose the 8.  I did this to see of the 7 and 3 stayed the same.  If you look back at guess #2, I already had 8 in the middle but knew it was not in the right place.  I used the 8 again to see if the 7 and 3 were the end numbers based on the last two guesses.

Guess 8:  723.  I guessed the secret number correctly  For this guess I had two numbers left to choose for the middle, 2 and 0.  If I chose 0, I would then eliminate that number and guessed 723 in my next guess.

Use the numbers 0-9.  The game can be played with four digits but I usually use three.  Have a friendly competition with your opponent to see who can guess the secret number in the fewest chances.

From Earth To Space At Kitt Peak National Observatory

Kitt Peak National Observatory is home to the largest collection of radio and optical telescopes in the world.  Travelers can tour three instruments on site, the Mayall 4m, the 2.1m and the McMath-Pierce solar telescope. Kitt Peak also provides exhibits, a Docent led tour (an enhanced tour experience), nighttime programs, a visitor center and a gift shop. My dad and I joined a Docent led tour of the Mayall 4m.  The tour started in the visitor center and ended with the peak experience in the Mayall’s scenic viewing gallery.

 

The entry point for the observatory starts at the base of the Quinlan mountain range, 56 miles southwest of Tucson, AZ. Here, the 187 foot-tall building housing the Mayall 4m telescope (center) is a welcoming site for travelers. This structure is visible over 50 miles away, including many locations in Tucson.
The entry point for the observatory starts at the base of the Quinlan mountain range, 56 miles southwest of Tucson, AZ. Here, the 187 foot-tall building housing the Mayall 4m telescope (center) is a welcoming site for travelers. This structure is visible over 50 miles away, including many locations in Tucson.
Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) is home to the largest collection of research telescopes in the world – twenty-five optical telescopes and two radio telescopes sit high above the Sonoran Desert offering spectacular views of the sky. This mini-model, located in the Visitor Center, is an accurate representation of the topography and layout of the observatory.
Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) is home to the largest collection of research telescopes in the world – twenty-five optical telescopes and two radio telescopes sit high above the Sonoran Desert offering spectacular views of the sky. This mini-model, located in the Visitor Center, is an accurate representation of the topography and layout of the observatory.
For over 50 years, the Kitt Peak Visitor Center has been the hub for public access. The mission of the Visitor Center is to educate and inform the public about astronomy, the scientific method and research themes using outreach programs that include exhibits and special events. Displays such as this model of one of the observatory’s telescopes provides information to further enhance one’s experience.
The beauty of science. I’m standing in front of an infrared camera. The Visitor Center offers many visuals to see, read and interact with to help further one’s understanding of basic science and astronomy. The Visitor Center does an admirable job of living by their mission of inspiring a sense of wonder and awe.
This “donut” was used in the first telescope to simulate a mirror so the astronomers could verify the balance and operation of the instrument. The artwork was done by a member of a local native tribe, a people who hold this land as hallowed. When the scientific community wanted to build on this land, negotiations were made and history and science formed an alliance.
Kitt Peak is spread over 200 acres and is located on the Tohono O’odham (meaning “Desert People” in the O’odham language) Reservation. The land is owned and considered sacred by the Tohono O’odham Nation. When first approached by members of the scientific community, the tribal council of the O’odham Nation rejected their proposal to use the land for an observatory.
The Tohono O’odham Nation has a relationship with the stars – the celestial bodies were significant in their religion and ancient stories. The astronomers knew the value of Kitt Peak for both parties. Sacred land to the natives and an opportunity for astronomical research for world scientists. An invitation by the astronomers to the tribal council to visit the Steward Observatory to view the sky impressed the council thus solidifying a mutual agreement for use of the land.
On March 5, 1958, the Schuk Toak district council met with members of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and signed a perpetual agreement – the land can be used and buildings remain as long as astronomy and science are being conducted. Today the land is leased by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the Tohono O’odham Nation receiving continued benefits from the original agreement.
Visitors have a choice to either take a self-guided tour or for a nominal fee go on a Docent-led tour of the three telescopes open to the public – the Mayall 4m, the 2.1m and the McMath-Pierce Solar telescope. The Docent-led tours start in the Visitor Center and provide more insight and information about the facility.
The Mayall 4m telescope is named after Nicholas U. Mayall, the former director of Kitt Peak. Under his 11 year leadership as director, he made KPNO a world-class observatory and was responsible for the construction of the 4m Optical Telescope. In 1973, two years after his retirement, the telescope was dedicated in his honor. It first saw light on February 27, 1973.
Wear comfortable walking shoes. Visitors can walk up to one-quarter of a mile to get from one area of the observatory to another. Our tour is heading around the corner to visit the 4m. As I was walking along the base of the Mayall’s structure, the Docent said to cross to the other side due to ice falling off the top of the dome. The moment he said these words, I looked up and saw ice coming down right where I was previously standing.
The base of the building is at the highest elevation point of 6875 feet and is located on the northern end of the observatory. This iconic building is the largest optical telescope on site and receives four times more requests for viewing than there are clear nights. The dome weighs an impressive 500 tons and the hexahedron design allows the building to withstand hurricane force winds up to 120 m.p.h.
The Mayall is one of three telescopes operated by Kitt Peak with the remaining astronomical instruments on site run by universities and other research facilities. While inside the building, visitors are not allowed in the room with the telescope – an adjacent room allows for everyone to view the instrument through glass windows.
The Mayall 4m reflecting telescope’s mirror, fabricated from fused quartz, weighs 15 tons and is polished to one-millionth of an inch. To avoid potential shaking of this delicate scientific equipment resulting in bad or blurred images, the telescope is mounted on a cement pier that is completely separate from the building and the dome, yet moves in unison with the dome while in use.
One level below the telescope viewing gallery is the scenic viewing gallery. From here, visitors have access to an intoxicating 360-degree view of Kitt Peak and the Sonoran Desert. With a steady atmosphere overhead – a high number of clear days and nights – and low levels of relative humidity, Kitt Peak offers excellent viewing and observing during both the day for visitors and nighttime for astronomers.
One factor that plays an important role for maximizing viewing of the nighttime sky is little to no light pollution from the surrounding area. There is a ‘no construction’ buffer zone of 2000 acres in every direction. Tough ordinance laws are in place in Tucson as well to help mitigate any extraneous light pollution due to an increase in population over the years.
There are significant number of days and nights for optimal observation and viewing. Early spring is the peak time of year for the “clearest seeing.” Summer rains occur mainly from mid-July through the end of August. Everyone is encouraged to use their inside voice when walking the grounds during the day as this is sleep time for the astronomers.
On the southern end of the observatory sits the McMath-Pierce Solar telescope. Holding the prize as being the largest solar instrument in the world, this telescope is used to study sunspots. The McMath-Pierce has a viewing gallery where visitors can look inside the underground tunnel and look up the shaft to the sky. For me, the tour of this specific telescope is in my future.

