We Went To The Beach

Another weekend almost over. We are still in the exploration mode for our new surroundings. Things at work are great. I learn something new every day and that is very rewarding. But, I will not bore you with what I do. Instead, I will take you with me to the beach. It was very relaxing, a great way for the soul to breathe and put things not perspective.

Entering La Jolla, just north of Torrey Pines and UCSD, looking down Black’s Beach. A The Beach Between Del Mar And La Jolla

We watched these chicklings – I assume there were chicklings of a waterfowls species – running into the water picking food as soon as the water receded from the beach. It was very entertaining watching them as they ran as a flock in synchronized motion with the waters edge back and forth.Huntington Beach, North Of The Pier

We also watched surfers – at another beach. The waves were not really big, but they were quite beautiful to watch. When we got to the beach today, the very first picture I took was that of a man who couln’t care any less about what happened around him. He read a book while sitting all alone in his folding chair. When I saw him, I asked myself, what would get this man out of his zone and I couldn’t come up with anything, except for direct physical contact. And as I edited my pictures, I had this vision, that he would read through the apocalypse, focused on his book oblivious to the fact that he would not be able to finish the chapter.Huntington Beach, Way South Of The Pier

And with that little disturbing thought, I will ask you to stay sharp, do a selfless good deed once a day, everyday.

Cheers Markus \m/

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The Big Ocean

I love water – in any condition, as long as it is clean. Last weekend we drove down the coast and the Pacific and I we got re-acquainted. Many years ago, the Pacific and I were great friends. We’d see each other everyday at least once, sometimes more than that. Some days we’d spent all day together and we wouldn’t get tired of one another – man we had fun. Then I had to move away and we saw each other less frequently. Now, I will make an effort to see my old friend more often – to spend more time together.In Carlsbad when I got my feet wet, the ocean came hurtling at me like a big puppy. It came so fast and so strong and then it slobbered all over me.We played together, it tossed me around, held me under. It flooded my ears and my nose and just like during my university days, it came our of my nose and my ears much later at the most inopportune of times – like when I was driving. Before I went back that day to my place, i took this picture with te Pacific in all its beauty and calm might.Alright, stay sharp gang and keep it real.

Cheers Markus \m/

A Surprise For The Boy

Barbara picked me up from work today. For dinner, she pulled out ALL THE STOP signs. We went to the beach – Crystal Cove State Park. She had bought a few goodies for dinner and so there we sat in the setting sun, with a cool breeze gently blowing. It could not have been anymore perfect. That is the view we had…..when we went for our after-dinner walk along the beach.When I look at these waves coming out of the West, I have to think that they traveled all the way from Vietnam or the Philippines or Japan or the Korean peninsula or some where from China or Kamchatka. So the waves that we say come from the West really come from the East. Now explain this to a second grader, they too will side with the Flat-Earthers. But science set aside, the way my day ended was a great surprise to me, one that made me grin happily.So, dear readership, stay sharp until the next.

Cheers Markus \m/

Out West

A new chapter, a new adventure in life. We are out West. So far West, we can almost see the backside of the East. Well, yesterday we tried to see that far East. When I squinted I could see the roofs of Tokyo.

And today, I discovered confirmation that we were in the right place. Look at the assortment of teas of the Frontier Café.

You know you’re out West when Gunpowder tea is leading a peaceful co-existence with Earl Grey.

Moving on, stay sharp…

Markus \m/

Trinity University Library, Dublin, Ireland

I felt I had to devote a separate entry to Trinity University Library in Dublin. This library is absolutely great – if you are not inspired by that library, you probably also don’t cast a shadow in the sun. It is absolutely worth the price of admission….if reading is your thing and you appreciate books. There are tons of beautifully leather-bound old books. I imagine lots of them hand-copied. I wonder what stories, knowledge and secret they keep. The light that comes in through the narrow, high windows as sharply defined rays creates wonderful shadows and only enhances the overall secretive mood in the room. There library is dominated by innumerable hues of brown and beige. I would have wanted to stay there with fewer people for a few days and nights just to browse through the shelves. Yes, this is the real deal, not a film set for the ninth Harry Potter movie.Every aspect of Trinity Library stunned me when we visited: size, architecture, smell, colors, craftsmanship, materials. I was just super impressed.

And I hope, you will be as impressed by the library and that this little short post made you want to go.

Cheers and stay sharp

Markus \m/

 

47 3/4 (Supercalifragilisticexpialegocious) Hours In Dublin, Ireland

In June, I went to Dublin to meet for dinner with some of my new colleagues. Of course such a trip I can impossibly do by myself, so I took my wife along. Now, Ireland and Dublin in particular conjures up images and fantasies of pubs, the band Flogging Molly playing late into the night in a pub, and Guinness flowing endlessly and in general good times being had by all. Furthermore, images of extra green pastures with milkcows chewing happily to produce milk for the good butter….and rain, lots of it and frequently. What follows is absolutely true – we were in Dublin in June and there wasn’t a single rain cloud even in the remotest of vicinities. We have had 2 beautifully, balmy, sunny days, that left nothing to be desired.

