Tag Archives: things to do in Tucson

Top 20 Movies to Watch Over The Summer

10 Jun


Shannon’s Picks                                                              Chrissy’s Picks


 The Bourne Identity                                                          Dracula Untold

PicMonkey Collage


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows                       Bridge to Terabithia



How to Train Your Dragon                                            Lion King



The Hangover                                                                    The Intern



Cast Away                                                                            Sense and Sensibility



The Sandlot                                                                         Howl’s Moving Castle



The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey                           Harry Potter



The Shining                                                                         Shrooms


Romantic Comedy:

The Wedding Singer                                                         The Ugly Truth


Science Fiction:

iRobot                                                                                    Blade Runner


Chrissy’s Summer Reading List

10 Jun

Summertime,  the most relaxing word a college student can hear, say, or think. Summertime opens up a plethora of opportunities that are not available during the school year: sleeping until 1pm, going on random road trips, and of course reading fun books. I don’t know about y’all, but I find that during the school year I am way too busy reading the various assigned readings to  actually get any fun reading done! So, I made a list during the school year of all the books I would like to read during them summer and I am now steadily working my way through them! Here are my top 10 books that I would like to have read by the end of the summer. I included short summaries of the books that I found on the publishers’ websites.

Please note that most of these contain adult themes and violence. Please read at your own discretion. 

10. Ella Enchanted: Gail Carson Levine

How can a fairy’s blessing be such a curse?

At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head!

But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse—and live happily ever after.

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9. Dracula: Bram Stoker

During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire.  Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.


8. The Blood of Flowers: Anita Amirrezvani

Both a sweeping love story and a luminous portrait of a city, The Blood of Flowers is the mesmerizing historical novel of an ill-fated young woman whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. Illuminated with glorious detail of Persian rug-making, and brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan, The Blood of Flowers has captured readers’ imaginations everywhere as a timeless tale of one woman’s struggle to live a life of her choosing.

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7. The Iliad: Homer

Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace

The iliad

6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.
Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.
Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

Do androids dream of electric sheep

5. 13 Reasons Why: Jay Asher

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

13 reasons why.jpg

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.


3. Brave New World: Aldous Huxley

The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future- of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Huxley’s most enduring masterpieces.


2. The Other Boleyn Girl: Philipa Gregory

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.

the other boleyn girl.jpg

1. Poison Study: Maria V. Snyder

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dusté and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear—.

Poison study.jpg

Vacation vs. Staycation

12 May

Every summer I am met with the same struggle, should I spend a ton of money going on a vacation and having fun with my friends, or should I stay at home and work. Let’s be honest, usually I stay home. Not only do I not have the money to go on vacations, but vacations, at least mine, tend to be more trouble than they are worth.

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It doesn’t matter who I go with, whether family or friends, there is always so much drama that I would not have had to deal with if I had stayed home! I don’t know what it is about vacations, but they tend to bring out the worst in people. This year though, I have decided to brave the dreaded vacation, but only for a weekend. I am going to go to California for 3 days with a few friends, and hopefully it won’t be a huge mistake.

Chrissy Blog 6

Usually though, I have a staycation. For those of you who do not know, a staycation is a vacation you take without going anywhere. I tend to be a bit more strict with my staycations than most, I don’t allow myself to use social media, I do not watch T.V. shows that are currently on; instead I re-watch classic movies, I get caught up on books, and I sleep and sleep and sleep. Now, my staycation only lasts about a week because I take summer courses and work, but for that one glorious week I have no worries and no one can bother me. I am not trying to say that you have to do your staycation the same way I do, that’s the beauty of the staycation, it differs for every individual!

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The rest of my summer is usually spent working and taking classes which for some is not relaxing, but having the same routine I have during the school year is quite nice for me. I tend to take online classes so I can do my homework by the pool or while watching A League of their Own for the thousandth time, and work tends to be a bit more relaxed in the summer, so in the end I do have a nice relaxing summer.

