Never to Late to Backpack

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Backpacking was been on my Bucket List for many years. As time passed by I wondered when I would have the time to learn about backpacking and most importantly find an expert to take me to the outdoors.  Most people do their first backpacking experience in their teens or younger, others in their early adulthood.  Here I am an adventurer at heart but I am no spring chicken.

I considered going on a REI backpacking group tour but didn’t feel comfortable going with a bunch of strangers. Especially since I would most likely hold the group back due to lack of conditioning. I also didn’t have the gear and I knew it would be a lot of money. So the years went by and I just kept my dream of backpacking that one day I would backpack.  My dream came true a few days ago.  I was guided by a special person who has been backpacking for most of his life.

I bought my gear which took a good chunk out of my tax refund. I went to REI and bought everything needed. Thanks to my mountain man the trip was planned and all I needed to do is condition and pack my backpack.

The problem is that I love the outdoors but I am too lazy to exercise.  In preparation for the backpacking trip I only walked 30 minutes per day for 4 days. When it came to packing I wanted to pack everything just on case I needed it. In normal city trips I pack everything including the kitchen sink, this time I was restricted.

I had many concerns about the trip but once I was outdoors all those concerns went away.  I carrying my heavy pack for 23.3 miles in the Point Reyes National Seashore.  I had good days and bad days but overall the hard work and sweat gave me new appreciation and a sense of calmness that I had no felt before.  Stay tune for a more detail blog of my backpacking trip.

My office is a Morgue

 

If you had to guess what I do for a living what would you say I do based on this picture?

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Morgue is the first thing that comes to mind for me. This is one of the reason why I go out and exploring on the weekends because my office just seem to dark right now.  I spend 8 hours of my life in this tiny room.  I see this every day, ever since the “rainy session” started in Southern California. Yes I put rainy session in quotations because compare to other parts of the country the “rainy session” is like mist compare to real storms in the Midwest. Nonetheless we had a record year of rainfall and since our roof has so many leaks due to lack of repairs, water just finds its way to my office.

My tiny office houses two monster printers, you know the kind of prints that you paid an arm and a leg for and still owe money.  Okay maybe I am exaggerating a little but you don’t want anything to happen to these printers.  One rainy day water started dripping into one of the printers, Panic Time! It caused a small part of the paper to get wet and since the print has an automatic printhead schedule to keep it started to clean the printhead on the wet paper. This in turn cause the paper to tear apart. It just look like the printer was a goner.  The landlord idea to protect the printers was to cover it with think black plastic which resembles a body bag.

Yes I can take the plastic bags off but we occasionally get rain here and there and I rather take the plastic off once it stops raining.  No matter if the bags come off I still have two huge printers to look at.  I rather look at photos of beautiful landscapes.  Every day I see beautiful photos of landscapes on my computer screen.  It’s like my computer is telling me, “come see these places in person, you don’t belong in the morgue.”  Where we really meant to live the majority of our lives in four walls?  Get out of those four walls and explore the world is waiting.

 

Wildflower Danger

 

How far are you willing to go to see or do something that will bring you joy?  Are you willing to risk your life or put other people in danger?  I guess it depends on the kind of person you are.  “No Pain No Gain,” right?  Well, I think my life is more valuable than seeing wildflowers on the side of the road.

This past weekend I was anxious to get on the road to see the incredible super bloom in the Southern California deserts. The closes desert to me is the Anza-Borrego Desert which I love to visit in pervious wildflower sessions.  In recent years the bloom has been less then remarkable due to the drought.   This year there has been record rainfall hence the super bloom.

Saturday came around and my original plans to visit Dixon Lake were cancelled.  Not knowing what to do the thought of checking out a local trail with the promise of wilflowers seem appealing.  I had heard on the radio that traffic to the Anza Borrego Desert was very bad so much so that the main arteries to the desert were packed with cars.  I decided to skip the crowds and just visit a local trail that had a beautiful yellow hillside of wildflowers.  That trail had many flowers but deep inside I was not satisfied with the flowers on the local trail.  I wanted to see the big show, the super bloom that everyone was talking about, well at least the people who like wildflowers.  Usually those people are travel bloggers and photographers were who post amazing photos of the colorful trails.

