Wednesday, June 23, 2010

girl friends

In my stopover in Seoul, my eyes were caught by the two people waiting at the terminal for the flight to Los Angeles. I couldn't help but smile at the idea of these two traveling folks. I secretly took a picture of them when I got the change so that when I look back, I would remember that I want to be like them.

They must have been bored waiting for their flight. But at the airport, these two elderly women walk as fast as the younger people do. I wonder if they were relatives or old buddies. They seem to be physically healthy and well able to travel. They can take care of themselves (life insurance lead need not worry about them), and I love the idea of their independence. When I get to be a grandmother, I hope I can still physically travel. And traveling with girl friends isn't such a bad idea. :)

I particularly like the lady in brown. She looks cool in that hat!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Strawberry Heaven, San Diego

This was exactly howI felt when my uncle took me and my sister-in-law took us to a strawberry farm. My heaven, of course, was full of big, red, sweet strawberries!

My uncle got me a big bucket to fill and a small one for my sister-in-law. He told me, magsawa ka na sa strawberries dito, bihira yan sa Pilipinas. I was so thankful to him. I could have hugged him if only he wasn't the typical strict elder type. haha. I love strawberries. I always get the strawberry flavor in Big Chill, or in anything which has a strawberry flavor! The sourness and sweetness of this red delight is just perfect!

Before I came to this farm, I had no idea how strawberries grow. I thought they grew like grape vines, but they don't. In fact, a strawberry farm looks just like this:

my cousin-in-law geng

I went to the farthest rows so I could get the biggest strawberries (so my uncle could not see me haha). And it took me about 3 hours to fill my buck, which is just about twice as big as my cousin-in-law was holding above. I wanted to make sure I get the biggest, reddest that I could get. Besides, I was eating while strawberry picking. They are just delicious, and, as far as my tongue says, they taste better (and more fresh) than the ones here in our country. Maybe it's because of the weather.

So when picking a strawberry, you really have to bend down. I, on the other hand, was squatting on the soil. I was meticulous in my picks. :) I thought strawberries only grew up as red; I didn't know they start as whitish. And they also have different shapes!

these are small ones; the big ones were already eaten---by me!

While we were there, there were also grade schoolers on a field trip. They were all running around the strawberry field, and it was fun to watch them. They often shout, "Hey, look what I got!" "Boy, that's big!" And when a little boy passed by my row and saw my bucket, he said. "Whoaaah! That's many!" haha. I couldn't help but laugh. He was right, actually. My bucket was overflowing with strawberries! Those were the rare times I could arrange things properly. haha.

But the sight of a baby undisturbed and fascinated about the these red fruits was worthy of postcard printing!

And this little blond girl with rosy red cheeks was the cutest strawberry of 'em all!

Friday, June 18, 2010

SeaWorld, San Diego

Where can you look a shark in the eye and live to tell the tale?
My first stop (except for window shopping in outlet stores) in the US is in SeaWorld, San Diego. The place showcases aquatic shows and park rides, and you get to see our under-the-sea friends up close. Of course, I enjoy this kind of place, especially that I adore the water.

The park is famous for Shamu, the performing killer whale. Well, the original Shamu died in 1971, but the name has been continuously used for the killer whales performing in SeaWorld. My thoughts are, how do you train a killer whale? I thought only dolphins can be trained. Obviously, I was wrong. Shamu is known for "splashing" water to the audience. In fact, the audience is always asking for it. :)

The following are some of Shamu's pictures amazing the audience of his skills and "flying" abilities:

SeaWorld also has Sea Lions LIVE, where, well, sea lions perform, with very good comic with the trainers. I particularly enjoyed the ball relay. Even I, with two hands, could drop that ball!

There are other amazing shows like Pets Rule (starring dogs) and Cirque de la Mer) and spots (like giant aquariums, penguin houses, turtle ponds, flamingo areas) to visit in SeaWorld. Observing the movements, or lack of it, of various aquatic species is a learning experience, especially when you only see them on TV. I especially like the penguins. I hope someday I could touch one, but not the sharks. :)

My cousin and I were there for a whole day. After all the watching and walking, we were dead tired when we got home. No more jetlag and no more natural sleeping pills for me. In my dreams, I took Shamu with me. :)

just like beer

It's only about a month since I started my new work and only about 2 weeks since I started the second year; yet, it feels like I've been tired all my life. It's only about a month since I returned from my unplanned 2-week trip to California; yet, I long to go back. The trip has been semi-spontaneous (if there's such a word), lacking the precise details and planned itineraries of Orlando vacation packages, but time was well spent nonetheless.

I left home and journeyed a thousand miles with a few cash and a credit card with unsure credit. I got the ticket a day before I left --- a day after Mom left the hospital. I really wanted to run away from all these, albeit only for a short time. It felt like Mom's cancer would already push me to the brink of insanity; my and my family's shoulders are already burdened with heavy crosses that we can hardly bear anymore.

I am very poor in directions, but this time, I traveled alone. There was that sense of carelessness or indifference or boldness that I will go, no matter what. And the land of milk and honey, indeed, coated with sugar the bitterness of my life. The curiosity in the places and the people captured my eyes and my mind. I lost myself in the new things that I was seeing, and coldness that I was feeling, and people I was watching.

But no, I wasn't happy. I was just, for a time, free. I was doing what I wanted and going to places where I wanted. And out of all things, I was not deep in thought on how I, we, would survive.

Just like beer, while you're drinking, you're free. When you stop, all things are there all over again.