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Now, whether you choose to vacation with family or stay at home and relax there, just make sure you do relax a little bit this summer. Students really do need the time to reenergize themselves.

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#NovembertoRemember: The Fabulous Roadhouse Cinema

25 Nov

For #NovembertoRemember, I had no idea how what I was going to do to make a lasting memory. I have lived in Tucson for most of my life and I have pretty much done everything there is to do in this smallish town. Luckily an old theater that had closed down has reopened to become one of the coolest theaters in town.

photo 1

From what I heard this movie theater was a completely different experience. Movies in style. You pre-order the seats which turn out to be big reclining lazy-boy chairs. I really wanted to enjoy this experience so I chose to watch Interstellar, because there was no way I was going to watch a 3  hour movie in crappy theater seats. Not only do you get to watch your movie in complete comfort, you get to order anything off of their full menu and eat at your seat. You have no idea how amazing it was to watch a movie and receive food via call button. I wanted to spoil myself that day and I ordered a burger, fries, and dessert.

photo 2

The Roadhouse Cinema has become my new favorite movie theater. I felt spoiled and had one of the best movie theater experiences ever. It really is a college student’s dream! And you would think that all this food plus a movie ticket would be expensive, but it’s not unreasonable! You can get a seat for about $10 and each entree is about $10 also. You aren’t skimped on food or service, and I promise this is an experience like none other.

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#OutrageousOctober: A Shot at a New Skill

12 Nov

For #OutrageousOctober I wanted to do something totally out of my comfort zone. I figured might as well you know? What better reason would there be to do something new and exciting other than #OutrageousOctober? The only problem with this concept was finding something to actually do. It took me awhile but I eventually thought of something pretty spectacular. Well it was more of my Dad’s idea than my own.

For those of you who don’t know me well, I have a terrible fear of guns. I don’t like them. I don’t trust them. I am nowhere near interested in obtaining one. I had never even shot one. My Dad has been a police officer for over 22 years so it’s not like I wasn’t used to seeing one. I saw my Dad strap on his gun to belt every morning before work and I saw him put it in top drawer of his dresser every day after work. I wasn’t afraid of his gun, it was in its holster my whole life and I never even saw it. I thought he never even used it.

It was his idea to head to the shooting range. I have to admit I’m glad he did. He didn’t just load the gun for then let me pull the trigger. My Dad didn’t think that would be helpful with my fear. Instead we spent the first 15 minutes loading and unloading the gun. He let me use his own personal 9mm. Loading the bullet in the magazine was so hard my hands were shaking and hearing the noise of the other guns being shot next to me made me nervous. My adrenaline was pumping. My Dad had to talk me through the steps so that I could focus. Put the safety on. Release the magazine. Load the magazine. Load the gun. Take the safety off. Pull back the slide. Take a breath. Pull the trigger.

The first shot was rough. It was loud. The gun was powerful and I shot was too far to the right but after a couple more shots I got used to it and my aim wasn’t all that bad. My Dad was really proud. At one point he made a shot in the head of the target and then told me to shoot right next to his, I did. Twice. He wanted me to take a picture holding the Target after like it was my high school diploma or something. I didn’t. I did a lot better than I thought I would have. My Dad and I already have plans to go back. It was an overall good experience for me and I’m glad I got to have this experience with my Dad.

Here’s a picture of my Target. I didn’t take one posing with it but I had to still capture the memory some how. See? I did pretty well for my time shooting.

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Taking Family Weekend Fun to the Next Level

10 Oct

Family Weekend is upon us. In less than 24 hours, our relatives will begin arriving for a weekend of food, football, and frivolity. The University of Arizona, being the fantastic institution that is is, has conveniently planned tons of great Family Weekend activities both on and off campus. From the Wildcat World Fair & Expo to a child-friendly Casino Night, there are plenty of events and promotions that you and your family can enjoy together. However, if you and your family decide not to go to these activities, here are some suggestions for sight-seeing on campus and exploring Tucson.