 

 

 

 

 

101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under in the Kenosha, WI Area – Part 4 of 4

I’d rather pay for experiences than hoard a “rich deposit” of materialistic goods that will sit around most of the time collecting dust.  Yes, I need and want basic items to satisfy my likes, values, desires, habits and hobbies, but after a while a lot of possessions will start to control ones mind.  I’m wealthy but not rich.  Being wealthy is more rewarding and satisfying.

When Meridith Jumisko compiled the list of 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under in the Kenosha, WI Area for the Kenosha Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website, I had to share.  There is a wealth of knowledge one will gain by experiencing these attractions and events that will not break the bank.  Shed the rich man mindset to become truly wealthy.

76. Create art in the Clay Studio at Lemon Street Gallery! Clay costs $3 per pound

77. Also see incredible art at Re:Vision Gallery, Pollard Gallery, Anderson Arts Center,Kenosha Art Association,Carthage College, and UW-Parkside! FREE

78. Enjoy a scenic bike ride on the Pike Bike Trail or the Kenosha County Bike Trail.FREE

Even the dogs enjoy the Kenosha Harbor Market. Photo by The Walking Traveler

79. Mikey’s features a new menu with gourmet Hot Dogs, create-your-own pizza, and more! Prices vary

80. Find your favorite childhood video game and try it out at Inner Child Comics & Collectibles. Many under $10 /FREE to try

81. Exhibitors bring samples, brochures, giveaways, and smiles to the I-94 Visitor Information Center for First Fridays.FREE

82. Pick up a homemade Bloody Mary mix or lemonade mix at Elsie Mae’s Canning & Pies, who offer more than pies and jams! $6.50/$8.50

83. Hike 4.2 miles of trails at KD Park. FREE

84. Checkmate! Play chess or checkers at the chess tables in Fox River Park; bring your own pieces. FREE

85. Take time to enjoy the distinctive wall murals, unique hand-painted storefront signs, and amazing historic architecture in Downtown Kenosha! FREE

