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Random Notes on Places I've Visited Recently

I haven't been writing travel stories recently, but since I've been through so many different cities in the past month, I figure I should share a few little notes on each, just in case you're heading through one of them soon.


I just can't get into Beijing. It's not a bad city, but it's sprawling, smoggy, and a little bit faceless. This time I stayed in the hutongs (alleys), which was pretty interesting. Forbidden city is really neat, but the park right behind it is at least as interesting. Climb to the top for a great view. The only reasonably healthy restaurant we found was Saveurs de Coree, a Korean restaurant. Everything was pretty pricey, except for the bibimbap set meal that comes with little Korean appetizers, fried tofu with onions, bibimbap, and cinnamon tea. Not perfectly healthy, but the best I came across.


Lion King and books

On Mike Dariano

Life has been busy around our house lately. For the past two weeks we’ve seen a slew of family members and then Saturday, when most of them were gone, we trekked to Cleveland Ohio to watch Disney’s The Lion King and it was awesome.

Earlier in the week I was talking to my sister-in-law and we were sharing what our favorite live performances were, hers concerts, mine musicals. That I would ever come to this would have surprised my adolescent self but I do love them. The entire show is a collection of efforts that are so synchronized and detailed that I get a lot of pleasure from understanding that so much work went into creating the thing I’m watching. Venues must be booked, travel arranged, and tickets sold. Dances must be put to music, music must be practiced, and scenes constructed. Musicals are a wonderful demonstration of synergy and The Lion King was no exception. It was the best stage show I have ever seen. Everything about it was wonderful and I would go again though Book of Mormon in Columbus tops my list for next year.

In addition to being busy with family, my book of essays about parenting and life has hit 23,000+ words in the first draft. I wrote for 22 straight days before faltering over the weekend but am absolutely thrilled at how it’s turned out so far. You can read my thoughts about writing it since June 26th.

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