1) The Dorm/House/Apartment Tour

HDRtist HDR Rendering - http://www.ohanaware.com/hdrtist/

One of the first things that your family is going to want to know is how you live when you’re not at home. When they arrive, give them a tour of your humble abode replete with details about what you like about living there and where you like to hang out. Being able to imagine where we might be when we’re not with them tends to comfort our families and it gives us the chance to show off our cool new place.

2) Old Main 


For those of you who don’t know, Old Main used to be the school (the entire school). It’s hard to imagine that campus was so small back then, but in any case, Old Main is one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings on campus. There’s a gorgeous fountain and tons of picnic tables in the shade beneath the balconies where you can sit and relax with your family in between events.

3) Main Library


Let’s be realistic, you probably still have some homework for the weekend. Instead of ditching your family for a couple of hours, why not bring them to the library with you? The Main Library is home to more than its fair share of comfortable seating areas and charging stations to keep your family occupied while you do some work.

4) The University of Arizona Bookstore


As you probably know, there’s a Family Weekend Tailgate before the game on Saturday and whether they’re planning to attend or not, your family is probably going to want to don their best UA garb while they are here. Aside from being where the books live, the Bookstore houses a lot of cool UA clothes and souvenirs (like Wilbur-shaped pasta, what even?).

5) The Cellar


The University of Arizona Student Union is home to a slew of restaurants and eateries, but The Cellar is arguably the best of them all. It’s one of the few sit-down places that the university can boast and the food is amazing. The burger and fries pictured above are actually from The Cellar and their shakes are easily the best thing since sliced bread.

6) University (Blvd)


One of the best places to explore and grab a bite to eat is University Blvd. which runs straight through the entrance of our school and ends in a roundabout in front of Old Main. Lined with shops and restaurants, University has something for just about everyone and it is walking distance from 4th Avenue and Downtown Tucson.

7) The Streetcar Line


If you and the family want to see the world outside of campus, then the Sunlink Streetcar can help you get out there. The Streetcar runs all the way from Helen Street (near the University of Arizona Medical Center) to Tucson’s Historic District. The Historic District is home to museums, restaurants, and theaters that can allow your family to experience some of Tucson’s unique culture.

8) The Turtle Pond


The Turtle Pond is a great place to unwind either after or between adventures. This area is one of the few areas on campus that’s filled with trees and benches where people can relax and enjoy the sunshine. The turtles and koi fish are beautiful and it’s nice to see them just swimming around and being their wonderful, aquatic selves.

9) Orange Grove


Located right next to the Turtle Pond between Gila and Maricopa dorm, the Orange Grove is a lovely place to walk through as you meander around campus. Although the oranges are picturesque, please help any little ones that may be accompanying you to leave the oranges where they found them and refrain from eating them (as they are there solely for decoration).

10) The Unicorn



This is not a joke. There is a unicorn on campus and whosoever finds it first shall have eternal bragging rights. If you’re at a loss for things to do this weekend, go on a unicorn hunt (to find the unicorn not to actually hunt the unicorn, it is a statue). It’s located near the Ina Gittings Building, but that’s all I’ll say, the rest of the quest is yours and yours alone.

Have a wonderful Family Weekend!


Food, Historical Sites, and Skylines: These are a Few of My Favorite Things in Tucson

9 Jan

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I have lived in Tucson for twenty years and every year is more special than the last.

Growing up in Tucson is an adventure. Even if you’re new to Tucson, you probably already know what I’m talking about. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s cool. I’m going to show you how to explore Tucson like a true local. Let’s kickstart your Tucsonan adventure, Wildcats! 

Every semester after finals, my friends and I like to celebrate our success. What better way to reward ourselves than with some yummy FOOD?! 

Hands down, our favorite restaurant in Tucson has to be…

El Güero Canelo:


El Güero Canelo is the heart of Mexican food in Tucson. The Contreras family started El Güero Canelo in 1993 based on an idea from Daniel Contreras’ wife, Blanca, while on a trip to Mexico. Daniel and Blanca wanted to open a Mexican restaurant to serve both carne asada and Mexican hot dogs. The rest is history.

