Santas go Surfing on Coronado Beach
Part of why this is so strange is that it’s my first Christmas in paradise and seeing people surf on Christmas Eve day is still novel. Trained beach lifeguards gather at 9:00 AM and hit the water in waves. That it’s not so notable to the locals goes to show you how new we are to the area because the surfing crowd easily outnumbered the spectators.
However, you too can gawk with us here. Continue reading
A giant tribute by Omaha to the swimming events they hosted this summer.
Quickly following on the tail of the U.S. Olympic Trials, the U.S. Master Swimming association held our Summer Long Course Nationals in the very pool the olympians swam in. The facility was remarkable. The warm-up pool itself had something like 15 lanes while the competitive pool had 10 lanes of 50 meters. The water was a perfect temperature and, as we say in swimming, the pool was fast. Thousands of people attended this four day meet and I swam in six events.
Did I make a dent in world records? Did I set the world on fire with my awesome swimming skills?
Of course not!
However the calibre of swimming was such that records were broken all day, every day. This was truly a memorable event.
It was a day for wearing white and orange it seems. And why not? We were on vacation!
My wife is smart. After years of planning vacations she’s become really good at finding the right vacation destinations. In this case it was a Caribbean island which was conveniently a part of the U.S., had all the beach resort amenities that my ladies enjoy and lots of outdoor activities which I prefer.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is two thirds National Park! It has dramatically beautiful beaches, tremendous hiking trails, great undersea coral gardens, historic ruins and all on a compact island. Seriously, there was plenty to keep me busy while they baked in the sun. Of the 20 official hiking trails within the park I hiked almost two thirds of them. One took Kelsey and me to the sea where we swam to cool off before returning to our mountain starting point.
We had a great time and may be where we head with grandkids … some day.
Across two days there were four swim events: Clinic, 1 mile, 2 mile, and 5 kilometer. Hundreds of people participated and, again this year, I was one of them. Bravo!
Not a run nor a walk but a 5K swim. The equivalent of 3.1 miles this event was three times around a modified 1-mile circuit on Lake Audubon in Reston, VA where I live. While I have swum longer outdoor distances, it hasn’t been for a while so this felt big. However, in the end the water was perfect, the weather was great and the swim was quite manageable.
During this 25th anniversary of the Jim McDonnell Lake Swim almost the whole family played roles. Beth managed the registration area which required an evening of prep and two mornings of commitments that started at 6:00 AM. Kelsey was a life guard throughout the events; she watched over swimmers from her perch in a canoe. Courtney intended to come be a spectator but overslept … such is life post graduating from college.
For some insight on the event you can visit their website here.
The Ferry Building sits at the end of Market Street in San Francisco and has been the primary fixture of the Embarcadero forever. The clock tower highlights it on the waterfront. Behind is the Bay Bridge.
Special things stand out and catch your eye. If it’s a tower on top of a hill then it grabs your attention any time you’re near by. Coit Tower is such a place and it stood within easy walking distance of where I disembarked from Alcatraz.
Coit Tower stands in Pioneer Park atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. (For me, that last sentence was loaded with place names from my youth.)
The tower itself was built with a $100,000 donation from Lillie Hitchcock Coit to be used by the city to beautify San Francsico. The interior of the tower is lined with 1930s paintings promoting California agriculture; the work was funded by the WPA to support the arts during the Depression. I’m not sure the tower ever served much of a practical purpose but it certainly achieves its funder’s ambition. It is beautiful and views from the top are remarkable. A tiny elevator takes a few people at a time to the observation level and below are examples of what can be seen.
I thought it was only culturally insensitive American’s who call this holy Mayan site “Chicken Pizza”. I was wrong. The tour guide called it that throughout our trip. What a sad day!
Recognize this structure? It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World; it’s the Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The math and astronomy and symbolism which make it a “wonder” are extensive. An overly long-winded tour guide laid it all out in detail. Information overload! All I can recite back is my impression: “Wow!”
Suffice to say, Chichen Itza once had over 400 structures and was the principal city of the Mayan civilization. It was the ceremonial heart of these people and was populated with religious leaders. Famous for so many things from its observatory, its pyramid, its ballcourt, and its war temple to its sacred well, its blood sacrifice, and its scale.
Only seven percent has been restored but it’s enough to blow you away. They’re discovering new things all the time and we saw excavation of an entirely new level of the pyramid. Our only disappointment was how limited access was to the structures. My expectations of full access were set in 1984 when last I visited. Obviously much had changed. Continue reading
I call them “My girls” with great pride. Fun in the sun is easy for them and the smiles on their faces say it all. Cancun was a wonderful destination for a winter’s vacation with family!
It happens all too infrequently anymore. With Courtney off at UVA and the Kelsey on a different school holiday calendar we have few windows in which to all be together. Winter breaks they have in common so this holiday season Beth made sure we took full advantage of it. Off to Cancun we went!
There’s something special about only having one agenda and no distractions. Courtney wasn’t trying to run off to see old friends. Kelsey didn’t have games or activities or homework to pull her away. We were all “stuck” in Cancun and we were living the relaxing experience together. Sun. Water. Warmth. We had their favorite ingredients in abundance and only wavered from relaxing on two occasions for tours to Isla Mujeres and Chichen Itza.