Quel and I spent the weekend in Mendocino—a first for both of us. I liked the town, thought I found it to be a little on the touristy/overpriced side. You can’t argue with the setting. The weather was a little coolish, but that didn’t stop us from going on long walks on the bluffs and along the river.
We stayed at the Farmhouse. It was a little off the beaten path, down a dirt road (I’d hate to see what that road is like when the rain is sheeting down) but it was about as idyllic a setting as you could imagine. My only complaint is that with a name like the Farmhouse, I was anticipating a breakfast of thick cut bacon, homemade bread, and a serious scramble/omelet thing. Instead we got hand-cut oats, multi-grain cranberry muffins an apple pears. It was good, and very healthy, just a little disappointing.
We stopped in Boonville on the way there. It was my first visit since a trip for a basketball tournament back in High School. In the intervening 20 years, the town has transmogrified from drive-through backwater to the center of a sophisticated wine growing region replete with the requite California cuisine eateries and boutique lodgings. I was bummed there was no sign of the Horn of Zeese Coffee Shop, but if must have gotten in the way of progress.
On the return trip we stopped for a picnic and a hike in the redwood groves of Henley Woods State Park, just off Highway 128, possibly the most scenic and fun to drive stretch of road in California.
More Mendocino trip pics on Flickr.
Today we headed across the Richmond – San Rafael Bridge over to Marin to have some oysters up in Marshall along the Tomales Bay.
We left around 11. It was a gorgeous day. Sunny. Blue skies. No clouds. About 70 degrees. Our first stop was for coffee in San Anselmo. I’ve spent a lot of time in Marin, but mostly on my bike, so it was nice to have a look on foot. I’ve ridden up and down this corridor that includes Sausalito, Ross, San Anselmo and Fairfax so many times, but I’ve never had a chance to just wander around San Anselmo. After coffee, we had a nice stroll around town.
There’s no real direct route up to the Marshall Riviera, so back in the back in car, we headed west on Sir Francis Drake through Fairfax, Lagunitas, and the redwoods of Samuel P. Taylor Park, before hitting Olema at Highway One. From there, we headed north and after a brief stop in Point Reyes Station, another cyclist mecca, we continued up through Marshall and finally landed at the Hog Island Oyster Company.
Again, I’ve passed by here many times on my bike headed for the Marshall Wall or points further north on the MS Waves to Wine ride, but I had never stopped. We picked a good day. The place was booked out and all the picnic tables were reserved, but we were able to find parking right across the street and managed to find a family from Atlanta willing to share their table with us.
It’s so annoying to half to take your shoes off at airport security. Even while doing it, I kept saying to myself, it’s a damn good thing that shoe-bomber Richard Reid didn’t have a bomb up his ass.
To get his bomb into this room, Abdullah Asieri, one of Saudi Arabia’s most wanted men, avoided detection by two sets of airport security including metal detectors and palace security. He spent 30 hours in the close company of the prince’s own secret service agents – all without anyone suspecting a thing.
How did he do it?
Taking a trick from the narcotics trade – which has long smuggled drugs in body cavities – Asieri had a pound of high explosives, plus a detonator inserted in his rectum.
Explosives experts tell CBS News that beep was likely a text message activating the bomb concealed inside Asieri.
The Trojan bomber hands the phone to Prince Mohammed. He’s standing next to him, and 14 seconds later, he detonates.
“This is the nightmare scenario,” said Chris Yates, an aviation security consultant.
On a plane at altitude, the effects of such a bomb could be catastrophic. And there is no current security system that could stop it.
“Absolutely nothing other than to require people to strip naked at the airport,” said Yates.
And al Qaeda says it will share its new technique via the Internet very soon. There is nothing that can stop that either.
It’s only a matter time before we are strip searched before entering cattle class.
