Sunday, July 07, 2019

Sunday, July 07, 2019

paly 2019

Posted by Hippobean at 11:49 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Ramen noodles at Jinya first before the clay and glass fair. on impulse, popped in to nordstrom rack and got a pair of Sanuk flipflops for $7. A found a size 4 blue ballerina. Very cute. Happy with our purchases. This year's Paly fair was bigger, more booths and in perfect weather. Bought 2 bowls, one from Mari and another at MM. Dinner at Coconuts in downtown Paly. Lousy service and not so good jamaican jerk. My curry goat was OK, not as flavorful as backayard. Spent too much!

Some of this year's exhibits:


Sunday, May 05, 2019

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Ceramics 2019

Posted by Hippobean at 9:29 PM 0 comments Links to this post
This year was uncommonly special. We've visited galleries outside of Davis where M's pieces were been exhibited, the Epperson Gallery of Ceramic Art in Crockett and the Blue Line Arts in Roseville. I've never been to either of the cities. The Epperson Gallery was located in an old house on top of a hill with views of the bay and the Carquinez bridges. The day was fine and with the windows open, the gallery was airy, had good lighting and was very pleasant. Interesting pieces, quite different from what we typically saw at Davis. M's Homage to Pima I was being shown here. Lunch was at the Dead Fish, just up from the Carquinez bridge, with expansive views of the Carquinez straits. The menu included Recently Demised Fish of the Day, Wicked Super Slide Wiches, Unsurpastas, Dead or Alive Surf for your Turf, and Other Dead Things. I chose the garlic noodles with shrimp unsurpasta. It was delicious although a bit on the oily side. The bread came lightly toasted, exactly to my liking. Although the prices were a bit on the high side, the views made up for them. We sat on the patio with heaters on and a light breeze which blew every now and then, the bay and the 2 Carquinez bridges in front of us. Beyond we could also see the Benicia bridge. It was a good lunch. Next we drove past Davis and Sacramento to get to Roseville. Up here was a lot hotter and we had freeze brew coffee at a local cafe before heading to the gallery. The blue Line Arts gallery was a bit bigger than the Epperson and with better pieces. M's Tear Drop with Waves was being exhibited here.

This year we stayed at a new hotel, La Quinta, a bit further away from Davis downtown. We've booked rather late so the Hallmark Inn was full which turned out better since there were renovations there. Like usual, we hit all the major galleries and some of the college exhibits. D arrived around 7 and joined us for a bit of galleries exploring. Our favorite dumpling place was closed so we went to the small noodle joint just behind it for dinner instead. What was thought as an early night, I've started flipping channels and hit GOT in spanish. Intrigued, I've pressed the guide and found it in english. What luck, saw the battle of winterfell and from all places, at a hotel in Davis! the episode ending was good. Just when you've thought all hope was lost, Arya to the rescue and who would know it was Bran who caused the white king's demise?

Breakfast at la quinta was more extensive than expected. Make your own waffle, eggs and sausage links. Surely better than the Hallmark Inn. M sneaked us in to the John Natsoulas ceramic lectures in the theater across the street from the Hallmark Inn. Stephen Braun's talk I didnt like. Self serving monologues that tried to be funny but were not. Just another arrogant, unkempt, foul mouth artist. He made his pieces sound like they served some higher purpose, but a human statue weighted down with objects was far from actually being constructive to society. Instead of glorifying your artwork, you should first clean up your mouth. I felt asleep on and off during his talk.

I was truly impressed by Kim Dickey, Professor of Ceramics at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, Colorado, when she mentioned the 'voices'. These are the 'voices' all true artists have and they nag you until we bring those voices alive by creating whatever they are, sculptures, characters in a story, sketches. She blew me away when she said she was asked to do some pieces for Portugal, and so she visited the Portuguese cathedrals and studied every maritime knot, and created a link of all the different knots around the walls of the exhibit. She has and understood the artist voices and when asked to do Portugal, she found the soul of the country. She's a true artist.

M's Triskelion 1 was being exhibit at the Artery. I've quite liked Clayton's Quetzalcoatl. Probably the only piece from him that I actually liked. He lost quite a bit of weight and was looking better.

