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Archive for the ‘Trips’ Category

New Track Season

Annika started the 2013 Track season with a couple of events.  The first was the Timberwolf 5K in Irvine.  Here she is with her running buddy Natalie before the race.

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Here she is running with the big boys!

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She got a 21 something for her first 5K race of the season.

Last weekend we went to Chino Hills for a race and she got a 5:54 in her first 1500m this season. Only about 10 seconds off her pace from last season.

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We went to India over the Christmas break to visit Anjali’s parents in Pune and my extended family in Nagpur.

Anjali’s parents had their 50th anniversary.  Here is Anjali with her parents in the middle and her brother on the right.  In the front and back row are her cousins.

Here are the kids with their Great Grandmother!

Here are the five of us.

Here are the kids at Anjali’s uncle’s vacation house outside of Pune.

One of the days we went to Sinhagad, a fort from the 1600’s with quite a colorful history.  Here are the kids at the entrance to the fort.

Here is the view from inside the protected walls of the fort.

On most days, we did our shopping trips and visits in a scooter rickshaw.

We did a side trip to Nagpur which is about a two hour flight from Pune.

We visited my uncles and cousins there.

My cousin Shirish (on the left in the photo above) took us to a wildlife sanctuary outside of Pune.

Here are some pictures from the Pench Tiger Sanctuary.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see any tigers but lots of other big game including sambars, horned deer, antelopes and all kinds of monkeys!

On Christmas Day, we went out for Chinese food at Mainland China in Pune.  Probably the best Chinese food in India! Christmas Day in India is like any other day there.

On our last day in Pune, Anjali was lucky enough to catch her 30th year high school reunion at St. Joseph’s.  Here she is with her friends.

What a trip!

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On Memorial Day we visited the Channel Islands – Santa Cruz Island. We started out at Ventura Harbor, a little over 100 miles from our house and then took a 2 hour boat ride to the island.  The weather was beautiful.

Here is Annika with her best friend Lizzy who came along with us.

Here is Vikram being camera shy!

 

On the boat ride, we saw lots of sea lions and dolphins.

Here is the start of the 4.5 mile hike on the island.

Here we all are just above Pelican Bay.

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I just got back from a week in Hong Kong and China.  

This is a view from my hotel room at the Sheraton overlooking the harbor.  In the center on the other side of the bay is the convention center and on the far right is The Peak.

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From our base in HK, we went into mainland China to the cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and a couple of other smaller cities.

Going into China was much like visiting India or Nepal.  Lots of cars, smog, traffic and people.  Life is difficult with tremendous amounts of construction in every direction.  This contributes to the daily traffic jams and smog.

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After a couple of tough days enduring the travel and food, our host took us to Mission Hills for a wonderful lunch. This is billed as the world’s largest golf course with over twenty courses in the complex.  It  is truly an experience reserved for the uber rich in China.  

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There are some fabulous homes along the golf course.  It is comparable to Pelican Hills in Newport Beach.

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On my last day there, we got to do some sightseeing around Hong Kong.  We visited the Floating Dragon Restaurant by taking a small ferry. We had a quick lunch and continued on to our next destination.

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For the next stop, we went to Repluse Bay where I dipped my feet in the water and shopped at the Stanley Market.

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Here is one of the many temples.

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Finally, we went to the Peak for dinner and a view.

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Another picture from the top of the peak.

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Last weekend we went on a trip organized by my alma mater (Harvey Mudd College) to the Channel Islands.  These are a group of islands about 22 miles off the coast of Ventura.  We took an Island Packers boat trip to Santa Cruz island which is the largest of the islands and is about 20 miles by 6 miles and has the most varied terrain.  It is know as the “Galapagos of California”.

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On the ride out to the island, we encountered a school of several thousand dolphins!  They were literally jumping all around the boat.   This was apparently a rare sighting of so many dolphins.

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We landed at Prisoner’s Harbor and did a 4.5 mile hike to Pelican Bay on the The Nature Conservancy side of the property.  There were several steep canyons and about 750 feet of climbing.

