Friday, March 29, 2019

That’s two days of my life I won’t get back


I just spent 26 and a half hours in planes and in airport terminals getting home, and lost two days in the process.  The 15th of January just didn’t exist for us.
This is what happens when you fly from Vancouver in Canada to Brisbane Australia, via Shanghai.  The thing is, everywhere way, way overseas is a two-stop run.  We have to break our journey somewhere, like Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, and for the sake of managing delays at the originating end, we usually end up with a mid airports stay of five to ten hours.
It all means that when you finally arrive in Australia, you are tired, and look it.  I feel sorry for the Immigration officials who must rarely see people looking good on their arrival.
This time we were fortunate to get back in the morning.  To save being picked up by relatives we arranged for a limousine service, and it worked out well.
I couldn’t say the same for some of the pickup services overseas, but that was more the fault of the travel agent here than anything else.
It only reinforced my thoughts on travel agents, some are excellent, and some are complacent, relying too much on travel wholesalers whose knowledge of the products they sell is appalling.
The original bookings were fine, the agent we used knew her stuff.  But she left and someone else took over, and not so good I’m afraid.
On the whole, it was an incredible expedition, from temperatures of 30 plus celsius to temperatures of -21 degrees Fahrenheit, and rarely above 6 degrees Fahrenheit.
The highlight:  Lake Louise in Canada.  Everyone should see this place in Winter at least once in their lifetime.  Certainly, my wife’s 65th birthday, spent there, was something she will never forget.
And the sleigh ride, in -14 or -15 degrees, well, we might be eligible to be declared start staring mad, but seeing the frozen waterfall was just another of those magical moments that reinforces why we should be preserving the planet, not trying to destroy it.
We’re back home and glad to be so.

Away for the holidays - New York to Vancouver

The flight from Newark via Air Canada to Vancouver is about 5:30pm so we are slated to be picked up by the limousine about 2:30.

We have to be out of our room by 11am so we decided the day before that on our last day in New York we'd go to the Times Square red lobster.
It gives us about three hours to get there, eat, and get back.

It's always fun packing bags the day you leave, so most of the hard work was done earlier.  This time it's particularly a trial because we have so much stuff to fit into a small space, and weight considerations are always paramount because of the 23kg limit.

Outside is has gone from minus four to minus two in the two hours before we leave the hotel at 11:30, but that's not so much of a problem because we have a long walk from 56th street to 41st street to warm us up.

At least today it's not so cold, as it has been previously.

At Red Lobster it's not difficult to make a decision on what to have, the mix and match special, with Lobster alfredo, filet mignon, and parrot island coconut shrimp, with walts special, though what that will remain a surprise until it is served.

To drink, it was the Blue moon beer, wheat type.

For appetizers, we had scones that are supposedly bread but to me are dipped in garlic butter and baked like a scone. Australian style.  They are absolutely delicious.

There is an expression a one drink screamer and we've got one, but the truth is the drinks are very lethal.  Pure alcohol and ice with a touch of soda.

The meals at this Red Lobster are definitely better than those we had in Vancouver, except for the pasta with lobster I had which was little more than a tasteless congealed mess after it reached the table.  This did not detract from the deliciously cooked and served seafood that accompanied it.

All in all, after such a great lunch and the thought of having to walk ten blocks the decision was unanimous to get a cab which took us back to the hotel by a rather interesting, if not exactly the most direct, route.  I think the driver guessed we were tourists.

We are picked up at the hotel by a driver in a large Toyota which had enough space for 3 passengers and all our bags.  The driver was chatty and being foreign, preferred soccer to the other traditional American sport.  Don't ask me how the conversation turned to sports, but we may have mentioned we went to the ice hockey.

At Newark airport, all I have room for is a glass of burned beer, whatever that means, though it has an odd taste, and a Samuel Adams 76 special which was rather tasty.

Today we are flying in a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with a maximum of 298 passengers in three classes.

It looks very new even though it is about 6 months old.  It has seating of 3 x 3 x 3, and we are in row 19, just behind the premium economy cabin, and the closest to the front of the plane of all the Air Canada flights.

