Travel Tuesday: Musical Instrument Museum Review

For Thanksgiving 2017, I pitched (and the family agreed!) to get together in Sedona. All of us flew into Phoenix from the various cities we live in (Portland, LA, Bay Area, Chicago) and so we had some time in Phoenix bookending our time in Sedona. One of the ways we passed the time was the new to us Musical Instrument Museum, aka MIM. There are not many music instrument museums, and most are in Europe.  MIM further prides itself on being representative of global music. It’s definitely worth a visit – let me show you why!
Music Instrument Museum (MIM) Music Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, with admission you will also receive a headphone with volume control unit for each person in your group. Most exhibits feature a TV with multiple videos cycling for a minute or so, letting you see and hear the musical instrument in action

Built in 2010, MIM offers 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects from nearly 200 countries around the world. After purchasing your admission ticket ($20 1-day or a discounted $30 2-day that you must use the second visit within a week), you will also receive a headphone with volume control unit for each person in your group. Most exhibits features a TV with multiple videos cycling for a minute or so. The videos vary from showing local musicians of a county  performing their native music, often in native dress, sometimes including native dance, to just demonstrating how the instrument was made or how it works. The headphones automatically sync with each of those TVs when you are in proximity to it.
Music Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, with admission you will also receive a headphone with volume control unit for each person in your group. Most exhibits feature a TV with multiple videos cycling for a minute or so, letting you see and hear the musical instrument in action
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A Meal at In Situ

Inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA) is the restaurant In Situ. The restaurant is dedicated to bringing to its diners iconic dishes from Michelin starred restaurants or those on the World’s 50 Best lists – incredible dishes from around the world. The menu changes often, and consists of small, medium, and large plates that you can order for lunch or dinner. Essentially, you can think of In Situ as restaurant inside a modern art museum that is itself a dining museum- it curates dishes globally from famous culinary artists and presents them to you as a visitor.

A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes from Michelin restaurants around the world

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Soundtracks at SF MOMA

Last month in October, I had a chance to visit my sister who lives in San Rafael at the same time my mom would be visiting. The way flights worked out, I arrived a day before my mom did to start the long weekend. Usually my sister would work a half day on Friday, but with the wildfires that were going on everything was thrown off, and so I had to find a way to entertain myself for a whole day on my own. This was no problem – I headed to see the new exhibit combining modern art and sounds and music called Soundtracks at SF MOMA, running until January 1, 2018.
Soundtracks at SF MOMA Soundtracks at SF MOMA

The Soundtracks exhibit includes 20 artists located on the 7th floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as well as distributed on a few other floors of the museum. From the first floor you can even trade in your ID for special EMF amplifying headphone and take an auditory walk outside the museum along a mapped route for a few blocks.

While some of the works are a little bit more traditional in that they are displayed on a wall or on tables/pedestals, others explore how sounds and art intertwine in space. These tended to be towards my favorite art pieces because it made you experience how depending on where you are standing, there is a change in how you perceive the art both in how you see and hear it. Let me share my favorite pieces from Soundtracks at SF MOMA during my visit.

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Fall at the Portland Japanese Garden

I have previously shared some details about the newly updated Portland Japanese Garden. I recommend visiting every season to see how it looks different, and so for autumn I visited the last week of October. This is a little later then I would suggest – peak fall color is usually the 2nd and 3rd week of October, but that’s the best my schedule can do, so what could I do? This meant by the time I arrived the famous Japanese maple tree was already naked, having shed its leaves already, but Fall at the Portland Japanese Garden is still gorgeous – here’s a look at my attempts to capture the visual memories I was seeing during my 1.5 hour visit.

Fall at the Portland Japanese Garden, visiting for Autumn Portland Japanese Garden fall foliage photos on October 2017 Fall at the Portland Japanese Garden, visiting for Autumn Portland Japanese Garden fall foliage photos on October 2017

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Travel Tuesday: Jelly Belly Factory Tour

My recent visit to San Francisco unfortunately coincided with the Wine Country wildfires, so I had to pivot on some of the excursions I was planning on doing with my mom while my sister was working. Particularly I tried to think of things to do that were indoors to avoid possible poor air quality. One of the destinations that I ended up choosing to take my mom was the Jelly Belly Candy Company, and try out their free Jelly Belly Factory Tour and do some shopping for candies she could take to relatives in Thailand. It was more of a trip for her since she loves candy, but I think I ended up having just as much if not even more fun. It was much cooler then I thought it would be for someone like me that loves the idea of sweets but doesn’t love eating sweets. There’s a lot that go into making a Jelly Belly bean!

Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California, entrance area Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California, cafe area

The location of the Jelly Belly in the Bay Area is out in Fairfield, which is north towards Napa, and also happens to be across the street from an Olive Oil and Vinegar tasting room and also the Budweiser Tasting Room, so you can make this a productive day excursion for the one hour drive. If you’re staying by Napa, consider it to take a break from wine. We only stopped for the Jelly Belly Factory Tour, which I’ll share here.

It’s best to visit on a weekday because then you’ll see the machines working with the people running them, vs when it is not operating on weekends or holidays. Overall, I recommend going to the Jelly Belly Factory Tour because it is cool to learn how the jelly beans are made and prepared for sale, and Jelly Belly really strives for a mix of efficiency with machinery but also relies on people for quality every step of the way. The workers seemed happy – several waved at me and smiled, and I’m not a cute kid on a tour. Though I think the paper hats they require you to wear the whole tour are both silly (so non functional) and cute.

Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California: the rainbow of 50 flavors and more of Jelly Belly Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California: the rainbow of 50 flavors and more of Jelly Belly

I am all for technology and progress I don’t believe it means completely displacing people out of jobs, though it may mean changing the job description to work with the technology. As fascinating as automation is, seeing it paired with people too is heartening – and if you come on a working factory day you’ll be able to watch that interaction.

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