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DesertUSA.com has an excellent wilflower report.  I use it every year and highly recommend it.  For days I was reading the reports and looked at pictures being posted of various parts in Southern California. I was just dying to get out there.  Instead of going to my local desert I decided to drag my man to a closer spot in Lake Elsinore.  Walker Canyon was the hotspot for wildflowers.  DesertUSA gave the location and the exit which was Lake Street.  We headed to Walker Canyon. I was excited and was even planning the shots I would take.  I am sure he was thinking of all the stuff he could be doing instead of searching for wildflowers.  He was a trooper the whole time and I thank him for wanting to make me happy.

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As we got closer to Walker Canyon we started to notice that the traffic on the freeway was slowing down. It was hard not to notice the orange blanket covering the side of the mountains.  It was unbelievable.  What was even more unbelievable was the people stopping on the emergency lane to get off to take pictures of the wildflowers.  There were serveral cars parked in the emergency lane. Of course I would not be those people who would do something as ridiculous as that, I was dumb enough to get trapped in traffic.  Let me explain, as we got closer to Lake Street I notice from afar that the exit was at a stand still and there was a line of cars to exit. The cars formed a line on the emergency lane allowing freeway traffic to pass without slowing down.  Everything seem great, the flower hippies like me waited and did not block traffic and everything was good with the world until the chaos started.

As I drove closer to the exit ramp I got a clear view of the traffic on Lake Street and the long ramp.  There were so many people I know it would be hard to find parking on this non residential area next to the freeway.  I was sure we would be stuck in traffic for several hours plus any time needed to find parking and take photos.  I know that this would be a bad idea but I really wanted to see the poppy flowers growing on these mountains. I was willing to wait that is until I started to notice that cars on the slow lane started to bypass the line to exit, remember the line to exit was in the emergency lane.  More and more cars started to slow down the freeway and try to exit only to be awkwardly parked in the slow lane because there was no exit.  It wasn’t until I saw one car stop suddenly and just behind the car was a big RV who just managed to stop in time before it plowed through the cars lined up to see flowers.  That is when I realize how dangerous the situation was getting.  Traffic on the freeway started to look dangerous with some cars trying to get in the stalled traffic on the exit ramp ignoring the long line waiting on the emergency lane.   With not enough space to accelerate some cars just went for it and caused the freeway traffic stop suddenly.  When I saw the RV almost hit one of the cars wanting to get off the freeway that is when I made my decision, my life is worth more than wildflowers.  The traffic was becoming increasingly dangerous and I had a small window of opportunity to exit.  The more I tried to exit the more cars started to block me.  It wasn’t until another car stopped suddenly and blocked the freeway flow that I stepped on the gas and hoped that I got out before an accident accord.  As I drove pass the exit ramp I realize how the magnitude of the situation. Although the flowers were beautiful it was not worth getting into a car accident.

Disappointed I drove for several miles hoping to see more fields of wildflowers.  The further I was from Walker Canyon the dryer it looked.  We decided to just go home.  Disappointed but relieved of not being in that mess. We drove admiring the flowers from afar.  We did find a spot of wildflowers far away from the crowds and that is where I took some quick shots before I headed home.

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Helpful Tips

  • Visit the DesertUSA website for wildflower reports
  • Wake up early, VERY EARLY
  • Know that if a location is being published on social media, people are going to go so expect crowds.
  • Don’t block traffic some people just want to go home.

 

Links

http://www.desertusa.com/wildflo/wildupdates.html

Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden

 

I have visited the Japanese Friendship Garden (San Diego) in the past but never walked through the lower part of the garden due to time.  I figured I would visit the lower part of the garden during the next Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  I knew there were several cherry blossom trees in the lower garden and I imaged a beautiful place to be when the flowers started to bloom.