Engine startup is loud at the lower revolutions with the vibration going through the airframe.  Like all planes, the flaps being extended is very noisy.  All of the vibrations go away when the engines are up to speed.  On take off the engines at max are not as noisy and other planes and relatively quiet.  It will be interesting to see what the landing is like.

In flight when not experiencing turbulence the ride is very smooth and reasonably quiet which is better than the other planes with seeming continuous engine whining and the flow of air past the fuselage.

The seats are comfortable but still just a little small and the middle passenger can be tightly squeezed in if the two either side are larger than normal.  The seats fully recline but the seat back is not completely in your face, and bearable when you recline your own seat.

There are several seats by the toilets that would be terrible on a long distance flight because the passenger inevitably comes very close to the seat when entering and leaving.  As for the toilets, they are larger than any of the other airplanes, and so too, coincidentally, are the windows.

The plane also makes the same amount of noise when it lands so I'm failing to see what's so good about it.  I've also been in an Airbus A350 and those planes are nothing to write home about either.

I suspect the only advantages of having planes is for airlines.  Fewer costs and more sardined passengers.

It's something else I can write off my bucket list.

When we arrive back in Vancouver it's the same reasonably simple process to get through immigration.

Outside our driver is waiting and this time we have an Escalade picking us up. A very large SUV that fits us all and our luggage.


We were lucky because we were supposed to be picked up in a sedan and the baggage would not have fitted which would have involved one of us taking a cab with the extra luggage.

He was in the neighborhood and picked up the call.  His advice, called the service and request a bigger car and pay the difference.  We did.  It was going to cost another 20 dollars.

As for the hotel,  what is it with hotels and late night arrivals.  We get in, the check-in was smooth, we get to the room. Very large with a separate bedroom. But only a sofa bed.

It was not a desirable option, not before 24 hours in relatively squashed plane seats, so it necessitated a change of rooms to one a bit smaller, but a corner room with a reasonable view, and two proper beds.

Late night, need rest, but we have a free breakfast so there will be no tarrying next morning.  We have to be down by 9am being a Sunday.

Besides, we have a mission.  There is a toys are us nearby and it does have the toy we want.  All we need to find is a cab.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Away for the holidays - Shanghai to Brisbane

Every flight is different

I keep saying that but it's true.  The seating logistics can be terrible, especially when airlines take it upon themselves to break up families for whatever reason, and then leave it to the onboard staff to sort out the mess they created.

We have that now, and while it takes a bit of doing, it's all sorted out.


We got into Shanghai airport at about 4:20 pm, and after a long, long, long taxi ride from the runway, we scored a gate, 16.  On one stop, while on our way, everyone thought we'd arrived.

We had not, leading to a whole lot of people having to sit back down again.

Once again we took the wrong way to international transfers, the sign being on the floor, through the checkpoint of the shooting immigration staff, to the self-service transfer point where two out of three failed and had to go to the assisted transfer, then up the escalator to the scanners where everything went through the machine, duty free and all.

From there it was onto the departure gates but our flight was not leaving until 9:00 pm, so at that time, about 5:30, we had no gate.

Time for a walk.  And look for some drinks, which we got at a family mart store where everything was a hell of a lot cheaper, especially water.

After that, it was a matter of finding a cafe or restaurant and try to stay there for as long as possible until we had to go to the departure gate, which by the time we had finished, about 7:30, was 209.

It was difficult to say just how clean the place was, where a few flicks of the wipe over the table to clean it, leaving the odd sticky wet spot.

I had chicken wings which to me were quite hot, and a draft tiger beer.  I think it was Heineken, but you know these inscrutable Chinese, a frog is more often a rattlesnake than a moose.

Suffice to say, snack food costs a fortune, as it does in any other airport in the world.

Yes, once again we have to take a bus to our plane.  I guess it's all part of the fun of flying into and out of Shanghai but it seems odd given the size of the terminal, there are not enough gates for one of its own airlines.  I think I mentioned that the last time.

Added to the privilege of traveling by bus is the mad scramble up the stairs to get on the plane, with the only advantage this time it was not raining.

We are down the back of the plane, so what else is new, but not all the way.  Row 67 is looking good.  When the lights go out there will be a modicum of darkness, and there will not be the continuous sound of flushing toilets.

Having got no sleep in the last flight from Vancouver to Shanghai, there might be s possibility. of getting some now.

