Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mama O'Reilly visiting

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:13 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Mama O'Reilly's mini visit at Tomaso's O'Racca house:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

epgy dudes

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:57 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Now the Stanford EPGY dudes (Joe, Hippo, Andrew, Mike):

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Flash dudes

Posted by Hippo Bean at 8:33 PM 2 comments Links to this post
The Flash Production dudes at Detail (Chris, Erik, Hippo, Mike, Rishi):

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

the agony of defeat

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:26 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Our company's first soccer practise today. Needless to say Hippo's team got totally pounded ! Bike shorts, over sized t-shirt, Nike tennis shoes, and neon socks didnt help! We started out kicking a few balls, threw a few frisbies and footballs to warm up. We're all horribly outta shape. I found out I couldnt even dribble that darn ball! Never mind running with it while being pursued by others. It was hot even after 6PM and after about 7 minutes of running, defending and trying to goal, we began to smell each others' sweat! We tripped, fell over, stumbled, and missed the goal. Half way through our 20 minutes game, I gave up and needed a sub. 5-2 that's how we lost! Sigh. But I had a lot of fun, and we'll do it again next week. Cant wait. Revenge would be sweet!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

hell final assault

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:57 PM Links to this post
This time at Vegas was more exploration in the surrounding area than casino hopping. Which was good because on previous visits we simply walked ourselves to death from casino to casino and blew our money away on video poker. The drive back home was clearly another nightmare from hell. The traffic on I150 was heavy. I was falling sleep at the wheels while looking for Baja Fresh around Barstow. We drove past the exit and had to double back (lots of U turns and double backs on this trip!). After lunch Maria took over the wheels. It seemed like an eternity and we made frequent stops before reaching home. We arrived around 11p to return the van. Then Saffy found his sunglasses on the front seat! I felt drained and exhausted. Road trip to Vegas had never taken this long. I felt drained, dusty and sweaty. Gosh, am I finally getting old ?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

relatively calm but very hot

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:43 PM 0 comments Links to this post
We had wanted to drive out to the Valley of Fire the day before but since it rained in the morning we opted to do shopping instead. So today we drove north to this park. But Saffy wanted to go back to the outlets and see if he could recover his sunglasses. He couldnt find them but we did some more shopping. For lunch we drove back to Vegas, to our favorable cafe at Wynn. The soup and sandwiches there are very good, although expensive (everything at Wynn is expensive!). We caught the last of the Portugal vs France game and saw, sadly, Portugal losing. Then we made our way to the Valley of Fire. It wasnt a bad decision to go there in the late afternoon as the day was clearer and hotter than the previous days. We stopped at the campground near the Arch Rock to have our picnic juice and saw some incredible rock formations. Then we stopped at the Atlatl Rock to view the Petroglyhps. I stayed behind in the nice AC'd van!

Atlatl Rock campground with Poodle Rock

Saffy with rock

Arch Rock

Elephant Rock


Today was truly a day at the desert. The air was stuffy and hot and I realized I no longer like hot weather.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

hell attacked us again but we saw a nice show

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:36 PM 0 comments Links to this post
The day before went smoothly without any incidents. I thought hell left us. We drove to the Red Rock Canyon in the morning and it rained.

A stormy day at Red Rock Canyon


The rain smelled almost tropically and it came down straight and refreshing. I love these American parks. That's what Chris called them unnaturally natural. One 10 mile scenic loop, paved, where one never had to leave the car. We did the scenic drive and saw truly iron rich red harden sand dunes.

