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Ventura, CA. This is currently where I reside. I’ve been here for about 3 years now, give and take. ;) And for a half day, I played a little tourist in my own county of residence.
First off, I had my lunch for the day at the Mugu Rock. A lot of car commercials are set here. As a matter of fact, when I was there some people are shooting a car model. Iron Man also flew over and landed here.
Then I went to Olivas Adobe.
This is Ventura County’s only remaining Monterey-style adobe home from the Rancho era. Only a few historic places here in Ventura, Olivas Adobe is a historical site in its truest sense showing how the waelthy settlers used to live way back in 1800′s.
The best time to come here is during the weekends where the docents are available to show you the ropes. I was here during the weekday but there’s a class field trip that day that I got lucky to shamelessly get in with them to learn from the guides. :D
I’ll give you one. These chairs are not just regular chairs.
They were also used as …
And it’s the boys who empty them out. :D
And ow, they have a rose garden.
Enough of Olivas Adobe…
I then went to another mission, San Buenaventura Mission. I’ve been here before but didn’t take any picture. I went to town this time. :D
They have the best mini-museum showing old books and clothes. They also have a nice courtyard.
It’s a nice decent mission given it being small.
I ended the day with ….
… in Silver Strand Beach in Channel Islands.
I hope you enjoyed our half-a-day tour.
Want to know more of Ventura. Check out my Ventura tag.
Gusuku are usually located in high places or hills overlooking a city.
They are built with elongated sturdy stonewalls.
Gusuku normally has a sacred area. People visit these sacred areas as a place for worship til today. It makes most gusuku a part of Okinawa’s historical sites.
The most prominent one, because it was reconstructed after World War II, is the palace of Shuri.
Gusuku are, in simple term, castles or fortress during the Ryukyu period. Most of their walls or main foundations are that remain. During the Ryukyu period, these fortress are as simple as the stonewalls, solely to protect kingdom people to do work and trades using the high grounds for outlook and the sacred areas to pray to guardian spirits.
My most favorite Okinawa castle ruin is Katsuren.
Wikipedia listed 20 castle ruins in Okinawa. I’ve been to five of it. I’m that awesome. :D It’s hard for a commuter to go places, yah know. The first one I visited is Zamiki Castle.
We saw a couple on their kimono.
The area we went to in Cape Kyan is actually a gusuku.
Urasoe is also currently under reconstruction.
Obvious recommended places to go to in Okinawa are Churaumi Aquarium, Shuri Castle and Okinawa World. Obvious must do and see are snorkelling, any festival, and cherry blossom. If you happened to have an ample time in Okinawa, consider visiting a gusuku or two. Reimagine Okinawa as it used to be and go see Okinawa in good views.
Took a half day tour to Solvang, California in Santa Barbara, coomunity of Santa Ynez Valley.
First, I drove passing along the oh-so beautiful Pacific Coast Highway.
My first stop was an early morning quick and easy hike to Nojoqui Falls. The first time I was here the waterfall was dry. But now look!
With all the talk about California suffering from drought, it’s nice to know that there’s water trinkling down this waterfall.
For those of you who are planning to come here, it is better to do so afterit rained. Also, don’t miss the exit from the highway. This place is somewhat secluded.
See it without the water – Throwback Thursday: Weather Woes
Then I headed to Solvang for a bit o’Denmark.
Solvang is one of the places where I get to get my European travel fix.
Unlike most California travel destinations, parking here if free.
It’s a”Little Denmark” in California.
I sampled me some chocolates while over here, and bought me some ice cream. There’s free ice cream tasting too but I knew what I wanted. Plenty more good food including of course their signature, duh, danish pastry.
At night, everything is illuminated! Including the trees and the houses.
Moving on, a little bit of walk and I got to Santa Ynez Mission. This is the eighth mission I visited.
Although this time, I didn’t enter the inside.
Last, driving back I stopped to a couple of vistas to see Cachuma Lake.
It’s actually an artificial lake used as water basin.
Returning back, I continued driving down the scenic though zig-zaggy Chumash Highway.
