Vicente Lopez, Argentina – February 2020 – Carnaval

Everyone knows that Carnaval ends on Fat Tuesday. For whatever reason the good people of Vicente Lopez, a huge Buenos Aires suburb, don’t seem to care that date has passed. They had their Carnaval 5 days later!

This worked perfectly for me as I was on an airplane coming back from North America for the large parade downtown. Completely disappointed I missed my chance, I was elated that I was given a second chance in Vicente Lopez.

The parade was long enough it started in the hot sun of the day and ran into the night. And it was everything you could hope for from an Argentina Carnaval Parade – Murgas (drum crews), dancers, elaborate costumes, and general fun.

Enough fun this posting is 44 photos long!



















































































































































































After what seemed like the final group came through and we left we ran into one more group who was clearly late to the parade!

What a parade it was. While it obviously isn’t Rio, it was far better than we could’ve hoped for, and an experience that will live with us for a long time.









San Antonio – May 2019 – Historic Homes and Buildings

As a historic city San Antonio had a decent amount of older homes and buildings in the center of the city.

The King William Historic District is just south of downtown. It has a great collection of restaurants and shops, but the highlights are the beautiful old houses.







As we reached downtown we passed by a couple great old buildings.





A classic clock, which we appear to have caught at high noon.



Nix Hospital s housed in a very fine example of an Art Deco building.






There are still a couple vintage theaters in town.





The Post Office and Court House is located across the plaza from the Alamo.





The Tower Life Building was completed in 1927. This eight sided classic Art Deco skyscraper also housed San Antonio’s first Sears store when first opened.








The Drury Hotel occupies the former Alamo National Bank building. Located along the famed Riverwalk the 24 floor building has many impressive details in the lobby.









We chose instead to stay at the Gunter Hotel, another great old hotel.



The Gunter Hotel is famous for being the location that blues legend Robert Johnson recorded most of the 29 songs he ever recorded. The bar celebrates the fact that he recorded in room 414, by calling themselves the Bar 414.



Despite the fact that Robert was from Mississippi, he was brought to San Antonio by a talent scout for Vocalion Record, Ernie Oertle. A producer from the label, Don Law, set up a recording studio in room 414 and 413 of the Gunter Hotel.

The drawing below is from an album cover of Robert’s music that was re-released in the 1960s depicting this recording session.



This is the room today, with the small white chair in the corner where Robert was sitting, facing the wall for the acoustics. How do I know this? This was our room for the night!!!

When we arrived every cushion was turned on end, every drawer was open. I immediately assumed it was Robert welcoming us! We spent the night hanging out listening to Robert’s music, either his original or the hundreds of covers from the Stones, Clapton and others.





New Orleans – May 2019 – One Final Look

We had a great few days in the Big Easy, coming away with fantastic memories, and lots of photographs.

Nola = New Orleans, LA (abbreviation for Louisiana) NOLA



Nola is a city with their own language and culture.



The home of jazz music.



One of the best places for local food like Po’ Boys is Mothers.



There are plenty of horse drawn carriages for the tourists, resulting in carriage jams.




The number of wide boulevards are surprising for such an old city.




Louis Armstrong Park – more Nola celebrating jazz.




The locals are friendly, and at times had free beer!



The French Quarter, while touristy, is a unique place.



Plenty of street entertainment.




St Louis Cathedral is impressive.



More views of the Quarter.




Plenty of Voodoo stores to choose from, should you need them.




Did I mention music!




But this New Orleans parade is over….




Time to roll on out of town. À la prochaine.





New Orleans – May 2019 – The Signs of Bourbon Street

It’s Friday night in New Orleans and the sun is going down on Canal Street. What to do….



Head to Bourbon Street – the ultimate tourist drinking mecca of America.



Nearly every bar had a band – some good, some bad.



The highlight however are the signs. There are a few basic signs…



But most are classic old neon signs.



Time to leave the party goers behind and head back downtown for some good music.






Birmingham, Alabama – May 2019 – Views of the City

Some random views of Birmingham, Alabama. The city is known as the Magic City because of the fast growth in the late 1800s during the rapid expansion of the steel industry.



There are a number of classic old buildings downtown.



With the industry gone, today Birmingham depends on education (UAB) for much of it’s employment.



Eddie Kendricks grew up in Birmingham before moving to Detroit and starting the Temptations.



The Vulcan Statue is the symbol of Birmingham, reflecting the steel industry roots. It stands on a 180′ pedestal high on a hill overlooking the city.



The statue itself was made for the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis where it was awarded the Grand Prize.

Today you can walk up the many stairs or take the elevator to the top for great views.



We took the elevator!



For a medium sized city Birmingham has a nice skyline.



With sunset, the lights came on around town.



The skyline lit up nicely from atop the Vulcan Park tower.






Chicago – February 2019 – History Museum

Amazingly the Chicago History Museum was founded in 1856, just a few years after the settling of the town. Although twice destroyed by fire (once during the Great Chicago Fire), they still have a vast collection of artifacts celebrating the history of the city.

During our visit to Chess Records I had heard that the History Museum had a nice exhibit on the Chicago Blues, which was our encouragement to go to the History Museum.





In the display is this map showing the amazing collection of recording studios and clubs that featured the blues that have existed in Chicago over the years.





Raeburn Flerlage was a famed photographer of the blues scene from 1959-1971, although his career in music lasted much longer.

His photographs were used for many album covers.





Included in the collection is a copy of what is generally acknowledge as the first blues record of all time, St Louis Blues by W C Handy, from 1925.





The south side of Chicago was the hub of the blues, with Maxwell Street being the epicenter.





All of the blues greats were celebrated here, including Muddy Waters.





In the 1950s record companies were only allowed to have so many records in radio station airplay rotation at one time, so they would just start another record company.

This record of Koko Taylor’s Wang Dang Doodle is on Checker Records, the sister company of Chess Records.





Moving on from the blues display we checked out Chicago – Crossroad of America. This documented Chicago as the transportation hub of the country since the early days of the railroad.





Also on display was one of the original El cars from 1892.





A number of focus displays included one of the infamous gangland activities during prohibition in the 1920s.





Keeping with the infamous Playboy Magazine started in Chicago, as did the original club with the hostess (bunny) outfit on display.





As noted in other postings, Chicago was always mail order center of the country.





Another section celebrated entertainment events in Chicago including the 1893 World’s Fair.





As well as the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair.






Finally there was a small section celebrating the professional sports teams of Chicago – baseball’s Cubs and White Sox, football’s Bears, basketball’s Bulls and hockey’s Blackhawks.