Tag Archives: travel blog

Raining: The Flipside of Down

Washington, D.C.

Rolling through high-heeled streets,
Shimmering in a photo finish.

Small drops with big ideas,
Ya make that steal, or merely cop a feel?

Too much cotton for mirrors on the flipside of down,
But soaking floats color.

So dragging the horizon like an ephemeral plea,
She teases air from smog.

Small drops, what’s the big idea?

She prays for din to break silence,
Before fancying a prey on thunder.

Pattering in gardens of brick and cities of grass,
She won’t ride lightening to wit,
Why take a bolt, when Sun owns color?

Glasgow, Scotland

San Diego, CA

Sunday Night Drum Circle — Little Beach, Maui

Laid out…

Local drum circle on Sunday nights: It’s not in the guidebooks, but, if you are open to spending the evening on a nude beach listening to kettle drum, bongo, and tabla beats, it’s worth checking out. After the sunset, about 100 of us exited in a ritualistic procession led by three men wielding torches and lighting our way down a windy trail of rocks. My friend summarized the evening best:

“I finally understand what this whole peace-love thing is about!”


TSA Body Scan: Will you say “No” Nov. 24th — National Opt Out Day?

“If you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested.”

–John Tyner’s battle cry at San Diego International Airport, during an invasive pat down by a TSA screener.  And the new punchline for privacy advocates. On his YouTube video that captured the incident, we hear the overhead announcement, “Security is everyone’s responsibility,”  as Tyner dubs the phrase.
Tree Trunk — Balboa Park, SD
The instructions:  Step into the oversized, closet-like contraption.  Place your palms facing out on either side of your head so that your arms are about parallel with your shoulders.  Spread your legs shoulder length apart.  Now hold still…

If there is any confusion, look around, and you’ll probably see a cutout type drawing that will illustrate the position to assume.

“Is this safe?  How much radiation am I taking in?” I asked with a friendly smile, as I stepped into the box a few months ago at Nashville International Airport.

“You are getting more radiation by using your cell phone than going through this machine,”  the TSA screener responded, equally amicable.

Questions most are asking:  Is it safe for my health? Does it violate my privacy rights?

In the News:

  • San Diego, Calif — Monday, 32-year-old local resident, John Tyner, posted a YouTube video of his probing pat down, after refusing a full body scanner and body search at San Diego International Airport.  In the video, Tyner offers to go through the metal detector on several occasions and apologizes “for the hassle” following the TSA screener’s pat down.  He cancelled his American Airlines’ flight and is now being investigated by TSA.  Irony?  The clip has received more than 50,000 hits as of this morning. “If I don’t do it, nobody will,” Tyner says in the video.
  • New Jersey — Lawmakers are asking airport passengers to refuse the body scan for “National Opt Out Day” on Wednesday, November 24th, one of the busiest travel days.
  • Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, two pilots filed a federal suit against the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, alleging that the full body scans and pat downs are a violation of their Fourth Amendment Rights (protects against unreasonable search and seizure).

Did They Serve Spam or Not?? That is the Question.

Tweet from Carnival Cruise Liner, Splendor: In regards to our last post, we wanted to clarify that while some SPAM was delivered, it was never served to guests. Tweeted November 11, 2010 (day ship docked in San Diego Bay)

San Francisco Examiner; here is the lede: Grazia Gala and her husband, Kishore Pradhan, expected sun, relaxation and rest on their seven-day cruise to Mexico. What happened instead were long lines, cold showers and Spam. –Today’s news

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Glad-to-be-back-on-solid-ground-108337454.html#ixzz15SqgfM1f

Voyage of the Doomed: Carnival Awaits Spamcationers!

Reunions and cheers welcomed, but no stale Pop Tarts or Spam please!

–Passengers said they waited in line upwards of two hours for such tasty treats!

Above: The 113,000-ton Splendor, one of Carnival Cruise Lines’ largest ships, docks in San Diego Bay around 8:30 a.m. Thursday, after an early morning engine room fire rendered it stranded last Monday.

San Diego Bay, Calif.  The plethora of media, Veteran’s Day parade, warm weather and jubilation bathed the popular tourist destination in, excuse the pun, a carnivalesque vibe.  People gathered in the hundreds, and a laissez faire sense of community support welcomed passengers back to dry land San Diego style.

Tugboats reined in almost 3,300 passengers on the Carnival Splendor cruise liner from Baja, Calif to San Diego, docking at the Port of San Diego’s B Street Pier Cruise Ship Terminal.  The ship departed from San Diego on Sunday, November 7, 2010.

Above: Cindi Wolfe, of Ventura, CA, weaves past the crowd toward her family, who has just disembarked.