The garden is beautiful it has a tea house, several water features, Koi fish, and bamboo.  There is a small display of Japanese pottery and Bonsai trees.  There are several benches to sit on and in my previous visits to the garden, it seems like a great place to relax.  I do recommend to visit the garden at least two times. The first time when there are not special events or festivals, just remember it is a popular place to get married.  The second time is during the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  Word of advice, be prepared to be surrounded by a lot of people.  The following are helpful tips to enjoy the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival:

 

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Lower Garden
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Man drawing next to the Koi fish pond

 

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Helpful Tips

  • Prepare for crowds be patient.
  • Take water you might be standing in line for a while before you are able to get water.
  • Take cash, the line for admission is huge if you use a credit card.
  • Don’t bring large strollers, if you do be prepared to stop frequently.
  • Experience the food; just make sure you strategize getting what you need.  Send a person to get drinks while the other gets the food.

 

Links

http://www.niwa.org/

 

Tags

Japanese Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego, Cherry blossom Festival,

TBT=The Animal Portrait Project

TBT=Animal Portrait Project

Back in the days when San Diego’s Safari Park was the Wild Animal Park, I decided to challenge my photography skills by photographing each animal in the Wild Animal Park.  Years later I added San Diego Zoo as another place to photography animals.  The point was to take a portrait of the animals without the appearance of cages.   Sometimes I couldn’t avoid the cages, therefore some shots you can see the fence, cage or enclosure. I had a membership at the time and I could go to either park whenever I wanted too.  I figured I had plenty of time to photograph each animal.  Well, at least the ones who didn’t seem to be in a cage.

I took my time, each year renewing my membership and each year forgetting to visit the two parks.  The times I did visit the parks, I started to notice that I was slowly getting better, less blurry photos and more interesting angles.  Then one day I forgot to renew my membership which included 4 free guest passes.  Today’s membership does not include the 4 free guest passes, therefore I decided not to renew it again.  Sadly I didn’t finish my Animal Portrait Project.

 

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This orangutan was one of my favorite animals to photography.  At the time when I took these photos, there was a young orangutan jumping, swinging and rolling in front of this crowd.  Everyone was taking pictures of this young orangutan.  Since it was crowded on one corner of the habitat I moved to the opposite side of the habitat to wait patiently for this young orangutan to come my way so I could get an undisturbed photo of him playing.  The young orangutan was putting up a show for the crowd so I decided to focus my attention to an older orangutan closer to me who was patiently seeing the young orangutan play.

As I turn my camera to the older orangutan it looked straight at me.  I snapped a picture.  Then I lowered my camera to check the photos, saw it was ok I aimed that camera towards the older orangutan and snapped another photo.  The orangutan figured I was giving him my attention so something surprising happened, the orangutan started to pose for me.  When I say pose I mean the orangutan would look straight into my camera pose, wait for a few seconds then change his position, look at me waited and posed again.  We did this for a while.  I kept on taking photos of this orangutan because he was posing for me only.  I know this because other people started to see that the older orangutan was moving within the habitat and wanted to take pictures of him.  The orangutan would only look into my camera and ignored the rest.  I even overheard someone saying that the orangutan was posing for me. The older orangutan and I shared a connection at that moment.  When I came home and viewed the pictures I was happy and sad for this orangutan.  I was happy because of the connection we had and the many poses he did for me. I was sad because of the intelligence he showed and awareness of the place he was living in. He will always live inside a “habitat.”  I do have to say that without the existence of the Safari Park or San Diego Zoo I would never see these animals in person. Maybe the San Diego Zoo will give me an annual pass to complete my project wishful thinking.  This is so far what I have.

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Museum Month

February is not just the month of love but it is also museum month in San Diego. The San Diego Museum Council and Macy’s teamed up again every year for Museum Month. They are giving people the opportunity to visit one of the 40 area museums at 50% off general admission.

All you have to do is pick up a Museum Month Pass February 1 at any of the area (San Diego, Temecula and Imperial Valley Macy’s) Macy’s store to enjoy half-off admission to all of the participating museums through the entire month of February.  Hurry because these passes go quick. You can share the love of museums by bring 3 other people and they too will get half-off. This is a great time to visit Balboa Park in San Diego and visit as many museums as you can. I have only visited a few of the museums but I plan to visit a new museum each year.

