Back From My India Trip

I came back from a month long trip to India on New Year’s eve afternoon.  I had a fourteen hour layover in Seoul, South Korea.  Not sure if I picked up some bug at Seoul or during the flight back to San Francisco, by night time of December 31st, I was sick to my bones.  As my family was still back in India, I tried to take care of the sickness as best as I could.  However things went from bad to worse and by the time my family came back from India I was a mess.  To make a long story short, 2018 started for me with sneezing, sniffling, runny nose, body ache, fever and topped off with a lingering cough that did not show any sign of going away.  Ultimately after ten days I went to the doctor today to ensure that I did not have secondary infection.  It was raining here from yesterday and visibility was poor.  It took me forty five minutes to get a parking place in the hospital and I was half an hour late for the appointment.  Luckily all the appointments were running late and I was able to see my doctor who assured me that there was no secondary infection and rest is the only thing I need to get well.

So here I am hoping that I can start where I left off at the end of November, 2017 and 2018 will be rewarding experience of blogging.

Wishing a belated happy, prosperous and wonderful New Year 2018 to all my readers.

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Deer Encounter

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She decided to pose for me
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And then there were two

Today morning during my morning walk with my four legged companion, Skooby, I was graced by the presence of this deer family.  I have seen them before but never been able to take a photo.  Generally Skooby will try to bark or try to give a chase.  But familiarity must have given rise to boredom or the short leash may have helped.  The doe kept eyeing me, assessing if we are any threat, moving slowly away from us and then stopping briefly to look at us again.  Everytime she stopped, I stopped. Finally she must have been reassured enough to stay at one place to shoot her, albeit with my cell phone.  Soon she had company but the big guy decided to stay at a distance, out of my cell phone camera’s reach for a good photograph.

Maybe this encounter today was predestined as my morning started with a post from Jane (A month with Yeats Day Fifteen) where she commented that a deer had come up to her window and peeped at her. There must be a deer connection somewhere.

Tuesday Photo Challenge : Woods

TuesdayPhotoChallenge Week 67

TPS7-25-2017

Pan’s flute lured
The lovers
Cruising the highways
In a drunken state
Down the hill
Car did slid
And came to rest
On the cradle of the woods
Long the lovers were gone
The wreck testimony
To the scheming madness
Of Pan and Bacchus
The woods bearing
For those who came after
A silent warning
To the sad demise
Of the star crossed lovers

Summer of 2017 – Part 5- Independence Day

Continued from previous post : http://wp.me/p73yZZ-3qq

On Independence Day, July 4th, my dog Skooby and I decided to be little independent and go for a morning hike at Almaden Quicksilver County Park.  The park is just a stone’s throw from my house and  one of the several park entrances is a walkable distance.  With Skooby I did not want to walk on the main road although major portions of the road did have a footpath.

PART 5: July 4, 2017 : Tuesday: Independence Day
The day started off well, sunny but cool with a nice breeze.  Skooby, being a good dog, decided to do his morning ritual at the start of the trail, thereby releasing me from the burden of carrying his load throughout the hike.  Starting of the trail had a steep gradient, but the path to the next junction was short and shaded.

I had in mind a short hike, about an hour and half up and half an hour down. But Skooby had different ideas. He wanted to have some side trips. I had to keep him on a tight leash as I heard a rattler (rattlesnake) about half a mile into my hike. This was a first in this trail in many years of hiking. Another hiker who was coming down the trail told me that he had also heard one when going up the trail. I was cautious after that. But when we came to creek with flowing water, it was difficult for me to stop Skooby. He had to explore and being a good, conscientious dog, he decided to add to the water volume of the creek. As per his request I did not photograph him on the act, though the gently flowing creek with soothing, gurgling sound assured me that it did not mind Skooby’s indiscretion. There was Skooby on the bottom right of the photo on the right, happily exploring.

Skooby’s act was for good measures as after this creek with flowing water, we were greeted by one dry creek after another.  A disappointed Skooby searching for water on the photo at bottom.

As we were climbing up, it was becoming humid and Skooby was panting. He was still game but seemed to be getting tired.  At eight and half years of age, the heat and the steep grading must have been tiresome for him.  In previous hikes he would always try to go in front of me trying to explore every bush.  Today he was just content to walk by my side or follow me.  I just may have missed a turn on the trail but the trail I took rewarded us with great vistas.