There were quite a few native flowers in full bloom.  This is a natural “soap flower”  If you rub it between your hands, it has antiseptic properties.  We also saw (and tasted) the “lemonade berry” plant which is also native to just Santa Cruz.

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Here is a picture of the kids enjoying the hike:

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This is one of the scenic views from near the top of the island.

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On the boat ride back, we saw a blow hole, caused by the low tide and the water being forced thru the tubes in the lava rocks.

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The Channel Islands are definitely worth a trip.  The tour guides were very knowledgeable and the Island Packers boating outfit was very professional.  Note that The Nature Conservancy side of the island requires a special permit (which we had access to because of the HMC connection).

The National Park side of the island is available to the general public.

Enjoy!

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The Paris bus and train strike that started last week almost derailed (pun intended) our plans to visit Paris over the weekend. We ended up cancelling our train tickets and instead drove the 525km trip from Geneva to Paris. The drive itself was fairly easy with the TomTom GPS system and the outstanding toll roads in France.

We were able to do all of the touristy things including a visit to the Eiffel Tower, Orsay Museum, Notre Dame, Champs Elysses and The Louvre.

Here are a few pictures with more to come later.

This is a picture of the toll road on the way into Paris on Friday afternoon. No traffic until the last 20 km and consistent speeds between 130kph and 160kph.

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On Saturday, we started off at Notre Dame Cathedral.

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We then went to the Orsay Museum. Featured were paintings from Degas, Cezanne, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, Manet, Degas and numerous other famous works of art.

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We spent the the rest of the afternoon on the Champs Elysees. As we were standing at the Arc de Triumph pictured below, we saw a green Jag getting sideswiped by another car!

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We did some window shopping and some real shopping. More on that in another post!

Late in the afternoon we visited Cafe Laduree on the Champs. This is the best 20 Euro cup of coffee and desert for two that money can buy. All kidding aside, the cafe is outstanding and I would highly recommend taking a tea break at Laduree after a full day of sightseeing and shopping. Make sure to sit upstairs and look out over the Champs as you enjoy your outstanding cafe au lait and savor the fabulous desserts!

Finally, we went to the Eiffel Tower on Saturday evening and watched the sun set as the lights illuminated the tower. The tower is even more impressive in person than any pictures can do justice to.

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C’était un jour romantique.

Anjali is on her way home today…… I return in a few more days after finishing up some more meetings here in Geneva.

I’ll post some more pictures tomorrow. Au revoir!

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50 Places to Visit Before You Die

As I was searching the internet for articles on our upcoming trip(s) (more to come on that),  I came across this fun article originally published by the BBC.  It lists their top 50 places to visit before you die.  Interestingly enough, not a single item is in the UK!
I am up to 13 with just 37 to go. How many do you have?

  1. The Grand Canyon
  2. Great Barrier Reef
  3. Florida
  4. South Island
  5. Cape Town
  6. Golden Temple
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Sydney
  9. New York
  10. Taj Mahal
  11. Canadian Rockies
  12. Uluru
  13. Chichen Itza — Mexico
  14. Machu Picchu — Peru
  15. Niagara Falls
  16. Petra — Jordan
  17. The Pyramids — Egypt
  18. Venice
  19. Maldives
  20. Great Wall of China
  21. Victoria Falls — Zimbabwe
  22. Hong Kong
  23. Yosemite National Park
  24. Hawaii
  25. Auckland — New Zealand
  26. Iguassu Falls
  27. Paris
  28. Alaska
  29. Angkor Wat — Cambodia
  30. Himalayas — Nepal
  31. Rio de Janeiro — Brazil
  32. Masai Mara — Kenya
  33. Galapagos Islands — Ecuador
  34. Luxor — Egypt
  35. Rome
  36. San Francisco
  37. Barcelona
  38. Dubai
  39. Singapore
  40. La Digue — Seychelles
  41. Sri Lanka
  42. Bangkok
  43. Barbados
  44. Iceland
  45. Terracotta Army — China
  46. Zermatt — Switzerland
  47. Angel Falls — Venezuela
  48. Abu Simbel — Egypt
  49. Bali
  50. French Polynesia

(more…)

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