This is the last leg of our holiday, and I'm beginning to feel the effects of a lot of traveling.  Climbing up those stairs to get on the plane was hard work, as was the stop-start movements to our seats.

I don't think I could ever be a constant traveler.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Away for the holidays - Vancouver - 4

Staying at Hampton Inn and Suites downtown, whatever that means because it looks like we are in the middle of nowhere.

But, judging by the crowd in the breakfast room, it's a popular hotel.  Of course, it is Sunday morning so this could be the weekend escape people.

Two things I remember about staying in Hampton Inns is firstly the waffles and whipped butter.  It's been five years but nothing has changed, they are as delicious as ever.  The other, its where I discovered vanilla flavored milk for coffee, and it, too, is addictive.

They also used to have flat burgers that were made out of sausage meat which was delicious, but on the first day, they were not on the menu.

Nevertheless, it was still a very yummy breakfast.

After some research into where we might find this pixmi unicorn, it appears that it is available at a 'toys are us' store in one of the suburbs of Vancouver.  So, resuming the quest, we took a taxi to West Broadway, the street the store is located.

A quick search of the store finds where the toys we're looking for are, after asking one of the sales staff, and we find there are at least a dozen of them.  Apparently, they are not as popular in Canada as the might be in America.  Cheaper too, because the exchange rate for Canadian dollars is much better than for American dollars.  Still, 70 dollars for a stuffed toy is a lot of money.

We also get some slime, stuff that our middle granddaughter seems to like playing with.

After shopping we set off down WestBroadway, the way we had come, looking for a taxi to return us to the hotel.  There's no question of walking back to the hotel.

A few hours later we walk to the observation tower, which was not very far from the hotel,

a place where we could get a 360-degree view of the city of Vancouver although it was very difficult to see any of the old buildings because they were hidden by the newer buildings, nor could we see the distant mountains because of the haze.

After leaving the tower we walked down Water Street to see the steam clock and the old world charm of a cobbled street and old buildings

We stopped at the Spaghetti Factory Italian restaurant for dinner and is so popular that we have to wait, 10 minutes to start with.  It doesn't take all that long to order and have the food delivered to the table.  Inside the restaurant, there is an actual cable car but we didn't get to sit in it.

I have steak, rare, mushrooms, and spaghetti with marinara sauce.  No, marinara doesn't mean seafood sauce but a very tasty tomato-based sauce.  The steak was absolutely delicious and extremely tender which made it more difficult to cut with a steak knife.

The write up for the marinara sauce is, 'it tastes so fresh because it is made directly from vine-ripened tomatoes, not from concentrate, packed within 6 hours of harvest.  We combine them with fresh, high-quality ingredients such as caramelised onions, roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil'.

Oh, and did I mention they have a streetcar right there in the middle of the restaurant

I'm definitely going to try and make this when we get home.

After dinner, we return to the observation tower,  the ticket allowing us to go back more than once, and see the sights at night time.  I can't say it was all that spectacular.

Another day has gone, we are heading home tomorrow.

Away for the holidays - New York - Day 5

We decided to have lunch in a traditional Diner.

On an early morning walk, I discovered the Brooklyn Diner, a small restaurant tucked away in a street not far from Columbus Circle, perhaps a piece of history from the American past.

After all, if you're going to take in the sights, sounds, and food of a country what better way to do it than visiting what was once a tradition.

This one was called the Brooklyn Diner.  It had a combination of booths and counter sit down, though the latter was not a very big space, so we opted for a booth.

The object of going to a Diner is the fact they serve traditional American food, which when you get past the hot dogs and hamburgers and fries, takes the form of turkey and chicken pot pies among a variety of other choices.

Still looking for a perfectly cooked turkey, something I've never been able to do myself, I opted for the Teadition Turkey Lunch, which the menu invitingly said was cooked especially at the diner and was succulent.  I couldn't wait.

We also ordered a hamburger, yes, yet another, and a chicken pot pie, on the basis the last one I had in Toronto was absolutely delicious (and cooked the same way since the mid-1930s)

While waiting we got to look at a slice of history belonging to another great American tradition, Baseball, a painting on the wall of the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets field, long since gone from their home.

