Defying Human Logic

Portland Breakwater Lighthouse

The lighthouse has six cast iron Corinthian columns.


Sometimes life defies human logic. At least my life does. I build barriers when there is no danger in site. Sometimes the barrier becomes a hinderance to new experiences. It reminds me of the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse. The breakwater was built before the lighthouse. While the breakwater was built in response to a storm it caused more harm than good. It became a navigational hazard to Mariners sailing into Portland Harbor. 

After an outcry, a wooden lighthouse was built on the site in 1855. The current lighthouse was built in 1874-75. It is a marvel of imagination. The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse is unlike any lighthouse I have visited. Inspired by the beautiful Greek Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, the design makes it a magnificent and unique edifice. 

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Fiesta at Yellow Door Taqueria 

Celebratory Mocktail

To celebrate my flight home after an extended visit in Boston, I dined at Yellow Door Taqueria in Dorchester. The ambience and decor were cool and enticing. There were tacos, ceviche and salads to chose from on the menu. I had read that the corn tortillas were made fresh everyday, so I decided on a taco. I placed an order of salsa and chips as an appetizer. It was fresh and delicious. 

Bar area

Festive and funky decor awaits guests.

I selected the Veggie 2.0 taco that normally comes with a chipotle black bean purée, squash blossoms, mushrooms, poblano coconut sauce, nopales, limes, crispy tortilla strings and cilantro. I decided to take a chance on the nopales, and forego the black beans. If I had to do it over again I would forego the nopales because they are a little tart. Overall the taco was tasty but more like a tapa. 

Vegetarian taco

This taco was delicious but more like a tapa.


To cap off the meal and my celebration, I ordered a Pina Colada Mocktail. It was almost too beautiful to drink! It came with pineapples, coconut and lime. It was as good to look at as it was to drink. 

Open the door and your taste buds to fresh Mexican cuisine.

Nantucket: Where the living is easy


The cruise to Nantucket was smooth. We passed by Brant Point Lighthouse one of the lighthouses on Nantucket. After debarking, I stopped by the small Visitors Center on the dock, got a map and walked to Brant Point Lighthouse and Old Brant Point Lighthouse. When I finished sketching the lighthouses, I grabbed a falafel at Easy Street Cantina. How appropriate there was a street actually called “Easy Street.” Everything was flowing so easy. 


Before going to the Star of the Sea hostel, I picked up from some fruit from Stop and Shop near the dock. I hailed one of the local cabs lined up alongside the street. On the way to the hostel, The cab driver greeted his wife who was driving the night shift of his company.

The ride was short and sweet. Clyde the cab driver was affable and knowledgeable. He shared tidbits about the island. After checking in and paying my bill, the host gave me a quick tour and led me to my bed. There were 32 bunks in the female dorm. My bed was in a quiet corner and on the lower bunk.


The dorm and hostel were spotless. There was a community kitchen that was fully equipped. The hostel prepares a light complimentary continental breakfast in the kitchen. The dinning area was neat and modern. 


The lobby was well furnished with a variety of board games like monopoly. Outside the hostel, there were a volleyball court, bicycle racks and a walkway to Surfside Beach. 

Besides bicycling, public transportation is one of the most affordable ways to see the island. A bus stop is conveniently located a block away from the hostel and the bus runs until 5:30 pm. 

Run the Cliffs at Martha’s Vineyard

Gay Head Cliffs at Martha's Vineyard.

Gay Head Cliffs at Martha’s Vineyard.

You don’t have to be the Road Runner nor Wiley Coyote to make your mark at the Gay Head 10k Race.

The third annual Gay Head 10k race is set for Sunday, October 4 at 10am. The cost is $30 and registration ends October 2 at 11:59 pm.

For more information and to sign up, visit gayheadlight.org

Great Wave Ashore at Boston Museum

The Great Wave.

“Under the Wave off Kanagawa” also know as “The Great Wave.”

I saw the street banners proclaiming “Hokusai” on my way from Logan Airport. It was a no brainer; I decided to visit the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I perused their website. Seven decades of art by the internationally renowned “Great Wave” artist, Hokusai would be on view.

The cranes

“Umezawa Manor in Sagami Province.” Cranes are a symbol of longevity in East Asian art.

