Posted by: pennyinparadise | September 14, 2017

Cuban Adventure #4

The Buena Vista Social Club performs around the world, and their home is in Havana.   There are actually 3 theaters in the building, all going at the same time.  But no noise can be heard from the others when you are seated in your theater.   Havana is filled with music that is VERY specific and can be easily recognized as Cuban, which is unique among other latin music.  You had to wonder (if you see the YouTube of these guys walking around Manhattan, Paris, London and other “capitalist” cities) what the performers thought when they came back to Cuba to the run down conditions and poor people.

And, of course, no visit to Havana is complete without a visit to the Hemingway House.   His wife found the house and rented it for a time…then decided to buy it (for only $14,000) and renovated it. There’s the main house, where the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor (former King of England who gave up his throne for the American divorcee, Wallace Simpson) visited.   The strange thing is that the guest room has 2 twin beds and NO bathroom that we could see.   It was basically a 2 bedroom/1 bath house with no kitchen.   Food was cooked in a house nearby and brought up to the dining room.   Staff also lived in the wooden house you will see in the photos below.    Of course, Jim is super ramped up in all things Hemingway.  If you’ve visited us in Panama you’ll see Hemingway and Havana stuff everywhere.   Jim’s restaurants, Hemingway’s, are fashioned after his homes in Key West and Havana.

 

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Of course, we visited the Havana Club rum museum.   This is the national rum owned and operated by the government (as is every other thing in Cuba).  It was originally started by an American who was ousted when the revolution came and Fidel took over all businesses.   Everywhere you walk there are beautiful Spanish style buildings.

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We had lots of great entertainment….you’ve already seen the photos of the Parisienne show at the Hotel Nacional, and the Buena Vista Social Club.   Another night we went to the famous Tropicana, which surprised us because it was an outdoor theater with the stage and seating among huge tropical trees.

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An additional salute to Earnest Heminway, we visited La Floridita….one of his favorite hangout bars in Havana.   There’s a bronze statue of him leaning on the bar, with his favorite bar stool, behind a rope so you can’t get to it, but we got someone to snap a photo of us (as you can see, that person had too much rum and couldn’t keep the camera still).   The dining room at La Floridita was intimate and beautiful and you can just imagine Hemingway hosting meals for friends there.

And finally, a visit to the tiny nearby port town of Cojimar where Hemingway kept The Pilar.   And, of course, he had a favorite bar….

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Posted by: pennyinparadise | September 14, 2017

Cuban Adventure #3

So many photos that it’s taking many blog posts to get them all in….

Havana is situated on a bay with a big Spanish fort across from the city.  The bay is actually an inlet which contains 3 harbors…see map below.

Havana is situated on a huge bay that is guarded by a Spanish Fort built in the 1600’s.   The principal fort guarding the city is shown on the upper right, across the inlet from Old Havana.   Getting to the fort from the city is easy, thanks to a tunnel built just before the revolution, by a French company.   Just 2 years later Fidel took over and that was the end of major infrastructure projects in the city.

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The Parisienne dinner theater and nightclub has a fantastic show with great costumes and music.  A really must see….situated in the Hotel Nacional…Havana’s most famous hotel that was designed to look like the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida.  (Excuse the out of focus photography)

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Of course, Cuba is a Catholic society however other religions, including Santaria (VooDoo) are tolerated.   The ubiquitous Cathedral is in the heart of Havana.

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Posted by: pennyinparadise | September 14, 2017

Cuban Adventure #2

To continue our trip to Cuba, and after seeing many more old cars, we visited the Museum of War (Russian tanks, planes, etc..) which also houses the boat “Grama” (the one Fidel brought from Mexico, overloaded with 80 men and guns and ammunition.  They got lost and landed in the wrong place so ground troops couldn’t find them!!).  Photos of some other great places, including a visit to the original Sloppy Joe’s (the one in Key West is a knock-off created after Hemingway was gone).

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Sloppy Joe’s is the ORIGINAL, from which the Key West one was adopted.   It was packed with Americans.

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Just like Vietnam…..this country’s politics celebrate their “victory over the giant US” and by bringing in the Russians.  The question is….do the people ever look around and say…“the Imperialist devils sure did know how to make beautiful things”.   Nothing beautiful has been built by the Revolution, but the government has recognized that the “capitalist pigs’ money” is pretty nice to have….so, they are spending $$ to improve what was built before Fidel.

