Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012 & Trip Report

Happy New Year's to Everyone!
I can't believe how fast the year has gone by.
Wishing you health, happiness, and good fortune in 2012!

I guess the last day of the 2011 is as good as any to start my trip report.
Our vacation to Taiwan had a brief stopover at Tokyo's Narita Airport.
A giant Gundam greets us as we enter our first stop at a toy store.

What's a toy store without a full collection of Ultraman figures.

No, this is not a restaurant, but the same toy store that also sells miniature food replicas. For a 5,000 yen ($65 USD or $50 Euro) replica, eating real food is cheaper.

A nearby airport eatery offers this menu. Yep, real food is less expensive than the replica.

Without any yens in my pocket, I opted for the inflight meal on All Nippon Airlines on my way to Taipei.

- Karen

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wishing everyone happy holidays from Taiwan! I hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends.

This photo was taken from our hotel with a huge Christmas tree in its atrium.

- Karen

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Papa Bear

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
To visit other participants, click here.

Note: I will be on vacation in Taiwan and Hong Kong for the next few weeks. I do not know if I will have time to post.
If not, Happy Holidays to all my readers and see you in a few weeks!

- Karen

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Santacon - San Francisco Style

Santacon is the only event I know where one can see a large gathering of happy Santas in one location. There had to be close to 500 Santas and holiday-related costumers converging onto the steps of San Francisco's City Hall.

It didn't take long before the rowdy crowd took over the street and blocked all traffic from passing through.

The goal of Santacon San Francisco is for the Santas to congregate and then bar-hop through the city. Not a very family-oriented event.
Once many of them have left for their drinking adventure, I was able to get onto the City Hall steps and take a picture of the remaining crowd.

- Karen

Friday, December 09, 2011

Fish Fountain

Even though these fishes are out of their element, they have plenty of water and money at the bottom of the fountain for sustenance.

- Karen

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Friend or Foe?

Floating high above the air.
It's not a bird, it's not a plane,...
Is it a dog, a bear, or an alien in purple pajamas?
Is it waving to us below to show us he is friendly?
He has a huge mouth, but luckily, no teeth, although he can swallow us whole.
Should we be worried or welcoming?

- Karen

Friday, December 02, 2011

Window Shopping

Went window shopping and encountered these ladies who were there before me.
Aren't they elegant in their evening furs?
They seemed quite excited and gaggling amongst themselves.
I tried to ask them what all the commotion was all about, but they would not pay any attention to me.

- Karen

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Street Mural

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- Karen

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hidden Stairway

In case anyone overindulged during Thanksgiving or any other time, San Francisco has a few staircases where you work off some weight.
A few months ago, I walked with a meetup group through San Francisco and encountered a number of "hidden" staircases. Well, they weren't actually hidden if you knew where to look for them.

The picture here is of the "Farnsworth Steps" on Farnsworth Lane. It was named after Philo Farnsworth who was one of the first inventors of the television back in the late 1920's. Mr. Farnsworth used to live at the end of this stairway.

You have your choice of walking off your food at a number of San Francisco stairways listed here on the website.

- Karen

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Fishing Pier

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- Karen

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Memories at the Moving Wall

Continuing the story of my Moving Wall outing...
I don't mean to pry, but some of the items left at the Moving Wall were quite touching like these teddy bears.
Click on the photo to enlarge.
The note says she has been missing him for 39 years!

Remembering lost buddies?

This is the truck that hauls The Moving Wall along with a host of other notable items like...

A board that shows the timeline from the start to the end of World War II to...

A board that pays tribute to all the soldiers who gave their lives to fight the global war on terror.

- Karen

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - The Moving Wall

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- Karen

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

November 11th is known as Veteran's Day in the United States and a day to honor military veterans past and present.
These photos were taken from last year's Veteran's Day Parade.
This motorcycle rider in the fancy patriotic hat is part of the Patriot Guard Riders who participated in the parade.
The group's mission as taken from their website is
  • Attend military funerals and show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
  • Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

Pictures of military heroes past and present carried by volunteers on the parade route.

A special THANKS to all the military veterans today and everyday!

- Karen

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Water Tower

It's Wordless Wednesday again!
Visit participating bloggers here.

- Karen

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Toothpick Art

Why is this man wearing a funny hat?
He is, Scott Weaver, an artist and creator of toothpick sculptures like the hat he is wearing.
He doesn't just build toothpick structures, he builds them in such a way that you can roll ping pong balls through them from one end to the other.

This huge 9 ft x 7 ft (2.74m x 2.13m) sculpture called "Rolling Through the Bay" with famous San Francisco landmarks was displayed at a local county fair several months ago.
What started as a school project in the 4th grade, it eventually morphed into this unique piece 36 years and 103,487 toothpicks later . His teacher would be proud.

Close up of San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts.

Close up of San Francisco's Coit Tower.

- Karen

Friday, November 04, 2011

Falmouth, Jamaica Revisited

Upon disembarking our ship in Falmouth, we were captivated by these lively entertainers at the port.

This talented carver displays his wares for people to buy.

In town, not far from the port, is the historical Albert George Marketplace and named after Queen Victoria's grandsons, Albert and George (who later became King George V).
According to internet sources, it was built in 1894, and was the place to be to buy almost anything from produce to slaves. It was refurbished in 1989 and now sells mostly crafts.

Built in 1815, this is the city's town hall and courthouse. It was later destroyed by fire and this replica was built in the 1920's.
There is so much history here and unfortunately, I did not know about them until I did research for this blog post.

This looks like the tax collector's office. I guess no matter where you are, you cannot escape from taxes.

(Note: My first Falmouth post was on October 7th and can be found here).

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Window

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- Karen

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Going to the Dogs and Kids

Welcome! Enter here if you dare.
A neighboring town held its first annual dog and kids Halloween costume contest on Friday.
It is always nice to see the community coming together to have some fun.

Scamp, the dog, leads the way in the costume parade.
Hmmm, I'm not sure if Scamp really needed a hula skirt and bikini top.

Coffee lovers take notice.
This is a cute homemade costume! Mom is even holding the coffee spoon.

Happy Halloween if you celebrate it!

- Karen

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Red Bench

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- Karen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Other Encounters

Continuing on our hike...
It started off at a trail that is closed to the public because of the creek bed that runs by this path. The creek is completely dry now, but I was told that when the rainy season is in full force, this creek fills up and the water runs into the nearby reservoir.
On this special hike, we were escorted by the local ranger.

You can see the filled Calero Reservoir where the water from the creek flows into.

What do you think this is growing on a tree we encountered during our journey?

Someone cut it up and said it is an avocado that is still growing. Well, I guess not anymore since it's been cut.

Last, but not least, a tarantula greets us by the side of the road. It wanted to hitch a ride with one of us, but each of us said "No!".

- Karen