Posts Tagged With: Baby Blue

Journeying and journaling on…

As those who have read me before know, I write because I love to share or, perhaps, I share simply because I love to write. However, I have been going through a bout of writer’s block. An article that I have promised my editor of www.better-lemons.com and the people I interviewed for it, remains unfinished. I grew tired of my computer screen mocking me with its blankness and decided, camera in hand, to take a walk. I am hoping this will guide me back to my keyboard and to getting things written.P1380796

Today I don’t feel like driving (unusual for me), so Baby Bright, aka: my Prius will remain parked in front of the house. Besides, I do not want to deal with having to find a parking spot.P1380685 Not that I ever do, but neither do I want to take a bus P1380681 and since I am lucky enough to temporarily reside in Venice, where the best way to really get around is on foot, I head out.

I would have missed a lot of fun images this neighborhood has to offer if I were not walking, like these circus-worthy bikes parked in front of a nondescript house.P1380683

Right from the start a smile finds its way to my face as I read a few license plates.

The first one also gives me a pang of nostalgia, reminding me of my Baby Blue, my previous Prius and a bond with it that I will never have with another. But back to Venice… This is a town of unabashed self-promotion, self-confidence and righteousness. Where most are a size 2 (or 4, at the most) which I will never be again which takes me, as I walk, on to the edge of that badland of doubtful self-esteem.

It is also a giving town,  P1380686 (So polite as well, the small sign says “Hello and Good Day! Please…) inclusive of all, P1380687 artful P1380693(There are hardly any blank walls, most have murals on it, some advertising something, others just leading you to a zen place and others expressing social justice.),

P1380788  P1380791  20170104_150015

with a real sense of humor P1380698and one that cares for its fauna. P1380697  P1380725 P1380726

P1380774 I have entered the Venice Canals,  P1380715 an area of Venice that I love. P1380732I am very much aware that due to my lack of sense of orientation, it is also an area that I may get lost in. I won’t mind though, for there’s a tranquility here that takes me to my quiet place. Quite an accomplishment since I tend to be a chatterbox.

Right off the bat there’s a “Yes indeed!” in my head as I read a sign.  P1380696

More than focusing on the canals themselves,

where swans become boats on steroids, P1380700 P1380735or just a canvas for reflections of palm tress,

I delight myself on the pop of color provided by the fact that it’s spring and flowers are blooming P1380705 P1380722 P1380716 P1380729 P1380721

Even the boats are trying to match them. P1380704

This little plant would be a perfect little Christmas tree P1380741 that would go really well with this deck that seems to have a bit of seasonal identity problem. P1380723

I love that on the canals an open space becomes a place to advertise creatively your art. This one certainly managed to catch my attention and I did go to this artists’ sites once home. P1380733 An abandoned post on the same lot also an opportunity to display art. P1380734

I enjoy the quirkiness of some canal facing decks. P1380702

Here, minimalist modern architecture and make-believe old new construction still live side by side with the old bungalows though there are fewer and fewer around since it’s an area where houses for sale start at 1.5 million and where one sold last year for 5.5 million.

All display some sort of art and my eyes stop at each façade searching for it.

This bridge reminds me that I live in a city where sets are common for this one IS a facade that in true LA mode sports an inspirational/positive quote of “No regrets. No bad days.”

Two hours later I manage to leave heading towards the busier part of Venice. First a walk on the pier. I really enjoy piers.

A brief look at the sea. P1380770 How does the saying go? A couple that surfs together stays together?  P1380758 Maybe not.P1380767

And then off to find a place to eat as I get more inspiration from store windows.P1380745 Reminders that, yes, I’m still in LA.  P1380772

Reflections that further remind me that I am in Venice.

And then… Thailand. P1380779 P1380781

I find a place that has an outdoor patio, a cheap lunch and that makes me want to be back in Asia even after this most enjoyable morning.

P1380777 P1380782 P1380784

On my way back home my eyes don’t rest and fill my brain with images I can’t disregard. I love blue.

I again smile for in this town the garbage cans/bins are not only multi-lingual but a perfect place for art. P1380744 P1380789

Where a convenience stores looks like it’s still in construction from afar until you get closer and see that’s the way it was painted. P1380798 And where a lone street sunflower reminds me that one should always look up and you will shine.

