Patos Island

Patos Island is at the top of my list of favorite places on earth (we all should have such a list)—top five, for sure. It’s one of the outer San Juan Islands in Washington State – also one of the smaller and least visited of the park islands. There’s a kayak camp, a lighthouse, an outhouse, and not too much else.

Patos Island: View From Near Lighthouse
When I was in high school, I did a three-week Outward Bound trip around the San Juan Islands. I learned important things like the fact that kelp is edible (along with Vital Life Lessons about leadership and stuff, I’m sure). Our group kayaked into Active Cove on Patos on a day when we were all grumpy and snapping at each other. Rather than letting us sulk around the campsite eating kelp, our wise leaders made us get in the water and have crazy kayak races (this was probably the Vital Life Lesson part). That night, in much better moods about each other and life, we walked out to the lighthouse for sunset.

I have beautiful memories of Patos, but it’s also just a beautiful place. I’ve convinced my parents to go back with me a few times since then (most recently last August). In doing so I’ve discovered that it’s sort of a pain to get into the harbor in any boat that’s larger than a kayak, so I appreciate them being good sports. The lighthouse is now open for visitors a few days per week in the summer, and there is also a great fictionalized account of life on Patos during the early 1900s, by the daughter of the original light-keeper.


Godzilla! (or not Godzilla at all)

I suppose this is not an amazing photo composition-wise...but it makes me smile. Located in Tokushima on the Island of Shikoku. Japan.

Edit because...my coworker just informed me that Godzilla is apparently a LIZARD. Not a big furry thing. Pop culture knowledge fail of the week...
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La Bandera

This is a simple, slightly random photo that I've always liked. I took it in Puerto Madryn in Patagonia two and a half years ago. Between finishing grad school and starting my job, I wandered around Argentina for a month or so, working on my Spanish/taking pictures/being fed and shown around by extremely hospitable family friends. It was great...

I was in Puerto Madryn for most of a day after spending several days on Peninsula Valdez, where I saw whales, guanacos, sea elephants, birds of an undetermined sort. I'm not great with the wildlife photography, so most of the shots I actually like from the trip are more like this one.

I took the bus back to Buenos Aires from Madryn...of course, the bus left at about midnight, so I spent all day wandering around on the beach and eating cake and drinking tea. I have since learned that all cama ejecutivo (and variants) tickets are *not* created alike. Stupid frugal Madeline made a point of finding the *cheapest* ejecutivo ticket...and thus I spent 20 hours watching Liar Liar dubbed into Spanish, Russian mafia type movie, and Flight 93, all on an endless loop. Next time, I'm spending the extra five bucks and taking Chevalier.

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Yavi, Northwest Argentina

I went to Argentina in late December/early January (I was going to say, "as I tend to do"...but it's actually been over two years). I was in the Northwest, Salta and Jujuy Provinces, as usual (plus 6 hours in Buenos Aires, during which I had lunch with my friend at an "American" restaurant and honed my speed-shopping skills at Zara).

We did go on some new adventures: I convinced my parents that they really like driving on awful dirt roads, and then we went to La Quiaca and Yavi on the border with Bolivia, and the Laguna Pozuelos nature reserve. Here's Yavi:

Iglesia San Francisco, Yavi
The church in Yavi dates back to the 17th century. Unfortunately the church is closed Sunday afternoons, as it turns out...but the exterior + the colonial-era marqués's house (and museum) + the drive there made the trip worth it.

Yavi Church Detail
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SF City Hall

San Francisco City Hall & Sculpture