Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Bao, with Birthday Cake in his face. Who could resist a soft squeaky toy that says Birthday Boy on it? Especially since Bao didn't get to have a proper birthday cake, this year.
Bao "took the cake" at Lucky Dog, an award-winning pet boutique in San Diego's Gaslamp District. It's a fascinating area, and features San Diego's oldest building -- an unprepossessing wooden house that's now a museum, but was closed because it was Monday and museums are always closed on Mondays. The house is all that survived of that first attempt to found a settlement here, which failed so miserably that the area came to be known as Rabbitville, because it was only inhabited by rabbits.
Then along came Andrew Horton, with tons of money. He bought 800 acres of waterfront land (at 27 cents per acre) and built a $50,000 wharf. Then he divided it all into commercial and residential lots, and sold it. Then he founded a bank. You could do this sort of thing back then, if you had tons of money.
Gradually, the commercial district moved north and the prostitutes and gamblers moved in. Wyatt Earp ran three gambling saloons here. Now it's all shops and restaurants, and a great place to browse. (Especially if you have tons of money)
So there it is. We're packing up and heading home. But don't go away -- next week, we're off to Alaska.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
They charge you $41 per day to park your car, and $16 to use the internet. If you have Sheraton stock, sell it. This management has lost it.
Thing is, the only optician who sells the kind of glasses (seeing, not drinking) I love is here in San Francisco. That's why we stopped, so I could buy glasses. So what do you think of these?
Monday, July 23, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Yesterday's highlight (other than recovering my misplaced hangbag -- don't ask!) was the Offering Reconciliation exhibit at the Bellevue Arts Museum. Here's Bao with one of the more unusual pieces.
This is about Israelis and Palestinians and as a rule, Bao and I don't do politics. But this exhibition transcends both politics and war. It is exactly what it says it is. It is an offering of reconciliation.
The idea came from the Parents Circle-Families Forum, a group of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian parents. Artist Orna Tamir-Schestowits created a simple, three-legged clay bowl, symbolizing the fragility and necessity of life. Then, 135 Palestinian and Israeli artists, sculptors and photographers were invited to use the bowl as the basis for a creative work of reconciliation. The results are astounding. Most of the artists chose to decorate the inside of the bowl, although several of them smashed it and then rearranged the fragments.
Dana Baharav (in the photo) turned the bowl upside down and set it on end, creating a childlike, androgynous figure skipping rope.
After you've seen the exhibition, you can play Peacemaker on a computer in an adjacent room. This interactive video game lets you try your hand at being Israeli or Palestinian Prime Minister, dealing with real incidents, in real time. It's quite incredible, makes you think about these issues in a whole different way, simultaneously complicating and simplifying. But see for yourself. Go to http://www.peacemakergame.com/
Offering Reconciliation will travel to other museums throughout the United States. If it comes to a museum near you, don't miss it.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Bozeman boasts two of the 1000 places you have to see before you die. One of them is the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University. (This one is actually in the book) It offers -- among other things -- one of the world's largest dinosaur fossil collections, based upon the research of Dr. Jack Horner, who was also advisor to the Jurassic Park films. If you're thinking that you've already done dinosaurs with the kids or the grandkids, think again. This display will knock your socks off.
Din0saurs survived as a species for a hundred million years. And the descendants of avian dinosaurs are still with us -- we call them birds. Crocodiles, spiders, cockroaches; lots of life-forms have been around a lot longer than we have. We think we're so wonderful, but if the volcano seething and bubbling beneath Yellowstone National Park erupts again, we might end up being little more than a mote of dust in evolution's eye.
That thought sent me searching for a glass of red wine, which I found at Bozeman's second must-see destination, John Bozeman's Cafe on Main Street. Even on a Tuesday afternoon, the place was packed. (That's a good sign, I thought. And I was right) They managed to find us a table, and we did lunch. And what a lunch! Bao and I can personally reccommend the Flank Steak salad, but everything that went past on its way to other diners looked just as tempting.
Bozeman is definitely worth a side-trip. Do the dinosaurs, and and then do lunch at John Bozeman's. Trust me, it doesn't get better than this.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Bao was scared of the geysers at first, probably because they smelled of sulpher.
He was even more scared of all the big, barking dogs in the cars. People bring their dogs to Yellowstone, and then (because pets aren't allowed on the boardwalks) shut them up in parked cars while their owners walk out into the geyser basins. And it was hot, even in Yellowstone. No wonder they were barking.
But there was a brisk wind blowing, and people kept stopping to pet him and take his picture. It wasn't long before he settled down to enjoy the spectacle.
And what a spectacle! The geyser basins are an Impressionist palette of vivid color, blue and yellow and green and orange and crimson. I found the colors surrounding the mud pots and hot springs even more spectacular than the geysers themselves. Especially Grand Prismatic Spring, where the steamy mist rising from the swirl of color contains dozens of diaphamous, shimmering rainbows.
Walking on the boardwalks reminded me of my walks through the crater of Kilauea, in Hawaii, over 40 years ago. There were boardwalks there, too. And lava fields. Now, it's a live volcano again. Certainly makes you stop and think.
We spent the whole day, but only managed to get from Old Faithful to Madison. We might have done more, but I drove off the road into a sink-hole while attempting to navigate a turn-out on Firehole Canyon Drive. We were wedged tight, and there was no signal (we were at the bottom of a canyon) so my cell phone didn't work and I couldn't call for help. This began to be scary. But then two women in a van who'd noticed me and Bao earlier stopped and -- with the help of a few other people who stopped as well -- finally managed to get us back on the road.
Shaken, we headed for Bozeman and a double scotch.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007