Browsing Tag

california

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raincheck on a roadtrip

as jammed packed as my trip to california this time around, i had really hoped that i would be able to go off on my own to see the james dean memorial, after seeing hearst castle with my cousins.

unfortunately, it was an hour out drive from san simeon, which means there and back would be two hours and then add the time to drive up highway 1 to monterey. (another 2+ hours) and we had already drove 3.5 hours from san leandro down to san simeon.

that’s a lot of driving.

and as disappointed as i was, i knew i had overshot in my estimation, not only in time but energy levels, of what it would take to include this sidetrip. argh.

*shakes fists to sky*

big sur. 17 mile drive. james dean memorial site, including crash site, blackwell’s corner and the jack ranch cafe.

just another reason i’ll have to go back to california.

Cool beans, Travel the world

urban art in the mission

if you like street art and graffiti, a visit to san francisco’s mission district is a must.

the area is colourful, to put it mildly. some people may say it borders on grungy, shady and seedy, but hey, vancouver’s downtown eastside is way worse. it actually reminded me alittle of commercial drive (if it were more down and out).

clarion alley is sandwiched between mission and valencia street. on the mission side of the street, i’m not going to candy coat it, it’s rough looking. which is why my cousin kat, wes and my uncle navy did not recommend that i go walking around there alone.

which is why i went with my cousin kim. we’re both adventuresome, have similar interests and are not afraid try new things, even if it takes us out of our comfort zone. she would never put me in a risky situation, anyways.

hell, if i can take the G train to bedford stuyvesant late at night, by myself…

this is in complete contrast to the valencia side of the street. it’s hipster central, with trendy shops and restaurants, clean (compared to the mission side) and tourist-friendly.

the stark difference, separated by just one block.

we started on the mission side, walked through clarion alley, up valencia and back into the mission district to find more street art. it’s everywhere. a ton of walking and here’s what i saw:

the mission district is more lower east side in new york, rather than 5th avenue, oxford circus or champs-elysee, but worth a visit. don’t be put off by the pee smell, noises, grittiness and the handful of residents, who on the surface may come across as intimidating, there’s a lot of great murals to view here.

for more pictures of clarion alley and the mission district, press play on the slideshow or click here for my flickr.


Created with flickr slideshow.
Travel the world

science major

if there’s one place you have to go in san francisco, it’s the california academy of science. i LOVE this place. so much to see and learn. this place is like the vancouver aquarium, science world and museum of anthropology all in one. and more impressive too. one could easily spend the whole day here.

especially as they had an exhibition on skulls. the 4,000 square-foot exhibit features 640 skulls – mounted on a 90ft wide “sea of skulls” wall, with video projections, hands-on interactives and a 3D skull viewer.

the most shocking eyebrow-raising, jaw-dropping part? peering into windows where dermestid beetles, also known as, scavenger beetles and carpet beetles were cleaning and eating their way through dead animal carcasses, so that they can eventually become museum-quality specimens.

in that dark, warm environment, the colony can clean the flesh from a small skull in only a few days!

**for the squeamish, you may want to stop right here. for those curious, proceed to PICS below:

according to a displayed sign, this is how to clean a skull, academy-style:

1. many of the specimens come from donations of dead animals found near roads or on beaches.

2. after recording the date, location, measurements and other vital details about each specimen, they remove as much flesh as possible from the head.

3. the skull is frozen (to kill any insects), then thawed it. after which more flesh is removed by hand, the skull is refrigerated to dry it out.

4. the dried skull is placed in the beetle colony, where the flesh-eating beetles eat every last scrap of dried flesh from the bones.

5. once again, they freeze the skull is to remove any remaining beetles, and then briefly soak it to remove any traces of natural oils or dried blood.

6. once clean, catalogued and safely stored, the skull is available for use by scientists from around the world.

well, if that doesn’t give one an appreciation for museum specimens! it was both fascinating and repulsive watching these critters go to work. luckily, i was able to keep my lunch down!

here’s a taste of all the other amazing things at the academy of science:

claude, the albino crocodile, who shares his home with alligator snapping turtles
jelly fishes

on the lower level, the world’s deepest living coral display, discovery tidepool where you’re able to touch sea stars and a tunnel where fish and turtle cruise overhead.

rainforests of the world, a 90 foot diameter dome, featuring the rainforest habitats of borneo, madagascar, costa rica and the amazon, including free flying exotic butterflies.

kim and i easily spent 5 hours at the academy of science, including lunch at the cafe. bless her – i’m sure that’s not how she’d like to spend her day off. and i could’ve stayed longer, if it weren’t for the pesky staff ushering us out, as it was closing time.

i was raving about this place to sean and when he does accompany me to california next time, i already warned him that i was going to drag his butt here. because he must see this. and so does everyone who ever loved biology class.

for more pictures of my day at the academy of science, press play on the slideshow or click here for my flickr.


Created with flickr slideshow.
Travel the world

monterey hijinks

when we were not roadtripping to hearst castle or reunion’ing at mike’s wedding, my cousins and i took in some of the monterey attractions.

we did not do the 17 mile drive to carmel, as the weather was overcast and it wouldn’t be as picturesque a drive. (bummer) but we did get to walk around cannery row, fisherman’s wharf and checked out the dennis the menace park. for the kids.

as we watched them play, us cousins reminisced about how we all used to be so young and carefree together and that we are now in the positions our parents used to be in. we shuttle them around, keep an eye on them, pay for them and try to make them happy as possible. suffice it to say, it was a surreal feeling and one that made me feel hella old. but we enjoyed our childhoods and now we happily can pay it back.
Life + Love

did someone say photobooth?

well, that descended rather quickly.

as with most wedding receptions, when you throw in a photobooth, all sense of decorum gets thrown out the window. i could blame it on the handful of us that partook in the open bar. or perhaps we were running off the massive sugar high from wedding cake? but more than likely is that my family is just like this. especially when we all get together. we don’t need a wedding to bring out all the crazy merriment in us.

unlike the bride’s side of the family, we are neither shy nor reserved. in fact, looking at the photobooth pictures of members on the bride’s side, i got to wonder, do they know what she married into? ha.
Life + Love

a wedding and a family reunion

a long-awaited family reunion. plus a wedding. all converging at the monterey plaza hotel. we got to dress up in our finery. and raucously hooted, hollered, clapped and cheered on our cousin mike for getting married to his long-term girlfriend, stella. yes, we were THAT family. the one where we paparazzi’d the entire ceremony and the reception. subtle, we were not. i can say with certainty that between the lot of us, we did the wedding photographer’s job for him.
welcome to the family, stella!