Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Caltech campus in Spring

At the beginning of April, when Spring was at its highest moment, I went around in Caltech taking photos. The campus was really beautiful, full of flowers: good for your sight and good scent. ;)

This is more like a photo-post. I don't think any explanation is required! Just enjoy the flowers! ;)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First time baseball

Last Saturday, I went to see a baseball game for the first time in my life. I went with Manuel from Venezuela and Bernardo from Argentina, to the Angels Stadium in Anaheim to see the Los Angeles Angels-Seatle Mariners game. We went there without tickets, but could find good ones from a dealer in the entrance.

The first thing I saw when coming into the stadium was Ichiro Suzuki warming up. This guy is one of the best players in history and almost a god in Japan! So, it was pretty interesting to see him there! So near!

In USA, sport becomes show... And everybody goes to the stadium to have fun!

Yes, I was there... ;)

Some popcorn to enjoy the movie? :)

Some kid cheering up the local team with a typical #1 hand!

And a close-up on the game! Sometimes, there are so many things going on around you, that you even forget they are still playing!!

The three of us!

There were even fireworks when the local team got a home run. That happened twice during the game.

Finally, Mariners defeated Angels by 9 to 8. But everyone came back home with a smile. It is just the beginning of the regular season anyway!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday morning Ramones

Recently, I have bought a new electric guitar. An Epiphone SG Special, the little sister of Gibson SG. I plan to start playing frequently again.

I just played a couple of times by now... but of course, I can still kind of play a few easy punk rock songs, like from the Ramones. In the next video, Blitzkrieg Bop and Teenage Lobotomy. Don't be too hard on my performance! ;) I still have to get some speed and pace in my right hand!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday morning in Pasadena

Saturday in Pasadena and the weather is so good it is hard to work! But yesterday, I already procrastinated enough!!!

I have noticed I always talk about far away places or about my trips, but not much about where I live. Today, I went out for lunch and took some pictures (mobile phone... sorry) around Pasadena.

Did you know that legendary Route 66 passes by Pasadena and I drive on it almost every time I get into my car! ;) It is so near! This stretch of Route 66 in Pasadena is called Colorado Boulevard. Today, I found this panel indicating it is Route 66:

I went for some food to a Thai restaurant I know and found there was a Vietnamese restaurant next to it! I had never noticed!! So I went for the lunch special: Pho and spring rolls.

After eating, nice stroll back home. This is the street where I live in: South Catalina Avenue.

And this is my building!

Yet, another photo of the street...

This has nothing to do with my street but I took it yesterday while having dinner. Sunset time in Cali... So, why not posting it too!! ;)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Earth Day at Caltech

Today, it is Earth Day at Caltech and many car makers came to show their developments in clean cars. I had never seen an electric car or a hydrogen car and it was really interesting to see the particularities of such cars!

These are some pictures of a Hydrogen car developed by BMW. You can see the word Hydrogen written everywhere. The most special feature was the hydrogen tank in the trunk!

There were many different cars, so I took pictures of different ones. This one has a very square-looking engine battery! It reminded me of the batteries in my old Canon digital camera...

This one had a lot of plugs in the trunk, to plug it in any circumstances, even in a normal house plug!! The owner said it would take around 30 hours to charge it at home... only for emergencies!

Another electric engine by Toyota. This one looks more professional looking ;)

It was interesting to see everyday there are more alternatives to old fuel cars... The other day, I also found a Hydrogen station in South Pasadena! It is moving slowly, but eventually these cars will arrive to every day's life!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Los Angeles according to Jack Kerouac

Last night, when I was flying from Washington to LA, I experienced a feeling that repeats quite often when I am arriving at Los Angeles... It is becoming familiar by now... and that is kind of scary!

The first time I experienced this feeling was when I came back from Mexico last Thanksgiving vacation. I was in an airport shuttle coming back home and Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge" started playing in the radio. We were almost 10 people in the van and nobody talking to each other... I looked around and we were in a huge traffic jam... then, I noticed every car stuck in it had only one person inside, which I assumed was driving in absolute silence (except by the music they were listening to). That made me feel something like utter loneliness. I don't know how to put it into words, but you can figure it out from my description.