A fulfilling half day, I think. :D
Here’s to a blog who is outstanding in combining awesome images with very fitting and beautiful words – Darla Welcher’s Through The Lens.
You anticipate your return or departure. You already asked someone to meet you at the airport. You ate a tiny packet of peanuts on the plane. You bottle your thoughts and emotions inside you. And …. BAM! A lay-over.
My best lay-over was in Singapore dating back in 2006. We got to spend two days and one night there. I do not have pictures to show, but I remember my quick stay there so well.
My worst was in Narita, Japan. I was flying with Northwest Airline on my way to Philippines. The airline provided us a night a hotel room, but we couldn’t get outside to wander around. People were so pissed that the flight got delayed. Their connection flights are screwed. Meeting their families was put on hold. Layovers can just really be frustrating.
Our company flight from Okinawa to California was a painful one as well. We had a lot of stops, and we had to wait for good hours during those stops. However, one of our stops was in Waikiki, Hawaii where got to stay in a fancy hotel paid by my company including our food! ;)
All images are taken with Samsung S3.
We only had 8 hours there so our gander was very minimal. We just walked around the coconut-y streets …
Took a quick glance of the beach …
Ate at a restaurant where I ordered me a plate of Hawaiian fried rice. ;)
Entered a souvenir shop where I bought a shot glass for me and a globe for my sister. Leis and Hawaiian shirts (duh!) are all over the place.
Our quick stay there was even cut shorter when it rained that afternoon. With no more change of clothes and the night was nearing, we just stayed at our hotel.
I never really planned nor thought of being in Hawaii so it was a very neat thing that I get to see it even just for a very short time. Another cool thing is that I have a good friend that’s from Waikiki, Hawaii. It’s just nice to actually see it after all the stories he’s told me.
After a little more refreshments and hours to kill, we continued our journey back to sunny California…
So, what is your best and/or worst lay-over/airport stop?
FEATURED BLOG HIGHLIGHTS
Three of my previous Featured Bloggers have other blogs. Take a look…
Allan of Modes of Flight actually has a main site called Hammer Home Street Photography.
Sylvia or Adin created her “Hammock Lady” blog, Another Day in Paradise.
Eloquent writer, Free Penny Press, is now shooting incredibly amazing images at Six Degrees Photography.
I’m just going to mumble and jumble around on my reflections out of my stay in Okinawa.
1. It’s a small world after all.
The world is big. There I was, landed in Okinawa, a very small part of Japan. And Japan, not in the slightest, has a very unique culture. One of their great attributes is really the fact that their traditions are still in tact. It’s incredible. Even I cannot compare that to my own motherland. It makes me realize though that if you take a moment, even just a minute, to know someone who is far different from you, you will eventually find similarity, a common ground. That despite differences, we are all the same. That’s a contradictory statement but that’s what I got when I talked to this two friendly Japanese girls.
They were the one who approached me. I tried my best to understand what they were saying. They were scribbling down their notebooks. They have a lot of drawings, and poems written on it, both Japanese and English. I saw that they drew minions of the movie Despicable Me. I pulled out cellphone and showed them that I play the apps Minion Rush. They smiled and showed that they too play the same cell phone apps.
I’m not just talking about culture from culture. If you take a minute to communicate with someone maybe you don’t get along, someone you feel awkward to talk to, or someone you even hate, you can find a commonality between each other. And then you can work on that common ground, explore it, expand it or dispose it. Either way, you find something and you define yourself among the others around you. If we can just listen, amidst barriers, difficulties and differences, you’ll quickly realize there’s a connection amongst us all.
2. Lost in Translation
It’s sometimes frustrating not understanding signs or other people with different language other than yours. I, myself, even got mad at a taxi driver before. It was so difficult to communicate with him, he was smiling at our questions and I really felt like he was stalling us. It’s awful to see the meter going up without an insurance that we would get to our destination so I really showed my frustration to that taxi driver. I really felt bad afterwards. You can find yourself easily lost when you approach a restaurant menu, a vending machine, an arcade game or looking at signs on the road. In the end, it made me realize how awesome it is to experience that. When you buy something or order at a restaurant, there’s a lot of body movements and hand gestures that go on first before you get to your point. And that’s amazing! I definitely extended my patience from being there.
