Tag Archives: travelogues

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


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).

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).


Fresh Droplets — Stick Out Your Tongue!

San Diego, Balboa Park:  Photo taken with BB cell phone.  Poem inspired by a chance meeting during a morning walk through the rose garden this cloud-ridden week.

Fresh droplets,

Stick out my tongue,

Dewy rose,

My celli captures it beautifully!

Plumes of white brighten the dim sky,

Shades sparkle in pink, cream, yellow, red, green…

Gray palette:  Showcase petals and leaves!

Salty drops,

Her hand shakes,

Hushed cords,

No lightning or thunder. Only rain.

“…Sit for a minute?”


So WORTH It: SD Human Rights Watch Film Festival

San Diego, CA — Balboa Park

Museum of Photographic Arts — Photograph from MoPA website.

 

In between the salty streams we collectively found ourselves laughing.

Last night, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival featured Pushing the Elephant, a film in which the story’s protagonist – 2009 UN Humanitarian of the Year – defiles the face of war by valuing the faces of survival.

During the conflict in Congo, Rose Mapendo’s husband is killed, and she is forced to bargain her 10 children in various ways, in particular her daughter, Nangabire. Through her reunion with Nangabire, Pushing the Elephant seamlessly juxtaposes scenes from the life Rose and her family currently live in a beautiful suburban U.S. neighborhood with the wreckage of surviving the Congolese conflict.

The strength and wisdom Rose gained by forgiving the crimes against her family and community stuns.

After some deliberation with her eldest son, now the man of the household, Rose visits Congo and revisits her memories.

She listens to those left behind, imparts perspective and bestows hope to her community.  At one point, while kneeling alongside community members by a small slab of gray stone that marks the grave sight of a mother and wife, Rose says a prayer and thanks God for growing a tree in the space as a sign of rebirth…

The Festival runs thru September 25, 2010.  For a full schedule, checkout www. mopa.org.

War exists because people lack love.

— Rose Mapendo


San Diego Health and Wellness: Want to Quiet the Cacophony of Thoughts?

San Diego provides a great opportunity for enhancing health and wellness.  During a recent trip to Manhattan and Washington, D.C., I was surprise to learn how many friends and acquaintances relate such ideas to L.A.  So, I thought a story on health and wellness in the San Diego area was in order.

On a Sunday morning…

Meditation is about connecting with your emotions, Courtney Kimpo, our instructor tells us.  About a dozen people, some seated on blankets resting on the bamboo floor and others seated in chairs, prepare to practice meditation (on Tuesday evenings that number jumps to 50 people or more).   Flickering candles line the floor before Courtney.

Today, we will go into relaxation, followed by concentration, and heart-centered meditation, she says.

Sounds easy enough.

But sitting in my chair, I am thankful that we are commencing with some stretches at the top of this hour-long session.  Having practiced meditation before, I can tell you that well-intentioned surrender to these gentle directives can ignite a misfiring of synapses.

A melodic flute charms the space, and we flow into part one: Relaxation.  Relax the muscles in your forehead, your face, Courtney coaxes with soft ease…

Open your eyes slightly and focus on the candlelight or the darker shades of bamboo on the floor, she suggests as the class transitions into concentration.  She guides our breath and our attention like a thread.  We end the session with a vibration of sounds that crest into a concert of “Om.”

I do not see colors or shed tears of joy, but I feel my heart beat.  I sense my spirit.  I brush something pure.

After the session, I ask Courtney if she has any suggestions for those of us for whom meditation does not come easy.

“Begin slowly.  Begin with patience.  Begin with a positive reading — something that brings you inspiration.  Try to connect with the joy of your heart center and know that everyone has challenging moments with meditation.”

A few minutes later, back out on Adams Avenue, I see Courtney again.  “Do you know what I really want to say?” she asks.

“What?”

“What I really want to say is if you are having a hard time getting into meditation, come to a Pilgrimage of the Heart meditation.”

I smile, and think to myself, see you next week.

Located in Normal Heights (10 minutes from downtown), Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga studio offers free meditation on Tuesdays and Sundays.


NYC Parks: Rockin’ the Summer Freestyle!

We all know that city parks are a public service, but Manhattan’s parks add a bit more flare to this concept.  Would you expect anything less?

Union Square Park (above)

The weekend before last, some friends and I saw The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare in the Park) in Central Park staring Al Pacino as Shylock -– a free offering.  The moon was full.  The night was hot and humid.  The stage was minimal, and the costumes were authentic.  The trees barely swayed, but the performance and atmosphere charmed the moment.  A pseudo 16th century experience in 2010 — kinda cool!

Other fun parks:

Bryant Park Monday night movies in the summer.  Watch a movie on the big screen with hundreds of locals.  I like grabbing some eats and finding a table along the perimeter.  The evening bids a relaxing and communal local experience. Free.

Washington Square Park & Union Square Park – late afternoon, early evenings, and weekends –- best time for random art, music, and people watching.


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