Participating museum’s include:

  • Adobe Chapel
  • Barona Cultural Center & Museum
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • Bonita Museum & Cultural Center
  • California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum
  • California Surf Museum
  • Coronado Museum of History & Art
  • Fleet Science Center, Galleries only
  • Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
  • Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
  • Heritage of the Americas Museum
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Junipero Serra Museum
  • La Jolla Historical Society
  • Living Coast Discovery Center
  • Lux Art Institute
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Marston House Museum & Gardens
  • Mingei International Museum
  • Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Downtown
  • Museum of Making Music
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • New Americans Museum
  • Oceanside Museum of Art
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • San Diego Archaeological Center
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • San Diego Botanic Garden
  • San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
  • San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
  • San Diego History Center
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • The New Children’s Museum
  • The San Diego Museum of Art
  • Tijuana Estuary Visitors Center
  • Timken Museum of Art
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Veterans  Museum at Balboa Park
  • Visions Art Museum
  • Warner-Carrillo Ranch House & Museum
  • Water Conservation Garden
  • Whaley House Museum
  • Women’s Museum of California

Trail of Whispering Giants

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Me and Waokiye

Imagine coming face to face with a Native American that is 20 feet tall.  Ok, there is no such thing but I did come across a Native American sculpture carved from a tree trunk that was at least 20 feet tall.  Maybe even taller, I didn’t have my measuring tape at the time.  Waokiye is the name of the sculpture made out of a sequoia tree and this massive trunk is located in Desert Hot Springs.  More specifically it is located on the Cabot’s Pueblo Museum grounds.  Come back and for a future post on Cabot’s Pueblo Museum.

It is an impressive sculpture and you can’t help it but look up and be mesmerized but the detail of each line carved.  This sculpture is part of a series called The Trail of Whispering Giants.  The Hungarian-born artist by the name of Peter Wolf Toth dedicated several years of his life creating one sculpture at a time.  His dream at the time was to carve a sculpture of different Native Americans, one for each state.  His last sculpture was made in 2008.

He made these sculptures in honor of the Native Americans who have suffered “a lot of injustice, just like his people did”.  The sculptures are truly magnificent. I would like to seem all of the sculpture when I visit all of the National Parks in the US. This is going on my Bucket List.

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Waokiye
Waokiye

Someday is not a Day of the Week

Someday is not a Day of the Week.

Have you ever caught yourself saying “Someday I will travel around the world,” or “Someday I will go on a road trip.”  I know I have said those words before.  For me it was, “someday I will visit the Amazon,” “someday I will go to Hawaii”.  That “someday” would never come.  Someday represented a dream that I know would never come true but it was nice to dream about.  I would just file the idea away in the back of my head for it to someday come back up.

One day that “someday” did come.  My sister and her family had planned a trip to Hawai’i she asked if I wanted to come with them on their vacation.  I declined; I didn’t have the funds to make such a trip and didn’t want to take advantage of their invitation by tagging along.  So after taking them to the airport, I stayed at home alone.  It was Friday evening and I was watching TV when I got the first call.

It was my sister, the excitement in her voice was so overwhelming, she couldn’t stop telling me how beautiful it was and how I needed to come.  I laughed and listen as she explained to me the beauty of the place that she could not put in words.  I informed her again that I would stay at home and told her to enjoy the trip.  After I hung up, she called again.  Then I got calls from my nephews and niece.  At this point, everyone was calling me to come to Hawai’i.  They were so persistent that I booked and early morning flight to Hawai’i and drove myself to the airport the next day.

It was the best thing I could have ever done at that point in my life.  Prior to Hawai’i,  “someday” really meant, I wish I can go there but that will never happen.  After Hawai’i “someday” means dreams do come true.  I no longer say “someday” I now say, “I will …” I know you have heard “Someday is not a day in the week,” well it is true. You don’t see Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Someday.  Someday does not exist.

People spend so much time looking at beautiful photos of exotic places wishing they were there.  The word “someday” always comes up.  It is time to stop looking at pretty pictures and look for a flight or a road that will take you to that place.  Someday will never come but there are 7 days in the week that come every week.  What stops you from converting that “someday” to “I will” and take action.

