Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: A Year in Review

Another year is coming to an end. As this year exits making way for the new one, let me look back on the year that is 2012.

This year:

2012_02_05 031
Hubs and I attended our first Fan Fest Day at AT%T Park. It's great that we did it because at the end of the season, my home team the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS won it all.

2012_02_21 098
Spent an amazing quick get-away in the wine country (here, here, and here) that included a fabulous meal at JOHN ASH & CO.

Dalmatian Horse
I saw my first dalmatian horse; which according to a horse-lover friend of mine is actually an appaloosa breed.

2012_05_24 121
The second road trip of the year took us to the California's Northern Coast where we commune with nature, particularly the giant sequoia trees......

2012_05_24 253
And where I gawk at some of the prettiest Victorian houses I've ever laid my eyes on. (More here, here, here, here and here)

The summer was spent in India and Bangladesh where I saw these:

taj mahal 1265
Taj Mahal

taj mahal 747

Unforgettable Sikandra

finepix-India 123
Incredible Agra Fort

pentax jaipur 157
Enjoy the Mughal architecture some more in old capital city of Fatehpur Sikri.

Arrive in Amber Fort on an elephant.

finepix tecnaf 087
Walk the beach of Cox's Bazar, known as the longest unbroken sandy sea beach at 125 km. Post coming soon.

pentax teknaf cox 075
Mingle with local fishermen and their sampans at a quaint fishing village in Teknaf. Post coming soon.

Third road trip found us in the beach town of Bolinas.

PicMonkey Collage2
Fourth and last roadtrip, a quick day trip to Capitola.

And before the year comes to a close, we took a 7-day Caribbean cruise visiting two Mayan ruins (just in case you know) both in Mexico and stops in Belize and Honduras.

Our travel partners or shall we say cruise partners. We met them at the Mediterranean cruise some 3 years ago and toured Cairo with them. We kept in touch and decided to cruise together again.

List of countries I visited this year:


It has been one busy year. Thank God for all the blessings as well as the bumps in the road.

Happy New Year to everyone. May our new year bring forth peace of mind and joy in our hearts. Always be a little kinder.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jantar Mantar

Following a tour of the architectural marvel that is Amber Fort, we followed the highway back to the Pink City and visited a UNESCO Heritage Monument, the Jantar Mantar of Jaipur.

The Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory showcasing a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. Even though the instruments were built/designed centuries ago, they are still being used today. The visit made me aware of the ingenuity of the people in the old days.

pentax jaipur 666
A more permanent sign is needed, perhaps?

pentax jaipur 667
No more combo deals.

Let's go on with the pictorial tour of Jantar Mantar:

india lumix 2 032

india lumix 2 021

india lumix 2 028

pentax jaipur 693

pentax jaipur 694

pentax jaipur 702

pentax jaipur 677

pentax jaipur 676

finepix india 2 146

finepix india 2 148

india lumix 2 034

finepix india 2 139

finepix india 2 141

india lumix 2 020

The place is really fascinating. The life-sized instruments seem foreign to me, but for an astronomy buff, this would be a big deal. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and guide was very helpful with information despite not being very interested with astronomy.

I read yesterday that they found cracks in the instruments which were caused by improper use of renovation materials. Or the process of renovating them in the past were done haphazardly. Now the gov't is fearing that with the cracks the instruments might not be taking accurate reads. Likewise, the fear that the observatory may lose it's heritage site status is in the horizon.

Read more about Jantar Mantar here and here.



I have recovered the contents of my external drive courtesy of a free soft ware that the hubs found online. We already bought another TB hard drive before we had recovered the photos. So I'm very happy right now.

My zoom lens is still not working. The hubs is ferociously searching for ways to fix it online. He likes to fix things versus getting someone to fix it for him. So, one problem solved here. I will not have to stop my India/Bangladesh postings.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Random Sky in 2012

2012_02_21 029
Misty February in Sonoma Valley.

All blue in April in Martinez.

2012_05_24 137
Twilight sky in May in Eureka.

Gorgeous June sunset.

pentax jaipur 414
Hazy July sky in Jaipur.

SKYWATCH is a weekly gathering of sky lovers and sky watchers. Please join us.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Too Blessed To Be Stressed

I'm back from my vacation! As expected, I had a lot of fun, ate too much, except didn't take enough shots because this time around I thought I'd experience more instead of shoot more.

I'm very blessed to have enough - enough money to pay my bills and just enough for vacations. So when I'm faced with small bumps in the road, I try to not sweat the small stuff, so to speak.

What are the bumps in your road Maria, you ask?

First, my lens started to fail on the last day of vacation. I thought it was the humidity, which may have been the reason, that caused it to fail. I'm really vexed that this happened, but I'm keeping my act together :). Worse comes to worst, I'd probably dig way deep into an already shallow pocket to get it fixed. I love my camera and this lens.

may 24-25 2011 007

Second, my external hard drive couldn't be accessed. I don't know the technical term for this situation, but basically my PC doesn't recognize the hard drive anymore. And this is the hard drive that contains majority of my vacation photos - including all 4,000+ of my 3-week Europe trip in 2009, the Costa Rica trip in 2011 and the India/Bangladesh vacation this year, just to name a few. I'm near freaking out. I had stopped backing them up by writing them on DVDs because this external drive has 1 terabyte of space afterall. I suppose I have to revert back to writing CDs/DVDs just to be safe.

We have googled and Youtubed ways to recover data, there are softwares designed to recover data, however, I want to find out if any one has experienced this and how one has retrieved data.

Right now, like the lens problem, I am putting this on the backburner, because I have gifts to wrap, menu to prepare, church activities to participate in, and Holiday parties to attend to. Besides, I am hoping to disassociate my emotions first before I can tackle the retrieval on a clear head. Plus, I could use more research on the subject.

Unfortunately, though I must pause my India series until the time I can get back all my photos. This is causing me so much regret that I didn't process all the photos right away (but of course time constraints was the culprit). Thankfully, I have my vacation photos in the laptop which would enable me to continue blogging while I sort out all these woes.

A few random shots that I found in my PC.







And thirdly, my little furbaby is having some medical problems, which we're hopeful would be resolved without so much dent to our very depleted "vacation fund".

2012_03_18 020

Again, I'm too blessed to be stressed.