everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

More pics from Boston

Here are some more pics from my time in Boston. It’s such a great town – easy to walk around, lots of history, lots of Kennedy-related places, lots of Irishness, beautiful parks and water, stunning architecture, Harvard & MIT, a relaxed vibe and friendly people. Yay for Boston, I say – I love it!

A beautiful day at the State House – the dome of this capitol building is golden as presidents (three, I think) have come from this state. Just trying to save you some money on a guided tour, folks.

Old City Hall, Boston.

Thinking frog at the Frog Pond in Boston Common. He’s watching over the ice skating rink, which has just opened up for the winter.

The fairly creepy Granary Burying Ground, with graves dating back to 1660. The late afternoon light and the cold mist made it pretty spooky.

Most of the gravestones had this image carved (or whatever the right word is) into the top of them. Eeeeeek!

And then some of the gravestones had something that looked a little more like an alien or a light bulb with a face…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here too.

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The little things count at 35,000 feet

Australia’s national airline is nicknamed ‘the flying kangaroo’, due to its logo that looks like a kangaroo in mid-leap. I guess ‘the leaping kangaroo’ didn’t have quite the same ring to it, especially when trying to give the impression of smooth travel over long distances. Anyways, people tend to give Qantas a hard time – complaining about the service, the food, the cabin space and pretty much every aspect of the flight. ‘Airline X is soooo much better than Qantas’, you’ll hear the cool travellin’ kids say. But I say boo to that negativity – and I’ll tell you why.

Sure, it took me a really long time to check in my bag in Sydney because there were only two Qantas desks attended. But then the nice lady turned a blind eye to my slightly overweight suitcase (I still don’t understand how that happened – on the way back, of course I get it, but on the way over?!) and told me there was another much faster check in desk I could use next time. Good to know.

Sure, our flight was delayed as the plane was late arriving from its previous voyage, but they were working as quickly as they could to make up the time. I don’t like hearing that, as my mind immediately wonders what corners they’re cutting in order to load us on sooner. I have visions of the cleaning crew darting around the cabin as their team leader looks on, stopwatch in hand. Changing the little pillows? No time! Swapping the head rest covers? Don’t even think about it! Floors? Just pick up the biggest bits of rubbish, peeps!

Could it be? Two empty seats next to me all the way to NYC? Alas, no, it could not.

All seemed in order when we boarded and I experienced that feeling of pure childlike hope as the two seats next to my window seat remained empty as most passengers settled into their spots. I kept looking down the aisle at the incoming prospects – fat guy, please no; giggly girls, uh oh; and finally a pretty blonde lady took the aisle seat. I liked her because when they said the doors were closing, she realised we had an empty seat between us and gave me an excited ‘yesssssss!’ with a little fist pump.

Some people enjoy sleeping under the stars. I tried to sleep under the moon-like glow of the No Smoking sign above my head.

You may have read of my disastrous menu troubles on a recent long haul flight where the beautiful menu promised many delicious treats, including Banoffee Pie. Then when my vegetarian meal turned up, the delicious treats were nowhere to be found. Even though that was a different airline, the pain of that experience lingered and so I’d boldly cancelled my vegetarian meal request for this flight online. Good move – the ‘normal’ vegetarian penne option was actually ok. And it came with cookies & cream mousse. And a little chocolate bar. This is how it’s meant to be, I tell you.

Oh, is that the sun? NO. It’s the annoying lady in front of me being the only person in the cabin to turn her light on when it’s meant to be sleeping time. Grrr.

But the real reason that I love Qantas? Cadbury hot chocolate. Oh yeah. They make a special trip down the aisles to peddle it from their little carts, along with peppermint tea, and pour the steaming chocolatey goodness from special giant purple jugs. And then they add a marshmallow, which melts to a gooey mess, so you know it wasn’t one of those cheap, crappy marshmallows that never change shape. I guess it probably makes me shallow, but that’s what I look for in an airline.

Hot chocolate with marshmallow. The highlight of the flight.

So let the cool kids whinge about how the flying kangaroo doesn’t measure up to other global airlines. I’ll take their real Qantas mousse over non-existent Etihad Banoffee pie any day. And I haven’t yet found another airline that offers rivers (ok, cups) of delicious creamy hot chocolate – it’s like flying with Willy Wonka, I tell you.

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For the Traveller

I’m getting excited about my holiday, counting down to departure day this week. And since I know I’m not the only one travelling, I thought you might like this John O’Donohue poem too – I think it works wherever you’re travelling, near or far. I first came across this particular poem on the fabulous blog of one of my heroes, Sarah Wilson (you can check out Sarah’s blog here) and since this trip of mine is to Ireland, the connection to John O’Donohue fits perfectly. I love it. You can check out more of the late John O’Donohue’s amazing work here. Bon voyage, travellers!

For The Traveller by John O’Donohue

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in,

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening a conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight.

You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence goes with you,
And if you listen
You will hear
What your heart
Would love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing.

Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you towards
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life;
And the urgencies
That deserve to clam you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home, more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

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