So I rode the Mass Transit Authority’s Green line for a direct route from downtown. I was fascinated by Hokusai. He inspired the French Impressionists who greatly admired his work. It was no wonder. This artist did paintings, wood prints, book illustrations, signs, silk scrolls, dioramas, and more. Hokusai seized every opportunity.

Warriors in combat.

Watanabe no Gengo Tsuna and Inokuma Nyudo Raiun.

He was a visionary who bucked tradition and used Prussian blue when black ink was the prevailing color. He instituted many other innovations. He led the way in subject matter (painting landscapes, still lifes, etc.) creating public demand. At the age of 70, he painted 36 views of Mount Fuji that included the “Great Wave.” I spent a day being mesmerized by this phenomenal artist with such humility. A narrative said he felt he did nothing that gained notice until he was in his 70s.

Diorama

Newly Published Cut-Out Lantern Picture: “Dance of the Gods at the Heavenly Cave.”

When he died in his 90s, his last words were said to be a plea for just five or 10 more years to paint.

After being caught up in the “Great Wave”, I paused quietly at “In the Wake Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11” exhibit. I was moved by artists speaking to the times in which they lived in. The exhibit focused on the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. The gut wrenching exhibit had “before and after” scenes. The artists compared the destruction caused by the Fukushima Nuclear Plant to the atomic bombs in 1945.

The Sun by Takashi Arai

“The Sun at the Apparent Attitude of 570 in WNW, Hijiyama Park.” The artist Takashi Arai took this image of the sun, waiting for it to perfectly align with the detonation point of Little Boy, the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Before I departed the museum, I paid my respects to “Leonardo Da Vinci and the Idea of Beauty.” The exhibit ended June 14. The Hokusai exhibition will be on display through August 9. The photographic exhibit concludes July 12.

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is located at 465 Huntington Avenue.

The Museum of Fine Arts boasts the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. For more information on the museum, visit mfa.org or call 617-267-9300.

Boston on a dime

Downtown Boston near Suffolk University.

Downtown Boston near Suffolk University.

I’ve heard that Boston is one of the most expensive places to live but wise travelers can save a dime. I landed at Logan International Airport recently for the “Widening the Cycle Exhibit” and “Menstrual Health Conference” at Suffolk University in downtown Boston. Although I caught a ride with my cousin, my roommate rode on Mass Bay Transit Authority from the airport to downtown for free. It seems the Silver Line is free from Logan Airport inbound to South Station (including a free transfer to the Red Line).

The statue pays tribute to the founder of Harvard University, Rev. John Harvard.

The statue pays tribute to the founder of Harvard University, Rev. John Harvard.

After departing the airport, my cousin took me on a tour of Cambridge. We grabbed a smoothie at “Life Alive” and walked on the campus of Harvard University. Once back in downtown Boston, I settled down for the night at Suffolk University. The following day, I shopped nearby at the Downtown Crossing on Washington Street. You’ll find stores like H&M, TJ Maxx, Payless, upscale stores and restaurants.

Monument to the 54th Regiment.

Monument by Augusta Saint-Gauders of the 54th regiment at Boston Common.

I had a slice of a Mediterranean Pizza at Sal’s on Tremont for under $6. My roommate joked that the server had a crush on her because the pizza was so large. When looking at mine she laughed, ”He must have a crush on everyone!” The pizza was not your typical fare. Sal’s is known for large servings. His grandparents emigrated from Naples and began serving Neapolitan pizza. Sal continues the tradition by making pizza with the freshest ingredients. He opened his first store in 1990 in Boston’s North end. Not sure if this store was the original location. With stand up tables only at Sal’s, we headed to the Boston Common for lunch on a bench. Squirrels mimicking “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and begging for food finally chased us away.

The Thinking Cup in downtown Boston.

The Thinking Cup in downtown Boston.

Later that night I had a bad case of the munchies and purchased a Passion Fruit cheesecake and a cup of tea at the “Thinking Cup” on Tremont for under $10.

DEATH OF FERTILITY

My painting, “Death of Fertility” was in the exhibit “Widening the Cycle.”

The next day I went to the “Widening the Cycle Exhibit” opening reception and had dinner at Papagayo’s Mexican restaurant on West Street. Not much fanfare there but it was convenient to where we were staying. I had Black Bean soup for under $8 as an ethnic twist on my salute to “Beantown.”