Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2012

Welcome 2013

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year in a peaceful world!
*  *  *
Image by Charie

Sky Watching 2012

Black clouds hover over the salt marshes
It was only this year that I've started watching the skies more avidly than before. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I've been lucky enough to have a great view of sunrises from my front window. I also walk at the park right by the salt marshes and I often watch the planes coming in to land at SFO. It's a wide open space and there's an unobstructed view of the sky. One day while walking along the trail, I espied black smoke in the horizon. Then I heard the sounds of sirens and police cars speeding to the scene of the fire.
Since I walk around the park after work, I'm often rewarded with breathtaking sunsets.
Bay Area sunset
The sky is a canvas in progress. Cloud formations change so quickly that by the time I pull out my camera from my handbag, I've lost that particular scenario. It's a little tricky to take pictures while driving unless you're at a stop sign and the train is passing through so you're w…

Christmastime in The City

Union Square
An overnight stay in San Francisco is a welcome treat, especially during the holidays. The streets are abuzz with visitors during the day and there are many bargain finds for the hardy shopper. A stroll around Union Square enchants with decorated display windows vying for attention. And when evening descends upon the City by the Bay, thousands of Christmas lights illuminate the night sky.

Neiman Marcus Atrium
One of my favorite stops is Nieman Marcus. Their Christmas tree is a floor to ceiling giant barely scraping the beautiful stained glass dome. There's at least an hour wait if you decide to eat lunch at the Rotunda restaurant on the fourth floor with a view of Union Square. Best to make a reservation. An alternative would be the food court at The Cellar inside Macy's. It's crowded but there's usually a table or two. I ordered handrolled crab cakes from SC Asian. It came with a salad. It was all surprisingly good. There are also other restaurants to cho…

Travel Trends 2013

Where are savvy travelers headed to in 2013? Here are the travel destination picks of National Geographic Traveler editors and Lonely Planet.

Kyoto National Geographic Traveler Best of the World 2013
National Geographic Traveler Best of the World 2013:
Crimea (Russia), Marseille (France), Raja Ampat (Indonesia), Ravenna (Italy), Great Bear Rainforest (Canada), Malawi, Quito (Ecuador), Bagan (Myanmar), Cape Breton (Canada), Uganda, Hudson Valley (New York), Thessaloniki (Greece), Grenada, Bodø (Norway), Valparaiso (Chile), Missouri River Banks, St. Augustine (Florida), Memphis (Tennessee), Kyoto (Japan), Jarash (Jordan)

Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2013:

Top 10 Countries
Sri Lanka, Montenegro, South Korea, Ecuador, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Iceland, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Madagascar

Top 10 Cities
San Francisco, Amsterdam, Hyderabad, Londonberry Derry, Beijing, Christchurch, Hobart, Montreal, Addis Abbaba, Puerto Iguazú

Palawan, Philippines Lonely Planet Top Ten Regions pick
Top Ten Re…

Scenes from Madera County

Moonrise and church steeple
I write most of my blogs from this small town in the Central Valley. Sometimes I can't concentrate, like at this very moment, because my neighbor has turned up his stereo system to absolute max and will stay that way until the wee hours of the morning.  It's the same "heavy on the bass" music that will wake me up at 6 a.m. And when I go outside tomorrow, I'll discover trash on the side of my garage from the previous night's shindig. "These are the times that try man's soul."  My gardener complains to me how much "basura" he picks up when he mows the lawn. So I try to pick up the discarded cups, paper plates, plastic bottles, potato chip wrappers and all the leftover food, with a heavy heart. Why do people litter on private property? Aren't children taught what's right or wrong in school? These teenagers next door were apparently absent from school when the teacher was giving a lecture on how to beha…

Kyoto Station

Main Hall of Kyoto Station
When Hiroshi Hara conceived his plan for Kyoto Station, he thought about "geographical perspective" and Kyoto's grid patterned streets. I am reminded of Piet Mondrian's painting, Broadway Boogie Woogie, which is based on the grid pattern of the streets of Manhattan. Hara had essentially incorporated old Kyoto in his design. But his futuristic ideas met resistance from locals who viewed his modern aesthetic plan for the station as a threat to the traditional landscape of Kyoto.
I felt dwarfed by the immensity of the main hall with its glass and steel beamed roof. Standing in the center of the hall, I looked around in wonder and wondered where to begin my exploration of this city within a city. Here's where three rail lines converge. There's a bus terminal on the north side of the station and a mall in the basement called Porta Underground with about a hundred shops and restaurants. No need to search far for lodging. The Granvia Hote…