February 2012

A few weeks ago, I had a business trip in Los Angeles.  I got there on Saturday afternoon, so had some time to enjoy the area. Last year, as some readers may recall I went out to the Mojave desert (http://micho.org/cayblog/?p=1525)

This year, since I had+-1.5 days, I expanded my horizons and drove all the way to San Francisco, a city I had long wanted to visit.  In total, I had +- 32h for this trip including driving time (+-12h) and sleep (+-7) . As you will see below, I packed in probably 3-days of sightseeing in under 1-day of actual visit time.  Got my rental car at 1pm Saturday and needed to be back in LA Sunday PM.   I hit the road immediately ; my only goal was to get to SF at a reasonable time to get a good nights sleep and ready for my first visit Sunday AM.

First stop : Alcatraz.   The most important visit for me.  I was attracted by the mystique and history of this place. Here we are approaching the island by ferry.  Ferry ride from SF is +- 15 minutes.   I had signed up (via Internet a few weeks prior) for the first ferry of the morning out to The Rock.

The main cell block which is the main attraction.  This visit was great and met all my expectations.   You can “feel” the history (and horror) of this place.  So glad I made the long drive.

Next stop ; drive down Lombard street.  This is the “curvy road” you see in many movies and pictures of San Francisco.

Quick stop to see the “Painted ladies”.  Fans of the TV 1990’s sitcom “Full House” will instantly recognize the view.

Next stop : Golden Gate Bridge.  Wow, what a beautiful bridge. I walked across about 2/3 of the way.  The day was perfect for a walk here as you can see the blue skies.  The view from the bridge of the city and Alcatraz was fabulous.  There were even some dolphins swimming near the base of the bridge.  I had initially planned to simply drive across the Golden Gate, but walking it was 1000x better.

Starting the drive back south towards LA.  Nerd stuff :  stop to see the GooglePlex located in Mountain View.

… and Apple a few minutes further south in Cupertino.

My ride for this trip (Photo added per request of one my most faithful readers) 🙂  It was a lovely 2011 S60 Volvo Turbo.  Here it is parked on Steiner Street, right in front of the Painted Ladies (got really lucky for parking … very popular area!)  Having a comfortable car for so many miles in so little time definitely made this trip that much more enjoyable.

Here is the summary of this trip … most of it along I-5.  Nothing much to see, but the road is in superb condition so its quite an enjoyable drive.  The ideal route would have been along the coast, but would have taken a few hours more, a luxury I unfortunately did not have on this trip if all my stops and plans were to work out.  Got back to my hotel in Los Angeles at +-10pm, needless to say totally exhausted … having flown in from New York on Saturday morning and essentially got to LAX and drove to SF almost immediately.  This road trip was so much worth it though!

Last week-end, Julie and I, along with her parents who are visiting from Montreal headed to the Eastern part of the island. In fact, we headed to what used to be our favorite restaurant of the island. Let me explain. I made a post a long while ago about restaurant Portofino. Well, this place is now under new Australian (an Australian expat) management. It is now called Tukka.  This was our first time eating at the “new place”. Let me tell you that we were not disappointed and its stellar standing in our favorite restaurants stands!  We went for the Sunday all you can eat brunch!

Here is some of the food! Notice the sushi’s with the little Australian flag (bottom left)  Those are with Kangaroo meat.  Quite original (I liked it)

Some of the desserts.

From our outdoor table, a large Cormorant was hunting and was hovering over the water for a few minutes.  It was a good show.

Our group and the lovely view of the ocean ; Julie’s folks are on island.

In the main dining area, there is an aquarium with a few Lionfish.   As I have posted in the past, these are invasive to the Caribbean.   Tukka often has them on the dinner menu.  This is the 1st time I see them in someone aquarium.

In closing, we highly recommend this place.  It is about a 35 minute drive from Georgetown, but well worth it and it is a very enjoyable drive.  Once you pass the Savannah area, you will see very few cars and many lovely sea views of the southern coastline.

Last Sunday, Julie and I had the privilege of participating in the annual cross island relay race. It is a road race that essentially crosses the entire island of Grand Cayman.  Teams have six runners each and each runner does 4 miles.

The course looks like this. Is starts in the east (left) and runners make their way all the way to George Town along the southern coast of the island.  The roads remain open to traffic, but as expected, it was very light on this Sunday morning.

The organizers must have been pleased ; there were 74 teams registered; a good number of them were corporate teams.  Start time was at 6am on Sunday. Needless to say you had to be somewhat motivated to get out of bed at +-4:30am Sunday to go running.  I guess we are 🙂  The runners waiting for the start. Even though its 6am in February, it was still a very comfortable 26 degrees at start time.

Julie ready for the start ; she ran the 1st leg which in my opinion is the best one to run ; no sun = less heat.  Also, organizers made the race east to west, so all runners had the wind to their backs. Running eastbound would have been a lot less fun.

Here I am (black back) passing the baton to the next runner in our team. We ran with four of my co-workers and finished a very respectable 27th out of 74 teams. I am very pleased with the results.

All-in-all, an really nice experience.  This race is annual and always early February. It is open to anyone, as long as you are in a team of 6.  Lots of fun and accessible to most runners, since 4-miles can be done with minimal training.   Link to the Website of the organizers of the event:   http://www.caymanhash.com/Cayman_Hash_House_Harriers/Races.html