Sunday, January 29, 2012

San Francisco

San Francisco is paradise for photographers, be it street, people, art, architecture, landscapes et. al.  Here are few photographs from a couple of previous visits.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good bye

My dearest friend AH,

   You've bereaved me today so badly in this alien country.  I reckoned you to be one of my closest friends in this country and how could you desert me out of the blue like this?  I cried my heart out for your departure, I have no more tears left, my eyes are dry and sorrow is all I have in my heart. 

   We both biked together, we both were into photography, we both were fans of jazz music, we loved soujouk wraps at the corner Mediterranean restaurant, we both spoke passionately about our family, we argued about Linux vs. Windows.  Who am I gonna continue all this with?

   You were supposed to suggest me a good mountain bike, you were supposed to have dosa with my family, you were supposed to share Armenian music, you were supposed to bring me baklava prepared by your mom, we were supposed to travel together, we were supposed to do this year's help portrait in bay've left with me with too many unfulfilled promises!  

   We became close friends in no time and in no time you left me alone.  The office seems deathly silent to me.  I miss your jokes, your laughter, your questions, your ideas and most importantly your presence.   You don't know the extent of melancholy that you've brought me today.

   May your soul rest in peace and may your family have enough strength to cope up through the situation!

Miss you,

Monday, January 23, 2012

South Lake Tahoe

A one day guided tour of San Francisco to Mehar and Anandan turned out to be two days trip to South Lake Tahoe at, quite literally, 11th hour.  By 10 in the morning, we were driving up north on SR237.  With short breaks for coffee and lunch, it took us a good five hours to reach South Lake Tahoe.  The roads get narrow and curvy as we approach closer to the city and the landscape turns rocky and piny.  We first stopped at the frozen Sawmill pond at the junction of Sawmill road and Lake Tahoe boulevard.  It was a new experience for all of us to walk on the fronzen lake, it was extremely slippery and fun I must say.  After few clicks there, we continued on Lake Tahoe blvd till the lake.  What surprised and disappointed me was the fact that there was no snow in Tahoe this year.  A place known for its snow resorts didn't have any snow except for a bit of it on mountain tops.

The lake looked splendid in the evening light - shimmering crystal blue waters, clear blue skies with fleecy clouds at horizon, mountains at the perhipery, flying gulls and wading ducks.  We then head to a different part of the lake (behind Harvey casino) which gave a feeling of beach with gold coloured sand and tourist friendly setting with benches and swings and restaurants.  We also stopped by at Harvey's casino to get a feel of a casino and it was opulent with colourful flashing lights and people busy losing their money.  The casino is huge and it houses various steak houses and bars and also Hard Rock Cafe, South Lake Branch.   I made one interesting observation on Lake Tahoe blvd - Stateline avenue demarcates California and Nevada states and right on Stateline there are a bunch of casinos on Nevada side!

We checked in at a more humble Best Western Inn, relaxed for a while before heading out for dinner.  We walked around in Crescent V shopping center where the boys bought the much needed gloves and cap.  Most of the casinos, which they call resorts, offer inexpensive buffets and we chose Montblue resort for our dinner.  For $12.95, we got awesome food which consisted of varities of steaks, pastas, sushis, noodles, tacos, soups and desserts all after waiting for 30 minutes in the line.  Montbleu casino also was brimming with crowd and the pool side was getting ready for the party which Anandan and Mehar enjoyed as I slept.

Early morning I woke the boys up and drove them to a mountain near Zephyr cove which gave a beautiful vista of the lake, though I couldn't click anything great since I didn't have tripod.  It was freezing and our finger tips went numb despite wearing gloves, the heater in the car was such saviour.   We then had a heavy continental breakfast at the hotel before checking out.  We wanted to check out a ski-resort before leaving Tahoe, we took SR207 off Lake Tahoe blvd and drove up all the way until we found a man made ski-stretch while we somewhere near Quaking Aspen avenue.  The guy in the parking told us that it was overcrowded today and we may have to wait for hours before we get a chance to ski.  We drove all the way upto Emerald bay which offers some terrific views of the lake with an island in the middle of emerald coloured lake.   We then head back straight to San Francisco for the guided tour, with me being the guide.  Stay tuned for SF photos...

Monday, January 09, 2012

South CA

After a heavy and healthy breakfast at Days Inn, we walked around the colonial downtown of San Luis Obispo after which we went to this tiny little Danish town of Solvang in Santa Barbara county. Solvang takes you straight to Denmark with its beautiful Danish provincial style buildings and windmills.  The city is so small that it could be traversed by foot in 20 minutes, another option is a tourist bus pulled by two mighty horses.  The town has beautiful restaurants, coffee houses, bakeries, antique stores with no traces of contemporary architecture.

From Solvang, our next destination was Santa Barbara to catch up with Ajit and Deepa for lunch.  We had sumptuous Mexican meal at State street in downtown and walked up to waterfront and ambled around the beach for few hours.  The beach isn't that great, it's got quite a long pier on one side and a huge wharf on the other.  Post sunset, we head straight to Long Beach, checked in, had dinner and crashed.

The plan for the day was Catalina island, which is about an hour long sail from Long Beach by Catalina express ferry which costs $70 two ways.  We disembarked at Avalon and explored the island for a while by foot and hiked up all the way upto The Inn on Mt. Ada from which there was a panoramic view of the beach and the island.  Yet another meal at Mexican restaurant was delicious albeit a bit expensive.  After a futile attempt of semi-submarine ride or kayaking, we hired a golf car and drove along the other side of the city where the casino was located.  We returned by 6'O clock cruise to Long Beach.