M and Saffy at Calico Hills

road to Calico Hills

Scenic road showing Wilson Cliffs


The afternoon was spent at the premium outlet stores. We discovered that we didnt need to take the freeway. It was really just a few blocks from our timeshare on the strip. It's been a long time since I had any money to buy myself anything, and so I went crazy buying clothes. I've almost forgotten what it was like to be able to afford to buy things! Oh that rotten feeling! Then back at the timeshare we made ourselves ready for the early buffet and then the show. Saffy then announced he left his prescription sunglasses at the outlets. He wanted to run back and retrieve them. M didnt like the idea because the outlets are in downtown Vegas, a notoriously dangerous, crime infested area. I suggested a taxi. Saffy didnt want it. So it was maor upset time which almost ruined the otherwise almost perfect day. In the end, Safy went to dinner grumpy. I offered to help pay for a pair of new sunglasses. We did had a wonderful buffet at Paris. After that, it was the Cirque du Soleil Ka show at MGM Grand and I was stunned by the size of the theater, the props and the creativity of the stage and the show. Modern Chinese Opera, acrobats and a fantastic stage that not only rotates horizontally but tilts vertically where the performers could actually do wall climbing. It was simply astonishing and I never ceased to admire the originality of Cirque du Soleil. I thoroughly enjoyed the show even tho we got some rowdy and tall people sitting right in front us. We actually got pretty good seats, almost at the center, but way in the back. What we missed though were the fireworks which later we discovered werent all that spectacular.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday, July 02, 2006

the road trip from hell

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:35 PM Links to this post
hell began when we discovered a crack on the rental van's windshield. We were on upper Market, heading towards the Bay Bridge. We decided to call Hertz and were told to return to the rental office for a van exchange, so we went back to SFO. I already got used to the brand new KIA, roomy, clean and smooth riding. The new one, although the same model but older, seemed less roomy, and a bit beaten up. The brakes, we found out later, were a bit worn and squeaked when pressed and caused the van to shake. It was already 3:30 when we finally got out of SFO. The Saturday afternoon traffic on I80 was, as usual, bad, so by the time we got to South Lake Tahoe and checked in at the Forest Suites, it was already dark. We did a quick walk around the casinos (Caesar's Palace is no more, it's now called Bluemont!) and returned to our shabby 1br suite with damp carpet and no dishwasher. It's been a little over a year since we were at South Lake Tahoe. Last year, we discovered the new Heavenly gondola, the new village, and Embassy Suites. This time we stayed at the place I've sworn never to return. Nothing much was changed.

Hell continued with an early morning phone call. Saffy's group was leaving and we got to pick him up at Squaw Valley right away. We frantically packed and I went without breakfast. I was sorely pissed. The drive along the west shore was gorgeous in the morning and we got to the north shore after 10AM but Saffy's group was still there. I've never been to the Olympic Village before. It has nice shops and condos. Wonderful mountain backdrop. We had breakfast at the Starbucks and then we were ready to head to Truckee and then to Reno to take HI95 to Vegas when M discovered she left her laptop at the Forest Suites. So it was double back to the South shores and by the time we recovered the laptop and were ready to head down south it was already 2:30p.

hell did not leave us when we made the bad decision to cut throw 120 from 395. The road was curvy with lots of ups and downs, 2000ft apart. We were almost out of gas and completely out of water in the middle of the desert in high summer. So we decided to cut south to Bishop and continued down 395. It was 8p when we finally entered Death Valley. The road was long but paved, flat and smooth and spectacularly scenic. By 9p we stopped at Stovepipes for gas. The furnace heat was still there even when it was pitch dark. Saffy took over the wheels and drove like mad on 95. I was stuck at the back of the van with Giant Snowie and looking out the window to black nothing except a few stars and a half moon in the dark sky. Not much in terms of civilization, just desert outside the window. It felt lonely and abandoned. My iPod was in my bag behind the seat. Nothing to do, nothing to look at, and nothing came to imagination, nothing to daydream about. We finally made it to Vegas at 11:30p when Saffy made a wrong turn and went the opposite direction of the strip. It was midnight when we finally pulled up in front of the Hilton Resort. Mad house all around, with crowds still checking in. The parking lot was completely full. The only self parking alternative was on a dirt road. Or vallet parking. M got upset because she didnt want to park the rental on dirt. But the first night vallet parking was free so we went for it. We were all exhausted from being on the road for an entire day and I was hoping hell would finally end. A road trip to Vegas has never taken this long!
 

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