Showing posts from August, 2013

Lake Tahoe: In the Absence of Blue, A Perfect Sunset

I got myself mildly lost on a walk amid ancient pine trees, almost suffered frostbite traversing the Tahoe Rim Trail, survived a skiing accident at Heavenly Valley, and experienced a horrific auto accident on the summit of Highway 50, my car and family saved by the packed of snow on the side of the road from plummeting into the abyss. Despite these scary stories, I have not totally given up on going to Lake Tahoe; I just make sure to leave the driving to someone else in the winter. Dubbed as “Lake Tahoe Blue”, Lake Tahoe is literally the true blue gem shared by California and Nevada. The lake is deep, blue and alpine pure. Surrounded by the High Sierra mountains, it offers great outdoors activities all year round - world-class ski resorts in the winter, and all types of water sporting activities and great hiking trails in the summer. Summer in Lake Tahoe is another story for me. It has always been filled with joy. The lake itself is the main reason why I make my annual

San Francisco: Baghdad by the Bay

Photo by the author “If I do go to heaven, I’m going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to heaven. He looks around and says,'It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco. ” – Herb Caen The news about the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge closure this Labor Day weekend , to take the original East Span out of service and to open the new East Span to traffic , brought about a lot of nostalgia and added to an already very emotional week . My sister and I found old newspapers , “The San Francisco Chronicle” and “The Examiner” dating back to the 1940’s while sorting out our deceased loved one’s stuff .   Reading Herb Caen's column reminded me of my mother . Herb Caen was a San Francisco Chronicle columnist who coined the term “Baghdad by the Bay” to reflect San Francisco's exotic multiculturalism. Perhaps reading Herb Caen’s column every day , helped mom adapt to her new home . She became an avid fan

The Last Iceberg: The Ultimate Travel Photography

As an intrepid traveler , I have been a big fan of Camille Seaman's work . Camille Seaman is a 2013 TED Senior Fellow and Stanford Knight Fellow famous for photographing icebergs and clouds . About a month ago , I revisited Camille’s project , "The Last Iceberg: Melting Away" hoping to draw inspiration for my trip to Patagonia in November. Unbeknown to me that one piece of art would trigger such an emotional connection with me and give solace in my grief two weeks later . While keeping vigil at my mother ’s bedside, I could not get the image out of my mind . As if the image were telling me that all things move toward their end and that we are just another facet of the natural whole , we are all part of the earth , and the earth is part of us. It  was okay to let go.  I wrote this poem about the last iceberg prior to my mother passing and would like to dedicate it to her.  THE LAST ICEBER

Ballooning Over the Napa Valley (Not)

Photo by the author While most of the California hills are brown at this time of the year, the Napa Valley is fertile and green. I have always enjoyed driving to the Napa Valley along Highway 29, bordered by vineyards and the green rolling hills on each side of the road. While attending a family gathering in Napa last month, I saw a partial view of the verdant landscape from my sister’s house. I thought it would be nice to see the landscape from a different perspective. That is, looking down into the Napa Valley and seeing the whole spectrum, so I signed up for ‘Ballooning over the Napa Valley’ adventure. This activity, however, requires advance planning. You cannot just call the balloon company and say, ‘Hey I want to ride in your beautiful balloon today.” First off ballooning is dependent on the weather condition so that it is a very important component in the ‘terms and conditions’, and cancellation policy. Second and most importantly: the hours. In order to catc