December ’11

We had a wonderful time during December traveling and visiting with friends and family throughout the states. Our vacations to Cancun and London were quite enjoyable and very refreshing. Living out of a suitcase, however, grows old after a while and it is nice to be back to a more normal routine.

The weather in Bangkok is fabulous — temperatures in the mid-80s during the day and near 70 at night with relatively low humidity. Flooding is no longer an issue; the millions of sandbags that were stacked throughout the city seem to have simply disappeared while we were away, and traffic has returned to normal as people have returned to their homes and jobs.

Lots of material to share over the next few weeks, but let me begin with a quick recap of our month-long journey and a final set of holiday photos from the U.S., Mexico and the U.K.

Recap

Christmas Tree in the Mansion on Delaware

Our first stop was Buffalo, NY where on December 2 we saw my beloved but frustratingly underachieving Sabres put forth a lackluster and disappointing effort in their loss to Detroit. The highlight of the visit, however, was a party the next night with about 30 friends and their spouses. It was a marvelous evening and we are very thankful to our friends who organized it and who came. Before we left town, we were able to tour the renovated Darwin Martin House that was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright.

After a long weekend in Buffalo, we went our separate ways — I journeyed to Nashville for a few days of work while Theresa headed off to Boston to visit some of her family. While in Tennessee, I was able to have dinner with my niece who is a sophomore at Vanderbilt. On Thursday, I flew up to Detroit and I had about 30 hours before Theresa arrived to reacquaint myself with my hometown. During the weekend, we had a delightful dinner with some friends from my high school and Theresa visited with her sister and brother-in-law.

No Walking on the Beach this Year

On Sunday afternoon, we flew down to Cancun where we enjoyed the better part of a week in the sun. Theresa was still on crutches while we were in Mexico, so we didn’t do much except hang around the pool during the day and then take a taxi out for dinner — very relaxing. While the locals in Cancun told us how cold it was, we found the temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s to be quite delightful.

A Welcome New Addition in Fort Worth

After five days in the sun, we flew up to Texas and we were met at DFW by a colleague who had gotten a car for me to use for the week. After a nice steak dinner with him and another friend, we drove into Fort Worth where we spent six nights. On Saturday, we awoke early for a day trip down to Austin to visit some former neighbors and Theresa’s brother and sister-in-law. Theresa went out with some of her friends on Sunday while I stayed in the hotel and watched football — a real treat after so many months of living where NFL games take place either while I am asleep or at work (and those are mutually exclusive times!)

I worked on Monday through Wednesday while Theresa caught up with many friends in Fort Worth. On Monday and Tuesday evenings, I had drinks with friends with whom I had previously worked. After dinner on Wednesday, we drove around the city to look at the Christmas lights. There is a home near the River Crest Country Club that goes all out every year, and once again this year the TCU Horned Frog mascot was out with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves greeting visitors. The lights on the Chesapeake Energy tower and around the property are also spectacular (pictures below).

We flew to New York City on December 22 so that we could spend Christmas with my sister and her family. My nieces were in from college and it was nice to spend some time with them. We had a relatively low-key start to the visit — a couple of dinners out, a bit of shopping and errands, and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day activities.

One Very Enchanted Evening

On the day after Christmas, we journeyed into Manhattan to the Ethel Barrymore Theatre where we saw An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. In 1980, both singers won Tony Awards for their performances in Evita — LuPone as Eva Peron and Patinkin as Che. This is the first time that the two performers and close friends have appeared together since Evita, and it was a magical evening. They performed over 30 songs, a large number of which were written by either Stephen Sondheim or Rogers and Hammerstein. After the performance, we walked to Times Square and then to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas decorations.

We took an overnight flight to London on the 27th and arrived at Heathrow late in the morning on the 28th. Passport control was quick and we were in Piccadilly by lunch time. By the time we reached London, Theresa thankfully no longer needed her crutches. Frankly, I think that all the walking that we did there should be all the physical therapy that she needs.

The Moon Over Trafalgar Square

London has always been one of my favorite cities and it did not disappoint. This was Theresa’s first visit, so we hit many of the major tourist sites — Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, the British Museum, the Tower of London, the National Gallery, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Harrods, New and Old Bond Streets, Oxford Circus, Wellington Arch, Marble Arch, Carnaby Street, etc. We went to the West End and caught two plays — The Million Dollar Quartet and The Phantom of the Opera — as well as a concert at St. Martin-in-the Fields. On Friday night, we had dinner with Theresa’s nephew, who is working in London, and his beautiful Sicilian girlfriend. We squeezed a lot into just over four days — more details and pictures in the coming weeks.

Just after 9 p.m. on Monday, Theresa and I left Heathrow for our return flight to Thailand.  On Tuesday at 3 p.m. — eleven hours and seven time zones later — we landed at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport where we were met by our driver and our dog, Calliope, who our driver had taken care of while we traveled. I was back at work on Wednesday and Theresa was back at shopping.

Holiday Pics

Below is a selection of the beautiful holiday decorations that we saw in Cancun, Fort Worth, New York City and London.

Cancun

Christmas Tree at La Isla

Christmas Tree at Cancun Airport

Snow Flakes and Palm Trees at Kukulcan Plaza

Polar Bear and Penguin in Kukulcan

Fort Worth

Angela and Theresa at the Ashton

Private Home in Fort Worth

West 7th Street

Sundance Square

Sundance Square -- Main Street

Chesapeake Energy

From Green

Changing

To Red

Chesapeake Energy

Private Home @ W. 7th and Alta Drive

Private Home @ W. 7th and Alta Drive

Private Home @ W. 7th and Alta Drive

New York

Times Square Ready for New Year's Eve

Radio City Music Hall

Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Skating Rink

London

Old Bond Street

Cartier on Old Bond Street

Tiffany's on Old Bond Street

Asprey on Old Bond Street

Chopard on Old Bond Street

The Ritz Hotel on Piccadilly

Baubles at Covent Garden Market

Rudolph Topiary at Covent Garden Market

Tree at Covent Garden Market

Tree at Buckingham Palace -- Notice the Crowns

Neighborhood Street Near Belgrave Square

Decorations on Oxford Street

Regent Street Near Piccadilly Circus

Regent Street Heading Toward Oxford Circus

A Star Over Regent Street

Further Down Regent Street

Christmas Tree Outside of 10 Downing Street

Tree Outside Chapel at Tower of London

Kop Khun Krab.

© 2012 Kurt Brown. All rights reserved.

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One Response to December ’11

  1. Karen Brown says:

    Great pictures! Better lights & decorations in London than NYC.

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