I was lucky enough to go to Paris on a business trip, and arrive on Bastille Day, their day of independence. Celebrations were everywhere. All the museums were open for free, including the Louvre, and the military groups were showing off their favorite toys. The weather was great so I hopped on a river boat and stopped off at the major stops.
People everywhere at the Arc de Triumph.
One of the military guys walking around. They were all in full uniform in super hot weather.
Cool helicopter being shown off.
Classic shot of the Louvre. I had to go in and see the Mona Lisa picture.
This is what it looks like from inside the pyramid.
No trip to Paris is complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower.
July 9th was our second anniversary and Eric surprised me by taking me on a champagne hot air ballooon ride. This is one of the items on my "things to do before I die" list, which hangs on our fridge door, just in case he should ever need inspiration for a gift. Check out these pictures - it was amazing!
Here we are about to take off!
Our landing - the balloon all lit up. Great way to celebrate.
In June, Sticky and I went to Sonoma and played around while Eric worked. One day we rented bikes and cruised around. Our poor map was damaged with overuse as we found our way to local wineries for tastings. But somehow we made our way home.
One stop was at Ravenswood where their slogan is "NO Wimpy Wines". Now that's our style! (Oh, did I mention it's 9am?) I wouldn't recommend biking after the 5th winery.
In May, my Mom turned 65. My Dad threw her a surprise birthday party with about 40 of her closest friends. She had no clue and was completely surprised. One of her friends wrote her a song which was hilarious. Fun time!!
This is one of my favorite pictures - Lucy on the left and Fischer on the right. They love playing together. Next week they will spend 4 days together while we are traveling and I can guarantee that Lucy will be sad when she comes home.
My Aunt Fiona from South Africa was out for an art show at UCLA and we got to see her. It's been years, but she looks just the same. Fiona a world renowned artist focusing on social issues such as AIDS awareness.
Snowboarding in fresh powder is the best feeling ever. I have only experienced powder like this once before, in Mammoth, but to have fresh powder every day was a real treat. It's going to be hard to go back to icy Big Bear after this trip. It's like when you scuba dive locally and then go to Fiji or the Great Barrier Reef....it's tough to go back to cold, murky water.
I spent 5 days in Vail, CO with a group of super fun people, boarding down freshly groomed slopes, sitting in the jacuzzi with it snowing above, having good wine and playing yahtzee in the evenings in our condo.
Here is Vicky (AKA "Sticky") and I on the chairlift the first day. It was snowing as we headed up to the top of the mountain and chilly.
Sticky was heading down a mountain at full speed until she wiped out. A moment that had to be captured on film.
We stopped at one point and just made snow angels in the deep powder.
The views were amazing.
Here is my trusty board, covered in snow, when we stopped for lunch.
Check out these fun runs through the trees over at Blue Sky Basin, a great bowl on the backside of Vail.
Well, we made it to the final play-offs and then lost to the Kiwis! Shane will never let that one down...also note that Paula was only wearing an All-Blacks jersey because it was warm...
I met up with my cousin and some friends of ours that I have not seen since 1989 - how cool is that? Here we all are, having fun at Petco Park watching rugby. This is Steve, Dean, Grant and Craig. Last time I saw them we were all in South Africa and we were 21 years old!
It was chilly in the morning (for San Diego) but I could tell it was going to be a gorgeous day - perfect for running if it didn't get too hot. Eric and I met up with some friends in the morning and went over the race start. Since this was Eric's first half marathon, he was nervous and excited so we wanted to get there a little early.
The race itself was really pretty through Rancho Santa Fe, over rolling hills that seemed to go uphill both ways. It was a tough run but we managed to persevere. The next day my legs were definitely feeling it. Along the way we met up with a bunch of friends from paddling and the tri club which was really nice. After the race, we saw them all in the beer garden too - sponsored by Stone Brewery, that was not be missed! At the end of the day, I am not sure he's sold on the idea of another half marathon, but we'll see...
Here is Eric with Ollie, our kitty, showing off his race.
Happy Chinese New Year (CNY)!! A new acronym for me, but hey, you learn something every day.
Feb 7th starts Chinese New Year, the year of the rat. The entire country shuts down to celebrate and the mad shopping frenzy starts early in order to make sure you have secured all of the special food and articles you need for the most festive season here.
Even the MRT station wishes you a Happy Chinese New Year...right above the camera. That's typical Singapore for you.
And then you have your typical foods that range from Indian and Malay to Chinese. There are hawker stalls everywhere you turn and lots of opportunities to try different food and drinks. One of my favorites is a sugar cane drink, literally squeezed fresh from sugar cane.
These critters are alive and crawling around. Apparently they are boiled and you suck the snail portion out of the shell. As my friends explained it me, "It's quite tough to suck out the meat." Yeah, I bet!
We went out for dim sim and here is my friend Corinna eating her favorite dish - chicken feet. Not a lot of meat if I do say so myself.
This is actually a fruit. I think I'll add it to the list to try next trip. Looks like arthritis hands, if you ask me.
Walking around Chinatown shows the love of food most Singaporeans have. There are stalls and stalls of goodies eaten over Chinese New Year.
No trip would be complete without trying to local beers - here is Nissa with a couple Tiger beers in Chinatown.
My friend Won Feo came all the way from Malaysia (KL) to spend time with me - a 4 hour drive one way. Cheers Won Feo!!
Here is a hawker stall - I liked this place because the building was so pretty. And the food was great too, of course.
I currently write this from the western part of Puerto Rico. When I get back, I have 2 weeks before I leave for Australia - I'll be taking the new Sony GPS unit with me to track where I go and the fun places I'll be hiking and diving. Can't wait!