One of my Featured Bloggers, Johanez Jonas, advised it best – Go to places where people don’t know your language.
3. Live while we’re young.
It happened during our first night out in Okinawa. There’s this group of kids that were dancing to the tune of this pop song that in chorus it goes “Tonight, let’s get some and live while we’re young.” All the kids were smiling, looking so happy as they dance and jump around, and they really just look so jaunty. It was so memorable. That moment was so infectious, I carried the message of the song and the smiles on their faces all throughout my stay in Okinawa. It added more on my zest for life, go-getter attitude.
[I don't have the picture of that particular group but I will upload it and edit this post when I can.]
4. May Peace Prevail on Earth
Japanese people are the nicest group of people I know. Coming here on the island, we were warned not to worry about our belongings if we left it inside a taxi. They will go out of their way to bring it back. I experienced and proved that when someone chased me up to when I was going down the stairs just to return back the money I overpaid. And they really are just very well-mannered people. These are things I just don’t expect in other countries or areas I’ve ever been to. It’s even more exponentially admirable, amenable to think that they had a horrible part in history. Today, Japanese will tell you that the bombing of Pearl Harbor is the most humilitating part of history they wish to never happen again.
I guess, we all can really learn from them.
Some more of Okinawa …
Although Linda Arthur Tejera of Living With My Ancestors just recently bought a fancy camera, my favorite post from this prolofic photo challenge machine is this set of iPhone pics.
I always hear the traditional Okinawan folk music some place nearby when I’m at work. It sounds peaceful, solemn, oracular. I know somewhere in this island, some of the locals are either kneeling or bowing down their heads to honor spirits. When the new year starts, the rests of the world light fireworks while Japan welcomes it with quiet worships to shrines, temples, or even domestic. The poets are writing haikus as another New Year tradition. Cities of Okinawa may be flourishing with modernity, exposed with American influences, or bustling with their daily work, but there is a definite serenity in the air. There’s an old woman sitting down on a bench, looking at trees or the green grass at the park. There’s a kid rolling his bike’s wheels down the streets. There’s noodles boiling on the stove waiting to be served in just a few minutes. A Japanese girl is giggling, barely laughing. They’re conservative, reserved, and polite. It is considered rude to play loud music in public. Except during festivals, or when thundering taiko drums are booming by its beats and the performers yell out “Ha ii yah”. Even then, it’s something of a ritual. Okinawan traditions are still in tact, and continues in a routine basis. The true Okinawa lifestyle can never stripped from it. The slippers are left on the doorsteps, bare feet touching the wooden floors. The old will remain. The leaves of the trees in the jungle areas will continually sing with the wind. That sound of Okinawan instrument, sanshin, plays fluidly with the nature’s sounds. There really is a certain tranquility feel enveloping this island.
Naha and Nago are in opposite ends of Okinawa. There are definite comparisons to both, but they are not completely opposite. One can experience both sides of the spectrum in each end.
Nago (North) is much closer to nature while Naha (South) is more concreted.
This is much to what Japan is about. It’s a land of juxtaposition, a country of great contrasts.
After having so much fun during our spontaneous joyride adventure to Cape Hedo, the northernmost end, it was only a matter time that I explored a planned trip to Cape Kyan, the southernmost tip of Okinawa. The irony couldn’t be any funnier. Our serendipitous exploration to Cape Hedo was smooth while our planned trip to Cape Kyan turned out to be a series of disastrous mistakes. To cut the story short, we had a map but we just couldn’t find make our way there. It was an adventure nonetheless. Although, it really worried me that we may not find it in time. The sun was starting to set. The cloud was getting gloomier. Luck did find us and we rolled to a stop before everything gotten dark.
Even though it was planned, none of us really knew what we were going to expect to see when we got there. Due to time constriction, we didn’t get to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was within our sight. So close! We particularly got to Gushikawa Castle Ruins. Instead of the lighthouse, we saw small caves.