86. Visit Abe! Library Park is home to an Abraham Lincoln statue, as well as the Kenosha County Soldiers’ Monument “Winged Victory”. FREE

87. Take a selfie by the red 1906 Pierhead Lighthouse.FREE

88. A slice of Kenosha nightlife can be found at Fusion, a Downtown performing arts venue. Some events FREE

89. At Scoops Ice Cream, ask for the Badger Brownie: two scoops of ice cream on a warm chocolate chunk brownie, with many toppings! $5.75

90. Aspiring young paleontologists will dig this: Dino Digs are held most Saturday andSunday afternoons at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum. FREE

91. Bring the kids to the Field Station inside the Kenosha Public Museum, where they can explore the arts and sciences in this popular hands-on activity area. FREE

92. Labor Day weekend includes Cheese-A-Palooza (Sept 3-4), the Downtown Kenosha Classic Cruise-In Car Show (Sept 3), and the 14th Annual Car Show To Benefit Our Wounded Warriors (Sept 4). FREE for spectators

93. All ages enjoy getting artsy at Alpaca Art Pottery Painting. $7 studio fee plus the cost of your pottery ($3+)

Street Festivals are better when live music hits the air. Photo by The Walking Traveler

94. At NovelTea Bookstore, you can purchase 2 oz. packaged loose leaf tea in a variety of flavors. Most under $10; average price $7

95. Meet internationally-known cartoonists during the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning,Sept 15-17. FREE

96. Enjoy a picnic at Wolfenbuttel Park, next to Lake Michigan. FREE

97. Electric Streetcars are celebrated during Kenosha Streetcar Day on Sept 17!  $1 & under fare

98. You can’t go to Brat Stop without having the Famous Charcoal Grill Original Bratwurst served with chips! $6.99

99. You’ll find the Lilli Soapworks product line at A Summer’s Garden Florist. These soaps are handmade in Kenosha with shea butter. $5.50

100. Enjoy a delicious made-from-scratch soup in the outdoor Garden of Eatin’ at The Coffee Pot. $2-4

101. The famous “backroom” offers amazing savings at the Jockey Factory Store in Downtown Kenosha. Get a $10 off coupon in the FREE 2016 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide

Thank you again Meridith for your help over the past couple of years.

101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under in the Kenosha, WI Area – Part 3 of 4

There are four historic districts for travelers and locals to tour in Kenosha, WI.  On these tours everyone will see landmarks, famous buildings and historic homes that provide insight into Kenosha’s rich history and culture.  More information about these four historic districts is found on the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website. These Kenosha Historic District Tours are #29 on 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under in the Kenosha, WI Area.

51. Try one of 16 different varieties of Panini sandwiches at the iconic Tenuta’s Delicatessen, grilled in-house and served up at the outdoor grill. $5.99

52. Swim in Lake Andrea, or build a sand castle on the beach. $4-7 daily pass

53. The Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade is July 3, with the Celebrate America festival featuring Independence Day Fireworks, July 3-4. FREE

Kenosha Lakefront. Photo by The Walking Traveler
Kenosha Lakefront. Photo by The Walking Traveler

54.  Add to your fun at Bristol Woods Park! At the on-site Pringle Nature Center, rent a GPS unit to locate Geocaches – or rent a family-friendly Explorer Backpack. $5 each rental, park admission FREE

55. 90 years ago, six horses pulled Franks Diner to Kenosha. Celebrate with the renowned Garbage Plate! $9.95+

56. Relax and watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan. FREE

57. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Simmons Library – built in 1900 – every Second Saturday at 2:30 p.m. FREE

58. Come hungry! Taste of Wisconsin™ is July 29-31. FREE admission

59. The Colonial through Western Fur Trade era of the 1650s through 1850s will come alive at Pike River Rendezvous, Aug 6-7. FREE

60. Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm’s popular Sweet Corn Festival has expanded to two days: Aug 13-14.FREE admission

61. Uncover local shipwreck facts and more at the Southport Light Station Museum. FREE

62. Load up the car with skateboards, scooters, roller blades, and bikes and head to Anderson Park’s 11,000 square foot concrete skatepark. FREE

63. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you take the METRA train from Chicago to Kenosha. Unlimited ride $8 weekend pass

64. More than a popcorn and ice cream shop, Sandy’s Popper also offers cotton candy, nostalgic candies, and more! Nostalgic candies start around 10¢