That settles it. I’m never flying again
One of the great discoveries on this past trip to Brazil was Açai (pronounced AH-SAW-EEE). I’d been hearing about it for a long time now. It has arrived with a vengeance in the US (via email spam mostly) as a supplement touting all sorts of positive health affects: energy, weight-loss, blah, blah, blah. Who knows if the claims are true. What is true is that açai is delicious. Served cold and mixed with guarana syrup, it tastes something like a mixed berry sorbet. Add in banana and granola and have a superbly tasty treat. I’m going to have to find a place in Oakland, or more likely Berkeley, that sells good açai. If I can’t I’m going to start importing the pulp and open up a shop in the Bay Area to sell it to the masses.
Visited the Zoo Safari in Sa˜o Paulo yesterday. Spider monkeys, Bororo, the baby hippo above, a giraffe, camels, big cats, peacocks, albino emus. All very cool. Pictures, accounts and descriptions to come. Many pics being uploaded to Flickr now.
We’re getting ready to leave for a day at the beach in Guaruja down on the São Paulo coast, but we can’t leave because of regulations to reduce traffic in this crazy car-filled megalopolis. Depending on the last number of you license plate (1-2 for Monday, 3-4 for Tuesday, etc.), you are not able to drive in the city limits from 7am to 10am and 5pm to 8pm. This effectively reduces traffic by 20% at rush hour. Not that it seems to have done much good (I would have hated to see what it was like before the regulation was in place.
Quel’s plate ends in 9, we are stuck on Fridays. So we are diligently awaiting the appointed hour when we can get on the road and head south the beach. Then we have to decide to come back early before the 5pm or curfew or stay late and return after it ends. Sort of annoying, but necessary.
Hard to get tired of taking pics of the sweeping beach and stunning mountains of Ipanema. It’s truly one of the world’s finest beaches. Undoubetly, it is one of the best places in the world for people watching, especially on Sunday when the street adjacent to the beach shuts down to traffic and turns into a day long parade of dog walkers, joggers, strollers, cyclists, rollerbladders and gawkers.Truly, truly, truly fantastic. (add musical accompaniment here)
More images on Flickr, as always. I just wish we had more sunny days and less rain, though it did make for some dramatic pictures.
Ok, so not technically a stray, since she had a collar, but she really didn’t belong to anyone. Some guy tried to sell her to us for 50 euros, which is silly. She might have been around 4 months old. Badly in need of someone to look after her, feed her, bath her, cut her nails and love her. She was a total sweetheart.
She followed us around and that was before Quel bought a bag of food and started to feed her. Then we had a gang of dogs following us around Pied Piper style around and back into our hotel in Morro de São Paulo. We would have loved to take her with us, but we just wouldn’t have been able to take her on the flight back to São Paulo. Here’s hoping she has a wonderful life on the beach in Bahia.
More here, here, here, here, and here.
Yesterday, we went to see this tiny, curvy cobblestoned street in Vila Madalena called Rua do Batman where the walls of all the houses are covered in graffiti. The art is changed periodically as the artists wish. Not all of it is great. Some is very odd in fact, but most of it is incredibly colorful and beautiful.
I am trying to upload the photos from here in Brazil. It is slow going, but eventually, they will all be here on Flickr.
When I disembarked from the flight yesterday, we were given to orders over the PA to report to health authorities if we had a fever over 100 degrees. Then as we hit the jetway, we were handed a slick pamphlet about the H1N1 virus with instructions about what to if you’ve come or are headed to an infected area (is California included? Don’t think so). At immigration there were people walking around with surgical masks. I laughed the whole thing off. I’m strong, right? I don’t get sick. Hardly ever.
This morning I woke up feeling not so great. A little headache and a minor chest cough. I don’t think it’s anything. I don’t feel warm and Raquel took my temp and I don’t have a fever. I chalk it up to a combination of jet lag and wearing myself out on wednesday’s long ride.
I drank some OJ, some coconut water, ate some toast and took a couple Ibuprofens and feel better, just a little fatigued.
The sun is shining here. Time to make some hay.
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