“Pic of the Week”, February 23, 2017: Western Gorillas

San Diego Zoo Safari (121)

While gorillas are the largest of the great apes, the western (lowland) gorillas are the smallest and least endangered of this subspecies.  Native to the Congo River Basin, they live in lowland tropical and swamp forests.  They are quiet, peaceful animals whose existence is threatened by deforestation and poaching.

Male gorillas are up to 1.55 meters tall and weigh up to 157 kg; females are 1.35 meters and weigh up to 80 kg.  They  are mainly herbivores, feasting on leaves and fruit but occasionally eating ants, worms and caterpillars.  Western gorillas are nomadic, wandering in groups of up to 30 individuals in search of food.  Each band is lead by a dominant “silverback” male ( so called because of a silver …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Back at the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Getty Center Museum 11-2016 (7a)

When I have free time while traveling in greater Los Angeles, I love to visit the Getty Center — well worth a full day’s visit, especially if you’ve never been there before.  There’s no admission fee but you have to pay $15.00 to park for the day (so if you’re dropped off by a friend, the entire day would be a freebie).   There’s a large parking structure adjoining the 405 Fwy in Sepulveda Pass and from here visitors takes a tram uphill to the Getty Center.  The tram/funicular ride takes just a few minutes and when you exit you enter a beautifully crafted world of art and architecture.   I enjoy walking the meticulously maintained grounds and taking in the ever …

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The Griffith Observatory: Los Angeles’ Art Deco Treasure

01 Griffith Observatory

One of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks is the Griffith Observatory, which is situated on a hill (in massive Griffith Park) overlooking the Los Angeles basin.  Designed to be an observatory of the planets and stars, it’s a beautiful Art Deco structure that houses space and science exhibitions and has a great planetarium. 

While smog obscures the views from the Observatory most of the time, the place is especially memorable for its great views on a clear day like the one I had the

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The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park

desert

Unless you’ve driven across them, it’s hard to comprehend how vast the deserts of the American Southwest are.  While at first glance the region seems nearly lifeless, it’s rich in a diverse variety of hardy plant and animal life.  An excellent way to see this assortment of desert life is to stop everywhere and explore.  A much easier and more convenient way is to visit a botanical garden which, while not a perfect experience, is highly educational.  A place I’d recommend is the Living Desert, located in Palm Desert, California (very near Palm Springs), which provides a one-stop chance to explore the flora and fauna of America’s deserts –with an African sampler to boot!

Giraffes, Living Desert Museum

The Living Desert occupies …

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.All Trips / California / Food / Southwestern USA

Signs of Grand Central Market, Los Angeles

03 Grand Central Market Los Angeles

Even though I lived in the Los Angeles area for more than 2 decades, it was not until I moved away from the city that I visited its famous Grand Central Market.  Situated in downtown Los Angeles (on Broadway), near many of the city’s massive skyscrapers and businesses, the market has been a landmark for 100 years (established in 1917).

The market has changed with time and it’s not like most of the markets you’ll visit.  Sales of fresh and bulk food , while a component, are a small part of the operation.  It seems these traditional market elements have been pushed out to make room for more restaurant vendors.  People now go to the market to buy prepared food.   …

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Backpacking to Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

From time-to-time I enjoy looking at some of my older photos to remember bygone adventures.  It’s from one of these periods of reflection that today’s blog germinated.

When I lived in Southern California, I enjoyed spending time each summer exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains — John Muir’s Range of Light.  While much of California is hot as an oven in the summer, these mountains offer a pleasant climate and excellent backpacking opportunities.  In the summer there’s enough water in the lakes that you don’t need to carry more than a day’s worth — very different and much easier than what’s required when backpacking in the Mojave desert.  The weather is warm in the day, cool at night, and almost without …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 11, 2017: Canter’s Deli, Los Angeles

02 Canter’s Deli Los Angeles

When recently visiting Los Angeles I returned to one of my favorite places in L.A.’s Miracle Mile district, Canter’s Deli.  Canter’s is an authentic Jewish deli which never closes.  Besides ordering items from the menu, there are a wonderful assortment of fresh baked goods available for sale at the deli’s bakery.
When I was a resident at UCLA I’d eat at Canter’s from time to time with my peers.  The corned beef and pastrami sandwiches are wonderful, as are the pickles, pickled onions and everything I’ve ever tried here.  It seems the place hasn’t changed in the 30 years since that time.
Canter’s opened in 1931, was and remains very popular, although it has changed locations more than once.  It’s now run by …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, February 11, 2017: Canter’s Deli, Los Angeles
.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, January 20, 2017: Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

030 Monterey Bay Aquarium. Kelp Forest

The finest aquarium I’ve had the privilege of visiting is in Monterey, California.  Built alongside the old sardine canneries of Cannery Row (a site immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novella of the same name), you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the underwater world when you visit.

There’s dozens of great exhibits, but there are two that are my favorites — the jellyfish, and this one, the Kelp Forest tank.  I’ve spent a lot of time watching this latter tank because there seems to be no end as to what’s going on.   A giant shape approaches in the tank, only to be broken into thousands of individual sardines as the school splits apart.  The moving light and shadows of the kelp, the sharks …

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