65. Each month, enjoy Second Saturdays with sales, live entertainment and family activities in Downtown Kenosha. Many FREE activities

66. Enjoy the beach and great swimming at Old Settlers Park. $5 per vehicle Memorial Day – Labor Day on weekends only, otherwise FREE

Kenosha Harbor Market. Photo by The Walking Traveler
Kenosha Harbor Market. Photo by The Walking Traveler

67. Go “Back To The 20s” at the Kenosha History Center’sautomobile exhibit. FREE

68. Cool down with a treat at Culver’s Pleasant Prairie, while playing the large outdoor chess game (ask for the pieces at the counter). Treat prices vary; FREE to play chess

69. Make your own customized bracelet or necklace at Peacetree Originals. $5 & up

70. Cool off at the indoor RecPlex Ice Arena. Temperature on the ice is 40 to 45 degrees. $6.50 & under to skate / $3 skate rental

71. Modern Apothecary is a locally owned pharmacy that offers natural products and gifts, including a variety of essential oils. $8.44+ for essential oils

72. As you sip a cool beverage on the deck of Harborside Common Grounds, watch Kenosha Community Sailing Center lessons taking place in the harbor. Prices vary

73. You’ll find entertainment for all ages at the Kenosha County Fair, Aug 17-21! $9 & under

74. The Kansas City Barbecue Society BBQ Competition and more take place at Grill Games, Aug 26-27. FREE for spectators

75. Let the kids cool off with a visit to HarborPark’s splash pad area. FREE

There are differences between being a tourist and being a traveler.  Read my article “Oh Those Unhappy Tourists” before heading to Kenosha or anywhere else in the world.  Don’t be a tourist, be a traveler.

101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under in the Kenosha, WI Area – Part 2 of 4

The sun is shining on this early Sunday morning here in Kenosha.  The air is chilly but the temperature is going to rise into the low 60’s…we’ll see.  A walk will be in order this afternoon.  Yesterday we had on and off snow and sun with temps in the 30’s.  Typical Midwest weather in April.  With the sun shining down upon this town, I’m going to jump right in and share part 2 of 101 Things To See And Do for $10 & Under in Kenosha, WI.  Thank you to the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for your continued cooperation.

Fountain outside the Kenosha Public Museum.
Fountain outside the Kenosha Public Museum.

26. At Mike’s Donuts & Chicken, enjoy oversized donuts with wild and unique toppings and fillings! $1-3

27. The get bEHIND the aRTS Studio Tour takes place April 24 in Kenosha. $5 suggested donation

28. Travel back to yesteryear aboard one of Kenosha’s seven authentic Electric Streetcars! $1 & under

29. Walk, bike, or drive through Kenosha’s four historic districts. FREE

30. Stroll through the Kenosha Sculpture Walk, which runs along the harbor and features nearly a dozen inspiring works of art. FREE

31. Gather your friends and enjoy Kenosha Craft Beer Week at PUBLIC Craft Brewing Co. and more businesses, May 16-22. Prices vary

32. Golf nine holes for a deal after 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday and after 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday atPetrifying Springs Golf Course and Brighton Dale Links. $10

33. Between May and September, Bristol 45 Diner hosts a car show on the first, third, and fifth Monday evenings of the month. FREE

34. Hold on to your kite! It’s the Outta Sight Kite Flight, June 4-5. FREE

35. Admission is free to Richard Bong State Recreation Area on June 5 for the Family Nature Faire. FREE

36. Enjoy free cheese samples, along with free photo ops (i.e. giant outdoor sign, Isabella the 60-year-old cow, the giant mouse) at Mars’ Cheese Castle. FREE

37. Go Fish! For Free! No fishing licenses are needed June 4-5 in Wisconsin during Summer Free Fishing Weekend!FREE 

The Kenosha Electric Streetcar takes visitors on a tour through dwontown Kenosha.
The Kenosha Electric Streetcar takes visitors on a tour through downtown Kenosha.