At the door… thanks for coming along.

P1380793

 

 

Categories: California, Venice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Trip That Almost Wasn’t Starts Wiith a Soak

Flowers, Desert Hot Springs, Two Bunch PalmsSome trips are a sure thing and even as they are they may not be.  Isn’t that the way life is?  The journey is never a straight line from point A to point B.  Sometimes there are so many sidetracks that you almost feel your destination wasn’t meant to be.   That is the way this trip was.

Baby Blue (aka: my Prius) is all ready to go.  I and he are at our best and happiest heading out into the horizon.   Our little family unit of  Baby Blue, Daisy (the sexy GPS), and I head to the airport where we will pick up the fourth component of the family.  Tutu stayed home due to a lack of planning on my part and having forgotten to put him in the car.

Hot Mineral Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Two Bunch Palms

We are headed to a soak in the most  mentally and physically healing waters close to Los Angeles.   Desert Hot Springs is a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles Airport (LAX), where I pick up Dean, and a world away.  Our destination is Two Bunch Palms Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springsand its hot mineral springs.   I did a program on this resort almost 13 years ago and I am curious as to how it holds up to the amazingly Zen feeling it provided me even in the midst of production and scheduling woes.

Two Bunch Palms

Villa #17 Entrance

I have checked in the night before, not willing to hassle through check-in early in the morning.   A full report/review can be found on my blog: Life Lived and Reviewed.

Our backyard:   Villa#17Backyard

The resort is at capacity.  Not exactly what I wanted or expected but it will do.  It still gives me a good feeling to see a baby elephant (albeit in statue form) in the tranquil grounds.  Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot SpringsTwo Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs And frankly a late night immersion and float in the hot mineral springs grotto releases all my tense muscles and hesitations.  This was for sure a good way to start our venture to Europe.

Breakfast Eggs Florentine, Two Bunch Palms, Breakfast(in our robes) with a beautiful view of the mountains Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs makes us feel a bit  more gelatinous than the solid mass of bones and muscles we actually are.   We top it off with another long soak before we head back to Los Angeles and to packing for our London, Paris, Berlin and wherever-else-our-heart-points-us-to jaunt.

Categories: California, Desert Hot Springs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And So It Starts…

2013 has started.   It’s around 12:30 am and we find out that there may not be much of a bus service to the Overlake Station where we left the Prius.  After waiting a bit we stick our hand out and a taxi materializes.  The driver is big and bubbly and has a Tom Petty CD blaring on the stereo.  Traffic leaving the city is pretty heavy and he tells us he won’t turn the meter on until we are on the freeway.  I’m liking him already.  Our cab fare will be around $40.  We are not sure of the exit and neither is he so we end up paying around $50 which he almost didn’t want to charge us ’cause he messed up.  An honest cab driver.  Guess the New Year has greeted us in a good way.  Baby Blue is alone except for another car in the parking lot at 2 am and is covered in a not so thin sheet of ice.  Yep, it’s cold.

As expected we rise late on January 1st 2013.  What is left of it will be spent on the computer and lazing around.  We decide to go out walking to dinner where there is a mall and Firenze, an italian restaurant that is open tonight.  Food was really good and service excellent.

The second day of the year was to be spent lunching with a friend Ramon Shiloh frog Ramon Shiloh which I haven’t seen in years since we were mentors for the Young Native American Playwrights Program.  He is a wonderful artist, illustrator, and storyteller.  He has a book published and one out soon: Listener.   Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to happen. We’ve been a bit under the weather and exhausted. Another day of lazing around it is.

The third day of the year finds us in our tourist mode.  It’s the first Thursday of the month and the Seattle Art Museum (among others) has free admission.  It’s close to where the Underground Tours are so as they say in my neck of the woods we are going to “matar dos pájaros de un tiro” (to kill two birds with one stone) Disclaimer: I am not advocating any violence against animals or anything of the like… it’s a saying that has existed for eons.

We drive to the Overlake Station Overlake Station   and go on the bus to downtown.

I like how the buses are accordion-like and bend in the middle.  Accordion Bus

As we cross the bridge it looks like we are inches from the water.Seattle Bus

Steep Seattle streets   Wait a second, are we in San Francisco?  Some roads are steep!

