Monday, September 16, 2013

How the Las Vegas Monsoon Season Got Its Name

Ever wonder why the rainy season in the American Southwest goes by the same name as the rainy season in India?

Well, me too. 

When a co-worker recently scoffed at my mention of Monsoon Season (“‘Monsoon Season,’ please. I used to live in Miami.”) I decided to investigate.

Honestly, I always thought it was a creative misuse of the word.

It turns out that the term "monsoon" has more to do with shifts in wind patterns than rain, and that our rainy season is properly named monsoon for a whole host of meteorological reasons.

I stand corrected.

We still can’t compete with hurricanes, but we do get some really pretty thunderheads.

Did you know the origin of the term Monsoon Season?

Photos by Terrisa Meeks

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

One Day in Balboa Park

San Diego, one of my favorite cities, is about an hour’s plane ride from Las Vegas. Once you land in San Diego, the beautiful and historic Balboa Park is only a 15-minute cab ride from the airport.

San Diego is a great place for a day trip. It’s full of fun things to do, and if you’re a museum geek like myself, Balboa Park offers a mouth-watering array of museums in a small area. 

Here’s how my daycation in Balboa Park worked out:

0615: Breeze through McCarran security. No bags, baby!

0900: Taxi drops us off outside the Museum of Man. (“Us” = my son and me.)

0901: Discover that no museums open until 10:00.

0902: Gleefully drag complaining teenager all over Balboa Park to take pictures before museums open and crowds arrive.

0930:     [Outside San Diego Zoo entrance]

Me: "Are you sure you don’t want to go to the zoo?"

Son: "Positive. I want to see museums." 

       [My heart swells with pride.]

1000: Botanical Building. Orchids and ferns. Feels like Hawaii.
1030: Museum of Man. “Would you like two tickets to the Torture Exhibit also?” Why, of course!

1032:     [Inside Italian Torture Exhibit]

Me: Ewwwwww.

Son: Yawn

1100: [Inside Museum of Man] Real Egyptian mummies.

1129: Son: “I’M STARVING.”

1130: Lunch at The Prado!
1215: Museum of Photographic Arts. MOPA’s International Pictures of the Year on display. I am moved to tears.

1315: Point out to son that the Model Railroad Museum is downstairs from MOPA… “Two tickets, please.”

1316: Regret not buying all-day, multi-museum pass.

1330: Can’t stop talking about the amazing attention to detail at the Model Train Museum. Buy tee-shirt for hubby.
1345: Discover Sculpture Garden is under construction.

1350: Have impromptu talk with teenager about First Amendment rights after watching protesters on the Prado.

1400: San Diego Museum of Art. Antiquities. Arnold Newman display. A smattering of Impressionists. Teenager fading quickly.

1505: Drink coffee while listening to saxophone street musician and watching people splash around Bea Evenson Fountain.
1520: Son: “Are we going? Are we going now? Is it this way?”

1530: Taxi to airport.

1730: Teenage son asleep on my shoulder as we fly home. Best part of day.

Have you visited Balboa Park or San Diego?
All photos by Terrisa Meeks

Monday, September 02, 2013

Weekend Adventures In & Around Las Vegas

At the end of July, my family and I had no vacation plans. And no plans to make vacation plans.

Instead, we focused on maximizing our August weekends.

We rode Lee Canyon's scenic skilift ride
Oh yes, there's a story about the ski lift ride.

We checked out the Vegas StrEATS food truck festival in Downtown Las Vegas.
Vegas StrEATS is fun, but why can't we have tables at a food truck festival?

My son and I took a daycation to Balboa Park, the historic, beautiful, museum-filled San Diego park.
California Tower and Alcazar Garden 

We've been off-roading, to the movies, and out to eat (I love restaurants), and my son and I even snuck in an afternoon at the bookstore.

There's only one thing I miss about taking a traditional vacation: room service. If we could work that out, I'd be very happy. 

Have you taken a vacation or a daycation this summer? 
All pictures by Terrisa Meeks. (You can see more of my San Diego, Mt. Charleston, and Vegas StrEATS pictures on my flickr page.)