38. Splish! Splash! Fly down the 200-foot long water slide at Washington Park Pool or Anderson Park Pool. $5 & under

39. Pretend it’s the 1950s as car hops serve you at Big Star Drive-In and The Spot Drive-In! Prices vary

40. Outdoor Music At The Lake I: Enjoy the Kenosha Pops on Wednesday evenings at the Sesquicentennial Bandshell, mid-June to early August. FREE

41. Outdoor Music At The Lake II: Experience the Twilight Jazz Concert Series on the lawn of Anderson Arts Center – June 28; July 5, 19, 26; and Aug 30. FREE

42. Outdoor Music At The Lake III: Peanut Butter & Jam concerts happen twice every Thursday, July 7 – Aug 25.FREE

43. Outdoor Music At The Lake IV: Enjoy a variety of music during Tuesdays At The Shell, July 12 – Aug 30. FREE

44. Uke’s Harley-Davidson is Wisconsin’s oldest H-D dealership. Explore its roots at their on-site museum! FREE

45. Celebrate some of the finest Civil War soldiers of the Midwest – the famous Iron Brigade. June 11-12 isSalute to Freedom. FREE

46. Take the family out to breakfast on the farm! TheKenosha County Dairy Breakfast is June 18. $6 & under

47.See the largest suspension staircase in the state – inside Kemper Center’s Durkee Mansion (open for tours, April – October). FREE

48. Visit Linnea Bakery in Downtown Kenosha or at its new second location inside Southwest Library for Scandinavian treats! Prices Vary

49. Pause and reflect at the Veteran’s Memorial Fountain and Lone Soldier Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park.FREE

50. On Saturday mornings, you can join the Bike Shop at Southport Rigging on its 26-mile Weekly Common Grounds Coffee Ride. FREE

Don’t forget to visit Kenosha, WI if you are driving along the Chi-Waukee corridor along I-94.

 

101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under in the Kenosha, WI Area – Part 1 of 4

If it keeps on rainin’, the levee’s going to break.  If keeps on rainin’, the levee’s going to…sing to me Robert Plant as I type these words.  Bonzo, pound those drums.  I look out my window to see yet another overcast day here in Kenosha, WI.  Ah yes, Kenosha, WI.  Halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Kenosha’s culture, music, literature, construction and architecture influences date back to the start of the 20th century through the 1930’s when Irish, German, Italian and Polish immigrants settled in the area.  With most cities, people come and go but roots run deep and generations of families stay in areas for a lifetime.  This is true of Kenosha.

There is plenty to see and do in and around the Kenosha area that is nominally priced or free .  Working in cooperation with Meridith Jumisko – my contact, friend and Public Relations Manager at the Kenosha Convention and Visitors Bureau, I’m sharing 101 things to do and see for $10 and under.  Many of these are free.  If you are driving through the Chi-Waukee corridor, take a detour and visit Kenosha.  Here are the first 25 of 101 things to do and see in this four-part series.

Kenosha Harbor - Photo taken by Tony Toto - The Walking Traveler
Kenosha Harbor – Photo taken by Tony Toto – The Walking Traveler
  1. See the 2015 Northwoods League Summer Collegiate World Series champions – the Kenosha Kingfish – play baseball at Simmons Field! $8+
  2. Watch racing at the newly renovated Washington Park Velodrome, the oldest operating bike track of its kind in the U.S. FREE
  3. Climb the Southport Lighthouse during its 150th anniversary season! $10 & under
  4. Play at Kenosha’s first fully accessible playground, the Dream Playground at Petzke Park. It’s a one-of-a-kind 15,000 square foot space for all abilities. FREE(Temporarily closed for repairs.)
  5. Bring your pooch to play at one of five off-leash dog parks throughout Kenosha County! FREE to $5 depending on park
  6. Try your hand at one of four disc golf locations: Lincoln Park, Fox River Park, Silver Lake Park, and UW-Parkside. FREE
  7. Meet you at the lake! Bring the sunscreen and a beach towel … we have FIVEbeaches along Lake Michigan! FREE
  8. Visit Wilmot Flea Market at its new location: the Kenosha County Fairgrounds. The market is open most Sundays, starting May 1. $1
  9. Get in touch with nature at Chiwaukee Prairie, which has been designated a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention. FREE
  10. Watch model trains deliver classic American food at Choo Choo Charlie’s – and enjoy a Charlie’s Delight (salted caramel sundae). $5.99
  11. Silver Lake Park is home to over 9 miles of mountain bike trails. FREE
  12. Enjoy an indoor train tour at Jelly Belly Visitor Center, and sample the crazy BeanBoozled® flavors! FREE tour and samples
  13. Take a fun pedal boat ride on Lake Andrea! $8-10
  14. Enjoy an old-fashioned cherry soda at a historic soda fountain, Jack’s Café inside Andrea’s! $3.95
  15. Hike over the river and through the woods at the 360-acre Petrifying Springs Park – the oldest park in the Kenosha County park system. FREE
  16. Have a delicious Gouda Mornin’ Breakfast Panini (gluten free bread available) atThe Buzz Café. $5.99
  17. Seniors (ages 60 & over) can enjoy the Kenosha YMCA free of charge on the third Tuesday of every month! FREE
  18. The Transparent Watercolor Society of America returns to the Kenosha Public Museum for its 40th Annual National Juried Exhibition, May 7 – Aug 7. FREE
  19. From Farm To Table I: Kenosha HarborMarket returns outdoors May 14. You’ll find live music and 150+ vendors at this Saturday market during the summer.FREE admission
  20. From Farm To Table II: Reserve your crop box full of produce at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm! $10
  21. From Farm To Table III: Shop for produce at the weekly WestoshaMarket and five city farmers’ markets. Prices vary
  22. Be amazed by the 2015 National Show Ski Champions! The Aquanut Water Shows take place most Wednesdays and Saturdays, May 28 – Sept 3. FREE
  23. Check out the impressive 360° film “Seeing the Elephant” inside the Civil War Museum’s main exhibit The Fiery Trial. Main exhibit $9 & under
  24. Shop and save at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets. Save even more when you pick up a coupon book. $5 coupon book
  25. Lakeside Players Family Theatre Series Presents: Disney’s Aladdin Jr., April 8-17. $10
Kenosha Market Days. Photo taken by Tony Toto - The Walking Traveler
Kenosha Harobr Market – Photo taken by Tony Toto – The Walking Traveler

