Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hollywood Hiking

The past several weeks during Chinese New Year involved lots of eating. It's again time to work off a few calories and get back into shape. Yesterday, I went hiking at Griffith Park with members of the hiking club while Mommy and Hikaru went to Travel Town.

We did a three hour hike from the Travel Town parking lot to Mount Hollywood and back. The weather was perfectly "not too hot" or "not too cold" -- just right! Here's a photo of our club members.

Note how some of our members are outfitted professionally with trekking poles. They come in handy for all kinds of aggressive hiking -- including fighting off the wild coyotes, rattlesnakes, deer, and lizards.

As with many hikes, there are vistas and overlooks to absorb. The horizon is outlined with the hills and surrounding buildings of the Los Angeles. If you click on the photos, you can get an enlarged image.

This is a view of Mount Lee and the Hollywood sign in the background. This area was burned in a fire over a year ago, but there are signs of returning growth.

Here's a view of the skyscrapers in downtown Los Angeles from the top of Mount Hollywood. Again, you can get a larger image by clicking on it.

This is a geographical marker for Mt. Hollywood with "1619" which I guess is the elevation of the summit in feet. But I don't really know what "Monument Engineering" is...

This is a photo of members Mark and Hiroshi who are sitting on the railing at the top of Mount Hollywood. They are happily engaged in discussions and decisions about places to eat in LA. Hiking club members like to eat, especially after a hike like this one...

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New Year 2008 is a Rat

Chinese New Year begins with the new moon and ended with the full moon last week (that included a lunar eclipse). Hikaru received lots of "hong bao" from relatives -- or red envelopes with "lucky" money for good things like happiness, health, and fortune.

It must really be working, since Hikaru's been waking in a good mood. The past couple weekends, we've been staying healthy and free of colds, so perhaps more reason to keep the new year traditions alive...

During Chinese New Year, we burn some incense to pray for good luck and health in the coming year.

And then we make an offering of some oranges and cakes to the gods. Everyone's usually is in better mood when they have enough food to eat.

During Chinese New Year time in our community, they usually block off the street with a street festival and a parade. It could be a bit of a "rat" race with the crowds of people, especially for small people...

But Hikaru had fun. In the photo below, he exclaimed "guitar!" after seeing a display of some traditional Chinese instruments.

There were many rides for kids, but unfortunately Hikaru was too short to go on most of them... The photo below is that of the "Dragon Wagon". Maybe next year.

But he did enjoy jumping around on this inflatable jumper.

And this was the first time in his life that Hikaru has seen a live "horse".

Mom thought she might be able to win a goldfish. This is a game were you try to throw a ping pong ball into a container of water. It's not as easy as it looks. I guess, that's life -- luck can only go so far...

Happy "Year of the Rat"! Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Life is a Beach

Happy Lunar New Year! One of the nice things about living in Southern California is the beach -- especially in the wintertime!

Yesterday we took a family trip to "Point Dume" near Malibu -- also called "Zuma". The name comes from an old native village called "Sumo" (meaning "abundance"). This is the land of the Chumash people.

Hikaru enjoyed scooping sand into various containers. He could do this all day.

Then he took a scenic hike up the rocks riding on Daddy's back.

Yeah, surf's up dude! Hikaru likes being a beach bum.

After touching the ocean water, he exclaims, "Water cold!" It is.

Hikaru explores the surface of the rock along the shore.

Indifferent to our presence, an egret searches for a meal.

Hikaru finds some seaweed!

Mommy and Hikaru have a race. Mommy won.

Hikaru finds and reaches for a sea anemone.

Here's a close-up photo. Yes, life is a beach!

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