2/3/13 Sunday – Drive from LA to Palo Alto via Central Valley

imageAfter traversing north across LA on interstate 5, we continued on through the Tehachapi Mountains. The Tejon Pass at 4100 ft is the high point with a sharp descent down into the the San Joaquin Valley (the southern portion of the Central Valley that extends 400 miles to the north at Sacramento). 

Route 5 runs fairly much straight as an arrow towards San Francisco some 350 miles north.  It lies quite close to the western edge of the valley so one is always aware of the Coastal Mointain Range on your left. It is a very long run of imageagribusiness and empty land punctuated by regular signs of the water wars. Of course one can’t help but note the ironies of a business tha would not exist except for the enormous investments by state and Federal governments in water projects to convert what would otherwise be a sea of waving tumble weeds into fields of plants.image

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Flight West – Saturday 2/2/13

Drove down to Berkeley Heights for a visit with Ed, Meredith, Parker, and Maggie. The highlight was Meredith getting dressed for her visit with her horse. Special farmer garb.image

Then, Ed drove us out to Newark Airport for the plane to John Wayne Airport (Orange County. Nothing to report about the flight except that six house feels like nothing after our recent sixteen hour flights to Hong Kong.

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Getting Ready for Road Trip 2013

imageAfter several days of doubt that this trip would take place, a trip to the doctor and some antibiotics to quell Mark’s severe bronchitis, we are actually packed. There is the tell-tale REI duffle bag that holds our tent, sleeping bags, pads, and cooking equipment.

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About Hong Kong and Kowloon – Thursday 12222011

We were about Hong Kong today. Mostly Central and the Mid Levels. Some art galleries, lots of people, and a stop at the HK Planning & Infrastructure Exhibition. We also stumbled on a photographer, Asa Li, who is making time lapse portraits of Hong Kong. “Homeland” is available here. Really very good.

Ended the day at the International Commerce Center Tower in Kowloon. We had plans to go up to the 100th floor observation floor with Jonathan, Nan, Jesse, and Anna. But the top was pretty much clouded in. So, we settled for a visit to a playground.

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Enroute to Bali -Tuesday 12142012

We took a five hour flight from Hong Kong to Bali followed by a 45 minute van ride to arrive mid afternoon at The Conrad near Nusa Dua. Quite posh. Two days here doing resorty things.

In the small world department it turned out that the pilot was a fellow Kljonathan knows from his local gym.

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Hong Kong – Day One

Refreshed by six hours of real sleep after the sixteen hours upright in the plane, we were off to adventures in Hong Kong. Jonathan drove Karen, Jesse, and me to the university. There was a quick bit of professorial keyboard pounding, though the older metaphor for the academic-bureaucratic life, “paper shuffling” could just as well applied in Jonathan’s office.

I noticed that Jonathan’s office suite mate’s desk was empty and the computer equipment not set up. Jonathan explained that his suite met is a serious tobacco user and works entirely at home since the university is nonsmoking. He acknowledged that he had selected this guy exactly for his addiction. This struck me as a good sign that Jonathan is a bit more practical in his office politics than I might have thought.

 Mark getting a haircut

With the keyboard thumping out of the way we went off in search of a haircut for me. I am not sure that Jonathaan did not lead us in a very round about path, I did recognize some of the markets in Mong Kok, but eventually we found ourselves outside a building where Jonathan pointed up to the second floor and indicated that he had had a haircut up there given by a one of a gaggle of old Chinese guys. Up we went. Jesse, who had been asleep in the stroller for fifteen minutes did not even awake for his trip up the stairs carried by his father (who will not be doing that very much longer. Jesse is a burgeoning kid). I had the most detailed haircut. Nothing like the usual jobs I endure at the Super Cuts of my domestic world. 20111214-113012.jpg

We then took a short walk to Langham Place, one of the innumerable huge malls that could gobble up even the most inveterate flaneur. This destination, he woke up for this stop, is home to Jesse’s miniature truck store. This expanding collection is fodder for his private story telling. Despite some urging by Jonathan to look around, he made his mind up very quickly and resolutely.

Following this purchase we made off to a Korean restaurant to meet up with Nan and Anna. The food was OK. The service inexorable. Jonathan suffered a near meltdown.

Kowloon Park beckoned with kids playground and ice cream. Black necked swans were a surprise.

By this time I was ready for a nap. Karen accompanied Jonathan and Jesse for a tennis lesson. Never too early to start learning to hit balls. I am waiting for the chance to bat a few with Jesse.20111214-111916.jpg

After my nap, the kids got fed and the adults were of to a night on the town. We’re returned to a beer hall, Fatts, in Mong Kok that we had visited on earlier visits. It features beer of course and the stalest peanuts ever served. The ambience was right and the company congenial. What’s not to like?

Dinner was found in the Chungking Mansion at the Sher-e Punjab restaurant on the second floor. We ate in the corridor with construction of a nearby stall underway. The food was very good. Spicy and definitely not served up for the watered down tourist palate, or even Central Sq. Cambridge.

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Enroute to Hong Kong

During the first couple hours of this 16 hour flight I watched The French Connection. This is probably the fourth or fifth time I have watched this movie, though not perhaps more recently than five years ago. The movie really stands up.

One small revelation is that my recent lust for a fedora (thanks to that all around maven of the hip, David Drake) has been replaced by the need to get a hat like Popeye’s (not the spinach eater).

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Karen informed me that this is actually Hackman’s hat, not the invention of the wardrobe dept.

Dinner, pot roast, I always get potted food on airlines, much less likely to be anything more than potted, was incongruously accompanied by a fortune cookie. The message is propitious,especially in light of my conversation in Berkeley Heights in the morning before departing for the airport.

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Hong Kong 2011

We are getting ready to leave for Hong Kong on Saturday 12/10/2011. This is our annual (almost?) trip to visit Jonathan, Nan, Jesse, and Anna. This year part of our visit will be spent in Bali. This is, after all, a vacation for Jonathan and family during their time off from the university.

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Snow Is Coming Again – We Are Packed and Leaving Early

Snow has been arriving regularly all winter at about five day intervals. More snow is scheduled for Saturday morning so we are off tonight to get to Cambridge before it starts here or there.Corolla trunk is filled - we are ready to go!

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Friday 2/4: arrived in Cambridge to a winter nightmare

Cambridge snow boundThinking that we would avoid a Saturday snow storm we drove to Cambridge from Hudson this evening. The snow in Cambridge seems as deep as our memories of the Blizzard of ’78.

Cars are drifted over not to be moved for weeks or surrounded by wallls of shoveled snow.

Sidewalks are still not being shoveled with much thoroughness though we have heard from friends that the city is actually fining people for not shoveling. Nevertheless, unlike Hudson where the city can actually clear the streets of cars and haul all of the snow away right to the curb, Cambridge can only do this on major thoroughfares.

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view from Esther's kitchen window

Friend Esther Hanig put us up for the night.

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