 

Posted by: pennyinparadise | September 14, 2017

Cuban Adventure #1

This year I wanted to give Jim something very special for his birthday (besides his big party seen on my last post), and I decided a trip to Cuba was it.   Jim’s grandfather, Booker, was a real character who made frequent trips to Cuba in the 50’s before Castro took over in 1960 when it was shut down travel for Americans.  One can travel to Cuba (where the whole rest of the world vacations) from Panama, but at the time we went, Americans were everywhere.   The travel ban is lifted for certain reasons and things will change very rapidly…they already are….when the Americans hit the island.

However, recent news is that several airlines are not moving forward on plans to fly from the US.   Disappointment by early visitors from the US is caused by the difficulty getting internet service, no cell service, no American credit cards accepted, expensive hotels and food.   Our group stayed in a large 4 bedroom/4 bath condo that was very modern and not expensive.  We didn’t have any problems but never got on the internet (which was a blessing in disguise).   We felt very safe at all times….however we were always in the tourist areas.

At the party I gave Jim his REAL present….a trip to Cuba!!

So the party was great…I had a TaylorMade golf ball birthday cake and we had 40+ people for the party and golf shoot out in our back yard driving range.  At the cake cutting I gave Jim his “present” which was the invitation below.

Here’s Jim’s birthday card

We went with 8 other people, and had a blast.   We took lots of photos….so many photos that we’ve had to split them into several galleries and a couple of posts.

The airport was pretty modern, but we were told not to check our luggage (only carry on) because it would take hours for it to come on the carousel.  Lots of tour groups arriving, including Americans.   The trip into Old Havana where tourists stay offered a display of many billboards praising Fidel and many praising Che and Cienfuegos.

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In the heart of Old Havana (Habana Vieja) there sits the Capitol building.   Designed and built by an American company in the 1920’s/30’s, it is currently undergoing a huge renovation projecct.   The tour guide told me that “it is 2 meters longer than the one in Washington”.   This was a familiar theme in Cuba…..such as the tower in Revolution Plaza being “2 meters taller than the Washington Monument”…and when asked if they have ever been to the US they say “No…of course not!”, and when asked how they know these things they say “Because Fidel told us so”.   Very sweet but very sad.

The National Theater (sometimes called Teatro Gran) is the magnificent building you see the corner of in the first photo below.   Further in the gallery will be closer views of this magnificent building.   We were fortunate to see a Flamenco Show there one night.  It was exactly like being in Carnegie Hall in New York.   Amazing.

Other buildings are shown below, including the iron portraits of Che Guavara and Camilo Cienfuegos displayed on two modern buildings on the opposite side of the Revolution Plaza, across from the Revolution Tower and statue of Jose Marti’ (the man who fought for freedom from Spain….Cuba’s version of Simon Bolivar who feed South and Central America from Spain.

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Everyone knows that Cuba has an amazing amount of 50’s cars…we were surprised by the sheer numbers of them and the incredible condition most of them were in.   And not just in Havana…we understand the entire country has them.  There were thousands in Havana…so many that I’ve had to create more than one gallery just to show you a small portion.

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Posted by: pennyinparadise | June 10, 2017

Fun, Fun, Fun

It’s been a while since I’ve posted….so let’s catch up.


Do you think all we do here is eat?   You’re right…it’s a favorite pastime.

Big boys Jim and Bernie chow down on ribs

 

Lots of girl groups here get together often

 

A bunch of beach bums

A bunch of beach bums

My dear and long time friend, Betts Huff, came to visit in February.  It’s always fun showing first time visitors around Panama City, Casco Viejo (the old city) and the Panama Canal.  Her visit was short, but we had a ball.

Betts Huff and Penny at lunch at the American Trade Hotel in Casco Viejo

American Trade Hotel

We had some pretty strong earthquakes this year.   On April 2 at 11:54 pm there was a 5.3 quake just 15 miles away and only 5 miles deep.  Our house, which is built on columns over the mountainside, really shook.   The next day there was a 4.1 aftershock only 4 miles away and 9 miles deep.   Seems April and May are the worst times for tremblers.

The three little bubbles on the left side of this map are Boquete.

This road is nearby us here in Boquete…split by the April 2 quake.

