Sunday, October 26, 2008

A short trip to Northern California and Nevada October 2008

My wife had relatives from New York and Maryland visiting us. They wanted to see our daughter and grandson who live in San Francisco and I thought it was as good a time as any to go there. My daughter is a "worrywort" and she is overly concerned about our grandson's dog ( a tiny Dachshund) biting a neighbor. She needed a little bit of cheering up so I decided to drive up north with my wife and her relatives. To make the trip a little bit more exciting for our guests, we spent a couple of nights at Lake Tahoe, made a short trip to Reno from the lake and on the way back to LA, stopped by the capitol at Sacramento.

An interesting tree at the San Francisco Botanical Garden

I find this paint job a little too wild for my taste LOL.

Can you guess how many tickets I will get if I use this vehicle to travel coast to coast?

Road work on our way to Lake Tahoe. Note the safety barrier and the highly visible cones to protect motorists from potential hazards.

Late afternoon at Lake Tahoe

Lovebirds watching the setting sun

Early morning at the lake

My wife's niece showing off a pine cone she picked up somewhere.

We gambled a little but did not stay overnight to see a Pinoy show at the Legacy Casino, "Dolphy at 80".

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I went to one of the beaches I usually go to whenever I want to take a long walk and exercise my eyeballs ...hehehe. Instead of bikini-clad beauties sunning in the sun, my eyes caught the attention of kites merrily enjoying the breeze. I was reminded of the days when I was still in grade school when one of my greatest joy was to fly a kite or even just a "boka-boka" (a poor excuse for a kite made of folded ruled pad or bond paper). Yes, fly a kite tied to a string sharpened with "bubog" (mixture of glue and finely powdered chinawares or light bulbs) and maneuver it to cut the strings of other kites flying nearby or be the victim of my aerial aggression. It is a kite combat that we play, sometimes the participants, willing or unwilling, do not even know each other. It is game where you are in, if you are flying a kite and you do not reel it in when an intruder kite approaches.

I wonder if this "kite fight" is still played in Pinas nowadays? I have not seen it here. They just fly their kites to show-off the different ways they can make them, get them up in the air and make them do things I cannot imagine a kite can do. Wonderful! However, it cannot match the thrill I felt when I made my own kite (from bamboos and apple wrappers), flew it and participated in the "kill or be killed" game LOL.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Walls

My first European trip was way back in the early 70's where I had the chance to see the Berlin Wall. Many years had passed before I saw my second famous wall, the Great Wall of China. In between those years and beyond where many interesting trips, both local and abroad but the memories of those two walls, for whatever reason, remained vivid in my mind.

Germany was still divided then and to reach Berlin which was located inside the Soviet controlled East Germany, we had to travel via a narrow road corridor. In the background was a part of the wall that divided the city of Berlin between the Allies and the Soviet Union.

What is left of the Berlin Wall after it was demolished decades later.

This was the famous Checkpoint Charlie where one had to go through to cross from West to East Berlin or vice versa. It did not look like this serene when this checkpoint was operational. There were many well-armed soldiers from opposing sides and vehicles crossing the border had to drive a zigzag pattern to prevent any of them from barreling through at high speed to get away. A number of East Germans were able to escaped this way before vehicles were required to "zig and zag" through the crossing zone.

Outside this building located a stone's throw from Checkpoint Charlie was displayed what was supposed to be the last Kremlin Flag.

Our tour group posing for a pic with a section of the Great Wall in the background.

We climbed the wall as far as our stamina and time allowed us.