I’m liking the architecture of this city.  Seattle City Hall

Seattle Smith Center  The Smith Center, built in 1916, is a beauty.  It has an outdoor observation deck which we did not go up to.

It’s cold.  Somehow that fact is really diminishing my enjoyment of this city.  This city is grey even on sunny days!  It has earned its reputation as the Suicide Capital of the world. The cold and the rain and the lack of sunshine is conducive to depression but as this link  states it isn’t even on the top 10. It also debunks other myths about states and cities. Fun read.

The Underground Tour is about to start.  They have us congregated in this really old bar.  Solid wood, defying time to lessen its stance.  The guide, Gail, is funny but I concentrate on the floor.  Old tile floorLove the tiles.

We go outside and I look up. P1140484  We are going into the bowels of the city and I concentrate on what’s on top.  Just being a bit contrarian here. But I love old buildings.

I adjust my directional rebellion by looking across the street and liking the iron bus stop pavilion.  Station in Seattle

And down we go. Underground Tour

And my attention is grabbed by this sad seat, tattered and faded holding no vibrancy in its color or plushness in its seat.  Underground Tour  I imagine it in the lobby of a theater surrounded  by rustling skirts, colors and overall excitement.

The floors are unleveled and sinking in parts.  Seattle below  We are given a lot of info on the building and rebuilding of the city and on its history, all in the context of a comedy routine that is a bit too much, but she is funny and makes it entertaining. We go back up before going back down but I’m so used to looking down that I spot another set of tiles Merchant's Cafe  that I like in front of what professes to be the oldest restaurant in Seattle.

Steam Baths lower level… Steambaths lower level

We are now under a skylight.  Purple Skylight Glass made circa 1800’s – it turned purple with age. sk

We head back up.  Underground Tour

And here is a skylight from above.  Seattle Skylight

My stomach is grumbling as usual and we go to a Cajun restaurant close by.  A nice hot gumbo sounds just like the best antidote to the cold.  The place, Marcela’s Creole Cookery, is a hodgepodge of decorating.  Marcela's Creole Cookery But the gumbo does warm me up and I got some colorful beads as a send-off.

Before we go to the Art Museum we decide to stop at Seattle’s Central Library.  I’m glad we did.  The building is structurally stunning and massive.  Seattle Central Library     Seattle Central Library

Today, surprise of surprises, it’s a grey day but on a sunny day it must be so stunning to see it from within with all the angles this place has.  And a really stormy rainy day probably creates quite a symphony in here.

The colors inside are pretty cool. Stairs in Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library  Stairs Seattle Central Library    P1140539    Seattle Central Library

Just in case you are wondering (as I did for a minute) if this really is a library, here is a librarian to go with it.Seattle Central Library

The world in books at your fingertips.  Seattle Central Library

Futuristic, eh?

Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library

I almost want to stay.  Cocoon myself with a book and let the hours pass without notice.  But I bid my farewell by taking a few more shots of its facade.  Seattle Central Library   Seattle Central Library   Seattle Central Library   Seattle

Seattle Art Museum  is now at our feet. And above us, some flying Fords with lights coming out of every opening in an explosion exposure.  Seattle Art Museum

I like that the museum has a large quantity of Native American and Aboriginal art, something my Australian was quite happy to see.  Native Art   Native Art  This is not one of it, by the way.

However, in some floors, periods and mediums are mixed in and somehow I am not drawn in.   What does, is this painting of a mother and child (his wife and daughter) by William Sergeant Kendall which brings my mom to mind.  In two days it will be three years since her passing.  Mother and Child

A lot of modern art.  Modern Art   Seattle Art MuseumMedia Installation

 

 

 

 

 

Then a statue of cupid.  I photograph its bum for I have the full intention of decorating my bathroom with photos of behinds taken all over the world.

Cupid

We are not far from Pike’s Market so we decide to have dinner there.  End up at Etta’s.  Food was really good though I found it expensive for what it was. But it won me over (I had serious hesitation looking at the menu).  It starts pouring which gives me an excellent excuse to order a decadent dessert while we wait for the rain to turn into a drizzle.  I am just going to become a roly poly if I keep on eating like this so Seattle has to promise not to give me any more excuses for me to keep on eating!

