Saturday, June 21, 2008

it's just an inch in distance on the map....

...and not really that far. I love to walk, and I do walk fast. I love to hike too, and it's so different from walking. I can do either and enjoy both and specially when the scenery along the route taken is fantastic as it was this day! It started off a bright day with the greatest fluffy clouds I've seen in some time. The day previous was very hot but today promised a weak breeze (delivered as promised) and not such high temperatures.

I met up with a small group of about eight hikers, and starting from Baker Beach, we took to the road leading upward toward the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza......

.....continuing under the bridge and down toward Fort Mason. The views were of course amazing and though I've seen the sights often, there were a few spots I hadn't seen before, and it was pure joy. I last did something like this as a pre-teen lad with only a bicycle, and I didn't have a camera yet alone the interest of photography yet. Now I live here as an adult with a car, and though the areas I am driving through are "familiar", it just isn't the same.

From Fort Mason we went up a short hill and down to Aquatic Park at the base of steep Hyde Street, then to a Fishermen's Wharf italian restaurant for a quick lunch, then continued out of the wharf area toward the Ferry Building, where the hike ended and we boarded a MUNI bus to get us within walking distance of the parking lot at Baker's Beach where our cars and a mess of stop-N-go traffic awaited us.

It was just a wee-bit over 8 miles that was completed in just a bit over two hours; the group was overall slower than the rapid pace I like, but still, I'm patient and can hike/walk slow or fast; I just get bored though. The route was filled with many sightings of pelicans which I attempted capturing at each opportunity as it presented itself. All of the beaches we neared or transited through were crowded with families and children as the day was hot and bright.

It was great to get out of the hot apartment though I had a friend visiting from out of state, so I was busy all week playing a combination of host tour guide and tourist myself, as many of the places I had taken my friend to, were those places I hadn't been to since I was a wee lad! It was so interesting to see the differences, plus then I walked everywhere; now I had to figure out how to get there by car! My friend and I had gone to the headlands also, and also was lucky enough to witness some gorgeous red flaming sunsets (below), plus the unusual and rare creation of a cloud funnel in the warm airs above Marin County. My friend also helped me to take advantage of stop-N-go traffic on the Bay Bridge to get some pictures of Coit Tower and the waterfront of my hometown from the bridge's upper deck... something I've been driving to do for many years/decades but difficult when you are the driver and camera-man.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

North Beach festival

I returned to the festival today to see world champion-class Tony Gemignani perform his amazing pizza tossing skills, and I have to admit, they are not kidding when they say toss dat pizza dough!!!

They had his table inside a small beer-drinking area and I arrived early to get a good spot for my pictures. You never know when those damn photographers will show up!! hahahahaaa He was already busying himself, rolling a few pizza dough to use during his show, and this was indeed a great show!

In a few moments, he had everything readied and began.... with a cordless microphone headset, he began with a few demonstrations showing how he can spin and toss the dough, and explained who he was.... the crowd, needless to say, was as impressed as I was. Then he asked for music and started a show in time to the music! This tossing and spinning of the pizza dough was just incredible! He even did a few spins and tosses while lying on his back on the ground, plus a few tosses behind his back from left to right, and even using his foot as a footrest to balance the dough, and even passing the pizza dough beneath his leg from one side to the other!

It was indeed impressive!!! I can now see why he has won the world champion title nine times! So, if you ever get a chance to see him in action, do so because you will not be disappointed!!

More pictures of his tossing are posted in my web in the events album.

I also had a chance to take a peek inside St Peter and Paul church next to Washington Square for a silent and quick respite from the crowds of people and blaring music - and while the church interior is different than those I've seen in France, Germany, Spain and Italy, it was still quite nice.

I also was thrilled to hear the vocals of Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers.... the great music of her band got people who crowded all of the grassy area of Washington Square, listening and dancing and moving to the smooth jazzy tunes....

click on the picture to see their myspace site

Enjoy the sights!!!