T and D told us about the beershakes at Burgers and Brew and we must try it. The shake was a combo of vanilla and chocolate ice cream with a bit of guiness. heavenly good. I split a chorizo burger with M and I was filled up. another very good lunch.

One more treat this year was to enjoy the most beautiful pieces in this year's exhibit at the Davis Center of Arts. We've never came here before, probably due to its location being away from the center of happenings. But glad we did this time, as although very small, the gallery had the most beautifully created pieces, in my opinion. the building was next to a very green park and the day was fine, not as hot as the previous day, and it was a nice way to round up the visit.

after more galleries, we went back to chill at the hotel pool. Had drinks at the D street steakhouse. For dinner we picked the Yunchan Yakitori for its tapas. duck liver, pork belly, agadeshi tofu, chicken katsu, garlic brussel sprouts, tempura calamari, all heavenly delicious. M was curious about the restaurant, so we've asked to talk to the owner (in japanese). Back at the hotel, I've watched the battle of winterfell again and had a good night sleep. Even gianSnowie enjoyed this trip as he finally got his safecar trip and got to sit in front of the hotel room window to watch the hotel pool, watched GOT with me and slept on the big bed.

G and P joined us the next morning when we were attending the outdoor demo on how to make raku ceramics. that arrogant of an artist was showing us how to create masks, first in clay and then put them in the kiln in low fire. I had wanted to see what the clay looked like after being baked but didnt quite catch it as we took G&P to see the galleries. Had sandwiches at the delta of venus, another local joint, before departing.

This was the most enjoyable annual ceramics weekend so far. Lots of professional pieces, good meals, great company and good weather. It made up for missing it last year.

This year's ceramic exhibits:


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

tulum nuevamente

Posted by Hippobean at 11:29 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Well, not really. The first time only been to the Tulum ruins but didnt do town.

Morning drive to the Cancun airport and thus the Mayaland tour has ended. We didnt know where to meet our Tulum transfer and had Luis not been with us, we'd had never found the place to meet our transfer. He let us borrow his phone to call Happy Transfer to tell them we're at the airport waiting for the pickup . A little over an hour drive on the long, flat, uneventful road brought us to the Blue Sky hotel. Now I'm back at Quintana Roo once more. The Blue Sky was exactly as shown in the online pictures. Very lovely quaint hotel, cozy open air restaurant, tiny beach. A&T had a sea front room on the second floor. Mine was partially obstructed by the adjacent building and tree in front of my room. But the room was very lovely and in modern decor. The bathroom had double vanities, double shower heads in a spacious stall and a toilet room with window. The hotel provided free all you want drinks in the mini fridge, soda, beer, coconut water and a coffee machine with coffee pods. A hammock in the balcony. I was quite happy. T went to swim and kayak in the cenote across from the hotel lane and A and I had a chicken sandwich in a toasted baguette. Very yummy. There was not enough time to taxi to the Maya ruins and we've decided to skip it. Not entirely sure if T was OK with it but both A and I had been to the ruins before. We just wanted to chill at the hotel and enjoy its amenities. So no Tulum ruins with the turquoise Caribbean beach for T. Although no big temples, I remember the Tulum Maya ruins, situated on a hill above a very blue sky and very white sandy beach, to be very nice and intimate. I've enjoyed them. But after seeing all the major maya ruins, I didnt think T would have missed much. He went snorkeling on the beach instead. All kayak and snorkels were complements provided by the hotel. so now T had swum in both sides of the Gulf and in a cenote. He got what he came to do. Very relaxing day to end our trip. We had wanted to dine at the Nomade restaurant but it was fully booked till July. The hotel had suggested another expensive hotel restaurant but the taxi would cost over $100 one way. So we've decided to just eat around the hotel and checked out the other hotels nearby. We've finally decided to just dine at our hotel restaurant since the menu had what we wanted. A had an avocado shrimp pizza, T had veggie pappardelle and I had a whole octopus with garlic. It was tasty albeit a bit too oily. In the evening we caught the moon, round and golden and bright above the ocean. This night I slept very well.

