Tag Archives: travel

Spain 2011 – Barcelona & Ibiza

I jumped the gun a little.  On the first official day of my retirement, I was actually already in Spain.  A friend of mine is living in Barcelona, so I spent a few days there, and then a long weekend in Ibiza.  (It turns out that Ibiza is an island in the Mediterranean, a hundred miles or so south of Barcelona).

The best picture from Barcelona is one I didn’t have the nerve to take.  Nudity is legal (and not uncommonl) on Barcelona beaches.  (No, I did not — thanks for asking.)  One day, just off the side of the busy beachside boardwalk lay an older, fairly-heavy, very-tanned Spanish gentleman, sleeping buck naked with his head resting on his own artificial leg (which he had removed, apparently for use as a pillow).  I didn’t have the nerve to go over there and take a picture.  So…no Barcelona beach pictures.

The first several pictures below are actually at Montserrat — a hilltop monastery outside Barcelona.  Then there are a couple at the relatively modern and decidedly odd Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona — designed by the architect Gaudi, after whom was coined the word “gaudy,” for reasons the cathedral makes apparent.  The pretty beach is Ibiza.  

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Laughlin, NV with Ricochet

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I got to fly out to Laughlin, NV to spend a week with Ricochet, the country band (of “Her Daddy’s Money” fame) led by two of my Vian, OK childhood buddies, Greg Cook and Heath Wright.  Laughlin is a small casino town an hour outside Vegas in the pointy south tip of Nevada.  They had a six-day gig at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort and Casino, which has apparently stood on that site for 50+ years.  Entering the place is a trip to the 1970s, but it was lots of fun.  We met Don Laughlin himself, and even hung out with his grandson (who works there as a pit boss).

Part of Ricochet’s deal was to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Laughlin River Stampede (rodeo) each day, so I got to see a high-quality PRCA rodeo with VIP I’m-with-the-band access.  One day I took Greg and Heath aboard N3738R for a flying tour over Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Monument Valley.  It was truly great to spend a week with dear “old” friends (let’s just say that Greg is (a) “a little older” than me, and (b) a two-time grandpa).

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Mardis Gras and Bacchus

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I think this was about my seventh year joining Shane and Michele (and Shane’s enormouse Mardis Gras posse) in NOLA for the Bacchus Ball.  It never disappoints.  Scott and Stacy Humphries made their debut.

I always say that Mardis Gras can be great for almost anyone, because it is whatever you make it.   You want wild?  NOLA can surely deliver.  But there’s almost literally a parallel universe — just walk down Royal Street instead of Bourbon Street (one block over) and you’re surrounded by art galleries, antique shops, and fancy restaurants (in lieu of Bourbon Street’s bars, strip clubs and bead-solicitors).  It’s often surprisingly easy to get a table at the famous (civilized) restaurants (most Mardis Gras visitors go elsewhere).

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