The Turnkey lunch looked like this

which didn't seem to be much, and had this odd pasta slice on the plate, but the turkey was amazing and lived up to the menu description.

The Chicken Pot Pie looked like this

And looked a lot larger in reality than the photo shows.

But, sadly while it was not bad, it was a little dry, and could possibly do with using the more succulent thigh part of the chicken.

All of this was washed down by Long Island Ice Teas and Brooklyn Lager.

AS for the Diner experience, it's definitely a 10 out of 10 for me.

Going to an Ice Hockey game in Newark, which of course is in New Jersey

That meant we had to make the journey from New York to New Jersey, by train.  It involved the underground, or as New Yorkers call it, the subway, from Columbus Circle which by any other name was really, 80th street, to 34th street which apparently was the New Jersey jump-off point for us to get overground, well a lot of it was overground.
So, were we going uptown or downtown?

Apparently, it was downtown, and to 34th Street on the A train.

You would not think this to be a difficult task, but for people not used to the subway, and where they were going other than some internet derived instructions, but without the help of a man at the station, just getting tickets may have stopped us dead in our tracks.  With his help, we determined the return fare for three of us and then get through the turnstile onto the platform.

We get on the A train, but soon discover it was not stopping at all stations.  There was for a few minutes, a little apprehension we might just simply bypass our station.  Luckily we did not.

Now, finding your way to the New Jersey transit part of Penn station might appear to be easy, on paper, but once there, on the ground, and mingling with the other passengers which all seemed to be purpose going somewhere, it took a few moments to realize we had to follow the New Jersey transit signs.

This led to a booking hall where luckily we realized we needed to buy more tickets, then find the appropriate platform, and then get on the right train, all of which, in the end, was not difficult at all.

Maybe on the return trip, it might be.

At Newark Penn station it was momentarily confusing because the exit was not readily in sight, so it was a case of following the majority of other passengers who’d got off the train.

This led us to exit onto the street under the train tracks.  Luckily, having been before to Prudential Stadium to buy the tickets, we knew what the stadium looked like and roughly where it was, so it was a simple task to walk towards it.

We were early, so it was a case of finding a restaurant to get dinner before the game.
So was a great many others, and we passed about 6 different restaurants that looked full to overflowing before we stopped at one called Novelty Burger and Bar.

It looked inviting, and it was not crowded.

It was yet another excuse to have a hamburger and beer, both of which seemed to be a specialty in American.  I could not fault either.

And soon after we arrived, this restaurant too was full to overflowing.  Thankfully there were other Maple Leaf fans there because being in a room full of opposition teams supports can be quite harrowing.

That was yet to come when we finally got to the stadium.  I was not expecting a lot of Maple Leaf fans.

We went to this game with high hopes.  New Jersey Devils were not exactly at the top of the leader board, and coming off the loss in Toronto, this was make or break for whether we would ever go to another game.

It’s remarkable in that all the Ice Hockey stadiums are the same.  Everyone has an excellent view of the game, the sound systems are loud, and the fans passionate.
Here it seems to be a thing to ride on the Zambonis.

At the front door they were handing out figurines of a Devil’s past player, and it seems a thing that you get a handout of some sort at each game.  At Toronto we got towels.
And, finally, we were in luck

The Maple Leafs won.

And it was an odd feeling to know that even though their team lost, there did not seem to be any rancor amount the fans and that any expectation of being assaulted by losing fans was totally unfounded, unlike some sporting events I’ve been to.

Perhaps soccer should take a leaf out of the ice hockey playbook.

That also went for taking public transport late at night.  I did not have any fears about doing so, which is more than I can say about traveling at night on our own transport system back home.

Oh, and by the way, there are train conductors who still come to every passenger to collect or stamp their tickets.  No trusting the passenger has paid for his trip here.  And, if you don't have a ticket, I have it on good authority they throw you off the train and into the swamp.  Good thing then, we had tickets.

It was, all in all, a really great day.

Away for the holidays - Philadelphia - 2

The Philadelphia Bus Tour, what we did see

Big bus tour, Stops 1 to 8

Stop 1 was on the corner of Filbert and 5thStreets, not exactly where the map says to go, but it’s on 5th street and you can see the busses, so it was not much of a problem.’