Visit Kenosha to experience fine Midwestern hospitality, take a stroll along Lake Michigan and stuff your face with bratwurst while having the skin on your face melt away from the live music acts at the world-famous Brat Stop.  Visit the Brat Stop last because a food coma will ensue.

 

 

 

25 Quotes To Inspire Any Traveler

Everyone needs to read inspirational quotes now and then.  If a mental boost is what I need as a kick in the rear to get moving, I search for these positive words.  There is no shame in admitting this. I see friends, colleagues, mothers, brothers and business owners posting quotes all the time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr and other social media outlets. Here is a list of some of my favorite travel quotes.  As Andy Dufresne said in Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Flower
Photo taken by Tony Toto a.k.a The Walking Traveler

1. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

2. “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

3. “A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Carlo Goldoni

4. “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

5. “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable.  It is designed to                 make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

6. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

7. “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

8. “To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

Photo taken by Tony Toto a.k.a The Walking Traveler
Photo taken by Tony Toto a.k.a The Walking Traveler

9. “Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.” – Elizabeth Drew

10. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

11. “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

12. “You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” – Eugene Fodor

13. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

14. “People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

15.  “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

16. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

17. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

18. “The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

Photo taken by Tony Toto a.k.a The Walking Traveler
Photo taken by Tony Toto a.k.a The Walking Traveler

19. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

20. “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

21. “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

22. “Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” – Roy M. Goodman

23. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

24. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

25. “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

“Travel with an open mind, open heart and an ongoing sense of wonder.” – The Walking Traveler

11 Not So Interesting Facts About Me And The Stories Behind Them

Knowing me, knowing you…don’t worry I’m not going to sing ABBA.  Instead of singing, I’m going to share some facts, quirks and heart breaks about me.  I’ve always been an open book and willing to share my life stories.  Feel free to share your laughs, heartaches and quirks in the comment section.  Live, laugh, love and keep rockin’!

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.
Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.

 

One – I played clarinet in band from 4th grade until I graduated high school with a two-year stint of playing bass clarinet in 7th and 8th grade.  After my freshman year, I hated the clarinet but my parents wanted me in an extra-curricular activity. What I wanted to do at this point was play drums and percussion but was too afraid to ask.  Could I have been the next John Bonham, Neil Peart or Alex Van Halen?  No.  I still have some angst in me for not saying anything.

Dos – I used to fall in love really easy.  I love love and wanted to give someone my love and live happily ever after.  After many heart breaks and heartaches, this is no longer the case.  I know the type of person I want to share my life with and I’m willing to grow a relationship organically.  Falling in love is no longer my forte.  Rising in love where we grow, share and learn from each other is the spice I want in my relationship.  When I say, “you are my best friend, I’ll protect you and I love you”, I’m balls to the walls serious!

Drei – My nickname is Scarbonzi (yes, I’m part Italian). One day my friend John said it with authority and it stuck. Sounds like the protector.  “Do you want swimming lesson with a pair of cement shoes? No?” Then don’t mess with my friends.”  Funny side note. For years, John’s friend Jason thought my last name was Scarbonzi.