Categories: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Central Library, Underground Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Fields of Pain

I wake to no sunset again (at least none that I can capture).  Perhaps it is aptly so, for a day like today.  The Killing Fields.  A confession is to be made:  I am a product of Hollywood and all I can think of when I think of where we are headed next is of a movie I did not see so as not to be depressed.  And now, here I am going towards the real thing and to be forcefully faced with man’s capability to kill, torture, and destroy psyches.  I am bracing myself mentally.

We have breakfast and out the door we go.  Our bus waits in front of the hotel.  A flash of a familiar color attracts my attention and I turn and see my Baby Blue.  Actually not my Baby Blue (aka: my little hybrid, Toyota Prius) but a Baby Blue.  First Prius I see on this trip and it’s exactly the same color as mine.  Suddenly, for the first time, this strong feeling takes over me and I am tremendously homesick.  I’m taken aback by it.  It physically stops me in my tracks.  And then, in matter of seconds it is gone.  As if it had never taken over me at all.

We arrive at the infamous S-21 (Tuol Sleng Prison).  This place, where they executed over 300 people a day, is oddly calming now.  Flowers are in bloom. We are reminded that we are to show respect for what is in effect a burial ground.  

This was not a place of calm.  It was one of death.  Testament that among our race are those who can and will commit horrific acts.

The Chemical Substance Storage Room.  The sign reads: “Here was the place where chemical substances such as D.D.T…. etc. was kept.  Executioners scattered these substances over dead bodies of the victims at once after execution.   This action has two purposes: firstly to eliminate the stench from the dead bodies which could potentially raise suspicion among people working near by the killing fields and secondly to kill off victims that were buried alive.

I am starting to feel quite perturbed.  Thaly, our guide was 10 when it happened.  She tells us of the mystery revolving around what lay within these walls.  Of how her family is one of the few who survived intact.

There are mass graves, some of people without heads, of women and children but in effect the whole place is a burial ground.  We are told that fragments of bones and teeth and fragment of clothes are still surfacing after the floods.

I bend down, incredulous to see it close up.    

And then we reach the “Magic” tree.  There is something horribly wrong about the fact that it is from this majestic tree that they hung loudspeakers to drown the moans of those being executed.     

And that the next beautiful tree we see, is one against which children were beaten. 

I need to inhale a huge breath of air, hoping that the smell of inhumanity and death does not infiltrate it.

We pass by the stupa built to honor the fallen.  

I enter and the different levels are filled with skulls of different age ranges.    The deodorant they use to clean them turns my stomach.  No amount of disinfectant can clean what happened here.  Again I need air.

A mini documentary and some wall inscriptions later and we are on to the Genocide Museum.  The morning is turning out to be one of reflection.

While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all…  

The barbed wire was there so that the prisoners would not commit suicide (the taking of life was to be done only by the executioners and after torture) from the upper floors or try to escape from the bottom one.   

My quota for facing the darkest side of the “human” race and to image the pain inflicted on the innocent is at its max and I tell my group I will take a walk around the neighborhood.

It seems that all my senses return as soon as I step away from the confines of the Genocide Museum. I can feel the sun on my skin, smell the wonderful aroma of coffee coming from a cart that is quite stylish in its “purpleishness”.

But I do not buy my coffee there.  Instead I go to a B&B that I spotted from the bus.   The wall is covered with local art and I think that it has been way too long since I have picked up a brush.  I daydream about painting here.  I sit, I sip, I breathe in life and a smile once again is plastered on my face.  

 

    

The tour has assumed that after such a somber morning people would want to relax.  Their idea of relaxation is taking us to the Russian Market.  But it is a good place to encounter life again.  This market became the foreigner’s market during the 1980’s when most of the foreigners in Cambodia were Russians, hence the name ‘Russian Market.’  The market (aside from not having one Russian item in it) is a busy one and pretty much anything can be found.  I, the non shopper, once again manage to find something that I absolutely need and must buy.      

And, of course, shopping makes you thirsty.

Hello guy… cheap drink here… (They don’t want female business?)

