…all the moms got everybody bundled-up like little South Park Kids. That’s the birthday girl in orange.
Month: March 2008
It happened! I bought an air ticket. Looking for pictures on the internet to ‘use’ of Fez, a UNESCO World Heritage city in Morocco…I think there are pictures to be had there!
Here is what I’m thinking now: Dusseldorf (help pack up the kids and check out a lived-in German city); Barcelona (Betsy used to live there and really reeally wants to go back before they leave Europe); then I go on by myself to Granada-Gibraltar-Fez-Seville-the Algarve-Lisbon.
In this itinerary I’ve only ever been to Barcelona so I’m dang excited!
Kaitlin doing her Very Own Drawing of a Happy Face! Happy Face Kaitlin!!
That aqua-doodle bit is dang cool. Remember how in the summer you could take the kids outside with sponges so you could draw on the cement and then it would dry and you could draw again? This thing is just like that only you don’t have to sit on sizzling cement, you don’t have to wait until summer, and you don’t have to use a sponge!
Today is my last day in Düsseldorf – tomorrow we’re all off to spend a week in Barcelona after which the Kings come back to complete their move and I travel on myself to Granada and destinations south.
Here we are doing a last grocery shopping at another of the local markets looking out onto another of the innumerable urban parks.
There’s a seating area just like this one on the other side of the pool.
Nancy Donald wrote to say she thought Düsseldorf seemed like a rather benign place. I think so too, despite this bit of graffiti…benign and modest.
There’s a street they call ‘our Rodeo Drive’ with all the big name shops and there are plenty of elegant homes but still the overriding feeling is one of a small, modest, hard working and prosperous town.
Sharon and Betty are back from their cruise and we had a chance to take a quick buzz up to the Getty Villa. It was fantastico, as usual. Out there, that’s the blue Pacific btw.
You can click on this link to see some of my favorite shots from the Getty Villa.
Mostly I was driven to take this outing since I wanted to have a nice local home-made beer before leaving Germany.
Lucas and Betsy had mentioned how the smoke is so thick in restaurants and pubs you can hardly breathe, making it simply not enjoyable to eat out.
So in searching for a venue in which to drink my beer I looked for a family-type place, went when it was early enough for the windows to be open and before the crowds, and still it was true, I could hardly breathe. Bummer! The beer was deeelishous though – tapped from a keg, cold, dark amber, with a nice creamy head. Yum!
The original plan. Let’s see how close we get, shall we?!
Düsseldorf and Barcelona with the Kings; them I’m off on my own to Granada; Algeciras/Gibraltar; Fez; Tangiers; Seville; Tavira; Evore; Lisbon/Sintra.
Next posting…from Düsseldorf…where it is Snowing at the moment. I’m stopping off on the way to the airport to buy some warm Socks.
March 21, 2008 with Cynthia
We’re off this morning to enjoy the dramatic sights of Joshua Tree National Park. But first we goofed around, ate breakfast, stopped off at some stores, drove, drove, ate lunch, drove, drove, and then checked in, and stopped off at the Visitor’s Center for maps.
We ate dinner at a Mexican place down by the Marine base where ‘Marine Haircut’ joints dominate the strip malls. I grabbed just a few shots towards evening for something to do tonight. It’s blooming season in the desert!
Here’s the National Park Service (www.NPS.gov) summary:
“Viewed from the road, this desert park only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes.
“Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place. Come see for yourself!”
Joshua Tree Hydra.
Here’s an Internet comment speaking of the different eco-systems in Joshua Tree: “The higher, slightly cooler, and wetter Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the undisciplined Joshua tree, extensive stands of which occur throughout the western half of the park.
“According to legend, Mormon pioneers considered the limbs of the Joshua trees to resemble the upstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the promised land. Others were not as visionary. Early explorer John Fremont described them as “…the most repulsive tree in the vegetable Kingdom.””
That’s Cynthia enjoying a quiet time on the rock in the center of this photo.
All the campsites in the park were totally full and all the motel and hotel signs said ‘no vacancy’, and it’s the weekend with perfect weather for daytripping, and yet except for having to wait to park, we didn’t feel crowded at all, and it was Quiet.
Here’s the courtyard of our motel, The Circle C, with its lovely pool we never used and its lovely jacuzzi we never used and at the far end is the breakfast room we used every morning.
The rooms are gigantic with super high ceilings, plenty of windows, a big couch, two big puffy chairs, a kitchen and kitchen table and chairs, so despite that all these items were a bit ramshackle, we were entirely comfortable.
I wonder if those nubs will be/have been flowers?!
Joshua Tree National Park varies in elevation from around 6000 feet down to around 1200. Here’s some paragraphs I basically copied from the Magic of the Internet:
“Two deserts, two large ecosystems primarily determined by elevation, come together in the park. Few areas more vividly illustrate the contrast between “high” and “low” desert. Below 3000 feet (910 m), the Colorado Desert, occupying the eastern half of the park, is dominated by the abundant creosote bush. Adding interest to this arid land are small stands of spidery ocotillo and cholla cactus.”