El Güero Canelo is so well-known that Adam Richman from the T.V. show Man vs. Food couldn’t stay away from the tasty Mexican hot dogs. Don’t believe me? Check it out! Family-owned businesses like this one make Tucson that much better. Make sure you go on this mini (but majorly delicious) excursion to El Güero Canelo before you graduate!

Fun Fact: My dad worked for El Güero when he was young. Too bad I don’t get discounts on caramelos. Luckily, the prices are reasonable on a student budget. 

If you don’t like Mexican food, don’t even sweat it. Tucson is home to restaurants that can please all tastebuds.

As a matter of fact, Tucson has an amazing Ethiopian restaurant not too far from campus.

Zemams Ethiopian Cuisine: 


For over 15 years, Zemams has served thousands of Wildcats its flavorful Ethiopian food. They use herbs and spices imported from Ethiopia to make signature dishes. Bring an appetite (this isn’t a tall order after studying), some friends (the best way to eat is family-style), and don’t forget to order the injera bread.

Fun Tip: They even have a gluten-free version of the injera bread if you call-in ahead of time. Zemams has the Outreach Facilitator stamp of approval!

Broadway and Tucson too far to walk? Head over to University Boulevard and you will find…

Vietnamese: Saigon Pho Restaurant

I like how cozy this place is. It’s perfect for a winter day when you want piping hot pho and a place to decompress.

Greek: Pelio Grill Restaurant 

This place just reopened and has a fantastic full-window view of Main Gate.

Middle Eastern: Sinbad’s Restaurant 

I love this place on a sunny day, which is a lot of the time in Tucson. The patio is perfect; the trees and fountain make for a relaxing lunch hour.

As you can see, there’s a lot to choose from in Tucson. It just takes time, and a little courage to try something new, so treat yourself after finals.

We have lots and lots of food, but sometimes it’s hard to find actual things to do in Tucson. The secret is that you have to research to find what’s out there, or what’s going on. All it takes is a little digging to find that hidden treasure.

One of my favorite things to do is visit…

San Xavier del Bac:


Beautiful right? This treasure, or as it’s nicknamed, “The White Dove of the Desert,” is pretty easy to spot in the desert.

San Xavier del Bac is a three-hundred-year-old Spanish Catholic mission located about ten miles south of downtown Tucson on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. It was founded in 1692 by Jesuit missionary, Padre Eusebio Kino. The Mission is also known as the “place where the water appears,” as there was once a natural springs in the area. The mission is situated in the center of the centuries-old Indian settlement of the Tohono O’odham located along the banks of the Santa Cruz. The Mission is also a pilgrimage site. Thousands of pilgrims visit the church each year, many of them walking or riding on horseback.

Not only is this place gorgeous, and full of history, you can buy local fry bread on-site. You know I couldn’t avoid the food element. It’s a win-win situation. 

Fun Tip: My family and I always go to the Mission on Sundays since there are vendors selling homemade Indian bread! OMG! The fry bread is to die for!!!! Food follows us Wildcats everywhere 🙂  Just be careful of local hungry bees, because they’ll also follow you around San Xavier if you order your bread with powdered sugar. They also love the fresh-squeezed lemonade, so beware. I know you Wildcats aren’t scared of a little bumblebee though, right?


Since San Xavier is a bit far, you can still find things to do closer to campus. One of my other favorites is…

“A” Mountain:


The formal name of this mountain, Sentinel Peak, came from its function as a lookout point for the Spanish, though the Pima village and cultivated fields that once lay at the base of the peak, just west of downtown, are long gone. In 1915, fans of the University of Arizona football team whitewashed a large “A” on its side to celebrate a victory, and the tradition has been continued ever since.

Fun Tip: During the day, the peak’s a great place to get an overview of the town’s layout. At night, the city lights below form a dazzling carpet. This is a perfect spot to take Instagram pictures, or a picnic (more food!). Here’s one my favorite pictures I’ve taken from “A” Mountain… IMG_7488

Here’s hoping I motivated you to go out and find your own hidden gems, whether you’re new to Tucson, or a local like me. Go out and make magic happen. Who knows? Maybe Tucson can be your ultimate BFF. Wildcats, how can you deny that skyline?

