Friday, September 30, 2011

Caribbean Cruise

A few weeks ago, I went on a 7-day Caribbean cruise with the family on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's newest and largest ship, Allure of the Seas.
The view you see is from Deck 16 looking down towards the back of the ship. You can see the balcony rooms facing each other. One guy on the upper right is looking through his binoculars.
Below is the "Boardwalk" on Deck 6 where you can see some outdoor restaurants and the Aqua Theater at the back.

On our 3rd day and our first stop is Labadee, Haiti, Royal Caribbean's privately-owned area. I read only cruise tourists and local merchants are allowed into this area.

What to do on this private resort?
Picnic & BBQ, relax, get some sun, nap, water sports.
For the more adventurous, go on the Dragon Breath zip line which starts at the top of the mountain and take you along the beach as seen here by a tourist's video I found on Youtube.
Or, you can go on the Dragon Tail roller coaster also seen here from another tourist's video.

This is the view of the beach as our ship sails away during the later afternoon. We were the only Royal Caribbean ship there at the time. The beach is now empty of any tourist.

Back in January 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti. The epicenter was close to its capital of Port-au-Prince about 250km (155 miles) away.
There are two points of view about stopping in Haiti. One is tourists stopping here help out the Haitian economy. The other view is how can people come here to enjoy themselves when residents are suffering.

- Karen

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday.
Check out other participant posts here.

- Karen

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chalk Festival

Talent, imagination, and patience were showcased this weekend at the local chalk art festival.
Buy a square and start drawing.

This artist draws a geisha girl with a gas mask and origami cranes on fire. It must be referencing the recent disaster in Japan.
Such a beautiful drawing, but with a somber mood.

Of course living in Silicon Valley, a geeky tech drawing is never too far away.

Look out, don't fall into the abyss!

Someone must love cupcakes and desserts.

- Karen

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Inflation & Deflation

You have to be an early bird to participate or attend a balloon event.
Here a group is testing their balloon's torch and propane tanks 5 a.m. in the morning. All around the open field, pockets of torches light up the darkness.

It takes a team to inflate a hot air balloon.
The flames from the propane gas is hot and scary. Once the temperature reaches 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit, the air rises inside the balloon and makes it stand upright.
Anticipation for a great flight builds.

The fun ends when the balloon touches down. Here the "Wells Fargo Bank" stagecoach balloon comes to a halt and is being deflated.
Again, it takes a team to get the air out of the balloon and then fold it back up. You get a sense of how enormous these things are by looking at the people standing next to them.

This Smokey the Bear balloon is getting ready for hibernation by 8:30 a.m.

- Karen

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Visit other Wordless Wednesday participants here.

- Karen

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Balloon Races

Attended my first balloon race over the weekend.
Despite the early hour start time to see the balloons get inflated, I was not disappointed.
A little after sunrise, the official balloon of the Great Reno Balloon Race launches with the the playing of the national anthem playing in the background.

Within 30 minutes, the sky is covered with beautiful balloons.
I can't say I quite understand the rules of the race, but it was an awesome sight nevertheless!

I will be out of town next week. Hopefully, I shall return with more photos to share. Have a good week!

- Karen

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11th

Remembering September 11th on this 10th anniversary.
These are local memorials paying tribute to those passengers who lost their lives on United Flight 93 on their way to San Francisco back in 2001.

- Karen

Friday, September 09, 2011

Modern Farm

This farm is either hip or has a sense of humor.
Its scarecrow sure looks like Justin Bieber.

I do not keep up-to-date with the latest teenage heartthrobs nor am I a fan of Bieber's.
I wonder if the image is meant to attract teenagers to visit the farm or to scare away the birds?

- Karen

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

View other Wordless Wednesday posts here.

- Karen

Sunday, September 04, 2011


Have you heard of a calliope?
Well, I hadn't until I did research for this post. You might have heard of the steam organ which is another name for it.
In the olden days, steam was sent through the pipes to produce the sounds like a train whistle according to Wikipedia.
This calliope playing at a festival yesterday projected its loud happy music throughout the park.

What does it sound like? Click here* to find out.
Think of a carnival, parade, circus, or an amusement park. I am sure you can think of other places you might have heard this kind of music.

After almost 2 weeks of not blogging due to an extremely busy schedule, I am back, but only temporarily until I'm out of town later next week. I will attempt to catch up on everyone's blog soon! Thank you for returning to read my posts.

*"Margie" performed by Jon Tschiggfrie. Music was found on Wikipedia.

- Karen