Saturday, June 09, 2018

Saturday, June 09, 2018

SpaceX n JPL open house

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:16 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Chewing on a piece of grass
Walking down the road
You don't care, I know
Ventura Highway in the sunshine
You're gonna go I know
'Cause the free wind is blowin' through
Your hair
And the days surround your daylight
Seasons crying no despair
Alligator lizards in the air...

except we didnt go there! But we did, of course, play the song ...

Been awhile. always air smoggy, hazy, dry, hot but sunny. Always that headache. always in socal is like being in a different country. but always loved it.

The Courtyard at Marriotts was nice but rooms are tired and not very clean. No real restaurant, just a starbucks bistro, small pool, getting to the elevators one needed to navigate a maze. But location right in the old town Pasadena.

eye opening visits included the falcon 9 rocket booster that stuck the landing back on earth, showered and repainted, on display in full glory minus the top, in the spacex HQ on 1 Rocket Road in Hawthorne. Then a mad dash through notorious LA traffic to JPL in Pasadena, where 1/10 scaled down models of all current and past spacecrafts were on displayed, life-size Galileo, the Mars rovers Curiosity and Spirit, miniature Mars helicopters, and after an hour of waiting Disneyland style, the assembly facility, where the new Mars rover was being assembled. Another mad dash to see the operations room, empty and abandoned after 4PM. Extremely generous of the security guard who let us in. the rocket scientits was ecstatic, like a child, running here and there in a hurry, eyes wide open in total awe. so truly a space junkie.

No time for the Fahrenheit 2018 at the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) in Pomona, to see Mari's winning ceramic piece. But meals included a fantastically savory bone broth of noodles with beef, crab lumpia, chinese donuts and clams (salty over the top) and papaya salad at the Bone Kettle (loved this place, gotta go back for more food) on Raymond Ave, followed by a leisure stroll in Old Town Pasadena; for breakfast, Venezuelan coffee, my choice of the El Torero, with Spanish Chorizo, melted Gouda, eggs, spicy mayo aioli, tomatoes and greens. Lunch was simply frozen lemonade for the Hip and burritos for them. Last supper was with the kids, Chris who worked at SpaceX and his girlfriend, and Catalan scientist Ivan from Barcelona, who worked with sonars, at Malbec Argentina, in the new part of the city. No parilla on the menu, but they called them sausage platter I guess. I got the papardelle with beef and porcini mushrooms (except I couldnt find a single porcini). OK, not great. The rest has 8 or 14 or 16 oz of ribeye. The argentine malbec was smooth, full of flavors, and I did like it a lot. however, not so for the food.

In the last morning, we drove to the LA Port to sneak at peak the falcon 9 rocket booster landing platform (wooden plank the Hip called it) and T and A were caught on camera. The patrol just happened to drive by and caught them trespassing. well just standing on the rocks to photograph Elon Musk's Mr Stevens. The day before Ivan did the same and was caught as well. Their security was super tight and I guess, working!

Brunch at the 22nd St Seafood Bar and Grill, with direct view of the port, different size ships docked. Gorgeous day and here, next to the ocean, the air was a bit breathable. Quite enjoyed socal, as usual.

See SpaceX and JPL pictures:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018
Posted by Hippo Bean at 2:00 PM 0 comments Links to this post

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018


Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:23 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Meow with Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale burlesque concert at the SF Davies Symphony Hall:

A&T with Meow Meow

Us at the Symphony Hall:

Tom charging his Bolt at the NASA Ames electric charging station:

day of rest

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:32 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Woke up but the headache's till there. Ate some bread for breakfast and downed some coffee with condensed milk. On our way back to the mainland, our boat pulled next to the boat selling fruit (what happened to the floating market? that was it?). We sampled some awesome ripe mangos. i dont like jackfruit, so I didnt touch those. Back on the huong sen hotel in Saigon, I was given a corner suite which suited me just fine. After a proper shower, I went around the corner to have the same pho I had before. The rest of the day I simply chilled and watched australian open women semis. Glad Simona made it. Last supper was at restaurant where they trained under privileged to be chefs. These types of restaurants although with good intentions, just like the ones in Laos and Cambodia, they're usually a bit more expensive. The menu was extensive with over priced fixed dinners. I've ordered the garlic morning glory which was excellent and the grilled squid which was so so.