— Valeria Martinez

Spring Fling April 12-15

11 Apr

It’s a huge carnival! There are tons of rides and food booths, and it’s all run by students. What’s not to love. I go every year with my club to run a food booth. It’s a great way to just have fun!

Bare bones information:


THURSDAY 4/12/12    4:00 pm-Midnight

FRIDAY 4/13/12           4:00 pm-Midnight

SATURDAY 4/14/12     Noon-Midnight

SUNDAY 4/15/12        Noon-8:00 pm


Rillito Downs

4502 N. First Ave.

Tucson, AZ 85718

(North First Ave. and River Road)


Regular: $5

UA Student w/ ID: Free

Children under 7: Free

Military ID: Free

Parking: $5

Shuttle from the UA:

Free Shuttle from UA Old Main to and from Rillito Downs every 30 minutes:

Thursday April 12, 2012


Friday April 13, 2012


Saturday April 14, 2012


Sunday April 15, 2012


For more information: http://springfling.asua.arizona.edu/Spring_Fling/Info.html

Take a hike!

18 Apr
Sabino Canyon Puddle
I’m not telling you to “getouttahere!” I’m asking you to go outside and take a healthy break from the studying I’m sure you’re all bogged down by.

I remember back home in Washington state I would occasionally wander around in the woods tripping over mossy logs and into muddy expanses as a child. My mother loves the outdoors and I have to say as a child I did not. I liked the idea of the outdoors. As a child, the idea that fairies might live in flowers or big trees got me out there (well, I don’t think I actually believed in fairies, but I did read everything I could about them). We have a pond in our backyard that I would sit beside with my fingers in the chilly water waiting for goldfish to bite me and watching for frogs. Not that long ago back home for the summer I waited up for a meteor shower until the clouds got too thick to see the sky. I came to appreciate the outdoors and even went camping last summer. It was awesome 🙂

But, we all live in Tucson now. I’m sure there are amazing animals to see in Sabino Canyon for example. I know on campus I enjoy watching the road runners jump around. I didn’t know what they were until spring semester of my freshmen year because they don’t look like the road runner from the Wiley Coyote cartoons.

Why not explore your environment? Even if you’re from Tucson, the outdoors could hold some needed relief from your hectic life as a student. So, come hiking with us, the Outreach Facilitators, Saturday April 30 from 8am-12pm in Sabino Canyon! Please RSVP by April 27 at https://spreadsheets.google.com/a/email.arizona.edu/viewform?formkey=dDlpM2pSU0VkdVA4M1FaQlRHR2FNamc6MQ so we can coordinate rides, and power up the hiking awesomeness!

I hope to see you there!

All Abroad! Take a Ride Before It’s Going, Going, Gone!

5 Apr

So, Tucson has a trolley.
A working trolley.
You’ve probably seen the tracks as it goes from University Blvd all the way to the edge of downtown. Yet, for some reason, never have I ever truly wanted to ride it–until this weekend.

Sometime between Breakfast and Saturday Morning cartoons, a friend of mine posed a question. “Why are there large quantities of Japanese written all over the Tucson University Trolley?” Good question…

How did the trolley find its way from an island to the middle of the desert in the first place? What is it doing in Tucson, of all places? We have a trolley-museum? Since when?

Apparently, on top of having a 1953 Japanese street car, Tucson has a Belgium street-car, a Canadian trolley, and an old-school public bus found abandoned on the highway to Rocky Point, all of whom are currently enjoying their home at the skirts of downtown. And most of these beauties are still in working condition.
That means it’s time for me to buy a conductor hat!

Not only is it a simple short ride from University Blvd to Downtown, but it’s also easy on your wallet (and not to mention, a great way to spend your weekend).

Old Pueblo Trolley‘s definitely in my list of Things to Do Before I Leave. What about you?