The following morning I went down for breakfast a little before 7. both the reception and the restaurant were empty. found out they didnt start breakfast until 7:30 (unlike what the receptionist told us the day before). Happy transfer was there on time but waited for us to finish our meal. A couple of hours to waste at the Cancun airport, i blew my last pesos on a coffee packet that had a maya figure on it. American airlines back to Dallas. I spent the time onboard playing millionaire and battleship on the monitor. At Dallas FortWorth, we ate at the airport Maggiano's. The airport priced food was just so so, not to the true Maggiano's quality.

It was very enjoyable to travel and visit Mayaland with A&T. It was indeed one of the best trips I've had. As usual, no matter how great the sites were, it was the people in the group that make the trip memorable. We'd enjoyed very nice hotels, colonial style haciendas and jungle lodges (although not always given the best rooms) specially the river facing cabin in Rio Dulce, and some very nice meals, and of course, very nice trip mates. SmallLeo went out of control, taking photos with every major monument, every major pyramid and temple. Very spoiled Stuffy. 25 years ago I've started the Mayaland in the Yucatán and Quintana Roo and made a point to cover the rest of the mayaland at a later time. With this trip, I've made good to my own promise.

Blue Sky Hotel photos:

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Chichén Itzá mas una vez

Posted by Hippobean at 11:18 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Chicken Pizza (Chichén Itzá) was the white one. I remember El Castillo big and tall and white. I remember scaling it all the way to the very top. This time it was roped off. The day was cloudy and the monuments reflected the mood. I remember El Caracol which we could see from the Mayaland hotel. The second most iconic monument after El Castillo. The temple of the Guerreros was also cordoned off, so no one could see the Chacmool, the reclining figure with its head facing 90 degrees, up close anymore. The Grand Ball Court, biggest in Mayaland, was littered with tourists. It rained last time I was here and it rained again on my way back from the secret cenote. A pool of very dirty water. Souvenir stands all over the place. The crowds simply put me off.

Lunch was at a restaurant not far from the Maya site. The menu had poc chuc which Luis said it meant pork chop but it also came with beef and chicken. I've ordered the pork to be authentic and it was very good. Another good and satisfying meal. After lunch we arrived at the Mayaland hotel. We were put on a 3 rooms bungalow, the furthest from the reception and restaurant building. I had no recollection of the Mayaland hotel at all except of the view of the El Caracol from the entrance. I was given the last room in the bungalow, a very large room with a curved window, wooden round table with side carvings and chairs. The room provided coffee machine with coffee packets and tea, cups and saucers. The bathroom had a jacuzzi tub. Was quite happy. The hotel style rooms were in the main building above the reception. Some had direct views of El Caracol and some had views of the top of El Castillo. The hotel also had a small planetarium in a round building with a very colorful Chaac figure. T went for a swim in the main pool (the hotel had 3) while the rest of us explored the hotel and just chilled.

Last supper was at the hotel restaurant with Mexican live music, played and sang by 3 guitarists. Food was over priced and not good at all. After dinner, Luis and T competed their cell phone star apps and we strained our necks to look at the clear starry sky.

Later that night I tried the jacuzzi tub. Bad idea. After filling the tub with water I've turned on the jets. They spew water all over and completely flooded the bathroom. Spent a good amount of time drying the bathroom and used up both beach towels.

The night was cool and windy and i had to double the bed cover (no blankets were provided). The room was extra nice but it was the last night on the trip and as usual, I've tried to prolong it and did not sleep well.

Chichén Itzá photos:

Mayaland Hotel and Bungalows photos:

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Mérida segunda vez

Posted by Hippobean at 11:17 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Not felt like it but went with group to check out the market nonetheless. After getting lost a bit, we found it and got ripped off buying a traditional blouse for Mom. Afterwards we found a local restaurant on a side street and ordered lime soup and chicken tamales. The soup was thick and extremely salty. We sent it back. The waiter wasnt too happy. The tamale was edible. Didnt really tried any tacos on this trip. Havent seen any burritos in any restaurant menus (peasant food?). and this was the first time we saw tamales on the menu. should be smarter to stay away from any peasant mexican dish. Wanted to walk the paseo Montejo to see the mansions but the afternoon was much too hot. So for the rest of the day, we simply chilled by the pool. Had group dinner at El Pancho's, sitting in an outdoor patio. Food was so so and it was very humid and hot with lots of mozzies. Mérida, didnt much like it the first time and didnt much like it a second time either.

Mérida photos:

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