Quatre –  Know thy self.  In 2011 I took the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality test.  My four letters are ENFJ.  I spent days, if not weeks, reading all the descriptions I could find about my personality type on the internet.  Everything I read is me.  Strengths, weaknesses, quirks, love, relationships, family life, friends and bodily functions align perfectly with this passionate, obsessed with love, don’t mess with my friends and family Italian nicknamed Scarbonzi.  I’ll sweat garlic if I need to.

Hulk
I’m kind, but I will go into beast mode if need be.

Viisi – The pungent smell and delightful taste of sauerkraut, layers and layers of corned beef, melted swiss cheese and thousand island dressing bookended by two slices of rye bread grilled to golden brown perfection results in the greatest sandwich of all time – the Reuben.  There are many tasty sandwiches, but these ingredients combined discovered by a mad culinary scientist is food genius.

Sau – I wasn’t the only wide-eyed, drooling, not-sure-what-sex-was-but-she-is-hot pre-teen who gawked over Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, but I took it a step further.  I was only 9 years old when I heard Carrie Fisher married singer Paul Simon.  My world was over.  I cried my eyes out all day after hearing the news.  I thought I lost the love of my life.  My mom will testify to this.  Ah, what crazy boys without a clue will do.

Cim – I’m not a fan of running.  Actually I hate it.  I never liked how I felt while running.  I hate push-ups.  They seem like too much effort.  I walk and run the stairs and I do 35 push-ups within the first 10 minutes of waking up every morning.  I like exercising.  Sometimes with change comes discomfort.  Push-ups are now effortless and running isn’t bad – well in short distances.  Interesting how one changes when they really want something.

Sekiz – I was one of eight finalists for the school spelling bee when I was in 7th grade.  I was cruising along. I stood tall and proud as I regurgitated ever letter of ever word given to me.   I watched my fellow students drop one-by-one.  I was feeling good about myself but I was not cocky.  I saw the first place trophy in my hands.  My next word to spell was ‘COCKLESHELL’.  Easy.  C-o-c-k-E-L-s-h-e-l-l.  Wait?  Can I start over?  No!?!?!  I knew immediately my fate had been sealed.  I was out.  To this day, I’ve never misspelled cockleshell.  Damn you LE, EL, damn you.

Why oh why are you not spelled 'EL?' Sigh...
Why oh why are you not spelled ‘EL?’ Sigh…

Üheksa – I’m not your typical guy.  I’m always open to going to an art show, antique fair, museum or any cultural event when I have a woman in my life.  I enjoy intellectual events where we can hold hands, be in awe together and discuss what we see during and after the occasion.  Yeah, I like manly things like sports, but there is nothing better than going to an intellectually stimulating event or show with the woman I love.  I enjoy stories behind people and things.

Dez – I’m a Libra.  I need balance and harmony, so conflict and confrontation are not my friends.  My mouth dries up like cotton, my mind goes in overdrive and I can’t articulate what I want to say.  My modus operandi is to avoid it at all costs.  When this beast, my nemesis, show its ugly head, I don’t pull out my sword and fight.  I turn and run.  Now, if conflict is affecting someone close to me where there is potential for harm, I’ll show my fangs of rage and protect that person with everything I have at my disposal.

‘Umikumākahi – My two favorite letters of the alphabet are V and R.  V sounds strong, powerful and vibrant.  R sounds light, peaceful and calming.  To me when a V is spoken, the sound demands respect. When the R released into the air, it dances and flows smoothly.  These two compliment each other.  Hard and soft.  Strength and tenderness. Balance and harmony.  I guess it’s the Libra in me who feels this way.  Go ahead and practice.  Maybe you, the reader, will understand after you give it a try.

I like to learn new things so I thought it would be a fun idea to number these facts in different languages.  If you know any of these languages share with everyone and leave a comment in the comment section.

 

 

What’s In My Camera Bag?

I’ve heard and read the saying many times, “photography is not about the gear you have, it’s about the person using the camera.”  This is true – to the extent of knowing ones camera.  Master it or be a fidgeting monkey.  What will I choose? I find the Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule) which is the law of the vital few, comes into play with photography.  The 80/20 rule states that 80% of the effects are a result from 20% of the causes.  In the case of photography, the 20% is mastering ones camera, lighting and knowing which settings to use in any given shooting scenario.  Once one masters the 20%, the 80% effects are limitless.  Creativity is abundant, an eye for a quality photo is clear and more time is spent shooting instead of fumbling with settings and gear.