The government has given Boquete $25 million to install our very first sewer system.  Heretofore we have all been on septic tanks.  We live far above town, so we will still be on septic, but downtown is a MESS as they tear up the roads to put in the pipes.  Estimate is 3 years to finish the project.  I don’t know how we will get through it as pot holes increase and deepen.  I want to go away for 3 years, but that isn’t going to happen!!!

It’s a real nightmare!!!

The BIG birthday bash for Jim was combined with the second annual Villa La Rosa party and golf shootout.  Our neighbor Kelly Collier won the shootout.   See last year’s photos too.

I had Jim’s cake made in the shape of his favorite brand of golf ball, nestled in the turf.

The gallery looks on.

Jim calls players to the tee…that’s our gardener in the dark shirt….Jim has lots of Panamanians learning the game.

I finally have my left arm straight in my backswing!

At the party I gave Jim his REAL present….a trip to Cuba!!

 

Just like The Masters, last year’s winner presented this year’s winner his prize. Panama Red Rum, of course.

Carnivale is celebrated in a big way down here in Latin America…in the US it’s called Mardi Gras.

 

Check out the next post for photos of our trip to Cuba….Jim’s birthday present from me.  He’s been captivated by Cuba since he was a teenager and his grandfather brought back good rum and cigars from there.   He’s finally got a chance to go.

Posted by: pennyinparadise | December 5, 2016

Ecuador Vacation

Jim and I decided to go to Cuenca, Ecuador on vacation this year…..a beautiful city where I lived in 2008-09.  To see photos of my condo in Cuenca CLICK HERE.

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View from the other window

View from the other window

We were able to catch up with a few friends there, and tour this amazing city and some of the outlying towns.

The Mansion Alcazar is a beautiful hotel and restaurant in Cuenca that was previously the home of a President of Ecuador.

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The architecture of Cuenca is one of the most delightful things about the city.   Here are a few of the buildings that give you an idea of how it looks.

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One of the best examples of Spanish Colonial architecture comes in the form of the beautiful cathedrals of Cuenca…there are 22 of them.   Continual rotation of restoration goes on year around.  It takes about 5 years for them to make the entire rotation of all 22, and then it’s time to start over again…interiors and exteriors are kept in pristine condition.   The very oldest cathedral was built in 1521 and is on Parque Calderon.  Across the square is the largest one (with the famous blue domes), which was visited by Pope John and is the most opulent of all the cathedrals.

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I was able to catch up with a few friends who are still there, 7 years after I left.

L to R: Me, Jim, Mary Ann, Greg and Cameron at the beautiful old Hotel Victoria

L to R: Me, Jim, Mary Ann, Greg and Cameron at the beautiful old Hotel Victoria

There are fabulous carved wood doors and beautiful floors are in buildings all over the city….fun just to stroll around and look at them all.  Here are a few.

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Parque Calderon is the main square and it is clean and beautiful.

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Cafes and restaurants serve really, really good food in a charming atmosphere.

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Christmas is a BIG time in Cuenca….here are some photos of the Christmas Parade taken when I lived there.

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We left Cuenca for the short ride to the smaller outlying towns of Chordeleg, Gualaceo and Utzuput and some photos of the amazing mosiac tile walls and plazas.

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We even had a day at a spa with hot mineral springs just outside of Cuenca in a little town called Baños, which means “bathrooms” in Spanish.  We had massages, lounged by the pool, had lunch and enjoyed the hot springs.

Hot springs spa in Baños

Hot springs spa in Baños

Now we are back home and ready for the holidays.  Stay tuned…

Posted by: pennyinparadise | October 20, 2016

In Memory….

This has been a rough few months.   My mother’s physical and mental health began to decline a year ago, and after moving her to Orlando to be near my son Paul (last February), she fell and ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks with the implant of a pacemaker.  The next few months only saw her decline further into her dementia and it’s effects.    She began to resist eating, bathing, walking and generally fell into a deep, deep depression at the age of 90.   In July she came down with a very bad chest congestion, which rapidly turned into pneumonia because of her resistance to physical activity.   Her wonderful caregiver, Simone DeSouto, took very good care of her, and informed me on July 6 that mother was refusing to go to the doctor.   My usually effective threat that I would call 911 if she didn’t go to the doctor was met with a surprise response of “yes, take me to the hospital”.   In the great care of the Florida Hospital Altamonte, she continued to fail and I was called to come up to Orlando.    I arrived at 2 pm on July 10….she acknowledged that I was there with her, and then fell into a coma.  At 8:30 pm she quietly passed on.