Last Calls …
This side of a more tranquil Naha shares a grim historical part of the Battle of Okinawa. Some of the final bouts of Battle of Okinawa took place here, and where many Japanese soldiers and civilian jumped off the cliff committing suicide.
- Cape Kyan -
- Taken from Battle of Okinawa Memorial Site -
I can almost hear quietude screaming its lungs out.
Care to read?
Here’s an eloquent writer and a bookworm who reviews movies and books, features interviews, exhibits illustration covers, complains about post-college life (not my words), records travel and adventures and writes random “vittles”. Literary Vittles is a blog with substance full of well-educated musings, honest assestments, and interesting as well as entertaining subjects.
It started with a series of Flashback Friday posts where, while I was in California, I get to turn back the time and revisit some of my travel destinations in Europe and Philippines. Then it now continues with Throwback Thursday where, while I’m here in Japan, I get to turn back the time and revisit some of my travel destinations in California. And now that my time here is coming to an end, this will be the last of my Throwback Thursday post. In February, for now, I will be revisiting my time here in Japan, and even older travel destiantions, when I get to California, and I will call it Memory Monday. ;)
Remember Europe in California? Well here is the Asia version…
California is arguably the most racially diverse state in the nation. You get in a place, look around, and you’ll never find just one racial group. Here, it isn’t difficult to cross-culture. I have a pleasure of knowing that I have plenty of options to satisfy wherever my desire and imagination decide to go or be. I can walk to the end of my street, and I can choose what kind of cuisine to eat. On the way, I can come across people of different backgrounds. I can travel further a mile or two, and it’s as if I can get transported somewhere else in the world.
The above image is taken from Chinatown in LA. Perhaps the easily recognizable place to go to experience Asian culture in California are Chinatowns in both LA and San Francisco.
Let’s go to Japan in California…
Out of the 16 museums in Balboa Park in San Diego, my personal favorite is Mingei International Museum. They have a really nice display portion for Japan culture.
California has Chinatown, Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and even Little Italy.
Karaoke singing at the center stage, Habachi dining, Hello Kitty/Sanrio shops, and wish paper are some of the things you can experience in Little Tokyo.
This next one is from Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Arts…
Moving on. My most favorite Asian places in California happens to be my first travel destination when I got back to California in 2011….
…Hsi Lai Temple.It’s so amazing that this hidden Asian gem is sitting atop a hill amongst the modernized, bustling city of LA.
You see, it’s very easy to cross-culture in California. It may not be the same, but it’s just an awesome thing to know that you can go to and experience an entirely different environment without crossing over seas.
So do you know where the Asian places in your area? If not, I think it’s time for you to do some research. ;)
Cross-culture in SoCAL?
Suebee and Kat is an instant pro-blog in a matter of days. You can see Korean Friendship Bell, Japanese Pavilion in LACMA, Noodle Soup restaurant, Irish Dance Costumes, Brazilian Dance, Vietnamese Exhibit in Pico House Gallery, Dia De Los Muertos Gallery and Pacific Asia Museum, just some of their cross-culture sightings. My favorite, however, is a post that shows pictures of Kat’s grandma.
How much is food a part of your travel? What’s your most notable food exploration amongst all your travels?
I love this next featured blog. Learn so much more about Japan culture and traditions from an English-learning Japanese blogger, milukiriu. Read fascinating information and stories, myths and histories. Watch some festival videos. Experience their Japanese holiday tradition and celebration style, and its differences from other culture. Milu’s Dream Traveler is one of my few favorite Japanese blogs.
Some people would say, “What is travel without food”. I say it’s still a travel. My blog shows evidences that food is not a big part of my travels. Being a very spontaneous, shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy I just let the chips fall where they may. I don’t plan on what I was going to eat when I travel. I’m actually stingy with food when I travel. I sometimes just bring a lunch box before I head out. I am no epicurean. I even buy those taquitos, hotdog or small burger at gas stations because they’re filling for such small price. If you eat near your travel destination, you expect the cost to be higher than regular. I sure can sacrifice food in replacement to other travel expenses.
