Thursday, January 02, 2020

Stunning Beaches and Coastlines

We live in Santa Cruz by the Monterery Bay Marine Sanctuary. Much of our inspiration at Marty Magic is derived from the ocean and the magic of nature. Here are a few of the most inspiring beaches and coastlines where we have left our footprints.

For the past ten years, our family has spent time each year on the East Cape of Baja. The breathtaking  beaches and solitude are inspiring.

Cresting wave on the East Cape of Baja
Rocky shore on the East Cape of Baja

In 2007, Art, John and I lived in Naha, Okinawa for several months. We took frequent trips to surrounding Ryukyu islands.

Tokashiki Island,  Okinawa, Japan
Hermit crab on Tokashiki Island rocks, Okinawa, Japan
Kumejima Island, Okinawa, Japan
In 2010, John and I had a mother and son adventure in Australia. I rented a car and we drove the Great Ocean Road. Rainbows and spending time together was wonderful and the coastlines were spectacular.

Morning rainbow above the coast of the Great Ocean Road. Victoria, Australia
Coastline along the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
The Twelve Apostles at dawn, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
The Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
In 2013, John and I traveled to India and returned through the U.A.E. Women were wading in the ocean wearing their hijab. The day was hazy and the silhouette of the Burj Al Arab was in the distance.
John on the beach at Dubai with Burj Al Arab in the background 
In 2015, Art, John and I traveled with Art's brother to the Philippines. We spent much of our time in the high mountains of Banaue, treking rice paddies. (deserving of it's own photo blog post.) We ended our trip in El Nido, Palawan, an island paradise.
The limestone cliffs of El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Entering a cove in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. 
Exiting the cove by man power at low tide. El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Alonha sunset, Palawan, Philippines.
Dumaguete, Philippines
App Island. Below the surface is a pristine coral reef.
Art and John readying for their first dive at Apo Island, Philippines.
 In 2016, Art, John and I flew to Italy and traveled north through Italy and then south along the coastline of Croatia.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Istria Croatia
John diving into a swimming hole off the Dubrovnik city wall. Croatia.
A five island hopping trip from Split, Croatia. John dove and returned with an Adriatic crab carapace. 
In 2017, Alisha and I traveled to Indonesia.  After visiting our artist friend Tabra, we continued onto Flores Island and onto Komodo and Rinca Islands, home to the Komodo Dragons.

Alisha swinging at the edge of the blue stone beach, Indonesia. 

Blue stone beach, Flores Island, Indonesia
Coral Island of Riuing, Indonesia

In 2018, Art and I traveled to Portugal and Spain. The beaches and coastline of southern Portugal were breathtaking.

The colorful cliffs of Salema, Portugal
Sagre point, a windswept promontory. Algarve, Portugal
In August of 2018 Alisha and I traveled to Australia. We looked for the illusive cassowary bird and walked warily on many beaches, lest a saltwater crocodile pay us a surprise visit.

Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Cape Tribulation,  Queensland, Australia
Wurrumiyanga beach, Tiwi Island, Northern Territory, Australia
Mindil Beach at sunset, Darwin, Australia
Below are some very striking coastlines and cityscapes within the United States.

A view of New York City taken from Hoboken, N.Y. at sunset

We don't need to travel afar to be inspired by the ocean.  Santa Cruz, Capitola and Big Sur have some of the most beautiful beaches and coastlines on our planet.

Bixby bridge and the Big Sur coastline, California. 

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California.

Alisha and Molly, Capitola beach jetty, California
As time allows, I will be adding to this beach and coastline photo gallery.

Friday, November 01, 2019

A Father and Son Trip to Okinawa and Shuri Castle

My husband Art flew to Okinawa Japan the first week of October 2019. Our son John impulsively decided to join his Papa a few days later. Art was born and raised in Okinawa and John has traveled there to visit extended family numerous times.

They connected with family and friends and on October 15th father and son made their traditional pilgrimage to Shuri Castle, a 500 year old world heritage site. Shrui Castle is a symbol of the Ryukyu Kingdom. On October 31st fire destroyed Seiden, the main hall and two of the adjacent halls. Unesco is already making plans to rebuild this important world heritage site.

These following photos are of their day spent together two weeks prior to the devastating fire.

Art at Shuri Castle, Naha Okinawa
John celebrating Shuri Castle

John at a Shuri Castle Gate

John on a bridge - Shuri Castle Park

John inside Shuri Castle
Castle wall view of Shuri Castle

They share a father and son tea in the tearoom at Shuri Castle.

Art and John drink tea at the Shuri Castle tea room

On October 31st fire destroyed Seiden, the main hall and two of the adjacent halls. Unesco is already making plans to rebuild this important world heritage site. Shurijo Castle Fire News. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Walk in Gorky Park, the Garage and Tretyakov Museums and Detained by TSA Security

Friday, August 16th Gorky Park, the Garage Museum and the New Tretyakov Gallery

Wonerful French pastries in the Arbat district of Moscow
We’ve settled into a morning routine of having breakfast at a stylish French bakery cafe near the metro station. I have a croque Madame and Art orders a set breakfast plate of eggs, croissant and juice. Fully caffeinated after a cappuccino and espresso, we descend into the metro in the direction of Gorky Park.

Gorky Park entrance sign
Tube slide in the children's play area

The weather is perfect and we stroll through the immense park detouring to a children’s play area where they splash and play in shallow pools with innovative water wheels and corkscrew squirting gadgets.

Interactive water wheel in the children's play area

Corkscrew water gadgets in the children's play area
Beyond the children’s area, fountains dance in reflecting pools edged with flower beds.
Beautiful Gorky Park in August
Reflecting pools and fountains in Gorky Park
We expect to see innovative art and design at the Garage Museum but are sorely disappointed with the blasé exhibits. I agree with the message but find the delivery boring. 

