Je t’embrasse Salutations from Silicon Valley, California


Honig Vineyard & Winery

So the other weekend, I had a seemingly once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend the weekend in Napa Valley in a guest-house of the Honig Vineyard.  Although this may have been the highlight, it also makes a good reason to spend some time unveiling a new feature of my website.

Google Map

So I know that my pictures are usually pretty abstract, but I think I really got some good shots this time.  Of course I cheat, because a Vineyard is filled with things to take pictures of.

   Water Droplet Vineyard Grapes Barrel Wood Corking Machine

And as you can see I am now successfully combining the use of the Flickr & Lightbox2 plugins for a much more eye-catching look at the images that I have on Flickr... but back to the weekend in Napa.  As a whole, our group included Steven & Miriam (the inviters), Miriams brother, Ryan, Martina, and myself (the invitees).

The weather was not exactly great, and kept us on our toes the entire weekend.  Regardless, we took a walking tour through the Winery & Vineyard, and ended up back at the house for a dip in the hot-tub.  An excelent weekend overall.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

Adonia and I took a trip down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  On the way we ran into some interesting photography... although she might yell at me for paying more attention to that than the actual fun we were having.

On the way from Mountain View to Monterey, one of the first places we traveled through is Santa Cruz.  Of course there is the boardwalk, the beaches, and the shops on Main street... but one of my favorite places to stop is Marians Home-Made Ice Cream Shop.  There are dozens of different flavors like Lychee and Green Tea.  I think we went with the Oreo-Cookie...

Anyway, Monterey County has always been the home of many different businesses during the past century.  Sardines, Almonds, and... Artichokes... like the "Worlds Largest Artichoke" found a short minute off the road to Monterey.  Of course, it is pretty darn heavy.

Giant Artichoke Giant Artichoke Sign

Finally we got to the Aquarium, and just our luck, we got sidetracked on the way to a shark-feeding by some of the brightest Jellyfish I had ever seen.

Jelly 1 Jelly 2 Jelly 3 Jelly 4 Jelly 5 Jelly 6 Jelly 7

I have to say I like the way the Jellyfish are purposely placed in bright blue tanks so that they show off their stark contrasting bodies.  Of course, I like the fact that this makes for better photography too though. 😉

We finally wrapped the day up with a tour through the Pebble Beach area in Carmel.  Granted they charge you an arm and a leg just to drive the 17-mile road ($9.50 I believe), but they ARE definitely guarding some prime real-estate... which unfortunately I cannot share with you, as Adonia's camera ran out of battery right about the start of the 17-mile drive.

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Weekend in Las Vegas

The Venecian Hotel and CasinoOk, so regardless of my feelings about gambling, and how much I despise losing money, I succomed to the nagging of my friends, and went to Las Vegas.

One of the biggest things that bothers me about casinos (aside from the "taking your money" business) is the look-and-feel.  Some casinos, regardless of what they may have been advised, do not go for the "timeless beauty" look... which 20 years later means they look dated... because they ARE dated.  Of course others (Bellagio, Venecian, etc) actually look good.

I know people always say that you should go see a show when you are in Las Vegas, but this brings up another point.  I am pretty sure that every single one-hit-wonder comedian I have ever heard of has a show in Las Vegas.  As an example, I was stunned to find out that Louis Anderson still existed, given that my childhood memorys were of the dozen-or-so "Life with Louie" episodes... but I digress.

The weather was great. The walk was long. There were definitely too many things to even SEE in one day.  There were private escort services & "girls for hire" being advertised by the thousands.  There were public displays of thousands of empty alcohol containers.  I was asked more than once if I was wanted to purchase crack or heroine.  AND, did I mention that the weather was great?

Altogether as I expected, and to quote Obi Wan: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy".

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