There’s an exception to every rule, of course. That means, there must also be an exception to the rule that every rule has an exception. Unless the food exploration is the travel destination itself, then I’m all for it!
Itadakimasu! (Let’s eat!) This is Food and Travel, Japanese version. ;)
One of the most well-known festival food here in Okinawa is takoyaki or octopus balls. Don’t get excited. These are not actually “crown jewels”. :D They are just octopus meat in a shape of a ball. These balls don’t dribble either. However, these balls do come in a very satisfying package. :lol: Not my liking, but definitely worth the try when in Okinawa. The takoyaki, that is. :D
Most festival stalls also sell churros (better believe it, although it’s more like a snack junk food) grilled meat on a stick, fries, corn, and this delicious noodles …
One of the biggest surprises for me coming here in Japan is their sushi. Apparently, I don’t pay too much attention to details when I watch Japanese movies or movies set in Japan. When I first ordered sushi here in Okinawa, I was expecting the typical traditional sushi roll. Instead, they served me this…
… A nigiri-zushi. To me that is sashimi (raw meat), which I didn’t really eat, up to that point. The only thing that separates sashimi and sushi is that sushi has rice with it. One thing you must know about me is that my biggest pet peeves is wasting food, so it was a big challenge for me to eat that plate. It even has wasabi in between the raw fish and the rice.
I shamefully didn’t finish that set because of the raw fish. Although, after a few more sushi places I’ve grown to love this kind of sushi.
That’s my shrimp sushi on a boat. When one sushi jumped out, I called out “Sushi Overboard!”. :D
I love sushi but they are expensive in the US. Over here, it’s cheaper, and they offer more combinations in one order.
Mochi! (Rice Balls!) It’s a traditional food usually served during New Year. The first time I tried it, we actually made it from scratch. It was so much fun. We pounded it, dipped it in kinako (grains of soy beans), formed it into balls, stuffed it with anko (sweet beans), and then we served it to Japanese school children. ;) I took home some for me…
That day, some Japanese men also offered me to eat sweet azuki bean soup with mochi balls in it. It’s a familiar warming soup for the winter breeze. :D I rubbed my belly to show how I’m loving the food and how full I was, but they immediately freaked a little and pointed me the direction to the restroom. :lol:
Just my girly dessert from a buffet…
All images are taken with Samsung S3.
First we walked on pavements. Then next thing we knew we were rivertrekking. It is ankle, knee to chest high. There was no escaping the water, and my shoes were wet, wet, wet.
Even my awesome self :D slid through the rocks a couple of times. At one point, I wetted my camera bag. Fortunately, my long-time bestfriend, my mighty Canon, didn’t break.
Then we had to climb up and down the rocks to avoid deeper water levels. Good thing there are ropes to help us, else I would have asked them to carry me on a litter. :D
After much panting for breaths and sinking in the nature’s beauty, we heard a more roaring sound of dripping water.
It’s the prize of the hike, Tadake Falls. It is way more awesome and cool-looking than the shower in my bathroom. :D
There is a small hole somewhere down the water that you could swim in. The guy in the picture even found a crab in it.
It was not easy to get here. Not just the hike, but actually finding it when we were on the road as there is no sign leading us to it. It is very secluded.
We continued on hiking up for some more adventure.
There are natural swings for Tarzan wannabe’s.
We also found a mini version.
And some more areas to dip into.
The waterfall is just gorgeous. Finding it from the road is half the battle. Getting there makes it even more rewarding. And really the challenge, the fun and the experience of the hike really add to the wow factor of taking this group trip.
This really is my kind of hike. ;)
Check out this paddling nature blogger, Vladimir Brezina of Wind Against Current. For my Featured Post, one which is almost a year ago from today. I remember that very first image vividly.
Forgive me if I haven’t been receptive. I can only promise to get back to the swing of things.