I own a Canon Powershot sx50 HS.  The Powershot is a bridge camera, a camera that is a step-up from a point and shoot and step below a DSLR.  It has a lot of features of a DSLR including being able to shoot in Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual modes.  I can adjust my white balance effectively, shoot in High-Dynamic Range (HDR) and this camera has an impressive 1200mm zoom lens built-in.  I feel I can go to the moon and back with this incredible range.  The camera also has a fantastic Macro setting.  Some limitations of the sx50 include f/stop range from 3.4 – 8.  The slowest shutter speed is only 15 seconds, but when I play it right, I’ll capture some tasty photos.  The fastest shutter speed is 1/2000th of a second.  This is pretty good.  DSLR’s can go faster, but 1/2000th of a second will work for me for now.

My bridge camera captured a photo that was included in an online international travel site.  One does not need a $5000 camera to start.  I’m mastering my camera so I don’t look like that wide-eyed monkey throwing things across the room out of frustration.  Practice, practice, practice.  Here’s what I have in my camera bag along with my gear and a list of gear I’m going to buy.

The Walking Traveler’s Camera Gear

Camera – Canon Powershot sx50 HS – Fit my budget and a great camera to learn on.

Sunpal Ultra 7000TM Tripod – Get a sturdy tripod.  I need added weight to hold down this tripod in windy weather.

(2) Canon NB-10L Camera Batteries – Never hurts to have a back-up battery.

Lexar 32 GB 400x Speed – I once got over 1000 photos on this card from a single shoot.

Nikon card Reader – Card readers are universal. I purchased this at a local camera store.  It’s what they had in stock.

5-in-1 Reflector – I purchased mine used.  I got a good deal on it.

Vogue 67mm Bayonet Adapter – This adapter attaches to the lens.  Once attached, filters screw into the adapter.

How I’m mastering my camera – I google to find ways to learn.  I found this tutorial series back in January 2016 to help me be the master of my camera.  This video series is extremely helpful to anyone getting started in photography.  Thank you Marius from M West Photography for creating Digital Photography Today.

The Walking Traveler’s Gear Wish List For More Creative Photos 

UV Filter – This filter reduces the level of ultraviolet light that strikes the recording medium and is good for protecting the camera lens from damage.  I would rather buy a new filter than pay for an operation on my camera if something were to strike my lens.

Polarizer Filter – This type of filter will help darken skies (great for longer exposures), manage reflections and mitigate glare.

Neutral Density Filter – The pupose of an ND filter is to reduce the amount of light entering the lens.  This type of filter modifies the intensity of wavelengths.

Graduated Neutral Density Filter – A GND filter has variable light transmission.  One half of the filter is neutral density with the other half being clear.  This filter is great when photographing the sky and ground for proper exposure.

Universal 67mm 0.43x Wide Angle Lens –  I will get more in my photo with this wide-angle lens.  Yes I will.

67mm Lens Cap.  Once the 67mm bayonet adapter is attached, a 67mm lens cap is needed to cover the lens.  I’m not one that usually loses my gear, but in this case, I’ll buy these in a generic name.  No need for brand names when it comes to a lens cap.

Vivitar Macro Filter – The Canon Powershot sx50 has a fantastic macro feature.  A macro lens filter will make the subject look even closer

Travor Macro Ring Flash – This unit is used for very close shooting with macro photography.

Close-up Filters For Macro Shooting – Get even closer using these filters.  Go ahead, give the subject a kiss…it’s that close to the lens.

Eye-fi Card – An eye-fi card allows a photographer to instantly upload photos from his/her camera to a local computer or mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet.  Upload.  Look at the photo.  Good or bad?  Keep or trash.  Fast and effective.

Cable Release – A cable release allows one to remotely trigger the shutter button to avoid touching the camera thus avoiding camera shake which would result in blurred photos.  The self-timer can be set in place of a cable release.

I’m not promoting or receiving commission from any of the sites in which any and all gear can be purchased.  I simply wanted to give my readers a visual of what everything looks like.  Shop around for the best deal. Do research and ask questions to those with experience.  Join a camera club or a meet-up group.  These organizations have some experienced amateur photographers that will give insight and wisdom.  Watch videos on Youtube and/or Google keywords to aid in your efforts.  There are plenty of information outlets on the internet to start and grow.

 

 

 

 

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