Series Below: Jeanne Ralston, age 85, is greeted by daughter, Cindi Wolfe.

Wolfe’s cheerful energy put her in the spotlight.  Ralston seemed to be keeping pace with her daughter, taking questions from reporters with thoughtful and animated ease.

Top of Ralston’s wish list:  Coffee.

Photo Story — Local Take: 4,500 Disembark in SD Harbor

“My son had brought two flashlights, so I think we were the envy of the ship.”

–Passenger Jeanne Ralston

Above: Passengers make their way down everyman’s catwalk as clicks, firing questions, flashes and cheers welcome them home.

Carnival Splendor docks in San Diego Harbor;  Thursday, November 11, 2010 (Veteran’s Day), 9:30-11:15 a.m. The morning is warm and breezy and the mood depends on one’s stage role.

North Harbor Drive:  4,500 passengers and crew disembark in small groups as hundreds of family, friends and onlookers wait.  On the adjacent artery, Pacific Highway, local residents prepare and gather for the Veteran’s Day parade.  Reasons to celebrate abound.  The warm breeze

Above: Jeanne Ralston of Ventura, CA, embraces her daughter, Cindi Wolfe.  Wolfe’s parents and brother were on the ship.

My son had brought two flashlights, so I think we were the envy of the ship,” Jeanne Ralston, age 85, tells the slew of media with an exaggerated eye roll and flash of smile.  Ralston and her husband were sporting dog tags in memory of their son in-law, Navy Commander Duane G. Wolfe, 54, who was killed during duty in Iraq on May 25, 2007.  Ralston said that crew members commemorated Veteran’s Day with a gathering that included a large American flag.

Above: Cindi Wolfe welcomes her family home.

Above: Retha Hoeffken of Cypress, CA, waits for her daughter, 29-year-old Heather Hoeffken, who is on the ship with her fiance.

Passengers praised the crew, however, some sensed indecisiveness and a lack of communication from upper management.

Retha Hoeffken said she spoke with her daughter yesterday morning for the first time since the ordeal started for her on Monday morning, when she learned about the fire while browsing the web.  Heather told her mother that passengers were not informed that there was, in-fact, a fire on the ship, despite smelling smoke. “When she called me she was crying.  She said, ‘I’ve never been this scared.’  They didn’t get any information,” Retha Hoeffken said.

“I’ve been making phone calls to Carnival, and they said everything was great.  They said they were being well taken care of, and they had flushing toilets and cold water and cold food…  They never asked me her name,” Retha Hoeffken adds. She said that the first thing her daughter wants to do is take a hot shower, upon getting home.

Above: People continue standing along the balconies several hours into the disembarking process.  (It was difficult to see if they were passengers or part of the ship’s crew.)  Every now then, instructions would blare from the ship’s loudspeakers.

Above: A front and center view attracts an on-going crowd, despite the lack of parking.  Plenty of hotels line the other side of North Harbor Dr.  San Diego International airport sits a few miles down the same artery and downtown’s Little Italy is a stone’s throw away.

Above: A family is taxied off the cruise ship docks.  Bystanders wave and cheer.

“Welcome home!”

“Come back to San Diego!”

Late Night Crab Fishing: Size Matters!

Ocean Beach boasts the longest concrete pier in the West Coast at 1,971 feet. Saturday night a couple of weeks back; Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA.

The night is chilly around 10:30 p.m., but I soon lose myself in the waves slapping against the cliffs (walking backwards and stopping often to do so). The scene changes from couples to family, friends, beer and soda alongside fishing gear. My friend asks a man who is leaving for his bait. We walk a little more than 3/4ths of the pier’s length and set up shop.

Inhale…ahhh… Trite truth: the air is scented with sodium induced crispness! Late night crab fishing is definitely an off-the-beaten-path San Diego experience!

It is Loc’s first time out. He spends an hour fishing, but, like everyone else with whom I spoke, his net comes up empty (except for his bait). But he says it’s fun.

A small cage with mackerel is hooked to the bottom of the net.

The net is tethered with a nylon rope and dropped 40 to 50 feet down.

A group of three men walk passed with their gear. “Catch anything?” I yell.
“Nah, going to Mission Beach!” one of them shouts back.

Louis, his wife and their son often spend weekends fishing.  Tonight, he says they caught small lobsters and released them back into the ocean.  Size matters!  Otherwise, you’ll be fined.

“She likes to get her hands dirty,” he says with a smile, while cocking his head back toward his wife.

An evening after a good rain is the best time to fish, Louis advises.

Update 11/11/10: Spoke with a friend of mine that ended up catching a crab after I left (before midnight).

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