Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hiking Douglas Springs Trail

This morning my husband and I decided to hike part of the Douglas Springs Trail on the east end of Tucson, Arizona. It's February and the weather is beautiful, about 53 F. The trail runs along the northern boundary of the Saguaro National Park East.
            The trail starts out flat then begins a gradual climb into the Rincon Mountains. 
                      There is quite a variety of cacti and other plant life along the way.
                      
 






Surprisingly, there were not many birds, which is a big interest of mine. However, the song of the Cactus Wren could be heard up and down the trail. He is a great little bird to see!
A quick look at a tiny bit of wildlife!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Fun of Eating in Japan

Let's start off with dessert!
Green tea and beans are found in many desserts.
We decided to take a break in the afternoon and shared these two desserts. They were  both so delicious! I think Amanda and Kyoko had fun choosing things for us to try.

The dessert to the right is babaloa which is like green tea mousse.





The dessert to the left is shaved ice with green tea ice cream, sweet red beans, black sugar and white rice flour dumplings. So good!

I know the ingredients may sound strange to some of you, but both were wonderful!





One thing you see along the streets are the displays of plastic food advertising what is sold in the shop or restaurant. They are so realistic.
The first place we ate was lunch at a Kaiten Sushi restaurant which is sushi served from a conveyor belt.
The color of the plate indicates the price, so a blue plate might be 200 yen or about $2.00. As you eat you stack your plates up and they equal the costs of  your lunch.
                                  video


The next type of food was from a "farmer's kitchen" restaurant. You fill your glass with all sorts of vegetables. The man behind the counter chopped and talked about all the vegetables- many we had never seen before.Then you fill a separate dish with 3 types of dressings for dipping.








 Fun with Shabu Shabu!


Shabu Shabu is cooking thinly sliced meats and vegetables in hot broths.




We ended our eating experience with Okonomiyaki, Monjayaki and Modanyaki (Modern-Yaki).
Yes, we ate all three! These are savory Japanese pancakes made with all sorts of delicious ingredients.




I can't say enough about all the wonderful foods we ate. The flavors and aromas were amazing. I hope I gave all the foods their proper names. We loved our Japan eating experience and all the wonderful people that served us. And thank you Kyoko, Amanda and Ken for taking us to such unique places to dine.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fun in Tokyo

I can't say enough about these two young women. Our trip to Tokyo was way beyond our expectations. If you can imagine having an adventure in a very large city, they made it possible. Our dear friend Kyoko was introduced to us by our son, Jonathan. Amanda is Keith's wonderful niece. Together we experienced the ins and outs of Tokyo's train and subway system. We explored all kinds of streets and lanes. We ate the most delicious food and of such great variety and ways of cooking. I'll do a separate post on our eating experience. And we visited beautiful parks. Below is just a snapshot of our time in Tokyo. I also need to say that this trip would never have been possible without the guidance of our son Jonathan in the planning, language translations, last minute emails helping us make our way on the train from Osaka to Kyoto and Kyoto to Tokyo, with cabs, and many other details too numerous to list. He did this while sitting at home in Tucson, AZ.
 Keith loved the high speed train we took from Kyoto to Tokyo called the shinkansen. 
 Tokyo at night from our hotel room on the 42nd floor. 
 One of the exciting things about Tokyo were all the people! It was amazing. 

It's a good thing we had Kyoko and Amanda to help figure out which train or subway to go on.
 Having a great time in an amazing city!


 Amanda's friend, Ken, joined us on our Sunday excursions.
The nights were an adventure as we explored narrow little roads -not for cars, tiny restaurants, lights and more people.


  There are numerous large parks within the city where you can find tranquility and beauty.

Finally, a video of the famous pedestrian crossing near Shibuya station.
                        video


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The People of Zambia


One thing we loved was to see the people who lived in the villages in and around Mfuwe. 

Every day is Market Day!


  Bicycles and walking are the main way of getting around.








 James is an amazing welder. You can see some of the sculptures he has made. He also has many large pieces not shown.
 This is a group of artisans. There are so many very talented people. Keith and Gil
spent a couple of days sharing ideas with these men and women.
Dixon was a young 16 year old boy we met who makes sculptures using snare wire from traps set by poachers. He uses the money he earns from his art to support his extented family.
Here are some of the women from the sewing group we worked with while in Mfuwe. They are such a talented group of women.