You need to recharge your batteries and live your life.  Explore California or any place you want, just get out there.  What is that “someday I will…” for you? Have you made any steps towards making that someday come true?

TBT=Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

I woke up on a Saturday (10/15/2015) with a sudden urge to explore.  I didn’t know where I wanted to go but I knew I had to visit some place new.  I checked by Bucket Travel List and found Leo Carrillo Ranch.  This place was recommended by AnaKaren. Thank you AnaKaren for recommending this place I should have visited it sooner.

I got my cameras ready and headed to the ranch. I had no idea who Leo Carrillo was but apparently he was very famous in his time.  After some quick research online and a short video at the visitor center, I begin to admire this man. Not for his movies or his television series but for what he did for California and preserving its beauty.  He worked for California Beaches and Parks Commission at some point in his life. During that time he was a key factor in the acquisition of Hearst Castle, he helped developed Los Angeles Olvera Street complex and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. After visiting all three attractions I am truly thankful that men like Leo Cabrillo were able to set aside these beautiful locations for everyone to see.

When I arrived to the Ranch it seemed empty due to the size.  I entered the visitor center and I was greeted by a friendly staff who gave me information about the ranch and allowed me to see a 10-minute video.  After the short film, I walked alone and just took my time.  I did go on the free tour guide because I know I wanted to sit down and admire the ranch.  Since this place is used for wedding receptions, the pool area of the ranch as well as the cabana were being occupied by the wedding planner and set up crew.  I was not able to access that area however I did take photos from far away.  I did enjoy my time there, it was truly relaxing and did not have the feel of a tourist attraction, it was more like an invitation to someone’s ranch. I saw several people take food to enjoy a picnic on the ranch grounds. I highly recommend this since it is a quiet place to enjoy a nice meal.

 

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Why Blog

There are millions of travel blogs out there some bloggers have been at it for years, so why blog?  Do I believe that anyone will follow me or take interest in by blogs?  Yes, I do believe that! Why? Because I am a dreamer! I like to dream big and I like to create.  I often loose myself dreaming about what could be and how I wish I could do … but reality always kicks in.  I have responsibilities and time is against me.

I know that I am a small fish in a huge ocean, but my journey is one of a kind.  Yes, there are travel guides, bloggers and real outdoor people exploring California right at this moment, but not all of those explorers are writing down their adventures and not all explorers will have the same experiences.

The reason I am blogging is because I want to inspire someone to get out there.  I want to record my adventures, my accomplishments, and my failures. Facebook, You Tube and Instagram are great platforms to share my adventures but I need a blog that I can customize any way I want it. I want to share with you the beauty of California.  I want to see all of California.  I haven’t been to the northern section of California and I have lived in California all my life.  I want to be a tour guide for my family and friends.  Most of all I want to enjoy my life and traveling is an enjoyment for me.  Thank you for reading.

California’s Neighbor is in Trouble

California shares a border with Tijuana (city), Baja California (state), Mexico (country), like any border in the world there are always issues that affect both countries sharing that border. 20170108_175921 Today I felt like I was living in a bubble oblivious to what is happening right next door and the world.  Without getting too political there are issues that can’t be ignored when you live in a border state. There may be a border between Mexico and the US however when there is a crisis in Mexico the border state like California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are the first to notice it.  Today my eyes were open and I had a reality check.

Living in Southern California has its benefits.  Since we share the border with Mexico it is easy to drive to Mexico and enjoy a day of Mexican culture.  There is great food, great Mexican made products and cheap medication among other things.

 

I got an invitation on Saturday 1/7/2017 from my family to spend the afternoon in Tijuana (Californians call Tijuana, TJ).  We drove to San Ysidro (US city) official border crossing. We immediately notice the difference.  You see several years ago there was a parking lot in which US citizens could park their cars on the US side and walk to Mexico.  That parking lot has been ripped out and it is currently under constructions.  Next to this construction site is a huge Outlet of stores with a view of the border fence and the Border Patrol guarding it.  After asking around we finally were directed to the correct path to enter TJ.  It was a long walk, I mean compared to what it used to be.  We had to walk on a bridge and go around buildings to get to the entrance.