As she requested, we had her cremated and her ashes placed next to her beloved Leon at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.   It seems impossible she failed so fast, but I am at peace with her being in a much better place.

 

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Mother now rests with her beloved Leon

Mom in December 2013

Mom in December 2013

Just 3 months later, we lost our little poodle Tessa to the toxins of a Cane Toad.   We were in Ecuador on vacation, ready to come back the next morning, when our house/pet sitter called to say that she was foaming at the mouth and in convulsions.   Despite the best efforts of the vet, she died the next morning, just hours before our return.   Our Boston Terrier, Becky, is very very depressed.   Tessa was the light in our house…always wagging her tail and cuddling up to us.   We are all so sad.   Here are a couple of photos of Tessa as we remember her.  She now rests under the big mango tree in the back yard….in a spot marked with a stone made by our friend Bodo Winkler   Now we accompany Becky out for her night potty to make sure the same thing does not happen to her.   Our gardener and Jim have killed several of these horrid creatures of them last night….beware of the Cane Toad.

It seems like my heart is broken time and again this year.   But thankful for the blessings I have…..Jim, my son Paul, my cousin Joy and her precious little grandson Connor left as family, but it’s getting smaller every day.

Precious Little Tessa

Precious Little Tessa

Tess and Jim

Tess and Jim

Tessa's little tombstone

Tessa’s little tombstone

Posted by: pennyinparadise | June 14, 2016

Time Marches On!!

It’s amazing how fast 2016 is going by….here we are at the mid-point of the year.   Lots is happening down here in Panama….

PANAMA HAPPENINGS:

COPA Airlines continues to expand, as Central and South America’s biggest carrier and Panama City is their “Hub Of The Americas”.   Here’s the new expansion project going on at Tocumen International Airport, the largest and most modern in all of Central and South America.

New terminal at Tocumen

New terminal at Tocumen

The expansion of the Panama Canal, has been in construction for the last 10 years (exactly the same amount of time it took for the US to build the original canal in 1904-1914.  One hundred years later, the wider canal (which recycles a great deal of the water that is just flushed out to sea with every transit….millions of gallons for each ship) will transit the first PostPanaMax freighter on June 26, 2016.   The new Canal has unleashed a huge building boom at ports along the Gulf and US East Coast, to expand their port facilities to handle the PanaMax size freighters.

The new locks are situated near the original ones

The new locks are situated near the original ones

Giant rolling gates open the locks to level the water under the ships

Giant rolling gates open the locks to level the water under the ships

Recycle bays next to new Canal lane

Recycle bays recycle some of the 56 million gallons that dump into the oceans for each ship that transits.  That water comes down into Lake Gatun from the mountains where we live.

Panama City is becoming more beautiful every day….check out photos posted by Tom Brymer of Panama Advisory International.

Panama City Skyline

Panama City Skyline

Skyline at Night

Panama City at Night

Another Perspective of Panama City Skyline

Another Perspective of Panama City Skyline

GOLF IN CHIRIQUI:

We have a fantastic golf course development in Boquete, called Lucero.   They have built these tree houses overlooking the jungle, with views of the Pacific, which can be rented by the night.

Friend Kate and I play at Lucero

Friend Kate and I play at Lucero

Treehouses at Lucero, perched above the third tee

Treehouses at Lucero, perched above the third tee

The 14th Hole at Lucero

The 14th Hole at Lucero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim won the Valle Escondido Club Championship AGAIN….he’s the only person to have won 2 consecutive years in a row.  He awarded a bottle of Panamonte Rum to another player.

Jim with his foursome in the Club Championship

Jim with his foursome in the Club Championship

Another player won a bottle of Panamonte Reserva Preciosa Rum

Another player won a bottle of Panamonte Reserva Preciosa Rum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last time I showed you the BIG DIG in the back yard….now he’s installing a big drainage system of steel and concrete to ward off the rainy season erosion, and has laid hundreds of square meters of sod, with much more to go.