The problem was when we had to find our way there from the City Hall.  Having a handheld navigator, i.e. a mobile phone doesn’t necessarily make the task any easier, and I have been known to walk in the wrong direction.

At any rate, just up the way is Market street, and opposite the bus stop, is, you guessed it, a market.  Alas,, constrained for time, we didn’t get to visit it.


There’s a bus waiting, and we’re on it.  New driver, different tour guide, an older person who may have a different slant on the history of the city.

It’s cold, gloomy, and not a dearth of people about, and that prolonged wait for more tourists to materialize has failed, and we’re off.

Stop 1

This is just a short hop, step, and jump from the Independence National Park where we could, if we had walked in that direction, seen the Liberty Bell, though I think the first tour guild had told us it was not the actual real bell.  I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that, because didn’t we come here to see the real deal?

Aside from the market, on our way along 5th Street, and reaching Arch street, is the 5th Street Burial Ground belonging to the Christ Church, and established in 1719, and where Benjamin Franklin was buried in 1790.

There are four other signers of the Declaration of Independence in the graveyard.
Further on there is the US Mint where free tours are available.  The original mint stood on this site from 1792 after the Coinage Act was passed, and build in Philadelphia because it was the nation's capital at the time.

I think I would have preferred to see the old building, not the new, and currently the fourth iteration of the mint.  The third had not been demolished and is now the Community College of Philadelphia.  Something to see on another day, perhaps.

Stop 2

After going around the block, and up some narrow streets, we finish up back in Arch Street, not exactly the widest of streets, and arrive at Betsy Ross house.

Of course, Betsy Ross was the maker of the first American flag, which is an interesting way to gain notoriety, and whom it seems may have been incorrectly credited because there is no archival evidence she was asked to make it.

She did, however, make flags for the Pennsylvania navy at the time of the American Revolution.

The house we get to see, albeit briefly from the bus, is purportedly where she made the flag.  The house sits several blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

Stop 4

Still in Arch street, this has both the National Constitution Centre and the Independence Visitor Centre nearby.

The National Constitution Centre has just about everything about the US Constitution within its walls, including a hall with 42 bronze statues of the founding fathers.

Stop 5

Chinatown, what more needs to be said?

Stops 6 and 7

Bookends for City Hall, and Love Park, well, it might not be actually called Love Park but the sign certainly makes a statement.

Stop 8

This is us, right here.

The thing is, if we had more time, I would have probably seen more, even visited a few of the places along the way.

Maybe next time.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Away for the holidays - Philadelphia - 1

The Philadelphia Bus Tour, what we did see

To start with, we first joined this tour at stop number 6.

We had to find it first and that meant some pedestrian navigation, which took us first to the City Hall, a rather imposing structure, which we found later had a profound effect on Philadelphia sports teams.

According to the map, stop number 6 is Reading Terminal Market, Convention Centre, on 12th street on Filbert.  This was where we bought the tickets and boarded the bus that had a rather interesting guide aboard.

His favorite says was “And we’re good to go.”

Soon we would discover that his commentary was more orientated towards a younger audience, not that it bothered us.

Given the time restraints, we had, this was always going to be about looking and learning.

Stop number 7

City hall, Love Park.

This we had seen on our walk from where we left the car at the Free Library, near the Swann Memorial Fountain in Logan Park, the landmark that Rebecca had remembered from her last visit to Philadelphia.  Of course, then, it was not quite so frozen.

Love park, of course, was only notable to us in that it had a sculpture in place with the word Love rather stylized.  Apart from that, you’d hardly know it as a park

The city hall, well, that was something else, and when we looked at it, before going on the tour, it was a rather magnificent stone edifice.

After, well the guide filled us in, tallest building, highest and largest monument on William Penn, you get the gist.  37 feet tall, when eclipsed, the Philly sports teams all suffered slumps of one kind or another, until the problem was rectified.  Interesting story.

Stop number 8

18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, or Logan Circle

This is the location of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.  A place where the Pope decided to give an audience and sent the city into a spin.