We entered Mexico with no issue. It’s not like many people were entering today, that should have been my first clue that something was not right.  As we walked along the long walkway I notice a few men and woman asking for money.  What was strange was that there was only a small number asking for money, unlike before when you were followed by a group made up of women and children asking for money from the tourist.  Once we passed the beggars we were surrounded by taxi drivers dressed in yellow shirts who drove a yellow cab.  All I heard was “Taxi? Taxi? Taxi? It reminded of the movie Finding Nemo in which Marlin and Dory are flopping on the wooden pier as the seagulls fought between each other saying, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”  We hopped into a yellow taxi and our journey began.  The taxi driver offered to take us to Ensenada another tourist city further down south in Baja California, Mexico.  We declined and requested for him to drop us near the shopping center in the downtown area.

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Gas Shortage

As our driver drove us to the downtown district of TJ he started to inform us about the price of the fair and how the gasoline shortage has affected everyone in TJ. I started to notice the gasoline station that was closed to the public due to the gasoline shortage.  The more we drove the more I saw closed gasoline stations. The driver informed us that the pipes are being blocked and people don’t know what to do since they can’t find gasoline anywhere.  We recently had a couple visit us from Guanajuato, Mexico. They informed us that it is getting difficult to find gasoline. They have to drive really far just to fill up their car tanks.  The driver who drove us back to the border line to cross back to the US informed us that it is even harder for his taxi company (white taxi cabs) to survive since the yellow shirt taxi owner has political ties.  He uses his political ties to fill up his taxis with gasoline during the gasoline shortage which means that other taxi drivers are losing business. Yellow taxi drivers are monopolizing and profiting during this gasoline shortage. Apparently, there were several protests happening during our time in TJ.  So why is there a gasoline shortage?  I read that Mexico increase gasoline prices and all of Mexico are protesting the rate hike.  Many protesters are blocking the distribution centers and blocking the supply lines to the nation.  People are becoming desperate. I heard the desperation on the white taxi driver.  It almost seemed like he was trying to find the quickest way to the borderline to minimize gasoline usage.

Closed for Business

We walked along the downtown area in TJ, oblivious to what was in front of us.  Although there are shops everywhere, not all shops open for business.  Years prior, every shop would be open and it would be difficult to walk due to the amount of people on the street.  Today it was easy to walk through the uncrowded streets of TJ.

We enjoyed the day looking at the Mexican art and products being sold.  What was interesting was that we didn’t have to haggle as much as we use to because the vendors had low prices from the beginning.  They just wanted to sell something. The gasoline shortage is affecting business. People don’t have enough gasoline to reach their work.  There have been deaths and looting in various part of Mexico, business owners are protecting their business by simply not opening for business.

Where are the Tourists?

TJ is a party town for young Americans to spend the weekend drinking and partying. Back in the days, you would see Whites, African-American, Mexican-Americans from the states walking the streets looking for the next bar or club to continue partying.  Today I only saw Mexican and Mexican-Americans walking the streets.  Having family members who are half white, it was a bit unnerving walking in TJ.  We figured that it was not safe anymore.  I later read the travel advisory in regards to traveling to Mexico.  If there is no gasoline and business are closed add the danger of looting during a demonstration, this is a recipe for the lack of tourist in TJ.

Haitian Population Growing

While we were enjoying some street performers impersonate some famous Mexican singers, one of the performers started giving shout outs to the various Mexican states that visitors came from.20170107_154054  At one point the performer gave a shout out to Haiti. When I turned I saw a group of Haitians enjoying the performance.  You have to understand normally you see people from different nations visiting TJ.  Today there were only Mexican, Mexican-Americans and Haitian.  When we started walking again I started to notice more and more Haitians.  On our way back to the border crossing we asked the cab driver about the Haitians.  He informed us that they had arrived 3 months ago. As we drove several blocks he said “look, this all belongs to them,” meaning the Haitians.  The driver told us that every day two trucks come and deliver food to the Haitian growing population.  He informed us that the shelters are full and more Haitians are coming.  The driver was not familiar as to why they are in Mexico but all he knew was that Haiti is a poor country and this is why the Haitians are coming to Mexico waiting to cross to the US.