The EVA flight to Taipei wasnt as comfortable as the one on my way here. But I've discovered the games on the flight entertainment. the guy next to me was playing millionaire and losing badly. So on my next flight leg, I've played battleship and after 20 rounds of millionaire, I've finally made it to the million $. And learned quite a bit on the way. Now I know how to spend time on a flight. I've never had special meal on a flight before but since Eva offered seafood meal without extra charge, I've thought I'd try it. both the lunch and breakfast was shrimp and calamari. By the end of the flight, i was totally shrimp and calamari out. And since I've eaten so much seafood on this trip, I think I'd abstain from seafood for a while.

So the entire southeast asian peninsula is done. Vietnam offers incredibly stunning natural beauty, the sea, the rivers and limestone peaks were a wonder, but totally lacks any unique culture. Everything except the Cham monuments were chinese. HạLong Bay, Hội An and Mỹ Sơn were worth visiting. The rest not really. But the food has been excellent simply because i love seafood and pho. From the 5 countries, I still prefer Cambodia because of its Khmer temples.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

mekong delta on a headache

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:34 PM 0 comments Links to this post
3.5 hours ride to Vinh Long on the Mekong delta. First we visited a very strange temple called cao dai. It's a very small but pretty temple with 2 colorful towers. This religion honors 4 deities: bhudda, confucious, lao tzu and jesus. In fact, 4 statues representing all 4 deities were on the altar, all under the 'all seeing eye'. go figure. After this strange temple, we got on a boat (how many boat rides have we had so far?) and cruised the delta to see orchards and sampled lots of local produce, jackfruit, water melons, bananas, dragon fruit. Stopped to see a cottage industry of rice paper, coconut candy and rice popcorn and snake wine. there was a python in a cage. It was the shop owner's pet.The snake looked relatively mild, so I've touched its skin. scaly, hard, sharp, smooth and shiny. We observed how rice paper, coconut candies and rice popcorn were made and made some purchases. The sampan ride on a small channel lined with small houses and gardens and wooden bridges, was very tranquil. All sampan had women drivers. the lunch at the eco tourism was out of this world. Fried elephant ear fish in a fantastic presentation, hooked on a stand. we cut up the meat and wrap it in rice paper, mixed it with cucumber, lettuce and peanuts. This is the typical mekong delta appetizer. It was heavenly delicious. Next small deep fried chicken spring rolls and giant prawns with heads on, of course, grilled. light veggie soup with small meat balls (typical of a mekong delta meal), a pork dish and steamed rice. jack fruit for dessert. Food this good, how can the women here be so thin? Next more orchards and more fruit trees, durian, jackfruit which looked exactly like durians except the skin arent pointy and sharp, green guavas, bell apples, bananas, longans, tamrind which looked like long peanuts (very ugly fruit), star fruit (carambola), rambutans, avocados, and lots and lots of coconuts. I was all fruit out.

We finally made it to our delta homestead situated at a very shallow and narrow channel. The homestead offered very basic accommodation. the rooms designated for us were inside a big guesthouse built in the style of local mekong delta house. all rooms, although each had its own door, are all open on the top, under the guesthouse roof. Bathrooms were wet rooms (shower and toilet in 1 room) and communal, unisex. Sinks were outside the wet rooms. The living/restaurant area was all open, with a few hammocks. I've climbed on one and was happy for while until a terrible headache started to develop. for the rest of the day I could barely stand the pain. Went to my room, lowered the mosquito net and sprayed deet all around. A small dirty looking towel was offered but didnt use it. I brought my own towel and went for a shower, which was a huge mistake. The shower head barely produced any warm water with any pressure and the floor was of course completely wet. good thing I remembered to bring my flip flops. Dinner though was very good. The owners showed us how to make tamrind pancakes and I've made a small one because with the headache, i didnt have any appetite. the delta appetizer of fish, rice paper, rice crackers and some veggies came of course, this time the fish was boiled. I couldnt even eat it. The waiter made one wrap for each of us, but I had to give mine to John. Lemongrass chicken, light veggie soup and rice followed and i couldnt eat those either. Pineapple and water melon for dessert. i just looked at them and sighed. I've excused myself and went back to my room and crashed. half way through the nite, I had to use the bathroom. All lights were out except for 2 fluorescent tubes above the wet rooms, so I had to use my flash light to illuminate the way. Almost stepped on the dogs that were sleeping in front of the bathrooms. Lowered my pants to pee and scourge of hungry mozzies attacked my deet free butt. had to remember to deet my butt as well next time. needless to say, i didnt enjoy the homestead. had i not had the debilitated headache, the homestead on the mekong delta would have been a nice relaxation.

Mekong Delta photos:

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