Are you are the pigeon or the statue?
There is no planet B exhibit

There is no planet B exhibit
Lunch however is delightful at their courtyard cafe until Art exits the clear glass sliding door only to be smacked in the forehead by a second glass panel a few feet beyond. A museum attendant is seriously concerned but Art shakes it off muttering an irritation to me about squirting train toilet gadgets and unusually positioned exit doors.

Wonderful lunch at the Garage Museum
Delighted to have vegetables again

Still hopeful of seeing some inspiring art today, we head to the New Tretyakov Gallery and stand in an unmoving line for 20 minutes before realizing that this particular line is for a virtual reality exhibit that we are not interested in. We pass around this line and easily enter the main galleries of the museum. We spend several delicious hours enjoying the 20th and 21st century collection of modern, avant-garde and social realism art.

Art and Kandinski
Mark Chagall - Lillies of the Valley
Tretyakov Museum
Builders of Bratsk - 1960 Viktor Popkov
Lyubov Popova - 1916
Composition - 1920 Ivan Klyun

Gallery at the Tretyakov Museum

Gallery in the Tretyakov Museum
Get Heavy Industry Moving Yuri Pimenov
Anti Imperilist Meeting - Yuri Pimenov

Future Pilots - 1938 Alexander Deineka
1933 - Vladimir Lebedev
The Kukryniks Artists - 1957 Pavel Korin

The Cosmic Brothers - 1982 Yuri Korolev
Tretyakov Museum
Chronicle of Russian Art 1920 -1950

Returning to the Arbat district we search hopelessly for a decent restaurant for our final dinner in Moscow. We have a simple dinner at one of the outdoor cafes along the street lined with tourist shops and street artists displaying their mediocre paintings seeming around the clock. After dinner we pop into a co-op crafts gallery that is just closing for the day. I find some unusual fabricated jewelry and buy a pair of earrings from the jeweler’s wife.
I buy a pair of fabricated earrings

Saturday, August 17th - Our last day in Moscow.

Art mapping out our day
Cappuccino and espresso

Often our final travel day is one of stress but our flight tonight between Moscow and London doesn’t depart until 6:11 P.M. and we have the luxury of not setting our alarm. We wake shortly before 8:00 A.M to the sound of light rain upon tin roofs. I take the two steps required to reach our tiny bathroom. The Lonely Planet Guide Book recommended Hotel Bukalow in the Arbat district of Moscow. Admittedly it is a bargain at $65 a night and the high ceilings and location to a Metro station make it desirable but there is no elevator and three flights of stairs leaves me breathless. The hotels black cat always seems to be waiting for our return with glowing eyes. After showering and doing a preliminary pack, Art and I head out for a repeat breakfast at the French Bakery two blocks away. A double cappuccino and espresso later we dip into the Metro and Art navigates us flawlessly to the Modern Art Museum.

The sound of water - Jaume Plensa
William Blake - Jaume Plensa

Jaume Plensa

Although the temporary exhibit is painfully amateurish there is an engaging show of Jaume Plensa, a Barcelona artist. His meditative installations of wood, water, steel and sound are lovely.

Exterior door at the Arbat station metro
Long escalators down to the platforms

We have a few metro stops to tick off our list and with an hour to spare, Art navigates us along the circle line and we pop on and off to admire more Soviet era Metro Art.
Beautiful stained glass at the Novoslobodskaya station
Novoslobodskaya station
Komsomolskay - ceiling mosiac

Komsomolskay station
Komsomolskay station

Pink Floyd anyone?

We take a taxi to the Moscow airport which with traffic takes considerably longer than the $17 meter price. An hour later, Art gives our driver $20 and we check in and breeze through security with ease. With just a few Rubles remaining we have diluted drinks at an airport bar and board the 4 hour flight to Heathrow. We arrive in Heathrow, London after 10:00 P.M. and shuttle to our nearby airport hotel to wait for our flight to San Francisco in the morning.

Art and I do a movie marathon between our London to Phoenix flight, sleeping just a little. We pick up our bags, go through U.S. immigration and dawdle some before checking through security in Phoenix. We have re-entered the U.S.A. and all seems good. Art breezes through security with his carryon’s and my computer but I am pulled aside.  As a frequent traveler, I am used to an occasional snafu but this security check is intense. The expression on the face of the TSA agent who scans my passport changes dramatically and he looks at me intently and calls for a supervisor. They pull me aside and it is several minutes before a woman agent arrives and interrogates me. She asks where I have been traveling and inquires if I wish a private room for a body search that will be done by a female TSA agent. I am now nervous about missing our Phoenix to SFO flight and Art is standing on the far side of security watching me anxiously. Although the search will be intimate, I will not need to undress so I tell them that I don’t need a private room and stand awkwardly, legs apart as the woman pats me down and runs her hands under the waist band of my leggings over my breasts and most everywhere else. In the meantime, the supervisor has disappeared with my phone, drivers license and passport. When they first pulled me aside, they asked for all my electronics and I was grateful that Art had carried my computer through ahead of me. I don’t know what she did with my phone but I imagine that my sim card was examined. She returns 15 minutes later with my identification and phone but there is sill the explosive wand test to do on all my carry on baggage. I am curious why I have been flagged and with the exception of missing our connecting flight, I am not at all anxious. I chat to the supervisor as they wand my belongings. I surmise that it is the Russia leg of our trip that has caused the flagging and she tells me that the Russians are not our friends and asks me why we choose to travel to Russia? I tell her about the many world class Art museums and how beautiful Moscow and St Petersburg were and that the people we encountered were friendly and that traveling in Russia felt no different than traveling elsewhere in Europe. By the time they release me, we are all smiling and chatting about family and international travel destinations.