Upper tee box

Upper tee box

Cement, Steel & Manpower

Cement, Steel & Manpower

Sod by the hundreds of square meters

Sod by the hundreds of square meters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drainage project

Drainage project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to have a huge party one day with Jim conducting a Shoot Out….prize?  You guessed it….a bottle of Panama Red Rum.  Everyone wants it to become an annual event.

Jim scoring the Shoot Out

Jim scoring the Shoot Out

Looking up at the house from the tee box

Looking up at the house from the tee box

The Gallery

The Gallery

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Tee to Green

Tee to Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISLAND FUN:

We recently visited the Pacific Coast with some friends, and stayed at the Bocas del Mar resort.   One day we hired a boat to take us to some of the island beaches off the coast, in the national marine park in the Gulf of Chiriqui.

Smiling Faces..Going Places

Smiling Faces..Going Places

View from our room at Bocas del Mar

View from our room at Bocas del Mar

Clear and beautiful water to swim in

Clear and beautiful water to swim in

 

Jimmy & Penny enjoy life in Panam

Jimmy & Penny enjoy life in Panama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LAST MOVE FOR MOM:

Mom had her 90th birthday in November, and she moved to be nearer my son Paul, who married last year and moved to Orlando.  Unfortunately, she suffered some black out spells which resulted in falls, and a 2 week stay in the hospital, where they implanted a PaceMaker.   Since then, her mental and physical states have declined significantly, and she now has 7 days a week visits from a caregiver.   This is difficult for us both, since I am down here.   So…I decided to buy a townhouse in Valle Escondido for her to live in.  It has an apartment downstairs, which will house a live-in caregiver.  It is just 20 minutes from our house, and my cousin Joy lives right next door.  We’ll be doing some renovations, adding a kitchen downstairs, and painting everything to make it light and bright for mom.  I’ve started buying furniture and stuff, and I’ll fly to the US in late July to bring her back down here to live.   Just the thought of it has really made mom perk up, and improved her outlook.   After all, I’m her only kid and she needs to be near me in her last days.  Here are some photos of the townhouse now….renovations to come.

View from the upstairs terrace

View from the upstairs terrace

Looking down from the upstairs loft

Looking down from the upstairs loft

Downstairs living room

Downstairs living room

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Upstairs loft

Upstairs loft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, of course, her life will be enhanced by frequent visits from our Girls….Tessa & Becky.

Tessa & Becky are our GIRLS

Tessa & Becky are our GIRLS

So…stay tuned for more updates on this big change in both our lives….both mom’s and mine.   I can only hope it improves her life living here near us and the girls.

 

Posted by: pennyinparadise | March 25, 2016

WHAT? It’s 2016???

Where have I been for the last 20 years?  People are talking about the 80’s and 90’s like they were 20 or 30 years ago!!  What?  They ARE 20 and 30 years ago??  Where have I been.   Just having my 73rd birthday in January, and Jim’s same number in March, we’re wondering where is time going?   It’s flying away at a rapid pace.

First of all, my mom needs to move closer to my son, who married and moved to Orlando last year.   Change for mom is not easy…although she has mostly good days, there are lots of spaces being created by her oncoming dementia.  Upshot is we moved her, she’s spent weeks in the hospital after a fall, she now has a pacemaker and 7 day a week caregiver visits, but is still living independently.   Prayers gratefully accepted….Son and family are so appreciated!!!  Those who remember her better days are fortunate.

But, time goes on and here’s how 2016 started for us..

Two 73 year old farts!!!

                          Two 73 year old farts!!!

Birthdays…73 x 2 = 146 years we’ve been on the planet, collectively.  You’d think we would have learned everything we need to know by now, but here we are….learning something new every day.

Las Lajas Beach Resort, Panama on Jim’s birthday

There’s been lots of dirt flying around these days!  Both on our property and in our area, in general.

First of all, the government is in a 5 year project to 4 lane the highway between David and Santiago (about 1/2 across the country).  The fun thing is that 5 companies (none of them Panamanian or American) share portions of the project.  There is one company that is finished, lines painted, packed up and gone home to Brazil.  Another company still hasn’t laid the first meter of asphault.   So it’s a patchwork.

Other dirt is flying around our property with the seemingly never ending development of Jim’s little golf course.  He brought in a big yellow thingie home for 2 days to move dirt around, extending the pond excavation to including leveling an upper tee box for a good shot to the green and sand traps. (SEE OUR BURN PILE??)