Yesterday, I was reading "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac, one of the most important novels in English in the 20th century and I read the following sentence. Wait... before writing it down, I should maybe explain the book is about a guy from New York who decides to travel West (such a simplification!! hahaha). Ok, now I must say the guy just got to LA and this is the feeling the city creates in him:

"LA is the loneliest and brutal of the American cities; New York gets god-awful cold in the winter but there is a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in the streets. LA is a jungle."

Wow. Wordless... ;)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Going back to the West Coast

It's been almost one week since I last wrote here!! wow...

Now I am in Washington Dulles, waiting for my flight to LAX; back "home". It has been such a nice trip to the East Coast!! During the weekend I was in North Carolina, where I could enjoy the company of wonderful people, enjoy walks in forests next to lakes, strolling in Duke University... and many more special things! :) From Monday, I have been in Virginia, in a very interesting conference about Space Terahertz Technology, where I have found out my supervisor in Caltech is one of the most famous and revered persons in the field!! But I missed the great time in North Carolina! :)

Now, back to LA, where courses, deadlines and research are waiting for me... Tomorrow, it will be the day I have to get back in track... And I will start writing regularly again (I hope! :P).

Ok, I go into the plane right now... a 5 1/2 h flight next...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My current map of visited countries

So far, 37 countries in 4 continents... but I haven't been to the Southern Hemisphere yet...

This year, I only have a planned trip to South Korea in September. The rest of my traveling plans, unknown... although, I think I will go to Canada at some point too!

If possible, I will try to go to:
1. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
2. Central America
3. Peru

Beijing (V). The Great Wall

The last full day in China was a day trip to the Great Wall, which was one of reasons why I went to China!! If you think about China, the Great Wall surely pops up in your mind! Don't forget it is the only man-made structure which can be seen from space!!

Before the Great Wall, we stopped for a quick visit to one of the Ming Tombs. The Ming emperors are all buried together in the same area. A bit similar to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The tomb we went to was interesting, but after all the magnificent places we had visited in China, maybe it was a bit less spectacular.

The tomb was composed of an outer part with nice Chinese gates, which I guess were constructed after the tomb was discovered. The actual tomb is underground and can be accessed. The architecture is in Confucianism style, which is pretty austere compared to the typical colorful temples and gates in China. It was interesting for a change, though.

This is the interior of the tomb, and this is the first gate that was discovered. The history of the discovery is also quite interesting. Some peasants were working the ground when they found an ancient inscription which read: 20 meters towards the mountain and 10 meters underground rests the Emperor. ---> I just invented the figures... but it was something like that. So, excavations started and the tomb was discovered! This is the first gate discovered, in austere white marble:

After visiting the museum, where I learnt about some traditional Chinese art about how to decide the position of a house and how to design it to bring good fortune and long life to the people living in it. Many concepts actually made a lot of sense!

Afterwards, short hop in the bus and to Badaling, the place where we visited the Great Wall. The Great Wall is an awesome place and I do not need to say much about it. I guess almost everybody know why it is where it is and why. If not, think about the Mongolian invasions of China ;) and check wikipedia for a real explanation! :)

This is the typical image everybody in Spain saw when Spanish cyclist won several medals in the road cycling competitions in the Olympics. It was quite interesting to see the panel I had seen before on TV!

And what a climb to get to the furthermost tower: the Seventh Gate of the North, where there are many legends!

At some point, it was sooooo steep! Impressive!!

Most of the time, you were just checking where you stepped and kept on walking uphill without looking around...

But when you raised your head and looked around, the landscape was really inspiring!!

The Great Wall follows the shape of the mountains and goes up and down, turning all the time... It is not only it is a place of extreme beauty, it is also the perfect place for an unforgettable hike!!

Mao used to say that no man is a real man until he climbs the Great Wall. Now I am a real man! ;-)