I watched the movie “Flight” in a drive-in theater. I’ve gotten to the northernmost tip of Okinawa. I’ve been to a sticky situation being in an alley filled with EW! bubble gums. I tripped while paying baseball, but I did touch the second base. I started wearing eyeglasses just last week. It opened my eyes that Katy Perry isn’t that pretty as I thought. I personally met a great blogging friend, LuAnn. I thought I will suffer a mild case of social discomfort but she is very friendly that I survived from that embarrassment. Ow! She paid for our food. Ahihihi. It’s been 10 years since I arrived in America. I wanted to punch the eye doctor because he dropped some liquids into my eyes and I couldn’t see anything afterwards.Though I didn’t find Batman, I have finally entered a cave. But, I have seen a batfish. *thumbs up* I also have seen whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. I was giggling inside like a little girl seeing it’s grandeur in front of me. I delivered a Hello Kitty-filled package to my niece in the Philippines. She said she was super happy. :D That’s all I needed to hear. I have hiked in snow. I have sat on a couch where Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Rachel did. I went to a California Mission with my mom. I have prepared and eaten a mochi (rice ball), then shared them with little Japanese school kids. I’ve gone canoeing, kayaking, and have dipped deep into the beautiful pacific waters. I’ve seen jumbo rocks in Joshua Tree National Park. I thought it was arranged by a giant who played a lot of tetris. I’ve done rapelling down a 60 feet cliff!!! I felt an earthquake this week. It was only my second time. It scared the little bejibbers out of me. I became one of a 270,000 crowd. I assisted a special-need kid get 4 medals during a Special Olympics event. I have a newfangled admiration for Eisa and taiko drumming. I enjoyed watching Survivor Caramoan and Blood vs. Water, more esp. because they were set in the Philippines. I savored my time exploring Okinawa and its culture. I will be depressed after I leave this place. I’m sure of it. I had a great travel friend who too soon had to leave for good. :( She is a female version of my whackiness, and I really enjoyed her company even though she bashed me so much. I’ve eaten pig’s feet. It wasn’t good to be honest but was worth the try. I went to Las Vegas where I squandered a good chunk of my money. Ooops. Good thing, I spent lesser time away the casinos by exploring that darn vicious but busy, illuminating city. I’ve sat foot in Shuri Castle where most of the karate practices took place as Okinawa is the birthplace of it. I had a Weekend with Marilyn. She was very patient waiting for me. She also smiled the whole time I was with her. I hate whatever the fox says. I oppose to using Bitstrip. I got infuriated playing a phone Apps. I have licked ice cream 1,195,733 times this year. I have splish-splashed hard by a wave runners. We were being slapped around by riding this floater boat in the back of a speeding jet ski. Snots were everywhere that it cleaned my nose! :D My girlfriend broke up with me. I stopped blogging for tsk tsk tsk 4 straight months! I found that a person can balance three eggs on top of each other during a Chinese New Year presentation. Poker is fun. Proven to me by Griffith Park Observatory, Jupiter can be seen through the naked eye. Apparently, windmills are eyesores to others. I found out that statistics have it that, among many other things, you can get killed by a bottle cork than shark attack. I also found out that Turkey is a country name. :D If you get cactus prickles on you, I tell you now, covering your hand with a thin piece of clothing to remove it will NOT help but will only poke you more. I found out that the S in Superman’s chest means Hope. :D I still don’t buy it. :P MY name in Japanese means Freeway Jewel. Whatever the darn it means! I have eaten meats of kangaroo, lamb, crocodile, and camel. I sang “We’ve Got Tonight” at a karaoke in front of many. Was I frightened? Yes. Did I deliver? Sympathetic customary accolades. :D Blowfish can kill you if it’s not prepared right. I have been blessed with so many grateful and ungrateful bounties this year.
For my Throwback Pic …
The image is small. It’s a Christmas stage play. I can’t remember my part. I strongly think I was one of the three kings. :D
I apologize. It’s a personal post, and I didn’t realize that I’ve typed so many words already. You really start to realize how wealthy you are once you start to count your blessings.
Check out one of my Featured Blogger Sunshine and her monthly Gratitude in Motion.
Care to read? Here is Robert M. Weiss’s Site of Discovery and Wonder. Oh! Check out his research topics and science projects. This blog aims to entertain, astound, and excite.