Reason for making this hike a short one was that we had a lunch invitation to attend to. But somewhere during one of Skooby’s side trips, I must have taken a wrong turn. It was getting warmer and I had to make a few stops to ensure that Skooby drank enough water. It was getting much longer than I anticipated. But every cloud has a silver lining. Longer hike resulted in a roaring appetite to do justice for the ensuing lunch party. Also the view of our lovely valley from the hilltop was fantastic.

By the time we were back to the parking lot, it became a ~ six miles hike, 1200 ft elevation and a good three hours of hiking.

A hike can’t be complete without a selfie. So here it is (just to prove that Skooby did not hike alone).
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May be continued as summer unfolds.

©All photographs in this post were taken by the author.  Readers are free to use with proper acknowledgement to the author.

Summer of 2017 – Part 4- Family Time

Continued from previous post : http://wp.me/p73yZZ-3oj

Sunday, July 2nd, I had to wiggle out from my weekend hiking to spend the day with the family. Normally our weekend hiking takes about three hours but including the drive back and forth, nearly the whole morning gets spent.  On Saturday, kids were talking about playing board games. One thing led to another and by the time we had some free time on our hands, everyone was tired.  It was a gorgeous summer day and we ended up with a nice pool side pre-independence day barbecue party with family friends.  All around us we could hear our neighbors enjoying the beautiful day with their own backyard parties.

PART 4: July 2, 2017 : Sunday: Family Time

After a leisurely breakfast, kids brought out some 10 different board games.  We had to vote to select two of them.  I have to confess that I am not an enthusiastic board game player.  I like scrabble but can’t keep my interest for very long playing other board games.  The two games that got selected, I had never played before.

Morning started out cool and the patio table by the poolside provided a good location for the four of us.  Once my son and daughter explained the rules, I did not find the games of “Exploding Kittens” and “Epidemic” that difficult to master.  But as the sun started moving in its trajectory towards the west, the day started to become hot.  Thankfully there was a cool breeze blowing that made it palatable.  Watermelon pieces and ice cold water was getting consumed first.  I volunteered to supply snacks and lunch.  With plenty of leftovers from the day before, arranging for food was not much of an issue.  However, I had an ulterior motive.  It provide me with an opportunity to go inside the house from time to time to cool off sufficiently.

By the time few rounds of Exploding Kittens and one really long round of Epidemic was over, it was nearly 3 PM.  We really had a good time but before the next round could start, I proposed driving to San Francisco.  Kids dragged their feet a little but ultimately agreed. Our dog Skooby was of course game for a drive, as always.  By the time we started for the 60 mile drive to San Francisco, it was nearly 5 PM.  My daughter, who drove the first 40 miles or so, was reluctant to drive in San Francisco and we switched in a vista point on HWy 280 with beautiful view of Crystal Spring reservoir to the west and San Francisco Bay to the east.

Surprisingly traffic in san Francisco was really light.  May be because it was already around 6:00 PM when we arrived near the ferry building, but I would always take light traffic in San Francisco compared to the regular maddening traffic.  However, being a Sunday and late evening, parking places along the piers were closed for the day.  Cruising around and looking for a suitable parking place ( and also trying to avoid the sky high parking rates of san Francisco), we ultimately found a place near pier 39 for a flat rate of $15 after 6;00 PM.  I did not have any intention of visiting pier 39.  Done that many times before.  It’s nothing but a tourist trap though it offers beautiful view of Alcatraz Islands  and surrounding areas during days that are not foggy.  Unfortunately for us, it was a cold evening.  Though the temperature officially was 54F, with wind blowing I thought it must be hovering around 40F.  All the watermelons and icy cold drinks  of the day and the sudden cold acted in tandem to hasten nature’s call.  Unfortunately, may be for the first time, I was greeted with long lines in Men’s Rest Rooms.  It was not a pleasant experience. Thankfully no harm done and from that point onwards, it was an enjoyable evening of sightseeing, eating and of course  taking photos.  By the time we returned back home for a well deserved rest, it was nearly midnight.


To be continued.

©All photographs in this post were taken by the author.  Readers are free to use with proper acknowledgement to the author.