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Archive for 'Travel'

Hello to Hollywood

In honor of the release of the nominations for the 85th Academy awards I thought I’d post a few photos from our recent trip to Los Angeles. We did the touristy thing, visiting many places around LA that we’d seen on television and in movies.

Hollywood Sign

This photo was taken from the Hollywood bowl where they hold lots of concerts. Sorry the photo is a bit blurry. We zoomed up to take the photo.

Hollywood Grauman's Chinese Theatre

This is the entrance to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. In the front of the theatre there are hand and footprints of celebrities in the concrete. No one agrees how the idea for the prints came about. The most popular story is that it happened by accident when someone stepped in soft concrete.

Hollywood Eddie Murphy Hollywood Marilyn Monroe

Hollywood Hugh Jackman Hollywood Johnny Depp

Here is a selection of hand and footprints. It was quite difficult to snap them without getting feet since there were people everywhere!

Hollywood Dolby Theatre Entrance

This is the stairway entrance to the Dolby Theatre where the Academy Awards take place. On the night these stairs are covered with red carpet and all the surrounding shops are closed.

Hollywood Paramount Pictures

This is the entrance to Paramount Pictures. The grounds and buildings within seemed quite extensive.

Do you watch the Academy Awards on TV? Do you enjoy watching the stars on the red carpet?

The Big Buddha

Big Buddha, Phuket

The Big Buddha, near Phuket in Thailand sits on a hill and is visible for miles. I love the serene expression on his face.

Model of Buddha

Here’s a model of the entire area, which gives an idea of exactly how big the big buddha is.

What do you think of his expression?

A Quick Trip to Brighton

For a change of pace I thought we’d visit Brighton in England today.

Brighton Beach

This is the Brighton Beach and the pier. The beach consists of lots of pebbles, which makes the deck chair business very profitable.

Brighton Pavillion

Above is the Royal Pavilion, a seaside retreat for the Prince of Wales. The palace started off as a small farmhouse. The prince gradually added land to his plot, as money allowed, and created the oriental palace and grounds we see today.

Summer Palace, Near Beijing

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is a beautiful spot with statues, temples, ponds and gardens. Originally the domain of the royal family, the tranquil gardens are open to the public these days. A visitor needs plenty of time to explore and a good pair of walking shoes. This is a photo of Kumming Lake looking over to the Buddhist Temple.

Want One For a Pet?

Vulture sign


We took these photos at the Everglades. The vultures were hanging around on the footpath and gave me the creeps. They’re ugly and were a bit smelly. I preferred the alligators.

Would you like one of these for a pet?

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

This is the Temple of Heaven, which is set in the tranquil Temple of Heaven park in Beijing. I loved the vibrant colors of the temple and understand the buildings were repainted in honor of the Olympic games. In the actual park there were people enjoying the sunshine, playing board games such as chess and others selling trinkets to tourists. Our tour guide told us parents will often discuss their children and search for suitable marriage partners while meeting in the parks.

Climbing the Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China has always held a mystique and allure for me, so during our visit to China it was top of my must-do list. The large number of tourists was expected, but the sheer steepness and the big steps that presented a challenge for even my long legs were a surprise. The first part of the climb was made trickier by the mass of tourists. It would have only taken one person to over balance and the rest of us would have gone over like bowls.

Another surprise was the hazy air. You can see what I mean in this photo. We took this shot at the top of the wall, just below the farthest watch tower. Most people only made it as far as the first watch tower, but hubby and I both climbed as far as we could go. It was well worth the effort, and the beer we drank at the cafe at the bottom of the wall tasted like nectar.

Is there a particular place or historical site that you’ve always dreamed of visiting?

The Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Teddy Bears Picnic

I smile every time I see this photo. It reminds me of the song about the Teddy Bear’s picnic.

This photo of a group of young panda bears was taken at the Panda Research Center at Chengdu. Enjoy the song. I hope I don’t inflict you with an earwig!

The Gorgeous Scenery of Guilin, China

Li River, Guilin, China

The journey down the River Li near Guilin is memorable for the beautiful scenery. It’s also full of boat loads of tourists, but you can’t see them in this shot. Along the length of the river the locals fish and wash and go about their daily business. If you’re ever in the region this is a must-do trip since not only is the scenery stunning, but there are photo opportunities galore.

Check out my post at Marie Treanor’s blog about books as gifts for Christmas. I’m also giving away a download of Christmas is Coming. While you’re there make sure you scroll up and down since lots of authors are talking about their Christmas highlights and giving away prizes. Contest winners are announced on Sunday.

Also take the time to check out the Christmas DIY posts at Maria Zaninni’s blog. You’ll find a variety posts ranging from recipes to jewellery to table decorations. Once again, scroll down to read all the posts since there are lots of interesting ones.

How are you holding up with Christmas preparations?

Key Lime Pie on a Stick

One of the great things about travel is getting to try new and unfamiliar foods. Before we arrived in Florida people told us that we must have some Key Lime Pie. Everyone had a lot to say about where to get the best pie, and we knew proper Key Lime Pie wasn’t bright green. It should be a creamy color and not full of green food coloring as some of the pies are, especially for tourists.

While we were wandering down a road in Key West I saw a sign for Key Lime Pie on a Stick.

“Let’s buy one,” I said to my husband.

Key Lime Pie on Stick

And yes, I know you won’t have any idea what it looked like since we only thought of a photo when we were almost finished eating the Key Lime Pie on a Stick. I can tell you that it was delicious. Key Lime Pie on a Stick is, as the name suggests, a piece of Key Lime Pie dipped in a thick layer of chocolate. The pie itself is tart and very limey, sort of catch your breath tart but definitely delicious.

The secret is the special Key Limes, which are smaller than the limes you’re probably familiar with.

Once we arrived home I decided to try my hand at a Key Lime Pie, using the limes off our own tree. After searching for recipes I decided on Jamie Oliver’s recipe.

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

To make the crust:

• 12 digestive biscuits
• 45g caster sugar (1 oz)
• 135g melted butter (1/2 cup)

Crush the biscuits, add the sugar and the butter. Press mixture into a greased pie tin. Spread up the sides of the tin too. Bake for 10 minutes at 175 C/ 350 F or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven to cool.

To make the filling:

• 4 egg yolks
• 400ml condensed milk – this is one tin in New Zealand
• 6 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)
• Lime zest (optional), to serve

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add the condensed milk. Mix in the lime juice and pour the mixture into the baked pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes and cool. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Decorate with grated lime zest and whipped cream if desired.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I added lime zest and some of the flesh of the lime to my pie filling to make it sharper.

2. When you’re cooking the base, make sure you don’t use a spring form tin because butter will leak out the bottom. I speak with the voice of experience. My oven was a mess!

3. This pie was delicious, although not as sharp to the palate as the original Key Lime Pie.

Key Lime Pie Slice

Have you tried Key Lime Pie before? Do you like to try new and unfamiliar foods?