Dublin has probably the highest pub density of any city on earth I have ever visited, followed by an incredible number of fantastic, independent book-stores, and an even lower number of Starbucks stores, but instead with an also incredible number of local and oh-so-exceptionally-good cafe-tea-and-chocolate places. We can honestly say, we have eaten the best chocolate of our lives in Dublin and I grew up in what I would call “Europe’s Chocolate Heaven”, “The Golden Oblique Rectangle Of Chocolate”. For completeness sake,I hear Whiskey is also quite popular in Ireland and Dublin, but we were served with the above mentioned diversions.

When we visit a new city, I usually like to get my hand on the pulse of that city quickly and one way I have figured out to take it is by looking for graffities and murals. And this is what I would like to share with you. Then you tell me what your impression is of Dublin and whether you think we had a good time or not.

When in Dublin, look everywhere, yes and especially up. These umbrellas were placed above a side alley that gave access to the cellar of a pub. This is he full view of the side alley in the morning.The kegs are testament to the eagerness of the previous nights patrons. In the same street where the above pub was were a bunch of other pubs all next to one another. The street facing fronts had great graffities and murals. It was great seeing all this art all over. The only time we used the bus was to get from the airport to the city. Once in the city, it is completely accessible on foot – and it is entertaining, because the city has a lot to offer…all the senses are tickled. On the way to our hostel (yes hostel, because hotels are freaking expensive in Dublin, that really is the only major drawback), we walked past this neighborhood, that was “fully decorated”.The next shot shows the front of the trash cans on the left – like pretty maids all in a row.The trash cans don’t measure up, do they? If your glass is half-full, you’d argue, that the trash cans provide “practice surfaces” for the artistically challenged. Others might call it vandalism. I’d challenge the “writers”, to up their game significantly, when “writing” in this neighborhood. We meandered on through Dublin, discovering more of this great city.A fixer-upper with a proper construction wall around it. In that neighborhood we stopped and had a drink on the sidewalk.We did not wander aimlessly through the city, we were headed for the Guinness brewery, which is on the North side of the river to the West of the city center. And we went there on foot, thus we had ample time to soak it all in.Despite the melancholy of classic Irish literature, there is a vibe of resilience and dark humor visible in the city. Eventually, we got to the brewery grounds. Let me tell you, it is a big brewery. And they charge a heavy dime for a brewery tour – so heavy, so we passed. We don’t drink beer, it would have been pearls before swines and a waste of good money. But I have this picture to show you of one of the main gates, which to some are the pearly-bubbly gates.The architecture reminded me of London’s Battersea Station – a very imposing “brick-catherdal-style”. I suppose the two buildings were probably built around the same time. We walked back to the center of Dublin and passed by many more citizen-art-pieces.This place draws up the shutter at night and turns into – you guessed it, a lively pub. This is a confidence instilling artwork for a barber-shop – a proud handlebar mustache. A gun toting cherub – Amor’s grandchild, traded the bow and arrow up.One of the many great cafés in Dublin at night. I am not sure what this was for, a boxing gym or a club, but the sign got my attention. See, this is a proper justification for the considerable consumption of beer in Ireland. Interesting fun fact. Per capita beer consumption for 2016 Germans consumed 104.2l (4), the Irish 98.2l (6), the Americans a measly 74.8l (21) and the biggest consumers by far were the Czechs with 143.3l (1). The water quality in the Czech Republic must be abysmal. Alright, so much for our introductory tour of Dublin. The city is absolutely worth a visit, no doubt.

Cheers and stay sharp

Markus \m/

 

Day 18 – Extracurricular Activity: Boudhanath Stupa

If you were wondering, if this was really it. No, that wasn’t it. Naturally we had to drink a big gulp of culture….at Boudhanath. Boudhanath is a very large stupa, about thirty minutes outside of Thamel – Kathmandu’s central section.Boudhanath is highly revered among buddhist pigrims. During our visit there were preparations underway for a religious festival the following week. The place is arranged in circles. The inner circle is the stupa (see above). The second circle is a wider walkway, where the believers and visitors walk about. Naturally, there is plenty of room for people to socialize and chat, too.

Of course, where ever there are large areas and people gather, doves aren’t far away. Along the second circle are also holy-men, blessing others. And then of course on the third, the outer-most circle, there are the souvenir and prayer-accessories supply stores. There are large varieties of prayer beads and smokers available for continued or deferred good fortunes and for calm minds immediately.

To get from the second circle to the inner circle – the one closest to the stupa, the pilgrims walk through an area where they can pray and collect themselves in private.   The devout can ring bells and pray for good fortunes.   And that concludes this entry and our trip to Nepal in April 2018.

I hope, I have been able to relay a little bit of the fun and excitement we have had on this trip. I loved the experience and want to say thank you to the friendly and hospitable people of Nepal for being such great hosts to so many different people from all over the world.

Stay sharp gang.

Cheers Markus \m/