Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Autumn in Virginia

I am now back in Malaysia after two months in the United States, visiting both my daughters. Elder lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, which must be one of the prettiest spots in all the USA. Not spectacular, just genuinely pretty. And of course, in the Fall it looks even better than usual. Oh, and I do love driving around in a Merc convertible with the top down!
This part of Virginia is famous for its horses, and Charlottesville is famous for being a university town, with the foundation of the University of Virginia in the early 1800s by Thomas Jefferson.
And if you think that the south is stuck in a time warp of bigotry, this church above advertises as itself as supporting marriage rights.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Today...


Walked to Santa Monica. Los Angeles air was clear -- could see the coastline all the way north, and towards the south, Catalina. Believe me, that's not the norm. Lovely warm October weather, with the babe well protected from the sun...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Canals in Venice

I've been staying in Venice. Venice, Los Angeles, the area between Santa Monica and Marina del Ray on the Pacific coast. And this Venice actually does have canals as well as a beach. The whole area was once a marshy wasteland, until a man named Abbot Kinney came to live in Santa Monica in 1886. He was a developer and a conservationist, and one of main streets in Venice, near where my daughter is staying, is called Abbot Kinney.

According to Wikipedia:

By mid-January 1906, an area was built along the edge of the Grand Lagoon patterned after the amusement thoroughfares of the great 19th and 20th century expositions. It featured foreign exhibits, amusements, and freak shows. Trolley service was available from Downtown Los Angeles and nearby Santa Monica. Visitors were dazzled by the system of canals complete with gondalas and gondoliers brought in from Venice, Italy. 

The area eventually went downhill, many of the canals were paved over.
In the 1990s the canals were cleaned up and now it's an area for people with a lot of money. And me? Well, I've enjoyed going there birdwatching in the mornings. there are always hummingbirds hovering over the water, or sucking nectar from the flowers...
Frankly, I never knew it existed. Given the lack of greenery generally around Los Angeles, this place is a lovely oasis... The canals are tidal.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Marooned at Cobra, Part 2

 The few days spent at Cobra Station waiting for the new tyre to arrive turned out to be interesting ones. We weren't bored for a moment. There were walks to take, flowers to admire, hills to climb, scenery to enjoy...
 You can always tell when there's a car passing, just spot the dust.
 With me, it's so often the little things I love to look at. And the rocks were just marvellous...
 And then it's great to wonder at just how plants survive in a hostile environment...
 The gibber plains shine in the light...
 Trees - not all that common - twist and claw in their struggle to grow and survive
 ...and can produce such beauty in their flowers...
... and strangeness in their bark
 Only along the river do trees thrive, though the water is scarce!
 My husband took interest in a nearby working for gold...
 And the ingenuity of the outback dweller abounds. 
There's no hardware store down the road, so you improvise.
 Below is the manager of Cobra and some other marooned travellers...
 And below, having a try at panning for gold.
 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.