More from the Internet:
“Standing like islands in a desolate sea, oases, a third ecosystem, provide dramatic contrast to their arid surroundings. Six fan palm oases dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally at or near the surface…”
We walked just about one city block into the trail at Cottonwood Springs and found…
On the way down to the OC, to stay the night with Cynthia before our birthday outing to Joshua Tree, I got to spend a few hours with Susie!
We ate lunch at a lovely Hermosa Beach beach front cafe and then walked along the boardwalk, chatting away. What FUN.
Yes, this picture is an honest reflect-o shot. And I didn’t put those two sides together, Yes, it was just like this. I had to have it.
Following are details of the studio space/storage unit for rent in Venice.
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I arrived in Düsseldorf yesterday late afternoon and spent the rest of the day in a vegetative state.
Bright and early this morning we are making plans, organizing, distributing tasks, to get this moving show on the road. The kids were anxious to help and did participate to the extent of their ability and interest but soon enough, well…
Finally the TIBET news is hitting the news wires and not just the travel sites that have been obsessed for the last week. This ‘occupation’ has gone on for 49 years…
Click here if you want to look at my May 2005 pictures from Tibet. You can see the streets of Lhasa as this shows (I snuck this shot from out a bus window) and get a feeling for the Chinese occupation and the religious fervor that engulfs the city.
…let’s set-up a nice long movie!
Then we had lunch, Anya took a nap and Xander helped for a solid two hours while we packed up the books. Good job X!
The plan was to take a break for walking and to see the park that surrounds their home. But no. It was raining, and since we have several days ahead I decided to wait and hope for dry skies. No point at all in wishing for blue skies though.
Be glad if it isn’t raining and be extra glad if it isn’t snowing. That’s the remnants of a snowman from two days ago out there in the yard!
I’m going to be gone for Darryl’s birthday again. What’s with That?! I guess April is just too good for traveling. You’ve got your Spring weather (or Fall on the other side of the world), and kids are mostly still in school if you can avoid the dreaded Spring Break hot spots.
Darryl’s camera was on the fritz. Can’t have that! Kaitlin just loooves to see pictures of Kaitlin. ‘Let’s look at pictures of Kaitlin’ she says when catching sight of my computer.
Hi Kaitlin! Anya and Xander are going to be home in LA before I get back and you’ll get to play together soon. That’ll be f.u.n!
(I was changing Anya’s shirt and I sang her one of the songs I sing with Kaitlin when I change her shirt and now whenever I do something for her (like give her a bath or brush her teeth) she wants me to sing the song I sing with Kaitlin. Isn’t that Irresistibly CUTE.)
We went around for the first hour, Windy mostly, carrying this sign behind Lona’s head. SOOoo many Happy Birthday! wishes ensued. It was a stone cold riot.
We could all hear our mother chortling away with delight and pride that we made a birthday party that included outrageous and inappropriate public displays of foolishness.
These are open air cafes along the Rhine. It was cold and windy so not surprising that few were hanging out here but Lucas says Düsseldorf-ians have a huge tolerance for bad weather and fill up the places on weekends.
In the distance is the Rhine Tower (another symbol of Dusseldorf!). An explanation from a tourist website:
“The port holes on the tower form the world’s largest decimal clock. From top to bottom, vertically arranged yellow lights – separated by horizontal red ones – show decades of hours, single hours, decades of minutes, single minutes, decades of seconds and single seconds.”
Here’s a pano at an intersection in the historic downtown, bearing in mind that most of the city was destroyed in WWII and hence most of these buildings are post-war.
Note the pedestrians only streets which was very nice. There are big underground parking structures just on the outside of this district filled with shops, restaurants, and pubs.
Wind! Whoo. It was blowing a gust-er on Saturday down here on Venice Beach where I joined Merlin and Hilda and her mom for a stroll and lunch.
Hilda’s mom was awed, really, totally awed. She simply could not believe here eyes. She doesn’t speak English so even though she couldn’t understand all the ‘shows’, she wanted to watch everything from start to finish.
You know how you always see something new when looking at what you know so well through someone else’s eyes. Yes, it is weird down there.
Then I went to the local market by myself. (I think it’s a chain though because I saw another one or two just like it.)
Going to the market was fun…even though I bought the wrong kind of sugar and took it back to get the right kind.
It would have been easier for everyone if I could have said ‘I’d like to return this sugar for this other sugar’ but like usual, pointing, encouraging charades, and local English speakers got the job done.
This is one style of the electric trams that criss-cross the city. There are many types of varying eras which is entertaining for me, the tourista.
One thing we Angelenos can remember when we beat ourselves up about getting rid of our electric system, is that the dense web of overhead cables and the maze of tracks on the ground is a price to pay for this quiet, clean transportation.