When I arrived home I started reading newspaper articles in regards to the growing population of Haitians in Mexico.  After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, many Haitians moved to Brazil.  Brazil fell into recession for reasons I am not familiar with and the Haitians had to make the decision to make the hard and dangerous journey to TJ in hopes that the US will allow them asylum.  Many took buses, taxis even walked thousands of miles to get to the US border.  From what I read there are thousands of Haitian making the journey to the US right now.   The US detention cells are filled to capacity and many Haitians are being released in California and Arizona with a mandatory court date appearances to relieve the detention cells on the US side.  Meanwhile, the Haitians in TJ  are waiting for their opportunity to be granted asylum to the US.  It is a desperate situation for the Haitians stuck in a country that is not their own, waiting to enter the US with the hope of having a better future.

This blog is just a record of my observation while visiting TJ.  I am positive there are many factors I have not mention that are the cause of the shortage of gasoline in Mexico, closed business, lack of tourist in a tourist border city and the influx of Haitians in TJ.  I admit that I am not aware of my surroundings and I am ignorant of the events outside of my protective bubble.  I know I am not the only one that has been living in a bubble.  I personally get distracted with everyday events that affect me and my immediate surroundings.  Of course, this does not mean I should not care about what is happening in the world.  This trip was an eye opener to the bitter reality around me.  I do plan on becoming more informed of what is happening in the world and if possible become more involved.  I urge you to do your own research in regards to my observations while visiting TJ.  I know that some of you have visited TJ and had different experiences from the one I had today.  Please share your experience with me.  I would like to hear from you.  Most importantly don’t make the same mistake I did of just going to a place without research or at least know what is going on in your surroundings.  The truth is that we could have been caught in a dangerous situation if we didn’t leave at the time we did.  The border patrol officer who let us in informed us that there was going to be a demonstration at the entry port that afternoon.  Beware of your surroundings.  Once again thank you for reading.

Santa, is that you? 

Santa Claus on Vacation

Ever wonder what happens to Santa once Christmas is over?  Does he come back after flying round the world on his magical reindeer sleigh and starts the whole toy making process all over again?  He comes back to the North Pole and delivers his “good job” speech to the awaiting elves and says,

“It was a great year! Deliveries were on schedule.  Had a hoof problem with Dancer he started dancing to this noise he heard in California, I believe they call it music and cracked his hoof. Rudolph’s nose got us through some thick fog in San Francisco and like always we skipped Mexico. They are waiting for the Three Wise Men.  I got sick eating cookies 5 times and tossed my cookies all 5 times.  I wish these kids could leave some food, maybe some ham with mash potato and gravy.  Me love some gravy.  They need to start leaving anti-acid tablets. Don’t get me started on the milk.  Doesn’t anyone know I am lactose intolerant?  Ok, I am getting off track, but my dear hard working elves thank you for your time and dedication.  We do need to reduce the number of trucks, bikes, dolls and non-electronic toy and make more iPads, iPhones, and tablets.  Now that Christmas is over take your well-deserved 1-hour break and let start fabricating those tablets.  We have a big order to fill and we have 364 days to fill it.  Merry Christmas Ho, Ho, Ho!”

Or, do Santa and the elves party and take a break from toy making for a few months?  Does Santa ever leave the North Pole?  Does he always travel by sleigh?

Well, ladies and gentleman, Santa Claus was spotted in California! It seems he does take vacations.  He is currently in Southern California in Sunny San Diego.  He was spotted driving the I-15 freeway on his custom tricycle.  Probably made by the elves, those elves sure have a great imagination.

Santa Claus
Santa Claus

It seems he had an encounter of the third kind because he has a UFO attached to his tricycle.  Maybe Santa is good friends with the aliens from outer space that come and visit our planet.  After all, they do have a lot in common. Both the aliens and Santa fly, people have a hard time believing they exist.  Both Santa and aliens visit the humans when they are asleep and leave things for humans to find.  When people talk about either Santa or aliens they are ruled out to be crazy.  Maybe Santa and the aliens party with the Easter Bunny.  If anyone has seen Santa lately please share your experience.  Once again thank you for reading my blog.