Starling Travel

February 23, 2007

Postcard of the Week: Crater Lake, Oregon

Filed under: Oregon,Postcards — Laura Moncur @ 3:57 am

Crater Lake, Oregon

Postcard from Brian D.

We just received this postcard from Brian D. in Oregon. It’s amazing that it arrived to us because it was damaged in the shipping. If you can see, our P.O. Box number was accidentally ripped off of the card. Fortunately, Brian had inadvertently written our box number as the zip code and then crossed it out. I don’t think it could have gotten to us otherwise.


Brian says he’s surprised that Oregon isn’t listed in one of my places to visit, and quite frankly, I’m surprised as well. Mike and I spent a lovely week in Oregon last year at the foot of Mount Hood. I’m shocked I didn’t write about it. Never fear, Brian! I’m going to drag out the photographs I took and write a few entries about our lovely stay in Oregon!

Please send me a postcard from your travels or your hometown. If you do and it’s interesting, I will publish your postcard on Starling Travel.

Send your postcards to:

Starling Travel
Attention: Laura Moncur
P.O. Box 522032
Salt Lake City, Utah 84152

It’s like sending a postcard to the whole world when you go on vacation. It’s like bragging about your hometown to the everyone on the planet.

February 21, 2007

Las Vegas, NV: Mermaids Casino

Filed under: Nevada — Laura Moncur @ 3:58 am

Nestled in the Fremont Street Experience is a quiet and unassuming casino called Mermaids, its neon beckoning to weary travelers…

Mermaids Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Okay, no matter how I write this it’s going to sound WRONG. Mermaids is a gaudy and bright casino that hands out metallic beads to the tourists passing by. It is loud and crowded, but compared to the horrible monstrocity of The Fremont Street Experience, it is a quiet and beloved haven.

We had been bombarded with noise, light and bad acting on Freemont. There was only one thing that could make this trip worth it: Deep Fried Oreos…

Deep Fried Oreos at Mermaids Casino

We had taken in our fill of the Neon Sign Museum and had enjoyed it thoroughly, but the rest of Freemont Street was an unenjoyable mess. Instead of the exciting walks down the Las Vegas Strip, all the “excitement” coming from Fremont Street was artificial. The people there were assaulted with noise and lights. They weren’t happily talking about their win at the slot machine. It was impossible to have a conversation without yelling. When we walked into Mermaids, the ambient casino noise seemed like silence compared to the cacophony outside.

We waited in a long line, trying to figure out if this was THE line for the deep fried Oreos, deep fried Twinkies, foot-long hot dogs and mile long margaritas. Once we realized we were in the correct line, it was a fifteen minute wait just to order. Our deep fried Oreos, came quickly after ordering, though.

Deep Fried Oreos at Mermaids Casino

If you have ever dipped an Oreo into warm milk, then you’ve got a good idea of how deep fried Oreos taste. The frying process warms up the cookie and that partially hydrogenated oil in the white stuff warmed up to a tasty frosting consistency. It was good, but I only needed one bite before I was finished. Luckily, we shared.

Foot Long Hot Dogs at Mermaids Casino

We didn’t order the hot dog, but this gentleman was kind enough to let me take a picture of his. Frankly, I think I would have liked the hot dog with all those jalapeno peppers better than the greasy Oreos.

We have never been back to Fremont Street since. The only thing enticing us was the deep fried Oreos, but even their delicious and greasy goodness isn’t enough to entice us back to the noisy mess of The Fremont Street Experience.


Where: Mermaids Casino: 32 E Fremont Las Vegas, Nevada Google Map Phone: 702-382-5777

February 19, 2007

What is a Pasty? from Josh Leo

Filed under: Michigan — Laura Moncur @ 3:59 am

Josh Leo’s travel videoblog has a great introduction to a purely Michigan food: pasty. I first heard of pasties in a fiction book set “way north.” It never identified itself as Michigan and I really thought it was set in Canda. Pasties are a meaty pastry dish that was brought from Europe to the United States. It’s a portable kind of food that the miners could bring with them when they had to work at the mines. Josh Leo’s video about them just makes me want to book a flight to Michigan.

Click here to see the video

Every video episode of Josh Leo’s Wandering West Michigan has made me want to visit the state. If you ever get a chance to head up to north Michigan, eat a pasty for me!

February 16, 2007

California: Tango Diva Shows Us Half Moon Bay

Filed under: California,Places To Visit,Video — Laura Moncur @ 4:00 pm

If the snow is getting you down, watch this lovely video from Tango Diva. She took this video back in September in Half Moon Bay, California. If you are wishing you could escape on the back of a horse to a beautiful retreat, this video is for you:

Here is the corresponding blog entry:

She talks about traveling to Europe and other destinations. You can keep up with the Tango Diva Travel Blog here:

All the snow is Salt Lake City is getting me down, so it was nice to see this beautiful vista and imagine that it was me riding that horse!

February 2, 2007

Hot Jugz Portable Hot Shower

Filed under: Camping,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 4:01 pm

Hot Jugz: Portable Hot ShowerIf you have gone camping for more than three days in a row, you can understand the appeal of portable showering devices. The problem with most of them is that the water is COLD. With Hot Jugz, you can heat up the water before putting it into the device.

It’s being advertised as a great alternative to beach showers. It is supposed to keep the water warm for seven hours, so you can fill it up at home, swim, surf or snorkel to your heart’s content and then wash the salt off your body with warm water instead of the cold stuff. They’ve based the name of their product on the fact that it keeps water warm, but that’s not the best asset of it.

The best part is that you don’t have to put the thing above your head to make it work. All you have to do is pump it up (15-20 pumps) and the water will flow from the showerhead. Great idea!

Via: Popgadget: Personal Tech for Women – Hot Jugz: a portable shower


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