The same church that has very high windows for the reason in the early days there was a problem with people wanting to throw Molotov cocktails through the windows.  A bit hard when they’re so high up.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway, of course, is interesting in itself as an avenue, not only for all of the flags of many nations of those who chose to live in Philadelphia.  We found ours, the one for Australia

This was also the stop where we needed to get off once the tour was finished, and time to head to the car, and go home, but that’s another story.

Stop number 10

Is that the stature of the Thinker, made famous, at least for me, from the old Dobie Gillis episodes, of God knows how many years ago?

Or, maybe it's just the Rodin Museum on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

There's a whole story to go with that Statue and the fact it is one of many all over the world.

This one was made in France, cast in 1919 in Bronze, and is approximately 200cm x 130 cm by 140cm.

Stop number 11

Eastern State Penitentiary.  NW corner of 22nd Street and Fairmont Avenue.

This had a rather interesting story attached to it and had something to do with ghosts, but I wasn’t listening properly to the guide's monologue.

But, later research shows, the fact it was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world.  Many also think it is haunted and is a favorite for visiting paranormal visitors.

Built around 1829, it was the first prison to have separate cells for prisoners.  It held, at various times, the likes of Al Capone and Willie Sutt

Stop number 18

The Philadelphia Museum of art, where we stop for a few minutes and look at the steps which were immortalized in the movie Rocky, yes he ran god knows how far to end up on the top of these steps.

Sorry, but I’m not that fit that I would attempt walking up them.  The view is just fine from inside the bus.  Of course, they might consider cleaning the windows a little so the view was clearer, but because it’s basically Perspex and scratched so that might not be possible.

Stop number 17

Back at Logan Circle, or Square if you prefer, but on the other side, closer to the Franklin Institute.  Benjamin Franklin’s name is used a lot in this city.

After that, it’s a blur, the Academy of Music, the University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Hospital, South Street, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the USS Olympia, Penn’s Landing and past the National Liberty Museum.  I’m sure somewhere in that blur was the intention of seeing the Liberty Bell, but I think I heard that it was not on show, and only a replica could be seen.

So much for the getting as opportunity to see the real liberty bell, crack and all..

We get off and stop number 27, or Number 1, I was not quite sure.

What were we after?  The definitive Philly Cheese Steak.

Central Park, New York - Part 4

It's a place to go and spot the movie starts, or perhaps their dogs.

It's a place to go for long walks on idyllic spring or autumn days

It's a place to go to look at a zoo, though I didn't realize there was one until I made a wrong turn.

It's a place to go for a horse and carriage ride, although it does not last that long

It's a place to go to look at statues, fountains, architecture, and in winter, an ice skating rink

I'm sure there's a whole lot more there that I don't know about.

I have to say I've only visited in winter, and the first time there was snow, the second, none.

Both times it was cold, but this didn't seem to deter people.


We decided to go visit another part of the park, this time walking to West 67th Street before crossing Central Park West and into the park where Sheep Meadow is.

Once upon a time sheep did graze on the meadow, but these days it is designated a quiet area inspiring calm and refreshing thoughts, except for a period in the 1960s where there was more than one counter culture protest, or love in, going on.

And, there's the sign to say it was Sheep Meadow,

and that's the meadow behind the sign,

Well, I don't see any sheep, but of course, that's not why the meadow is named or should there be any sheep on it.  That greenery that can be seen, restoring for the spring, was a very expensive addition to the park.

As a matter of fact, there is nothing was on it, because signs were up to say the meadow was closed for the winter, a new and interesting variation on the 'Don't Walk On The Grass' signs.

I'm sure I could climb the fence, or, maybe not.  I'm a bit old to be climbing fences.

So, unable to walk on the grass, we tossed an imaginary coin, should we go towards West 110th Street, or back to West 59th Street.

West 59th Street won.

and, just in case we had any strange ideas about walking on the grass, the fence was there to deter us.  Perhaps if we had more determination...

One positive aspect of the park is that you could never get lost, and the tall buildings surrounding the park are nearly always visible through the trees, more so in winter because there is no foliage, maybe less so later in the year.

There is also a lot of very large rocky type hills, or outcrops where people seem to stand on, king of the mountain style, or sit to have a picnic lunch, quickly before it freezes.

Yes, it is cold outside and seems more so in the park.

I wondered briefly if it ever got foggy, then this place would be very spooky, particularly after the sun goes down.