This guy scoops from the back and lifts from the front

This guy scoops from the back and lifts from the front

First he had to get down to the exact location

First he had to get down to the exact location

So here are some shots of what happening in about 12 hours….wish I had timelapse!

Breaking ground

Breaking ground

Defining pond edge

Defining pond edge

Now..we move beyond the pond to the tee box

Now..we move beyond the pond to the tee box

Upper tee box

Upper tee box

From above the green

From above the green…burn pile was moved away from casita before torching it.

The end result

The end result

The third thing that’s got dirt flying around here is the new $80,000,000 shopping mall that the KING of Panamanian malls, including the huge Albrook Mall near the bus terminal and domestic airport, is building one here in Chiriqui on the north side of David (that would be the side closest to US!!!   Yeah!).   He’s also building a new bus terminal for David there, which is desperately needed.   The big stores in Panama City are “in” on the project, bringing us the “most US type” shopping Panama has to offer.  This includes a RebaSmith grocery, which has been marching it’s way west on the isthmus for the last couple of years with new stores in Coronado, Chitre, and Santiago.  Their David store will be the biggest and best and we are all soooo excited!  More US name brand foods at our fingertips.

So….this shopping center is consuming a BIG piece of land.   There was an enormous rock (like a small mountain) sitting in the center…they took a long time getting rid of it….where the trucks are parked…all the dark earth and rocks are part of what’s left of that rock.  I just drove in and snatched this quick photo with my phone before the guard came running over, waving his hands and shouting….I apologized and left.  I wonder how often I can get away with that….I’ll try to keep a photo-diary of the project.

I'm calling this one the BIG DIG

I’m calling this one the BIG DIG…I couldn’t get even half of the project in one shot.  Next time I’ll try video.

I always have to give you a peek at Connor Casin (my grand nephew…our family’s only baby!!) whenever I get a photo update from out in northern California.  He was the most astonishingly cute new baby (not usually the case, except to the parents/grandparents) I had ever seen.  And his sweetness surpasses his cuteness.  Jim and I visited with him just after his 1st birthday, during our trip to northern California last October.

Connor Update...he's getting cuter by the day. 18 months..hiking with dad!

Connor Update…he’s getting cuter by the day. 18 months..hiking with dad!

Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 22, 2016

Vacation Adventure #4- Big Sur & San Simeon

BIG SUR:  The last leg of our northern California vacation took us down the Pacific Coast Hiway from Pebble Beach to Big Sur.  The area was made famous in movies such as Taylor/Burton’s The Sandpiper.  Home of many famous writers, musicians, poets, dancers and actors like Kim Novak, Nepenthe’s Restaurant overlooks the Pacific in an amazing spot.

We stayed at a little log cabin on the Big Sur River called….wait for it!….RippleWood!  What a hoot.   We toured the Pfeiffer State Park where redwoods loomed and enjoyed exploring the rugged coastline.

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CAMBRIA:  Finally, further south to the charming town of Cambria, just south of San Simeon where Hearst Castle sits high above the Pacific.  On the way, we stopped at the overlook where the huge elephant seals stop for a rest on their annual trek from Mexico to Alaska.   These giant mammals grow up to 3,000 pounds in the males and 1,500 pounds in the females.   The males have big snouts that make a honking sound during their mating process.  They turn over on their backs to absorb the sun’s energy on their lighter bottom side.

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We stayed in the charming, historic town of Cambria, just south of the famous Hearst Castle in San Simeon.   Food was outrageous good….we loved it here.

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MORRO BAY: Morro Bay is a charming little town south of Cambria which is known for the giant rock that sits just off shore.  After golf we ate at a seaside restaurant and then went to the movie Bridge of Spies at a little 50’s theater that had been totally renovated.   Felt like we were back in the 50’s.

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SAN SIMEON & HEARST CASTLE:  The BEST thing about this part of our vacation was the visit to Hearst Castle at San Simeon.     The story of how William Randolph Hearst built this amazing structure over a period of 28 years (ran out of money several times) made this stop on our vacation Jim’s favorite…what fun.

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This vacation was truly a lifetime experience…our first in our 3 year relationship, and it was well worth it.   Next…..Cuba, Colombia and Mexico.

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