Solo Adventures in San Diego (Part Four)

Here is part four of my solo adventures in San Diego.  This was my last day in San Diego and it was the most beautiful.  Before visiting any more museums, I wandered around Balboa Park taking photos of the lovely buildings.  After that, I headed to the Timken Museum of Art.

Day Five

The Timken Museum of Art is similar to the San Diego Museum of Art, except it is smaller and more importantly, free.  It houses European artwork, 19th century American art and artwork from Russian icons.  Also on display is San Diego’s only painting by Rembrandt.  This museum, also know as the “jewel box,” came about thanks to the Timken family and the Putnam sisters, who purchased many of the pieces on display there.  One of the exhibits on display when I visited was “El Lissitzky: Futurist Portfolios,” which featured geometric artwork by a Russian artist.  Unfortunately I was not allowed to take photos at this museum, so you will have to see this one in person.

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Solo Adventures in San Diego (Part Three)

Here is part three of my solo adventures in San Diego.  I started off the day by going to a museum just a few blocks from the convention center and then heading over to Balboa Park to visit more of the museums there.

Day Four

My first stop of the day was at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.  This museum promotes the history and culture of the original Chinese immigrants.  San Diego’s downtown used to be a Chinatown.  The building that now houses the museum was once the church and school for the local Chinese community.  In the 1990s, this building was slated for demolition but the San Diego Chinese Historical Society was able to save it.  In 1996, it became the museum it is today.  It has expanded throughout the years and now includes two other facilities and a garden behind the original museum.

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Solo Adventures in San Diego (Part Two)

Here is part two of my solo adventures in San Diego.  Instead of going to see more museums at Balboa Park, I decided to head over to San Diego Zoo.

Day Three

I hadn’t been to a zoo since I was a teenager in Japan, so I was kind of excited to see the famous San Diego Zoo.  My main goal was to see the Giant Pandas.  This zoo is huge and I walked the entirety of it probably several times but it was worth it.  The day started out with peacocks, flamingos and ducks.  I also got to take a ride on the guided bus tour, allowing me to see where everything was before I started walking around.  I also rode the Skyfari (cable cars that cut across the park) a few times to save my feet.  The view from there is amazing and totally worth the sometimes long wait.  You can see the entire zoo and beyond into Balboa Park.

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Solo Adventures in San Diego (Part One)

Back in July of 2014, I got to spend a week in San Diego.  A fellow Long Beach student got a free week long pass to attend the ESRI User Conference (UC).  ESRI UC is held every summer, typically in June or July and at the San Diego Convention Center. This is the biggest conference for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) professionals hosting numerous presentations and vendor displays, all discussing the latest and greatest in GIS.  While I was not able to attend the conference because I didn’t have a pass, I was able to explore San Diego.  I did get to see some of the conference later, thanks to the Family Night event they had.

Day One

My first day in San Diego was mostly spent in the hotel room.  I was rather tired from the journey there.  The drive was about two hours, but since I had to wake up early that day and I’m an anti-morning person, I really had no energy to go out.  The next day though I was ready to take San Diego by storm.

Day Two

On Tuesday, I grabbed my stuff and headed for Balboa Park.  This park is filled with museums!  You could probably spend an entire week just visiting all the museums located within this one place.  Before leaving for this trip, I had spent a few days researching where I wanted to go and more importantly, how to get there.

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Whale of a Day Fair: Exploring Rancho Palos Verdes

An interesting little event I attended in April of 2015 was the Whale of a Day Fair at the city of Rancho Palos Verdes.  This event takes place at Los Serenos de Point Vicente where there is an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean and a lighthouse.  The event is co-sponsored by the city and the docents of Los Serenos.  Whale of a Day celebrates the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale from its summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chuchki Seas in Alaska to the winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja California.  You can view the migration from December to April along the Californian South Bay coastline.

The event is free and open to the public and features activities for kids, exhibits, food and craft vendors and a raffle.  The main location is the Point Vicente Interpretive Center which has aquatic displays and history on the Rancho Palos Verdes area.  The lighthouse is open for tours that day as well but the line gets long quickly.  I was unable to get in for one of the tours.  But there were many other things to see.

The coast guard was present along with a few of their boats and helicopters.  You could even get inside of them if you wanted to see more.  One of my favorite exhibits there was the one featuring birds of prey.  And yes the birds were real!  They also have a beautiful long trail right along the edge of the cliff with a perfect view of the ocean.  I was only disappointed that I couldn’t walk the whole trail and take more photos.  A final stop was at the City Hall, which also provided free parking for the event.  I got to walk along the areas behind City Hall and see some prickly pear cactus and California sunflowers.  Most were all dried up because of the drought, but I managed to find one alive and thriving.

If you live in the area, I highly encourage you to visit during the fair.  It was a lot of fun and a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

CG: Green Tea Cupcakes

It all started with some green tea powder.  A member of the geography club knew that I was learning how to bake and so she gave me some green tea powder from her’s family’s business.  I then decided to make cupcakes with it.  Usually I’m not a fan of green tea by itself, but in combination with other flavors, it’s strong bitterness is diluted a bit.  Looking online I found several recipes for green tea cupcakes and even found one with green tea frosting as well.  I decided to go with Teaglad’s recipe.  Reading through the list of ingredients, I was a bit alarmed at the amount of butter needed but figured since this was a special occasion item, I could splurge on the butter just this once.

While green tea is popular among the Asian American community and even among non-Asians in California, for those of you who may not be as familiar with it, I’ll discuss the history of green tea.  Green tea originated in China and is made from Camellia sinensis leaves that haven’t gone through the same withering and oxidation that is done to oolong and black tea.  There are several varieties of green tea, which differ due to the variety of the tea plant, growing conditions, horticulture, production processing, and time of harvest.

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CG: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

There is probably nothing quite so glorious as the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  Which is why I had to put them together in a brownie.  My previous attempt at making brownies (without peanut butter) had been rather disastrous.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly and it was quite obvious that I had screwed things up.  They had tasted dry and almost sugarless.

Afterwards I vowed to redeem myself and make a batch of brownies that actually tasted like brownies.  This meant getting a bag of chocolate chips (for the first version I only used cocoa powder, which was why they were so dry).  Sitting among the chocolate chips on that grocery store aisle were also bags of peanut butter chips.  When I was younger I use to get these peanut butter chips and eat them straight from the bag.  Now that I’m older and can actually cook (mostly), I decided they were the perfect addition to my brownies.  Now I had even more incentive to not screw up my brownies.  I couldn’t dare waste those precious peanut butter chips.

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