Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve, 2010

Happy New Year!

More than a decade ago, we were on a cruise in the Hawaiian Islands and our itinerary took us to Kiribati Island, a two day "at sea" deal outside of the US territorial water to comply with the US Maritime Law. I never heard of Kiribati before but the name sounds intriguing (like an African incurable disease), I was expecting that when we arrive, we are going to be greeted by a bevy of beautiful, grass-skirted dancing girls. That we were! But not the way I though it was going to be LOL. I think the dog strayed in to add insult to the injured expectation LOL. Anyway, my disappointment was tempered with the knowledge, recently acquired, that Kiribati is the first to celebrate the New Year because of geography. HAVE A GREAT 2011 EVERYONE! I know I will try my best and you do, too.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Miami, Florida

I wanted to spend the day at the Everglades but my companions were not too thrill about the idea. They'll rather go to Miami. That was fine with me, I'll see the Everglades the next time I visit Florida. The reason why we were here in the first place was to sail on the maiden voyage of the Allure of the Seas, the newest and largest cruise ship of the Royal Caribbean Lines. We decided to fly a few days ahead of the sailing date to avoid the hassles of delayed flights, lost baggages and what nots.

Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove





South Beach area

This mansion on Ocean Beach was the residence of Gianni Versace, the famous Italian designer who was shot in the head by Andrew Cunanan, a Filipino-American from San Diego, CA. It was sold by the heir of Versace to a telecommunication magnate who renovated and turned it to a private membership club whose members pay $40,000 to join plus $3,000 annually. What? I wonder what a member gets for that kind of money.

I barely touch the skin of Miami. I'm coming back to Florida! My wife said, "Do it during the hurricane season, you'll love it." LOL.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

My wife and I and another couple left on a late night flight from Long Beach bound for Fort Lauderdale in Florida. We arrived very early the following morning at our hotel. Although check-in time is 11:00 am, we were able to check-in right away. I think we hit pay dirt when we selected this hotel off the internet because of its nearnest to the airport, the pier and its reasonable rate ($79/day with free breakfast and wi-fi).

This river that cuts across the road fronting our hotel is covered with vegetation along the bank unlike the ones in our place where rivers are paved with concrete like giant canals and are dry for most of the year.

The road is almost devoid of traffic and this is rush hour!

We spent the rest of the morning catching up on our sleep but in the afternoon we decided to check out "Venice of America" so called because of its canal system, which is wider and cleaner than the one I saw in Venice, Italy.

Nice homes!

I wonder who the occupants are of this mansion? Probably the caretakers for most of the year LOL. Most of the homes here belong to the rich, the super rich and the disgustingly filthy rich. Some are poor their yacths cost more than their homes. I feel sorry for these guys whose $40 million yacth is park near their $20 million home. I cry for their misfortunes.

A bridge that yields the right of way to humongous yachts

It got dark before we completed our water taxi route for the cheap rate of $8 per person.

This guy on his kayak got too close to us or vice versa.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving week in San Francisco

For the first time going through the LA-SFO section of the Interstate 5, I'm a passenger and not the driver. What a relaxing experience! I love driving and have driven over the years, through most of the states of the US of A and the provinces of Canada with my family (when my kids were growing up), with my wife (after our kids have families of their own), or by myself when my wife decided staying at home or vacationing in Pinas is the "better part of valor" LOL. It is amazing how different the view on the road is when you are not doing the driving.

The view did not look as boring when I was the passenger.

Windmills dotted some landscape in an interesting, ugly kind of way.

Crookedest street in the world.

A view from the overpass

I planned to walk across the GG bridge but for now I am content as a passenger on our way to Napa for a Thanksgiving dinner with my brother and his family.

The following day I did some serious walking to burn off calories LOL.

Oceanside entrance to the Golden Gate Park

Monday, November 22, 2010

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I wish you all the best on Thanksgiving Day and all the days to come. Do not forget to burn the extra calories by walking or jogging. I always save mine for the lean days that somehow never come LOL.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Here (Orange County) and there (San Francisco)

I spotted this name of a small restaurant in one of San Francisco's streets. For some reason, food was not the first thing that entered my mind LOL.

I thought of renting one of these bikes to pedal my way across the Golden Gate Bridge but I'm not used to biking in hilly San Francisco with its chaotic traffic. It was safer for me to just walk in the city and do my biking in the park.

This is the first single-family home I have seen in Orange County or anywhere else for that matter, with a functional clock planted at its lawn. I wonder what the owner was thinking when he installed this? Maybe he is a clock-maker or a watch repairer or just a friendly neighbor tired of being constantly ask the time of the day.

What about the owner of this house who has a drinking fountain in his front yard for passers-by? If you click on the pic to enlarge, you'll see a small basin full of water near the foot of the fountain for animals. In fact, I caught with my camera a squirrel scampering away after taking a quick drink.

I was headed to the Huntington Beach pier when I spotted these black-clad ladies and a gent offering free hugs! I took this picture and kept walking but near the end of the pier, I ran into another group of "huggers" and when one of the girls peeled off from the group to offer me a hug, I offered no resistance. I don't know what the deal was with these free hugs but that gave me an idea. When I got home I told my wife I'm going to make a sign similar to what they have but I'll offer more...not just free hugs but kisses, as well. I'll go to the beach and approach those bikini-clad sunbathers with my placard and I am not going to take "no" for an answer. My wife said if my behind gets hauled off to jail, she is not bailing me out LOL.

My wife and I went for lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant (not the one with the amusing name LOL) located just a mile from our home. I noticed that the owner increased the price of their lunch combo by a dollar more and correspondingly reduced the serving by about 10%. It is still cheap if I compare the price I have to pay for a similar meal when I am eating out of town or on the road.

Even in affluent US of A, there are still people who are homeless and live at the mercy of others. Very sad.

I usually do not catch anything when I fish at this lake but I never get tired of trying.

This photographer is an amateur photographer's delight....either he is a showboat or he knows his craft better than most.

I took this pic at a political rally in a neighboring city. Clinton came to bolster the candidacy of Congresswoman Sanchez who is running for reelection against a surprisingly strong opponent. We are outside of Sanchez's district but my wife and I went to the rally to see, for the first time in our lives, a US president or Ex-President in person. This guy is charismatic!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

This garden is an oasis of calm in an oasis of calm. There is nothing extraordinary about the place but there is an IT about it that I cannot explain.

This is where they serve the tea and the rest is the garden...

I chanced upon these European kids pictorially documenting their visit to the garden.