And builds up an appetite, so we return to the bus

and go to a restaurant whose name  translated means Sweet Cucumber.   We have a pretty good meal.

Dessert is taro ice cream, my new favorite. 

At the National Museum of Cambodia we are up close up and personal with history and art.  I buy an offering of flowers –the flowers are as fragant as they come- and I will place it at an altar that moves me. 

The main terracotta building in itself has my attention.  

Ganesh welcomes us.  

And there’s a million shades of green among the leaves in the museum’s garden.   

Which is probably why I decide to present the next photo in black and white as contrast.  

On the way back to the hotel I snap some more photos.    The river flows alongside of us. 

Electrical wires that I do not understand how they are not considered a major fire hazard.  

At the hotel we are left with an evening on our own.  Five of us decide to take advantage that we have a female guide when she announces that she is headed to the salon.  Girls night out!

We walk.  I photograph.  

When we arrive at the local salon, there is only one person there.  She gets on the phone and in matter of minutes helpers arrive one by one on scooter. The salon so reminds me of the ones back in South America.

I have my hair done. Oh, for a full $5!  The girl gives me one of the best massages as she washes my hair.   

The day has ended in the most relaxing of ways.  I sleep like a baby.

Categories: BLT+ (Burma) Myanmar, Cambodia, Phnom Penh | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

41 Days and Counting…

It’s Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012. So the rest of the world seems to have had enough time to recover and return to real life. For those that read my blog regularly, you already know that I don’t need much recovery since I have had the most relaxing and actually pleasant of holidays. I was starting to enjoy the almost deserted streets. But, alas, everything ends and today as I head out in the Baby Blue (my Prius). I encounter way too much traffic and as I start to walk on one of my favorite streets (Honolulu Ave. in Montrose, CA) there are way too many people.

I go into a new restaurant for me and open my reading material. My itinerary for the first half of my trip stares at me in full color. The photos are amazing and I smile broadly. Maybe a little too much so, since I catch the people at the table next to me stealing perplexed glances. But I don’t really care. This “world traveler” is absolutely ecstatic about this journey. I’d like to be blasé and worldly about it but I am not, not, not!!! I must admit that my heart goes pitter-patter and that my inner toddler manifests itself and jumps up and down

Yay!!

(fortunately figuratively) with glee. Forty-one days till departure (minus 3 days in Vegas with a friend). An eternity. But the adult in me shows up and is thankful that I still have over a month since I have a million –no, a zillion things to finalize before I leave. I have finished the four pills that I had to take to prevent typhoid fever and they are valid for 5 years but I still have the lovely final vaccines/shots to get. The tetanus shot is the one that scares me most. I already am quite averse to needles and to top it off, they said my arm will be sore for a few days.

Today I find Myanmar

Myanmar

in the New York Times list of the 45 places to go in 2012. ☺ I am fortunate that I have gone to a lot of the rest of the places they suggest. Panama, which is on the list, I even lived in. So glad that – even though I don’t believe in bucket lists – I will be able to say that I went to Myanmar before the crowds did. I’m extra excited about the week I will spend there.

I finish dinner and head over to FroyoLife, which I believe serves the best frozen yogurt I’ve had anywhere in the city. I also like it ‘cause everyone there is just really cheerful and helpful. My inner child is asserting herself again and telling me to skip. Actually she is demanding it. Skip! You are happy. Just do it!! (Sorry Nike, my inner child watches way too much TV and has a tendency to repeat slogans.) The adult me is okay with just walking, albeit with lots of darling yellow smiley faces flying around me.

(I really had to give my younger me some concession and I give in to a little childishness.)

As I sit and eat my yogurt, as much as I try to avoid it, I have a laundry list of things to be done that has been playing for the past hour in my head and still I am nowhere near the end. Argh! Will be mentally checking tasks off, as well as in this blog. That way, when we go on this little journey both you and me will know (if you have been with me so far you are my traveling companion) what I managed to get out-of-the-way and what was not accomplished. Hmm, let me restate that. It will serve as a testament that one can do a lot in very little time as long as you put your mind to it… hopefully.

Categories: Immunizations, Myanmar - Burma, New York Times 45 Places to go in 2012, Ramblings, Restaurants/Cafés/etc. | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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