Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pan Am: Vicarious Travel and Retro Glam

"They don't know that they're a new breed of woman. They just had a natural impulse. To take flight."

Madame had sky high hopes for ABC's new series, Pan Am. In between travels, books, movies, and the Travel Channel sometimes have to fill the void, so when she saw an ad for ABC's new show she thought this might be a nice weekly diversion. The style is all she'd hoped even if the story line is a bit...well, cheesy. They had her up until the CIA approached one of the flight attendants (oh wait this was before political correctness-- I mean, stewardesses) to be a spy. So while it isn't smartly written like that other early sixties period piece, Mad Men, it is full of eye candy.

Travel before people showed up in shorts and flip flops. How wonderful must that have been? Madame had a flight once where a man got out his clippers and cut his toenails. Let's just say things ain't what they used to be. 

American optimism was in full swing with the start of the jet age and it's fun (or maybe depressing) to watch in the current political and economic climate. Kennedy was president, the first 747 had just been rolled out by Boeing and the space age was on the horizon. From Berlin to Hong Kong, exotic and exciting locales around the world were suddenly available in a way they never had been before. Everything was new and shiny, from Pan Am headquarters to the wings on the uniforms.  When Madame isn't fantasizing about dancing on tables in Rangoon she is lusting over the beautiful costumes and thinking maybe girdles and stockings weren't such bad ideas. And that sixties eyeliner--how glamorous was that? Madame predicts the makeup and fashion trends will last for a while even if the series doesn't.
Bankruptcy brought the real glamour to an end in 1991, but you can still have the fantasy Sunday nights at 9 eastern.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Into the Wild Blue Yonder in Pensacola

Sometimes when we are traveling a negative turns into a positive. A day at the beach ruined by rain while vacationing on the Alabama Gulf Coast led to a discovery of the National Aviation Museum by Madame M and her crew. It is an excellent museum and the aviator and history lover will enjoy it thoroughly. One of Madame's favorite parts was Home Front U.S.A. (she is such a housewife) featuring little vignettes of typical American life during WWII. If you have boys that have been restless on other museum outings, this is one you may not be able to get them out of easily. Riding with the Blue Angels through the magic of IMAX is exciting enough to impress even the surliest teenager.

Don't miss eating at the Cubi Bar Cafe! Here's the history according to the site:

"For nearly 40 years, the NAS Cubi Point Officers' Club, in the Republic of the Philippines, was a marvelous mix of American efficiency and Filipino hospitality. The club was especially famous for its Plaque Bar, where transiting squadrons retired old plaques and commissioned new ones to commemorate each WestPac tour. The tradition of placing plaques in the O' Club bar was started during the Vietnam Conflict and endured until the closing of the base in 1992.

When the original officers' club was closed in 1992, the thousands of plaques that adorned the walls of the club as tokens of thanks were packed up and sent to the Museum to be placed as they were when the Cubi Club was closed. The legacy of this Cubi Bar brings back many memories to aviators whose squadron plaques decorate the walls."

Before you head to the cafe for lunch you may want to experience the flight simulators. The museum is located aboard the Pensacola Naval Air Station and you will be required to present ID upon entrance to the base. This is also the home of the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron and from March to November you can watch them practice free of charge behind the museum. Check here for practice times: Blue Angels Practices.

Visit the official website of the Blue Angels here.

Don't miss Flight Deck, the gift shop at the museum. You know how Madame Owner loves a good gift shop.

This would be an excellent museum to visit with the kids before or after the WWII museum in New Orleans and the Smithsonians's Air and Space Museum. 

Happy travels and flying y'all!

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