Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gulf Shore Cleanup - First Hand

During a recent visit to Mobile, AL I had the opportunity to see first hand the volunteer and paid "clean up the oil" efforts going on along the Gulf Shore. The view from Orange Beach, while hot, sticky and bright, was not as grim as I had anticipated. I'm not sure what I envisioned, but it might have been more dramatic - like dead oil slicked wildlife washed up on the shore, a beach devoid of people, tar like patches floating on the water. And the fact that I didn't see these things doesn't mean that this isn't a very serious problem. The beach was definitely more empty than it should be in this peak season. There was an odd slick of orange on the water. And the people in Hazmat suits dragging things out of the water definitely was not normal. But I was heartened to note that despite the downtrodden economy that now is even more depressed thanks to a general lack of tourism because of no swim advisories, the concern and willingness to help in the community, with projects both large and small, seems to be paying off.
My friend, Irwin, lives in that area and his take on it was one of sympathy for those living along the coast who derive their only sources of income from the water...it's these people who are the most affected. The shrimpers, the hotel and rental agencies, and interestingly even the wedding trade as people who originally had planned for destination weddings remove to alternative locations, canceling the services they scheduled many months in advance. But the overall feeling was one of bonding together in the face of adversity. It's hard to imagine one person, or one group of people, making a difference in something so devastating. But small, local efforts when added together are a force to be reckoned with. And in the end, every little bit helps.

Irwin told me that the water is normally the color (as seen above).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

San Diego!!

No post is necessary. This city speaks for itself. The color. The history. The flavor. I'd move to the Italian District in a hot minute. I'd wake every morning to my windows thrown wide, curtains flapping in the cool sea breeze. I'd greet the day with a walk to my favorite sidewalk cafe for a hot, foamy cappuccino and people watching. I spend the afternoon photographing in an endless variety of naturalcoastalurban settings. And I'd wind down with a glass of wine or a good, flavorful beer at one of the hundreds of amazing restaurants. Then maybe I'd find a local fruit and veggie stand, buy hand picked ingredients, and throw together something fresh and delicious in my well stocked kitchen (complete with custom appliances) that also, by the way, has a ocean view. Well, I can dream can't I?

In the City

Balboa Park & Old Town

Little Italy

Point Loma Lighthouse & Hotel del Coronado

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cable Cars and Crossing Bridges

While in San Francisco, I, of course, took photos of the very famous Cable Cars and the less famous but still much-utilized Oakland Bay Bridge. And, yes, of the Golden Gate Bridge as well - at least of what was visible in the May gray/June gloom thing.What was so amazing to me re the Golden Gate, though, was that the fog really seemed to be isolated just around this spot. It didn't affect the Bay Bridge, it didn't really even make it into the city while I was there. It just hovered, densely obscuring the view, over the brilliant red/orange of one of the most familiar California icons. I wasn't terribly disappointed, but only because I've see the Golden Gate in all its glory, clear and crisp as the fall morning when Aaron and I first traveled to San Francisco (almost 10 years ago). And having seen it both fogged in and clear, I believe I might prefer the fog. It's a mystery waiting to emerge. It's visible and then it's not. It's there and then it's gone. I kind of like the life metaphor that brings up for me. Of course, it might also have to do with the fact that I had the absolute privilege of seeing the Golden Gate from the perspective of the captain of a sail boat, dodging the waves and cutting through the mist, watching the bridge fade off into nothingness from high and directly above me. I definitely believe that is the coolest perspective I've ever had. Thanks, Bill, for the amazing opportunity and stellar view. Definitely something I'll never forget.